A lot of times trauma gets pushed down into the depths of our soul, or even, in some cases, hidden within our unconscious mind. Most, but not all, people struggling with an Eating Disorder have experienced some sort of trauma in their lives, whether physical, sexual, verbal or emotional. It could be anything from abuse to neglect or abandonment. Even witnessing these things can cause one to counteract by turning to EDs. In turn, trauma can then be turned inward causing someone to blame themselves, or to feel so much shame, that they need to find some way to get those feelings under control. Turning to an Eating Disorder is a way for someone to feel they have control, or they might use it as a way to mask the feelings from the trauma.
In a way turning to an Eating Disorder is a way that the body and mind tries to keep it self safe. It is a coping mechanism that helps the individual get through the effects of the trauma. Even though it isn’t a safe way to cope, it may seem like the logical way for someone to deal with negative experiences. Some people think trauma is about physical or sexual abuse, but that’s not so. Trauma is anything that is a distressing or disturbing experience for someone. No matter how minor it may seem, experiencing trauma, can have a major impact on a person’s psyche.
Getting help to deal with trauma is the key to overcoming one’s eating disorder. Only when we can recognize our past situations and then work with a professional, can we begin to deal with the negative effects from it. In the case of eating disorders, it may be a way to feel in control, or a way to feel invisible, or even a way to disappear all together. Whatever the reason, the key is to talk about the trauma. Only when we can put it in the past can we truly move forward.