Compulsive eating is a complicated psychological and biological problem. Food addiction can be a way of defending against unmet needs by displacing emotional hunger onto food. We discuss how infant experiences with eating and soothing can shape one’s relationship to food in adulthood. Two fairy tales tell of parents with insatiably devouring babies and illustrate the consequences of failure to develop affect regulation and how that can lead to various vulnerabilities to addiction.
Here’s the dream we discuss:
“My skin (not sure what body part) had green mold on it, like the intense green mold that grows on an orange. When I try to peel it off, I discover it is about a centimeter thick and that it comes away in spongy chunks leaving a very uneven skin surface—once again, like the contrast between peel, pith, and segments of an orange. I feel alarmed. I stop peeling worrying the whole structure will collapse.”
Thank you for a corrective experience with the fairy tale about the wooden baby. 🙂 When I heard it as a child, it scared the living daylights out of me. Czech fairy tales are often grimmer than Grimm – cautionary for kids who take them literally, and rich for psychologically-aware adults who approach them symbolically. Thanks for a great analysis of the story. If you liked this fairy tale, you would probably also enjoy a collection of dark Czech tales called Kytice, which has come out in English thanks to Susan Reynolds’ brilliant translation.