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Are You Single? How Are You Coping?

I was in session yesterday and my client and I were talking about the role that food plays in her life. As an eating disorder and relationship therapist, the two worlds often overlap and I see how pain in one area can often cause pain in another. She made the point that being single often means food becomes how she copes with the loneliness of not having a partner. I wish this was news to me but to be honest, food can so easily become the placeholder for the partner we want. Food, of course, is only one available option. Drugs, alcohol, empty sex, work, overspending or buying things to fill the void…the list goes on. This also doesn’t only apply to being single. Anytime there is a struggle in our lives where we have feelings about something but don’t want to feel those feelings, we find substitutes that make us feel better temporarily. The responsibility to ourselves, or if we are in a partnership, to our partners, is to own it. My client wasn’t denying what she was doing. She was being honest with me, but more importantly, with herself. None of us go through life unscathed. We all need to have an honest look at how we are actually coping in our lives and ask ourselves if we are okay with what we are doing. Don’t do this flippantly. Give yourself and your patterns the attention they deserve. Maybe after looking, you won’t feel inclined to change anything. As long as you are being honest with yourself, you get to make any decision you want around how you live your life. If you do want to make some changes, asking yourself what adjusting by just 10% would look like. Let’s stop the all or nothing thinking and instead try to approach ourselves with both compassion and realistic expectations. Adjusting our coping mechanisms slowly means we won’t be left feeling highly exposed and vulnerable. Instead, we will look to replace potentially destructive behaviors with healthier ones. So take a look. Are you okay with your coping mechanisms? 

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