Our expert says:
Hello ln ! Lovely to hear from you again, and to ehar your weight-loss program is going well. I may need to ask for some tips, soon !
I don't dislike self-help books at all --- some o them are excellent. These are generally written by recognizable experts with genuine knowledge. Some are empty gimmicks. Some of what even these say may be true --- but so are the slogans in greetings cards --- truth alone doesn't make them useful.
As I often say abou dreams, especially bad dreams, we tend to dream more than we realize, and to remember only those that wake us up, or which occur just before we wake up anyway. And without dreams having special, arcane meanings, where they have real meanings, these are usually pretty obvious --- as when you, under stress, dream of unhappy times in the past. In the days when I did a lot of medico-legal work, I'd dream of being cross-examined !
In the sitation you describe, it's important to face the fact that while you both feel the need for protection and deserve protection --- being fat doesn't really protect against much, unless you literally bounce when you fall over. So you need to find, as CBT would seek, better ways of being genuinely secure, discarding the technique of maintaining fat, because it does not provide genuine security, merely simulates it.
And there's some evidence that one can influence the conent of dreams, so if and when such nightmares recur, grumpily tell yourself "Nonsense ! Fat isn't security ! Slim will be much more secure " and go back to sleep. Self talk of this sort is healthy and useful ( so long as you actually hear what you ae saying ! )
I don' see why the nightmares need to get any more severe. They have already placed that issue on the agenda, and thus are not really needed any more. Interesting about the trio in your family. I suspect more broadly that unhappy kids, whatever the reason for being unhappy, quite often turn to comfort food. I am surely fat, but was not abused.
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