I sometimes watch reality television. Recently I watched an episode of a show called “The Shahs of Sunset”. As in many “reality” shows, there’s no real premise. This one is about 5 or 6 attractive and successful 30-ish Persian men and women living around Los Angeles and Beverly Hills and their affluent lifestyles. I was mesmerized by the visuals and the big personalities -who of course engage in the requisite clashes.
But the episode I watched had one storyline that caught my eye. There was a self-absorbed, extremely critical and intrusive mother. And there was the adult daughter longing for approval, unable to see herself beyond her mother’s harsh labels, predictions, and withholding of maternal love.
The daughter also struggled with her weight. With finding a partner. With feeling good enough. With what looked like an underlying depression.
The episode featured two very poignant scenes, with the daughter imploring the mother for a new kind of relationship. One based on less criticism, less judgment, more kindness all of which would allow the daughter to be herself and share more of her life with her mother. The other scene featured a large family dinner, with the entire family trying to help the mother see that she was hurting her daughter by being so critical. Both scenes left the daughter in tears, with no changes forthcoming, no breakthroughs. It was painful to watch.
Not all mothers are as openly critical or vain as the mother on the “Shahs” episode.. she rivaled some of the evil queen archetypal mothers. But there is no doubt that having a mother who is critical and intrusive, or who withholds love often coincides with eating and body-hatred issues.
When the one who you look to most to give you love and approval, looks back at you with messages of “not good enough”, whether they are overt or more subtly delivered, these beliefs get internalized. And when you have a sense of not being good enough, of not being wholly lovable as you are, weight issues are very commonly not far behind.
The bad news.. you can’t change your mother.. can’t make her be more loving, or see you with different eyes. My clients have tried that most of their lives. It doesn’t work 90% of the time, and the energy that goes into trying to make somebody love you perpetuates the myth that you’re broken.
The good news..you don’t have to. The changes come in shifting perspective, finding the beliefs you hold about yourself and challenging them, not just intellectually, but in deeper ways and through action..you have to do things differently to feel things differently. There is a rewiring of the self that happens that isn’t just emotional, it’s also teaching your body to respond to things differently, your brain and nervous system to react differently.
The truth is that somewhere in their histories, a large percentage of my clients have had conflicted relationships with one or both parents in ways that have made them “take on” body and weight issues. It’s part of the territory. The relief isn’t about bashing the parents.. it’s about freeing you from a perspective and an energy and various responses that are not “yours”. The beliefs haunting you, the ones you carry.. belong to your parent(s). The truth is, they have nothing to do with you. Separating from what is and isn’t “yours”, creating what is you and what is not.. and redesigning your life to reflect the values and beliefs that are true for you.. is powerful sacred work.
This is how we work together.. this work, as I often say, is a “firewalk” because it requires great courage and faith.
Contact me for a 20-minute consultation at Lisa at IntuitiveBody dot com to see if you’re a match for this work and which program would best support you.
Relief can be yours..I want that for you.