Compulsive eating is a complicated psychological and biological problem. Food addiction can be a way of defending against unmet needs by displacing emotional hunger onto food. We discuss how infant experiences with eating and soothing can shape one’s relationship to food in adulthood. Two fairy tales tell of parents with insatiably devouring babies and illustrate the consequences of failure to develop affect regulation and how that can lead to various vulnerabilities to addiction.
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Here’s the dream we discuss:
“My skin (not sure what body part) had green mold on it, like the intense green mold that grows on an orange. When I try to peel it off, I discover it is about a centimeter thick and that it comes away in spongy chunks leaving a very uneven skin surface—once again, like the contrast between peel, pith, and segments of an orange. I feel alarmed. I stop peeling worrying the whole structure will collapse.”