Wednesday, May 9, 2012

mental anorexia

Parental over-protectiveness can become overbearing.  It can quash the process of separation and differentiation which, like birth, are necessary for a child to come into her own.    

If a child cannot successfully individuate, the child’s will goes underground and may seek expression in deviant or self-destructive ways.

Anorexia is an example of this.  

The refusal to eat harks back to the rejection of the breast and the impulse to self-wean.   When a parent’s need to nurture trumps a child’s need for independence, the child has no recourse but to reject the food of love.  This can be transposed to social expectations and can manifest, for example, as the refusal to swallow Mom and Dad’s rules.

This kind of refusal is more common than anorexia in boys, possibly because boys differentiate from their mothers earlier at the level of their bodies.  Just like anorexia, however, the more a parent tries to cajole a child with preaching and sermonizing and speeching and yelling, the more the child resists being nurtured and controlled.  

Success usually only comes after failure.  That is why an anorexic girl is often cured by hospitalization, and a delinquent boy by school failure.  Unprotected by his parents from the consequences of his actions, a child is finally free to find the motivation from within.

No comments:

Post a Comment