Narcissistic Parents & Food

Many of us who grew up with narcissistic parents ended up with food issues or even full blown eating disorders.  This usually isn’t because we were using some poor coping skills to deal with the abuse.  It’s because many narcissists are obsessed with food, & they put their own issues onto their children

Some narcissists hoard food, not even wanting to share it with their own child.  Some complain incessantly about what their child eats or doesn’t eat.  Some expect & even demand their child like & dislike the same foods the parent likes & dislikes.  When the child has a different opinion, the parent invalidates & criticizes the child.  Some force their child to eat when they’re not hungry, & then complain because they did eat.  Many also criticize their child’s weight extremely harshly, ridiculing the child for being too fat or too skinny, even when the child is a healthy weight.  Some narcissistic parents even withhold food from their child as a punishment.  Growing up in such madness definitely creates food issues for a child.  How could it not?

I grew up hearing how fat I was ever since I can remember.  Looking at childhood pictures though, I don’t see a fat child- I see a normal child.  Well, now I do.  When I was a child, I saw someone incredibly fat & disgusting.  So much so, I went through anorexia at about age 10, then later bulimia in my teens.  My mother also criticized what I ate & how my entire life.  According to her, I either ate way too much or way too little & was wasting her money on food.  She even made me eat when I didn’t want to & called me a hog if I ate the last of something, such as the last cookie in the package.  And, she encouraged emotional eating.  Sad?  Have a snack.  Happy?  Celebrate by having a snack.  Angry?  Eat.. it’ll make you feel better.  I also wasn’t even allowed in my mother’s kitchen growing up.  I wasn’t even allowed to get myself something to eat or drink.  Neither was my father.  The kitchen was my mother’s private domain, & no one was allowed to enter unless they wanted to face her wrath.

I bet many of you can relate to some if not all of my story, can’t you?

I think the reason so many narcissists behave so crazily about food mostly boils down to narcissistic supply.  Food is necessary for life.  Eating is a way to take care of yourself.  Narcissists never want their victims to do anything good for themselves since it might contribute to healthy self esteem- something they refuse to allow victims to have.  Supply is gained if they can tear apart someone’s self esteem or prevent someone from gaining any boost to it.  Plus, parents can control what their children eat, & control is a great way to provide a narcissist with supply.

Projection also can be why narcissistic parents behave this way with food.  If your narcissistic mother has her own food issues, she won’t deal with them as a normal person would.  Instead, she’ll try to put them on you so she can get upset about them while refusing to take any responsibility for them.  This certainly happened with my mother.  She was raised by her own narcissistic mother, & one of her coping skills her mother taught her as a child was to turn to food.  She maintained that skill as an adult & judging by how she’s always been with me, is deeply bothered by it.

Personally, I’m still trying to sort out my own food issues since most of the time, I don’t want to eat, but at least it’s much better than it once was.  It’s a long journey towards healing in this area.  God has truly helped me a great deal with it though.  He has helped me to understand that my mother did wrong in this area (among others) with me, & the things she said to me & accused me of were wrong.  He’s also helped me to understand food better & reject the awful teaching I received about it growing up.  He can do the same for you, Dear Reader.  Turn to God.  Ask Him to help you heal in this area & to teach you whatever it is you need to know.  He loves you so much & will be more than happy to do so!

16 Comments

Filed under Abuse and the Healing Journey, Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Mental Health, Narcissism

16 responses to “Narcissistic Parents & Food

  1. Oh my…. I can relate to almost everything you wrote here. It’s amazing.

    When I was 16 years old, and a good, very well behaved kid, my mother urged me to run away from home. She very generously promised not to call the police and report me as a runaway. Part of the reason she gave for wanting me out of her house, was because she could not afford to feed me. But I barely ate! I was so skinny, that on two occasions a total stranger had stopped me and told me I looked like I was starving and needed to eat.

    All of my siblings were skinny. Meanwhile, our mother would banish us from the kitchen and gobble up all the good food. She was overweight.

    Couldn’t afford to feed me… I still feel the hurt and anger, 49 years later.

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  2. My mom had the deal where she couldn’t handle it if I liked or disliked different foods from her–I had to have her exact preferences, EXCEPT that she wanted me to like oranges, which she disliked. So she made everybody pretend to me that she liked oranges, because she assumed that if I knew she didn’t like them, then I wouldn’t like them, either. She also had the deal where she would try to feed me food that was starting to go bad, so as not to waste it. *shudder*

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  3. My MNF deeply resented having to feed us. He’d rant and rave about the money our mother spent on groceries and tell her she didn’t know how to shop. When I’d ask him for money to buy food in school he’d say that he didn’t have it (money), and I had to sit and watch the other kids eat while I had nothing. Those are some of the worst memories I carry from my childhood, to be a child so unloved that my father didn’t care if I went hungry.

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  4. ibikenyc

    “Some expect & even demand their child like & dislike the same foods the parent likes & dislikes. When the child has a different opinion, the parent invalidates & criticizes the child. Some force their child to eat when they’re not hungry. . . ”

    Oh, BOY, do I have issues around THIS!

    I was fat from the age of eight until about five years ago, in my mid-fifties, when I made up my mind to do something about it once and for all.

    I will no doubt have much more to say about this particular breed of projection and control, but I had to get this out right now!

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    • Then get it out girl! It’s ok! ❤

      Good for you losing the weight!

      Liked by 2 people

      • ibikenyc

        I had this Perfect Storm going: Felt like crap about myself ANYWAY because of the narcissistic throwing-up; had their dreadful danse macabre of a “marriage” as a role model; caught on right away that The Fat Girl takes whatever guy she can get.

        Thank you for the compliment! 😀

        It was a combination of (short version) finally just making up my mind, as stated (I have a very competitive side that I can put to good use when I want to), and thinking as much about my health as my appearance.

        Now that same competitive thing keeps me honest, as it were. No way am I gonna have to go buy bigger clothes again!

        Liked by 1 person

        • Perfect storm indeed. I understand. Same here, plus add in my mother telling me no guy would ever want me.

          You’re welcome!

          Good for you! Hey, whatever motivates is a good thing! Weight loss is hard, so good motivation is vital!

          Liked by 2 people

  5. Pingback: Narcissistic Parents & Food by Cynthia Bailey-Rug – An adult daughter's struggle to recover from narcissistic parents

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