|What is Confirmed Negativity
Confirmed Negativity Condition (C.N.C.) is a term coined by
Peggy Claude-Pierre in her book The Secret Language of
Eating Disorders. It is used to define the thought processes
of those with eating disorders and other psychological conditions.
Claude-Pierre believes that, although a person can have C.N.C.
without an eating disorder, all eating disorder sufferers
must have C.N.C. According to Claude-Pierre, there are many
self-negating manifestations of C.N.C. and these can include
depression, agoraphobia, panic attacks, obsessive compulsive
disorder, or somatic disorders. An eating disorder is one
such manifestation, albeit one of greater concern because
of high mortality rates associated with eating disorders.
Civil wars in the mind
Sufferers of C.N.C. feel a sense of self-loathing and unworthiness.
They have a negative "voice" inside their head who’s
sole purpose is to destroy them. With a person who has an
eating disorder, the "voice" will often concentrate
on their main weakness of food. For example, it might say
"You’re fat, you don’t deserve to eat", "You’ll
never get better, you’ll only get worse", or "You
deserve to die, therefore you don’t deserve to eat."
Claude-Pierre describes this constant battle as being like
a civil war in the person’s mind. The "voice" or
Negative Mind is totally powerful when the eating disorder
symptoms are present. However, the "voice" is louder
for some than it is for others. For some people, it is loud
and constant, whereas for others it may be like a whisper
or a number of whispers that are hard to distinguish.
inside your head
As the C.N.C. develops, the sufferer will start bargaining
with their Negative Mind for small favors. The compromise
always works out better for the Negative Mind, further tipping
the balance of power towards its vicious voice. Some examples
of possible bargains include: "If I eat this fruit, I
promise to run for five miles tonight", or "If I
can eat some food now, I won’t have dinner tonight."
Claude-Pierre describes the Actual Mind as being the individual’s
normal self. However, as time goes on, the Negative Mind gradually
dominates more and more. The Actual Mind is still present,
even in those with severe C.N.C., but is completely controlled
by the Negative Mind.
||The bargaining that goes on between the Actual Mind and the
Negative Mind gradually pushes the Actual Mind to one side
and lets the Negative Mind take over. This is because the
bargains are always heavily in the Negative Mind’s favor;
in a sense, it is being fed, often on a daily basis.
Feelings of unworthiness
Sufferers of C.N.C. feel guilty about not being perfect, that
they are not worthy of anybody’s attention and that they are
to blame for things that are clearly beyond their control.
Inevitably, this leads to a sense of failure and reinforces
the Negative Mind’s opinion that they are useless and unworthy.
Many sufferers feel they are so unworthy to the point that
they refuse to eat in front of other people for fear of being
in the way.
C.N.C. sufferers will often punish themselves for going back
on a bargain with their Negative Mind or for things that they
perceive as being their fault, even if in reality they are
not. Punishments usually take the form of denying themselves
pleasure and happiness. Food is the obvious example (after
all, we all need food to survive) but the Negative Mind is
also often telling the sufferer that they deserve to die.
Punishment may also include self-injury. The sufferer will cut,
scratch, pinch, hit, burn or slap themselves in order to repent
for "breaking the rules" in some way. Even if the
individual is not self-injuring in that regard, it is likely
they are using starvation, binging and/or purging as indirect
methods of punishment.
The Secret Language of Eating Disorders
Peggy Claude-Pierre’s book The Secret Language of Eating
Disorders is controversial but highly recommended. It is
particularly useful for those who do not suffer from an eating
disorder, such as a friend or loved one, as it gives a good
insight into the negative mindset associated with anorexia,
bulimia and binge-eating disorder/compulsive overeating. The
information here has been provided because C.N.C. is an important
concept that should not be ignored. It is not something that
a doctor will diagnose, but it is clearly something that links
all eating disorder sufferers. Awareness should be increased
to help improve the public’s understanding of eating disorders.
Pale Reflections is in no way affiliated with Peggy Claude-Pierre
or Crown Publishing. Information is provided as a courtesy
to our visitors and members.