chapter  12
37 Pages

Eating disorders, shame and pride: A cognitive-behavioural functional analysis


This chapter argues that both shame and pride play important roles in many forms of eating disorder. For some (dietary restrictors), body shame can arise out of a general sense of personal shame and inferiority where changing body shape and controlling desires (such as eating) are seen as solutions. Moreover, they can feel proud of themselves (and at times superior to others) when they control their eating behaviour and weight. The ability to resist their own desires and the influence/control of others can then be built into self-identity. For people who overeat and/or binge, eating behaviour can be used to distract the self from shame affect and negative feelings in general, but such lead, in the long term, to more shame. This sets up a vicious cycle where affectcontrolling behaviours (e.g., bingeing) increases shame and thus poor eating control. Indeed, it will be argued that anorexia can involve shame-pride spirals whereas over eating and bingeing involves shame-shame spirals. However, these are not mutually exclusive cycles for they address different difficulties, and an individual may have both.