A Look at Food Problems, Conformity, Rebellion, and Our Love/Hate Relationship with Food

My wife told me about a friend of hers whose sons are in their late teens or early 20's. She related how they ask her friend to stop for fast food chicken for dinner and about how they eat chips and other unhealthy food.

   My wife commented that one of the boys looks very unhappy and my wife attributed it to his not making enough money and to his eating unhealthy food.

However, as an astute observer of people and a life coach for over 20 years, I am certain the problem is the parents, and the kids reacting to them and other authorities.

Yesterday I listened to a radio interview with a lady who was angry when she was 14 (who isn't angry when he or she is 14?). But no one had understanding for her. No one really listened to what she had to say (and if they did listen, they discounted what she had to say), and so, instead of receiving love and understanding,  she was diagnosed with bipolar. 

Her life spiraled downward as she was given more and more meds (the litany, she said was always to either increase the dose or add another med) to her being, around age 20, on as many as 14  meds at a time, some with high doses, and of course she suffered related side effects.

In her early 20's, she miraculously found her way back to selfhood and a happy productive life, and has been medication free for 2 years. She is one of the lucky ones. She is a survivor of the loveless system and its false love.

I tell this story because I know that the boys we began describing are angry, and anger has turned into suppressed rage, guilt and unhappiness.

They live in a loveless world of academic and success pressure. They have been degraded, like the woman who is only loved for her body, by those who judge them according to shallow standards.

In this pressuring world, there is mostly only phony love and a false concern for our well being. No one has love or understanding for these boys. No one validates on the outside what they know in their heart. They feel alone, isolated and angry. The false concern for their success confuses them, and since they resent it, it makes them feel guilty and doubt themselves all the more.

I'm sure they are compared to others who get better grades, get into a better school, make more money, or some standard of comparison. We expect this sort of thing at school, but in many, if not most cases, the parents are the worst offenders. The nagging, criticism, and sometimes subtle disappointment with the kids, together with plenty of blame, start in the home. Dad is usually weak or absent, and mom turns the kids over to the loveless daycare providers and school system.

I'm in favor of education and success--but the kind of pressure that most kids are put under only creates rebels or characterless conformists, plus unhappiness. The kind of success the loveless ones create is really failure: overt failure or failure in disguise. Some drop out and become overt failures, others become the people pleasing conformists who will become responsible for the next generation of failures.

In the case of our boys, I'm sure that the ambitious mom (with weak or absent father) has pressured them with her food--forcing them to eat what is claimed to be healthy and for their own good.

Undoubtedly they enjoy the fast food chicken more because they get a break from her will, her nagging, and her false love. Besides,  her food may taste terrible and the emotional turmoil involved in her preparations (complaints, nagging, undercurrents of resentment, and emotional displays)  make meals unpleasant. 

For many kids, eating out or eating junk food represents freedom.

Forced to accept her will because of the pressure, they can only conform or rebel. By conforming, they lose their selfhood, and by conforming to a bad spirit, the harm to their selfhood and soul is more subtle and deep seeded than that of just eating bad food.

If they rebel they maintain their selfhood, but feel guilty for their anger and resentment.
So, without a  good father there with calmness, patience and wisdom to serve as a contrast to their pressuring intnese willful mother, they are stuck between a rock and a hard place: conform to the lie and the will that her food stands for, or rebel and become angry and feel inferior and guilty.

Their desire to eat fast food chicken instead of her food is an attempt on their part to maintain their selfhood and dignity.

Some little kids refuse to eat their mom's food. They won't eat at the table, but then  secretly eat something that they hid in their room. To all the world, the kids seem bad or disturbed, but an astute observer can see that they are trying to deal with a very willful mother.

I recently read that some kids in high school staged a protest against the new healthy food that is being forced on them at school. Because of some healthy child mandate, schools are required to change their food. Gone is the grilled cheese sandwich, pizza, cookies and things that actually taste good.  Now they get canned or frozen green beans and other tastelessly prepared things.

In the name of health, the do gooders are taking one more area of freedom away. It's similar to when test scores are low, the do gooders take away recess, gym, band and every other fun thing and substitute longer school days and longer school years. In the name of supposedly doing good, they make things worse.

   Don't get me wrong. I am in favor of healthy food (but I am not prude and I can have fun and eat something fun once in a while). Often the do gooders use fruit that is not ripe, tasteless vegetables, and prepare them in a way that does not taste good (if you try to tell a willful self righteous mother that her food doesn't taste good, she will be offended and you will have hell to pay).

The government program is an extension of mother's will and weak father syndrome. In the guise of doing something for their good, it is more intrusion, more phony concern, and more taking away of freedom.

Something similar may be involved with bulimia and anorexia. The person develops a love/hate relationship with the food that represents both mother's will and mother's love. The child resents mother's willfulness and father's weakness or absence (not providing a fatherly balance to mother).

The resentment separates the child from his or her own ground of good. Thus separated through resentment, especially of the father who is not there for her, she substitutes food as a form of love for herself.

But because she is already conflicted over food, and because food cannot fulfil one's true love needs, she also resents the food which fails to satisfy. Conforming and rebelling to the food can take the form of starving and bingeing.

It can also take the form of substituting drugs, marijuana, alcohol, or junk food for mother's food and mother's love.

There are many variations and you will just have to see how it all plays out in your own personal food issues, But the solution is to see what is going on, stand back and meditate for mental distance so as to become objective to the problem instead of feeding it. With understanding will also come the grace to let go of resentment--resentment of mother, of dad, or the food and of self.

With objectivity and no longer resenting--the door is opened to receive God's love from within.

Read Food: Friend of Foe - one of Roland's classic posts on the subject.