- Welcome -

If you suffer from an eating disorder now or have in the past, please email Joanna for a free telephone consultation.



Eating Disorder Recovery
Joanna Poppink, MFT
Eating Disorder Recovery Psychotherapist
serving Arizona, California, Florida, Oregon and Utah.
All appointments are virtual.


Can a child understand her mother's experience?Can a child understand her mother's experience?

Why do you suppose I selected this picture for this Mother's Day post?

Mother's Day is upon us. Does this day affect your recovery work? If it does, do you know why and how to take care of yourself?

 What emotions come up in you that relate to Mother's Day? 

  1. Love?
  2. Regret?
  3. Anger?
  4. Hope?
  5. Gratitude?
  6. Resentment?
  7. Fear?
  8. Defiance?
  9. Nostalgia?

What does the day mean to you?

  1. Happy celebration with family?
  2. Grim and dutiful effort to go along with the day?
  3. Retreat and isolation?
  4. Defiance?
  5. Eating challenges?
  6. Gift giving?

Limitations of Eating Disorder Thinking

Please remember that an eating disorder gives you a limited but structured way to experience your life. You will follow that structure blindly unless you make a concentrated and continued effort to maintain and increase your awareness.

This is not unique to someone with an active or past eating disorder. Human beings, in general, face this fundamental challenge so necessary to meet in order to achieve lifelong development. But...an eating disorder in the mix makes this challenge particularly acute.

What's Normal

So, let's look at Mother's Day. Your past memories and feelings, your perceived responsibilities of today and your vision of the future, plus how you wish past, present and future could be all pile into your psyche and create powerful feelings. This is normal!

Your Awareness Task

An awareness task is created by this normal experience. Your eating disorder may block the task, leaving you with a pile of powerful feelings you do not understand or misunderstand. You may act out.

Your task is about sorting, reviewing, clarifying and bringing yourself to the here and now with self-honesty. If you can do that, you can give yourself what you need in a realistic and caring way. Then, you can be present as a daughter and mother in the here and now.

Mothers Here or Not

You may or may not have a mother who is alive or in communication with you. If you were alone on a mountaintop far from your native land, you still couldn't escape from your memories and emotions that relate to your mother. This is so even if you never knew her.

These are your feelings, wishes, dreads, hopes, fears and yearnings. And if you are a mother, these feelings get all mixed up with expectations you have for your children, i.e., how they should be with you and how you may be with them.

Mother's Day Your Healing Day

You can make Mother's Day a special healing and growing day for yourself.  Know that you have an awareness task before you. (Your eating disorder mind will not allow this knowledge. So once again, as part of your recovery, you need to rebel against eating disorder commands.)

  1. Review your feelings. Review your memories. Review your wishes. Review your perceived obligations.
  2. Sort through your feelings on paper or through art making.
  3. Give yourself or arrange to have what you need to be supported and cared for in the present. One important caring support is your own awareness!
  4. Work to be in your Mother's Day as it is now without past or future images interfering with your experience.
  5. And, as always, be kind to yourself and others while, at the same time, you say, "No," to what is not good for you and, "Yes," to what is good for you.

Guiding Questions

  1. What are your feelings about Mother's Day?
  2. What are your quick eating disorder thinking commands?
  3. How can you discover how to sort and review so you can be honest and whole with yourself?

(Hint:  The exercises in Healing Your Hungry Heart are all about how to do this.)

Please share your thoughts in the comment section below.

Written by Joanna Poppink, MFT. Joanna is a psychotherapist in private practice specializing in eating disorder recovery, stress, PTSD, and adult development.

She is licensed in CA, AZ, OR, FL, and UT. Author of the Book: Healing Your Hungry Heart: Recovering from Your Eating Disorder

Appointments are virtual.

For a free telephone consultation, e-mail her at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Joanna Poppink, MFT, Los Angeles eating disorder psychotherapist

Add comment


Who's Online

We have 3861 guests and no members online