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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.
800px-Rain on a smoke tree leaf"Why do I feel ashamed of myself because I was abused?  I know it was not my fault. Why do I feel the need to hide it, even from my trusted therapist?" asks a reader.
My response:

You seem to believe, as many people do, that intellectual knowledge changes emotions. Internal changes don't work that way.  We can't decide to love someone because they meet our intellectually created criteria and then actually love them. Nor can we end strongly held beliefs  because we know they have no basis in reality.  Nor can we decide to feel good about ourseleves and lose our sense of shame because we know we have nothing to be ashamed of.

We can, however, use our intellectual prowess to help us find emotional healing experiences.

When we have beliefs about ourselves that are harsh and incorrect we need a climate of emotional healing. When we expect a harsh response from someone, and we get kindness it's a shock to the system. We stay in with our shame and self blame.

We respond to kindness and acceptance by such thoughts as:

  • the person doesn't know what she's talking about.
  • the person doesn't understand what I really did or said or experienced.
  • the person is pretending

If we come to know, respect and trust that person, and we consistently get a kind, respectful and accepting response, we feel differently. We feel more safe and cared about. We feel what it’s like to be in a kind environment, and we like it.

Our harsh attitude weakens.  We wonder, if by some strange and miraculous perspective, we are not as bad as we thought.

If the respect, kindness and acceptance continues from this trustworthy person we respect, then over time we enjoy and accept their response to us.  We feel good in their presence. We like ourselves in their presence.

Then, over time, we internalize their caring so we feel that kindness, respect and acceptance from within when we are not physically in their presence.

If this continues, we make the change from carrying their positive response within us to making that voice truly our own.

Thinking can put us in the healing environment. The emotional changes come from healing emotional experiences.

My thought and association:  "The quality of mercy is not strained. It droppeth like the gentle rain from Heaven."  Shakespeare in Merchant of Venice. 

So comes the emotinal healing, drop by drop, to eventually reveal  unashamed loveliness.

*Rain drops on a smoke tree leaf. photo by Kris Miller

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