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joej1

Perfectionism And Sensitivity To Criticism

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Has anybody ever wondered why there seems to be more women on this forum than men? I have been doing a lot of mental/emotional work lately and one of the big causes of food intolerances are a sensitivity to criticism. I am not saying that gluten intolerance is not a genetic thing because i believe that it is. But i am also willing to bet that most people on here have had issues with stress in their lives including anxiety and a need to be perfect in other peoples eyes as well as their own. By having these beliefs you cause a lot of fear and stress in the system which exacerbates these types of intolerances. By working on these issues we can take a lot of stress off of the immune system. I would be curious who on the board would be willing to admit to having perfectionistic tendencies and a need for approval and/or low self-esteem?

Just figured i would change up the pace a bit.

-Joe

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Hmm. A couple of thoughts.

I never strove to be perfect etc BUT when I started getting symptoms of Celiac, I developed crushing anxiety and almost suicidal depression. Perhaps the anxiety is a manifestation of Celiac. My symptoms were primarily neurological.

I expect that many men may not come to internet "chat rooms" to get health advice, whereas women tend to be more "communal" and maybe feel more comfortable approaching strangers with their health concerns.

My stress levels are WAY down and I am still not able to eat gluten without getting very, very sick (as proven to me when I licked a knife used to spread almond butter on my husband's bagel and was sick for weeks). That being said, stress is said to be a trigger for Celiac (I was 41 when diagnosed and never sick before Feb 2010 when I suffered a huge emotional stress) so who knows. However, if someone is stressed and doesn't have the right genes (which we know are not even entirely known, but let's assume they are), they are not going to get celiac.

Just my humble $0.02 (CDN)

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I'm not even sure I actually have celiac disease yet. This is my tenth day without gluten. I can definitely say I have a serious issue with being hard on myself. I was a straight a student when I was younger. I hate for people I knew then or the people I actually graduated with (I went to a boarding school for Arkansas' best and brightest) to know that I dropped out of college and am working as a waitress. It embarrasses me that I'm not the doctor I was supposed to be before I failed to get myself out of bed in the morning for class.

I can't bring myself to do anything halfway. My house is dirty because if I can't get it perfect. If I try to break it up in smaller areas, I wind up hours later with a 100% spotless 4x4 square and a worthless feeling that I didn't accomplish more.

I spend slow times at work scraping carbon buildup off egg pans, which I barely set down until they look brand new. I've even caught myself working off the clock because I didn't finish one.

I just can't force myself out of the mindset that if I can't make it perfect, there's no point in trying.

I don't know if this.is what you're talking about or if I'm just crazy. I've suspected ocd for years, but the doctors have never said it.

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Well, number one, women do tend to talk about things more, both physical and emotional, than men, so you would expect to find more women. And I do think they tend to be more in touch with what is going on in their bodies than men :rolleyes: That being said, let's address your question.

Sensitivity to criticism as one of the big causes of food intolerances.

Based on your first premise of more women than men (does this imply you believe that more women than men have food intolerances, by the way? - if so, then the following is a logcal assumption): men are doing the criticising and women are being criticised :P Now, if this is true, then women would have more stress than men and yes, we know that stress can bring on gluten intolerance in those with the predisposition to it.. So what we have to do is get men to stop criticising women :blink: - okay, just being facetious here. Does this criticism lead to women striving to be perfectionists to obtain approval from men, and mean that their self-esteem arises from male approval?

I personally am a very competitive person when motivated, but not a perfectionist. I was totally happy to bum my way through high school at the bottom of my A-stream class, flunking math and chemistry because I hated them, and not making much effort in other classes because I was not used to having to make an effort in school. Never did homework unless a project had to be handed in and then I did it the night before, pulling an all-nighter. So this doesn't sound like competitive does it? However, put this same personal as an adult in community and state college and nothing less than an A was acceptable, highly competitive. Put this now competent person married to someone who expects perfection and what happens? Competence and motivation are deserted because I do things for myself, not for someone else. Perversity sets in... and things remain undone just because. I told him I am not perfect and have no intention of trying to be so. So I am certainly not a perfectionist and I don't stress about it either. And I don't listen to the criticism, and he has given up on it. And I do more now :D when I feel like it.

No, the stresses that caused my disease to activate were a head-on automobile accident, a serious mycoplasma infection, a six-month course of antibiotics with c.diff. infection and SIBO as a result, take your pick, one or all of the above.

So no, I don't buy your theory. The only person's approval I have sought is my own (after I gave up very young as a child trying to gain my mother's) - if I can live with it, that's all that counts. Certainly I have tried to please bosses on jobs, but that too was for own feelings of competence, not for a stamp of approval for perfection. I have never suffered anxiety (except for one month when I had no money and had to choose whether to eat or smoke - yes, I smoked :unsure: until I got my paycheck. )

Now don't get me wrong, I used to have very low self-esteem, but I discarded that at 17 when I left home. So I don't think sensitivity to criticism led to my food intolerances.

I suppose this is a very self-revealing post, but a useful exercise :)

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Has anybody ever wondered why there seems to be more women on this forum than men? I have been doing a lot of mental/emotional work lately and one of the big causes of food intolerances are a sensitivity to criticism

Wow. Do you have any research or studies to back this up? I'd be really interested in seeing this. As to why there are more women active on the boards, I think that there are a couple factors in play: 1) Men are in general less likely to reach out for a support group and just try to 'tough it out'. Studies are starting to show some evidence that the neurological and psychological issues with celiac disease may be at least as prevalent as the classic 'GI' issues, if not more so. So for what may present itself as a variety of psych/emotional issues lumped together with other miscellaneous symptoms, I think it makes quite a bit of (unfortunate) sense that the gender distribution is skewed; 2) I don't have any data to back this up. I've looked, but can't find anything anywhere. Anecdotally it seems like of the several men I personally know with celiac disease, the distribution of GI vs. Psychological/CNS/Neuro issues is skewed more toward the Psych side. It wasn't until shortly before my diagnosis that I started experiencing any debilitating GI issues at all.

I am not saying that gluten intolerance is not a genetic thing because i believe that it is. But i am also willing to bet that most people on here have had issues with stress in their lives including anxiety and a need to be perfect in other peoples eyes as well as their own.

Have you considered that for those suffering from continual feelings (physical) of not being well such as continual discomfort ranging from slightly not good to low grade nausea - that these might in themselves induce such stress? If I look at the effect(s) of my wife removing all the foods that showed up on an IgG/IgE test, I'd have to say in one specific case at least, based on your theory I can demonstrate a negative causation effect. Removing those foods produced a dramatic reduction in stress and a significant improvement in mental and emotional well-being. I don't want to generalize from one specific case, though I'd be interested in some comments from other posters as to their overall stress level and emotional health AFTER removing not just gluten but other foods that produce a negative physical response.

By having these beliefs you cause a lot of fear and stress in the system which exacerbates these types of intolerances. By working on these issues we can take a lot of stress off of the immune system.

I'm not going to argue that there is a proven causal and recursive linkage between the soul (mind/will/emotions)/physical/spiritual showing that mental state influences physical health and vice-versa. That said, I think that you are ignoring the reverse portion of that connection. If you have a recursive linkage in a closed system (i.e. a vicious cycle/feedback loop), such as where brain chemistry can be altered by what you eat, simply dealing with the emotional or stress issues is neither practical nor useful. You have to deal with and treat the entire system as an entity.

That said, having been undergoing treatment for adrenal fatigue (hypoadrenia) for the last 18 months I can attest that my ability to recover mental stability after ingesting soy or gluten has improved dramatically. Which is understandable once you begin to understand the role the various hormones play in both mental and physical health. Both soy and gluten trigger for me psychological and physical responses including panic attacks, depression, and insomnia.

I would be curious who on the board would be willing to admit to having perfectionistic tendencies and a need for approval and/or low self-esteem?

Just figured i would change up the pace a bit.

Well that is a self-selecting filter I think. You're going to get mostly responses which fit your critera and leaving out those that don't. Hopefully you aren't planning to use this as a statistically valid survey response! :lol: On that note, yes I tend to have perfectionist tendencies, and a need for approval and can have low self esteem at times. But I think that virtually everyone has a need for approval. Isn't that one of the fundamental emotional characteristics of our makeup? I also think that at some point, or in some areas of their lives, every person has had or will have low self-esteem in at least one aspect. Self-esteem is a wide blanket cast and is much more than just how good you feel about yourself.

* Edited to fix a very confusing miswording in the 2nd paragraph - my perfectionist tendencies showing up! :lol: :lol: *

Edited by Korwyn

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Hey all,

I'm glad this turned into an interesting topic. I will clarify a few things. I am definitely not saying that everyone on here has these sort of tendencies/false beliefs that cause gluten intolerance. I think there is a ton of factors at play and everyone is different. I do think though, there is an emotional side to everything. Have you guys heard of a book called "Deadly Emotions"? When people have false beliefs or unrealistically high expectations of themselves and feel like they need approval and be accepted by everyone this puts an ENORMOUS strain on the adrenals/immune system. We can all agree on that right? So in my case for instance, I have had those beliefs since childhood but i also drank heavily for 5 years, overtrained in the gym, picked up an H. pylori infection, etc. So for me, all of these things played a role. Obviously people with the genetics for gluten-intolerance need to be off of gluten. Period. But for me, there is a big emotional component too that needed to be addressed. Korwyn, i definitely appreciate that it does go both ways. If i am having a good day and eat things that agree with me i will generally be a lot more with it and less anxious. However, that doesn't change my beliefs it just makes the rest of my body stronger. I am saying if some of us can get rid of these false beliefs, work on not having to be perfect, living our OWN life, etc, that the social anxiety and other stuff like that will not be as bad, and thus, take stress off of our systems. A lot of people have repressed or stuffed emotions that can be damaging as well. If we don't express what we feel than those feelings sit in there. I wonder how many people on here have a hard time expressing themselves. If anybody knows anything about chakras the throat chakra deals with expression and speaking your own truth and it deals with the thyroid. I am kind of ranting at this point, but in my case, i feel like i have taken care of the physical side of things. My body is healing from the gluten damage but in order to facilitate healing and really speed things up I am going to look into this mind/body connection. It is more powerful than a lot of us give it credit.

-Joe

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When people have false beliefs or unrealistically high expectations of themselves and feel like they need approval and be accepted by everyone this puts an ENORMOUS strain on the adrenals/immune system. We can all agree on that right?

While this is correct, this is a logically fallacious argument in that there is no definition for 'false beliefs' or 'unrealistically high expectations'. By asking "'We can all agree on that right?'", without providing context you set up an emotional vs. rational cognitive conflict for the readers. Emotionally everyone wants to say, 'Yes, I agree with that!', yet rationally they are aware that you haven't provided boundaries for the question. This creates a feeling of guilt in the reader, placing them in the emotional position of feeling compelled to agree with you. It is a common way in debate of manipulating the other side into a lose-lose argument, because, except in very rare settings, the audience will ALWAYS decide/vote/conclude emotionally.

Korwyn, i definitely appreciate that it does go both ways. If i am having a good day and eat things that agree with me i will generally be a lot more with it and less anxious. However, that doesn't change my beliefs it just makes the rest of my body stronger. I am saying if some of us can get rid of these false beliefs, work on not having to be perfect, living our OWN life, etc, that the social anxiety and other stuff like that will not be as bad, and thus, take stress off of our systems.

Now this I mostly agree with you, though once again you use a general blanket emotionally charged phrase of 'false beliefs'. But I especially agree with the 'living our OWN life'. It frustrates me to see someone falsely living in such a way that the place their health or wellbeing beneath another persons comfort. This does not say that we should not engage in self-sacrifice or never value another's worth. But (for example) if I place my family members comfort in having gluten or soy food in my house, placing myself at risk, how does that benefit either them or me? The phrase I prefer is enlightened self-interest. I choose to work to what I believe are the best interests of society, my nation, my neighborhood, my family, etc, because it is ultimately in my best interest. (I also happen to believe it is morally and spiritually right, but that is another discussion entirely! :rolleyes:)

A lot of people have repressed or stuffed emotions that can be damaging as well. If we don't express what we feel than those feelings sit in there. I wonder how many people on here have a hard time expressing themselves. If anybody knows anything about chakras the throat chakra deals with expression and speaking your own truth and it deals with the thyroid. I am kind of ranting at this point, but in my case, i feel like i have taken care of the physical side of things. My body is healing from the gluten damage but in order to facilitate healing and really speed things up I am going to look into this mind/body connection. It is more powerful than a lot of us give it credit.

I agree with the principle you put forth here, that the mind/spirit/body connection is very overlooked in the healing context and rarely addressed, though I'm pretty sure our approaches to dealing with it differ significantly. Both psychology and physiology have amply demonstrated that repressed emotions are damaging physically. Given the role that adrenal function plays at all levels of the body and mind, the added continual subconscious stress can cause physical deterioration and negate or slow the physical healing process.

I'm glad you are tackling this issue as too many people never come to this realization. Unfortunately it is one of those things that you can show people, but because our western mindset is so focused on the material/temporal realm, people have to arrive at this realization internally themselves. It can't easily be taught.

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I think you may be looking at this the wrong way around. Gluten intolerance and celiac disease are both proven to cause neurological symptoms in many people - including things like anxiety and depression. It's not that people have neurological and emotional issues that make them sensitive to gluten, it's that their gluten issues cause neurological and emotional symptoms. When I eat gluten, I become EXTREMELY irritable and emotional. Things that normally would not set me off make me crazy. I sometimes find myself yelling at people or crying for no (or little) reason, and I can get horribly depressed - again, for no real reason. I also get migraines and nausea, though I'm generally free from other symptoms. When I don't have gluten, all of this goes away and I become a much happier and better-adjusted person. I was a bit on the perfectionist/high anxiety side as a child, but I can't say that I've been that way in the last 15-20 years. I will admit to being sensitive to criticism - though that, too, is much improved on a gluten free diet, and I don't think I'm any more sensitive than average at this point.

I have read some theories that people who are sensitive to gluten are more likely to be sensitive to their environment in ways that the average person is not, i.e. bothered by smells, loud noises, bright lights, etc. The idea is that we just have a more sensitive system overall - not just in the gut - and I suppose this could include emotional and other psychological sensitivities. Of course, we could also be sensitive to those things because we feel lousy - it's hard to enjoy a rock concert with a migraine, after all. From what I've read and experienced, most gluten-sensitive people find that their neurological and emotional symptoms improve or go away entirely once the diet is changed. This makes me think that it's more likely for the gluten sensitivity to cause emotional issues than the other way around.

It's different for everyone, and stress is often implicated as a trigger for celiac, so you never know. In my case, I think it was physical stress that brought it on. I do think you're totally right that there is much more to the mind/body connection than we know about, and it's worth exploring if you think it can help you.

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When people have false beliefs or unrealistically high expectations of themselves and feel like they need approval and be accepted by everyone this puts an ENORMOUS strain on the adrenals/immune system.

This sentence makes no sense to me. Beliefs are neither true nor false, they are simply what you believe, and unrealistically high? My expectations for myself are always amazingly high, and if I don't achieve them I attribute that to being insufficiently prepared, not to any lack in myself.

My interpretation of what you are saying is that a person with low self esteem, who blames things on circumstances (false beliefs), or personal inadequacies (unrealistically high expectations) has more issues in life. Maybe, or maybe they are just finding one more circumstance to blame things on.

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I was an extreme persfectionist in my younger years. I was a competitive figure skater and I was judged EVERY day, EVERY practice.

When I was 28 I had memingitis. 1 in 10 cases is fatal. Recovery from reccuring headaches last 1 to 3 years after the infection is healed. You have to deal with how the damage has left your body and mind.

That is when my attitude changed and I don't care to be perfect, just glad for the oppurtunity to screw up and live another day. Cuz sometimes you just realize maybe it is the BONUS round.

Then Celiac symptoms hit when I was 31. So nope, doesn't really fit at all.

Interesting theory. Something else to chit chat about. Sounds like POTS diagnoses theory might be something you might be interested in studying.

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ok, you guys are right. There is no such thing as "false beliefs." However, certain beliefs can be very damaging to our systems. Just to clarify, this was not a thread to call anybody out or to argue i was just curious about which people had identified these kind of issues in themselves. I just think that with all these posts on how to heal physically, there is almost no talk about the emotional side or mental side of all this.

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In Canada for every 3 women diagnosed with celiac disease only 1 man is.

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I think I get what you're trying to say, joe. If I read you right, that perfectionsim and low self esteem, stress, etc. will lead to generally worse health, celiac or not. I think that's generally agreed upon. Whether there's a connection to stress and the degree celiac symptoms, i.e. can stress make the symptoms worse/more intense, is an interesting thought. My symptoms were triggered by my parents spliting up, followed very shortly by swine flu.

I am a perfectionist, and have struggled with self esteem issues. And losing a bunch of weight, not being back to a healthy weight yet, definitely did not help. But I have learned through this that I kind of have to say "Heck with it, I'm moving on," rather than wait for this situation or that situation to improve.

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Yea Goof, that is basically what i'm saying. There is a big relationship to anxiety/fear/stress and digestive disorders. One theory i have that implements both sides of this is that it's almost a negative feedback loop. The gluten in part causes a lot of the anxiety/stress/neurological symptoms that most of us missed for years. This in turn, leads to a screwy digestive system. I don't think it was any one way for everybody. We are all unique. I haven't done much research but i know that in a lot of countries celiac/gluten intolerance is WAY less common. Bottom line, I think that gluten intolerance is genetic but that the way we live in America, the lifestyle, the stress, the high expectations is bringing it out more and more. I have also heard that most of the wheat we eat here is genetically modified and not anywhere near how regular wheat is supposed to be. I have heard of "gluten-intolerance" people who go to Europe and can eat their bread relatively symptom free. We are stress-freaks in America

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We also eat a lot more wheat here, and exercise less (car culture) and eat more processed food, etc. You can't isolate one thing from the others and speculate that this one thing is responsible for the issues.

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I'm talking about people who are already gluten intolerant. Their bread wheat itself is different. And no, you cant isolate one thing from the other because it is a combined effect. All of those things you are mentioning are stresses on the body. Lack of exercise, nutrition, sun, processed food, all stress.

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The original post if nearly word for word of a disorder called P.O.T.S. and it is highly noted that the patient is predominately a perfectionist female.

Gluten is the known trigger for DH, Celiac and gluten intolerance, not stress.

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