What's Really Bothering You?


Many of the people who come to see me have either a weight problem they're trying to shift, or a gut problem they're trying to fix. As I talk with them and dig a little deeper, I find that there is most often a relationship problem gnawing away at them, causing them to churn over conversations, situations and the lack of demonstration of authentic love, care and compassion. Instead of being able to solve these problems, they are feeding themselves in order to give themselves what they feel they need: comfort. Is this making any sense? The foods they're eating are feeding the problem because their emotional needs are not being met sufficiently. (Emotional needs may be present-tense or past-tense.)

Feeding emotional needs inappropriately can start at a very young age. When you are in a relationship where you feel uncomfortable, but at the same time, feel that you can't express yourself fully and truthfully, that expression will find a way to be expressed in some other part of your life.

Human needs are legitimate needs.The needs to be loved, accepted, helped, honoured and appreciated, are respectable, legitimate needs that all humans have. All too often, the people I see may have a weight problem or a gut problem, but what they really have is some sort of relationship or love deficit expressing itself in their body in a way that is, or feels, safe and acceptable. (Even if it's the last thing they want.) When a deficit in your life expresses itself through external means, you can be sure there is some internal expression yearning to break through to the outside.

Once I explain this to my clients, they usually drop their heads in shame and say something like, "Yes, I have a really bad relationship with my partner", or "I'm really finding it hard to hold down a good job", or "I feel like I'm failing my kids". Whatever they say their problem may be, rather than thrashing out these problems with them, I simply cut to the chase and ask them, "How are your relationships with your parents?" It takes only a split second for them to start verbally vomiting up all the reasons why they don't get along with the people who should be their champions and greatest support. Notice the levels they have to go through to get to the real problem? You see, it isn't the weight or the gut problem. It isn't the partner, the job or the feeling of failure. It's the feelings of being unimportant, unappreciated and unsupported by the network of people who are/were meant to support them throughout their life - their own family. The family-of-origin, or the family one is born into, can do more damage in a person's life than every other relationship they will ever be a part of.

Why is this? When you were young you were surrounded by these people and you absorbed everything about them. As you grow up, you may have started to question parts of your existence in your family unit and cracks may have started to appear. As you grew into adulthood and started to really experience life, you may have become aware of the differences between people and relationships, and started to wonder about what you do or don't have in yours. It's only natural to compare yourself to others. Questions may have started circling in your mind causing you to wonder why you don't have the quality of relationships that others around you may have.

When you start to ask questions like this, it can be very hard to find the answers. Often people will start to make their own investigations into these questions with very few answers forthcoming. This can make you feel very insecure, it can even give you the feeling of being unloved in some way. When people come to these emotional roadblocks, that's when they start to overeat, choose foods that feed the cortisol/insulin pathway and develop deep-level gut issues. The source of these problems are emotional; full of unanswered questions, full of fear, anger and feelings of rejection. This is a crisis that requires crisis-management; this is family trauma.

When I ask my clients what they want, there are three things they want more than anything:

  1. Most of all, they want to feel better. They want the gnawing feeling to go out of their belly

  2. They want understanding; the answers to the "why" questions

  3. They want to feel loved and appreciated for who they are

As we journey together, these are the goals we work towards; goals for wholeness, completeness, acceptance and fulfilment of their purpose and place in their home, their family and their lives.

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