Abandonment and Addictions
I am sitting in front of my TV doing something I thought I would never do, watching a reality exclusion-based tv show. I am not an American Idol fan. I have never watched it. And this is not the show I am watching. It is the Biggest Loser Season 8. There is one person on the Biggest Loser that I greatly admire, Jillian. She gets people to do things they would have never dreamt that they could do. I like that. They all lose a lot of weight. There are two things I do not like about the show which is why once was enough for me. One is that the show really isn’t about weight loss. It is about who gets eliminated. The second thing is that most people who lose a lot of weight in the show, gain it back shortly thereafter.
There are always two reasons for bad behavior, the physical or apparent cause and then the spiritual or invisible cause. If you want to lose weight, the research is pretty clear that you need to change your diet and exercise. This is the best way. It works. The physical cause of gaining a lot of weight is stuffing your face with a lot of food without exercising. If you do this, you can be pretty certain about weight gain with a lot of fat. So if you are dealing with the apparent cause, which is stuffing your face, the weight loss is about eating differently and less and also doing a lot of exercise. This works. The only problem is that if you don’t address the invisible cause, you can only maintain the weight loss for so long. Then the ego will take over and you will gain back the weight. This is what happens to most people and why they cannot maintain the weight loss.
What is the invisible cause? If you ever watch the show and watch Jillian, the first question to ask yourself is why most people do not have a Jillian already inside of them. Jillian is the energy inside of you that sees a goal in the future and then does everything in the universe to stay on the path to achievement without quitting. It is what all Olympic athletes must have in incredible stores. But in the culture at large, there are very few people who have the Jillian factor, and hence there is a lot of obesity.
This is my opinion. What I think is that somewhere along the way people feel abandoned in one way or another. It may be actual abandonment like in parents dying or leaving or abandonment de facto, where you are constantly put down and marginalized. Abandonment is the most frightening of all conditions for a child and for adults. Being left out in the cold is always a horrible thought. So what do we do when we feel left out in the cold?
A lot of people eat. That is their addiction. Others take drugs. If you eat, you just feel better, because instead of being left out in the cold, your stomach is warm and soothed. A good Big Mac and fries is probably good for about 30 minutes of feeling loved. Anything to get the coldness to go away.
There are other types of addiction besides food and drugs. A lot of people I meet with just hold onto really bad relationships for a long time hoping that they will get a fix of love. Anything to get out of the cold. Love is the addiction. Trying to get someone else’s recognition and good favor is probably what most of us do.
The worst type is power because it seems to be the hardest pattern to change. When a person is abandoned and turns to the use of power to get out of the cold, they rarely turn back. If you look at food or drugs as an addiction, eventually the body just crashes or becomes so obese that it can barely move. With power the body doesn’t change all that much and the addiction is a super high.
I think that people who turn to power get really high when they can beat someone until they nearly die. They certainly do not feel remorse. There is never any guilt in firing, which really explains the joy of downsizing and restructuring for a CEO. They never downsize their own pocketbook. They get wealthier. But really power is just a way to protect oneself from being left out in the cold. That is why dictators have so many secret police. They are fearful of being left out in the cold. They are fearful of abandonment. Power is a way numb the feeling inside. It is a huge drug.
There is one sure fire way to know if you are addicted or not. The assessment is this. Ask yourself how hard it is to get out the door to exercise by yourself. Can you be committed to a program on your own? If you can’t get out the door alone, abandonment is your issue. You feel cold inside. Addiction is part of your behavior.
Getting out the door to exercise by yourself is a measuring stick.
The nice thing about getting out the door is that you always feel better afterwards. It happened to me today. I was really struggling to get up and have an early morning run, but I did it and then felt great at the end. It was a big message to me, however, that I have a lot of work to do yet. Where and when was I abandoned? This is a powerful question.