A Story of the Indulger and Foggy Patterns

Jay Earley, PhD and Bonnie Weiss, LCSW

This is the story of someone who had both the Indulger and Foggy Patterns. It shows how they interact with a number of her other patterns as well.

Jennifer was always committed to working on herself. She has been in therapy on and off since she was a teenager, focusing on family issues and conflicts around food.  Now in her 40’s, she says she is generally satisfied with her weight and a reasonably healthy life style.

Even so, she is bothered by an Indulger Part that occasionally engages in secret binge eating. “I just zone out and find myself eating things I don’t want to. It’s maddening.” The zoning out comes from her Foggy Pattern.

She is also concerned with her chronic inability to do productive work on herself to make the changes that she wants. She says, “I always start out with the best intentions, with some new tool, a diet, a book, a new way of exploring my issues, and then I get lost, distracted, and can’t even remember what I was planning to do for myself. It is so frustrating. It’s like I go into a fog and completely lose track of myself.”

Her husband travels a great deal for business. “When he is away, I can live my life and be more attentive to my own needs. When he comes home, I am, of course, excited to see him, and for a few days I am fine. Then I start focusing too much on him, and I lose contact with myself. My mind gets cloudy and I begin my secret eating.” This is a collusion between her Caretaking, Foggy, and Indulger Patterns. She continues, “Then when he leaves, I am lonely and I binge eat for a few days until I re-establish my own balance. Then I am OK again.” This is her Dependent and Indulger Patterns.

When she explored this set of patterns further, she said, “I guess it is also the same with friends. They expect me to take care of them, to be generous and soothing and available any time. And I am. But when that happens, I lose sight of my self and self-care goes out the window. I get foggy and I give away time that I was going to take for myself. I agree to go out to eat in places that are not good for me. I stay on the phone too long, and find myself eating things I shouldn’t while I listen.  It’s like I get lost. I can’t remember who I am or what I am trying to do.” This is again her Foggy Pattern in service of her Caretaking Pattern.

The other thing she is uncomfortable about is her friends teasing her about her food conflicts. She wonders. “How did this happen? I try to be so kind to them and they feel free to tease me about my constant conflicts about whether I can allow myself a cookie. I know it sounds funny, but I do get hurt. And when I think I should say something to them, I chicken out or forget about it.”

This is her Foggy Pattern in service of her Conflict-Avoiding Pattern.

For more information about The Pattern System(TM) please visit http://patternsystem.com

We are currently seeking testers for a new web application, Self-Therapy Journey, where people can get help in transforming psychological problems. It is like an interactive self-help book, based on the Pattern System and IFS. It should be ready by fall 2013.  For more information please visit: Overeating, Foggy Testers Needed for Self-Therapy Journey