by Alfred Hoffmann, Ed.D.
Dr Hoffmann presents the reader with a successful case history addressing the possible relationship of present day anorexia nervosa (and possibly bulimia) when triggered by a subconscious past-life remembrance of a catastrophic previous life related happening. There are possible indicators that anorexia nervosa can be related to a phobic food aversion fear.
Decades ago very little was known of either the origin, the critical onset, or the psychological undergirdings of anorexia. It was thought to be an esoteric rarity mentioned in small print or in footnotes in the medical texts. The media has sometimes portrayed anorexia as only an adolescent fad, and at other times as a very mysterious killer.
The word “anorexia” means loss of appetite. However, loss of appetite is not central to anorexia nervosa. The most obvious characteristic seems to be an obsession with body weight. Putting on weight seems to be the evil. However, anorexia nervosa with a weight phobia can also indicate a psychiatric disorder with delusions of contaminated food.
The first detailed descriptions date from 1873 by an English medical doctor, Dr. William Withey Gull. A French contemporary, Dr. E. C. Lasegue, also published a paper the same year describing anorexia nervosa. It was Dr. Gull who coined the name anorexia nervosa and indicated that, although both men and women are susceptible to this condition, it manifests itself more frequently in women. Anorexia nervosa seemed to be a nest of interlocking puzzles.
Professor Russell of the Institute of Psychiatry, University of London, outlined in 1970 three essential features.
- Behavior leading to a marked loss of body weight. Often the subject resorts to additional devices to ensure loss of weight, self-induced vomiting, purgation, or excessive exercise.
- In women, an endocrine disorder which manifests itself clinically by cessation of menstruation.
- A morbid fear of becoming fat—the females may strive to remain abnormally thin.
QUESTION: Is it possible that anorexia nervosa is the body’s reaction to a marked aversion for food based on a previous life catastrophic experience?
Young woman, age 16, high school student, white and diagnosed to have anorexia nervosa with a heavy loss of weight. This girl was brought to the attention of the psychotherapist, a clinical psychologist, by the school authorities. During the interview it was established that she had a marked aversion to anything with eggs, egg salads, and noodle or pasta products. She felt she was overweight although seemingly underweight for her size. A previous life regression was suggested to which she agreed. In her case there were two previous lives involved. She proved to be both a good and adept subject for the modality of hypnosis.
In the first regression, this young woman was a 17 year old girl who lived in Indiana in the middle of the 1800’s. She was in a rural farming community in the southern part of the state of Indiana. Progressing her ahead in time, she was getting married with all the happiness and pageantry of the marriage ceremony. Shifting further ahead in time, the gold rush fever struck the husband and in 1849 the young couple and child started the western trek to the gold fields. They arrived there but within a short time the husband and the child died. The young widow was able to work her way back East by shipping around South America. This trip included a violent sea storm. Several years passed and the scene was again the farm setting. It was a farmer family get-together with food and dancing. The food was on long tables in the area in front of the home. She enjoyed herself immensely with the dancing and the food. However within a few days she sickened and died. Going through her death (without pain) she was able to recognize that she had died from food poisoning. She strongly felt that the poisoning was related to eggs and salads. She remembered that several others at the gathering also became sick.
Being separated from the body, she was able to view the body with its greatly bloated stomach. The psychotherapist then suggested that she bless the body because it had been a good body. But it was also suggested that she give back to the body everything which belonged to that body including the aversion to food and the pain associated with the death. Having accomplished this, she was asked if anyone had met her at the time of her death. She indicated that it was her grandmother who met her and took her by the hand to enter the bardo state.
The second lifetime: The second lifetime seemed to be a life in the early 1700’s in France. She was again a woman and came into the regressed time at about age 30. She had been married and had three children. The husband was a peasant farmer and they lived in the countryside near Rouen, France. Progressing this individual through her life, her children married, and she lost her husband when she was 64 years old. She then continued to live alone. Progressing her to the last weeks of her life, she did not feel very well. She had a heavy feeling in the stomach and there seemed to be something growing in her stomach. She had been taking some medicine, but to no avail. Progressing her to the last day of her life, she was lying in bed in fairly heavy pain. She noticed a heavy distention of the stomach. The pain got worse and she died in agony. Leaving her physical body, she was met by her husband who had died years previously.
Given her present day knowledge, she was now aware that she had died from what is presently called cancer but was described by her in that lifetime as “krepps.” The suggestion was given that she give back to her body lying there, everything related to the tumor and the pain. The life-lesson she felt she had learned in that lifetime was to be a good wife and helpmate to her husband. Hand in hand they together walked into the bardo.
She related a triggering incident in this present lifetime: When she was 14 years old, an aunt died and was laid out in the home parlor. It was a wake visitation. The young girl came down from upstairs and had to walk past the open coffin in the parlor. She noticed immediately a large protrusion of the aunt’s stomach. From the next room she could hear the wake revelry with all the eating, drinking, and boisterous loud talking. A revulsion occurred at that point: her stomach ached and she vomited. This was the beginning of the anorexic episodes.
The regression session occurred in 1984. Today this young woman seems to be hale and hearty, can eat practically any food and this includes eggs, egg salads, pasta, and rich foods. Her current weight is 144 pounds. By relating together the two previous lives and the triggering event at age 14, she has improved and is now enjoying a very happy married life which includes three children.
I close with a provocative question: Is it possible that the psychological approach to anorexia nervosa overlooks a very important component, namely food aversion? More pointedly, that perhaps sometimes the etiology of this food aversion can be found in past lives and a triggering event found in the present one? Past-life regression opens the vista and allows the lifetimes and the triggering event to be understood and released.