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!