Understanding Today's Narcissist
Understanding Today's Narcissist

Episode 27 · 3 years ago

Obsessed: Narcissists and Their Food

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

It wasn’t until Tabitha had dinner at a friend’s house as a teenager that she realized there was something odd about how her family handled food. At her friend’s, there was food with a variety of healthy and even some unhealthy snacks. Her mother didn’t have a lock on the “special food” so no one could have access. Their mealtime was engaging and fun with everyone participating in the conversation. There were no snide remarks about eating too much or being forced to eat seconds. It was an enjoyable experience.

But it wasn’t until years later, when Tabitha realized that her mother was narcissistic. Still, she didn’t make the connection between narcissism and food until she had her own family meals. And then, it struck her: her mother’s narcissism translated into an unhealthy obsession with food. This explained so much about Tabitha’s own anxious journey with food. The unhealthy food rules she grew up with were an extension of her mother’s controlling and manipulative behavior. Here’s how.

  1. Food management. Tabitha’s mom disliked fish so she refused to serve it eventhough everyone else in the family loved it. Her mom’s food likes and dislikes dominated the menu, if she didn’t like something then it wasn’t to be served at all.
  2. Food supremacy. Perhaps the oddest realization was that Tabitha’s mom expected that she would always be served the best and/or largest portion of food. Whether she cooked the food or not, her mom demanded the first pick.
  3. Food as power. One morning Tabitha’s dad surprised the family by making a large pancake breakfast. Tabitha’s mom took one look at the meal with disgust on her face and started making herself eggs. When confronted, she said she didn’t like being told what to eat.
  4. Food as entitlement. Even when Tabitha’s family was a guest at someone else’s house, her mom would find something wrong with the food being served. She doesn’t like cheese and therefore can’t eat the meal. She would then expect an additional meal to be especially prepared for her.
  5. Food as control. During family meals, Tabitha’s mom would scold her for eating too much and make fun of her for asking for seconds. But when company came over, her mom would demand that everyone have seconds or else she won’t believe that they liked her food.
  6. Food and appearance. To make matters worse, Tabitha’s mom would look at what she was eating and make a comment like, “You’re not going to eat that are you? You know how easily you gain weight.”She did this even when Tabitha was struggling with anorexia.
  7. Food arrogance. Growing up, Tabitha’s dad did a lot of the family cooking. One several occasions after he prepared the meal and it was ready to be served, her mom would take a phone call and hold up when the family ate. One night, they sat at the table for over an hour staring at the food waiting for her.
  8. Food as a stage. Tabitha could not remember a family meal time that was not dominated by her mother talking about herself and her work. There were no questions about Tabitha’s day and if she chimed in, her mother would give her the death stare and then ignore her.
  9. Food snobbery. There were only a handful of restaurants that Tabitha’s mom would agree to go. Looking back, Tabitha realized that these establishments treated her like she was a queen, giving her the best place to sit in the restaurant. This explained her tolerance for the average food quality that came at a high price.
  10. Food expectations. Tabitha’s mom would openly complain if the food was not to her liking whether at home, at a friend’s house, or in public. Worse yet, she would then make fun of what she called “food ignorance” for their lack of adequate preparation. Ironically, her mom was not a good cook.
  11. Food as attention. When her mom did cook, she demanded excessive amounts of appreciation during the meal and afterwards. If she didn’t get enough gratitude, then she would passively-aggressively say, “You didn’t like my cooking?”
  12. Food superiority. For a couple of years, Tabitha’s mom became a vegetarian. During that time, no meal was allowed in the house and everyone was expected to eat the way she did. When they ordered meat from a restaurant, she would talk about how they were supporting the killing of animals.
  13. Food as punishment. When Tabitha was little, her mom used to punish her by saying that she was not allowed to eat dinner. If she was still angry in the morning, her mom would make her go to school without breakfast. There were many days when Tabitha would go without any food.
  14. Food as a possession. After a night out with friends, Tabitha brought home some of her leftover dinner. It was from an expensive restaurant that she spent weeks saving up her money, so she could go. The next morning, she discovered that her mom ate her food. When confronted, her mom’s attitude was what’s yours is mine. However, what was her mom’s was only her mom’s.

It’s not hard to see how Tabitha came to view food as a weapon of control from her mom. She used food to manipulate others, demand attention, dominate her family, and justify her selfishness. Now as a mom herself, Tabitha made a concerted effort not to repeat any of the unhealthy patterns of food preparation and consumption.

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...to grow with christinecom forward slash narcissism. That's grow with Christine dotcom forward slash narcissism. This master class will change your life again. That's grow with Christine Dot com forward slash narcissism. This is understanding today's narcissist, brought to you in part by Psych Centralcom and now here's your host, Christine Hammond. Today I want to talk about something that we don't generally talk about, but it should be talked about a little bit more, and I'm going to title this obsessed narcissist and their food. So it might not be something that you've come...

...across before or as soon as I say that you might be like, what is there something about this? I just thought they were just being odd or different or OCD about their food. You know, there really is something here to narcissist and their food. So we're going to talk about it a little bit more. I'm going to explain it through Tabitha. So it wasn't until Tabitha had a dinner at a friend's house, as it's a teenager, that she actually realized there was something odd about how her family handled food. At a friend's house there was food with the variety of healthy and even some unhealthy snacks. Her mom didn't have a lock on quote the special food, so no one else could have access to it but her. Their meal time was actually engaging and fun, with everyone participating in the conversation. There were no...

...snide remarks about eating too much or being forced to eat seconds. It was actually a really enjoyable experience for her. That's kind of when Tabitha was like, Huh, this is very different. But it wasn't until years later when Tabitha realized that her mom was narcissistic. Still she didn't make any connection between narcissism in food until she had her own family meals, and then it struck her. Her Mom's narcissism translated into this unhealthy obsession with food. This explains so much about Tabitha's own anxious journey with food, even to the extent that she had suffered from eating disorders as a as a teenager. The unhealthy food rules that she grew up with were an extension of her mother's controlling and manipulative behavior. Yes, this is a real thing. I have seen it and...

...more than one client. So I'm going to talk about the fourteen different ways that I have actually seen this. So take a tea breath and just less and starting with number one, the big one, food management. Tabitha is mom disliked fish, so she refused to serve it, even though everyone else in the family loved it. Her Mom's food likes and dislikes dominated the menu. If she didn't like something, then it wasn't to be served at all. This even included when somebody else would be making the meal in the House. So it wasn't just when she was making the meal, it was when anybody was making the meal or serving it. If she didn't like something, it wasn't to be served. That's number one, food management. Number two, food supremacy. Perhaps the oddest realization for Tabitha was that her mom expected...

...that she would always be served the best and or largest portion of the food. Even if she didn't eat all of it, she still demanded the best and largest whether she cooked the food or not. Her mom demanded that she had the first pick because she was to be held in this high regard and she used food as a way of demonstrating that she was above everyone else. That is food supremacy. Number three, food as power. One morning, Tabitha's Dad surprised the family by making a large pancake breakfast. TABITHA's mom took one look at the meal with disgust on her face. And started making herself eggs. When confronted, she said she didn't like being told what to eat. Understand that Tabitha's mom had eaten pancakes umpteen times before, but she doesn't...

...like the idea of somebody else telling her what she can and can't eat, and so she uses food as power. It's a power play for her. Number Four, food as entitlement. Even when Tabitha's family was a guest at somebody else's house, her mom would find something wrong with the food being served. She doesn't like the cheese and therefore she can eat the lasagnia meal. Then she would expect an additional meal to be prepared especially for her. When you start listening to this and you hear this, I just want you to remember these are all taken from true stories of people that I have worked with or that I have actually experienced myself. So that as food as entitlement, if they don't like something, even when they're at someone else's house, they demand special treatment. Number five, food as control. During family meals,...

Tabitha's mom would scold her for eating too much and then make fun of her for asking for seconds. But when company came over, her mother would demand that everyone have seconds, or else she wouldn't believe that they actually liked her food, and she would badger them until they actually took the seconds. It was a way of controlling what other people were doing. That is food is control. Number six, food and appearance. To make matters worse, tapith this mom would look at what she was a eating and actually make a comment like this, you're not going to eat that, are you? You know how easily you gain weight. She did this even when Tabitha was struggling with her eating disorder of Anorexia and was noticeably thin at the time. So tabitha's...

...mom actually did food and appearance, where she use that as just another mechanism for control and manipulation. Number seven, food arrogance. Growing Up, TABITHA'S DAD did a lot of the family cooking. One on one occasion, after he prepared the meal and it was ready to be served, her mom would take a phone call and actually hold up the entire when the family ate. One night, the whole family sat at the table for over an hour waiting for their mom, just staring at the food. So meal times were not a good time. They were times for Tabitha of when her mom demanded still to be the center of attention and held everybody else up so that she could...

...be at the table, even though by that time the food was very cold. That's food arrogance. Number Eight, food as a stage. Tabitha could not remember a family meal time that was not dominated by her mother talking about herself and her work. There were no questions about Tabitha's Day and if she did manage to time in, her mother would give her the death stare, then ignore her or talk on top of her and change the subject back to whatever it was that she wanted to talk about. So there was no good family conversation that went around as meal time. Food became a stage. Meal time was a stage from which her mother got to perform. Number Nine, food snobbery. There were only a handful of restaurants that Tabitha's mom would agree to. There was about four of em. Looking back, Tabitha realized that...

...these establishedments actually treated her like a queen, giving her the best place to sit in the restaurant every time she showed up. This explained her high tolerance for the average food that actually came at a very high price. So, even though the place was expensive, and the food wasn't that great, because the mother was treated like a queen. That was a place that they could go and they couldn't go to any other place or, for that matter, try out a new restaurant. Those things were unacceptable. Number ten food expectations. TABITHA'S MOM would openly complain if the food was not to her liking, whether was at her home, at a friend's house or even in public. Worse yet, she would then make fun of what she called food ignorance for their lack of adequate preparation. The irony of all of this was that our mom wasn't even a good cook, but she definitely had high expectations and demanded...

...that everybody else live up to her arbitrary standards that she herself couldn't even live up to. Number eleven food as a tennin when her mom did cook, she demanded excessive amounts of appreciation during the meal and after the meal. If she didn't get enough gratitude, then she would passively aggressively say you didn't like my cooking. I work so hard, how come you don't like it? You must not like me, and on and on it would go. That is using food as attention. She used it as a way to gain attention for herself. Number twelve food superiority. For a couple of years, Tabitha's mom became a vegetarian. During that time, no meal was allowed in the...

...house and everyone was expected to eat the way that she did. When they ordered a meal from a restaurant, she would talk about how they were supporting when they ordered meat from a restaurant, she would actually talk about how they were supporting the killing of animals. Now, our mom's vegetarianism didn't last very long, but when it did, she expected everybody else to fall in line with what her standards were and what it was and what she demanded. Number Thirteen, food as punishment. When Tabitha was little, her mom used to punish her by saying that she wasn't allowed to eat dinner. If she was still angry in the morning, her mom would make her go to school without any breakfast. There were many days when Tabitha would go without any food at all, which of course, contributed greatly to her eating disorder later on. That's food as punishment. Last but not least, food as a possession.

After a night out with friends, Tabitha brought home some of her leftover dinner. It was from an expensive restaurant that she had spent weeks saving up her money so she could go. The next morning she discovered that her mom eat her food. When confronted, her mom's attitude was what's yours is mine. However, what was her mom's was only her mom's, and if Tabitha were to eat any of her mother's leftover leftovers it, there would be severe consequences and punishment for it. That was food as a possession. So it's really not hard to see how Tabitha came to view food as a weapon of control from her mom and where her anxiety and eating disorder actually stem from. Her mom used food to manipulate others, to demand attention, to dominate her family...

...and to just has defy her own selfishness. Now, as a mom herself, Tabitha made a concerted effort not to repeat any of the unhealthy patterns of food preparation and consumption. took her a little bit of time to undo some of this, but she was able to undo it and her meal times are more like what she experienced at a friend's house. They are enjoyable and pleasurable times so, if this has been something that you have kind of wandered about and you were curious, like how does this relate? Look back in your own life and see when you were dealing with the narcissist if there was some weird food habits and behaviors, especially around meal time, and work really hard to get rid of that, because their rules are not necessarily the right rules for how you should see food. Thanks for listening to understanding. Today's narcissist...

...with Christine Hammond brought to you in part by Psych Central dotcom. For more information, visit grow with christinecom.

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