Rebellion in the adolescence age shows a dependence for adult supervision, and “it can cause [teenagers] to engage in self-defeating and self-destructive behavior.” When describing her childhood she states, “My parents made a decision early in their life: it was better to be too strict than too and strict they were. Despite the goodness and purity of their motives, however, even now they admit in retrospect that they were over protective.” Cherry grew up in an environment that restricted her ability to make her own decisions, and created a dependence on her parents to make them for her.
“Although the young person thinks rebellion is an act of independence, it actually never is. It is really an act of dependency.” Cherry’s eating habits were her form of rebellious activity, and she perceived having control of her daily caloric intake as independence. The eating disorder allowed her to maintain a dependency on others to control her into her adult life. In the chapter titled, death diet, she validates this theory. “Daddy had always been a strict disciplinarian, tightening the reins of control at the slightest hint of rebellion. In recent months Dan had developed the same approach... Dan had unknowingly revived an old script that inspired me to play the role of a rebellious child. But even though I resented both my father and my husband, subconsciously I relied on them to protect me from myself.”
Her dependence on others stemmed from her obsession to win approval from adults. The success of her parents was expected from Cherry and instilled perfection as a requirement for herself at an early age. At age four she believed, “I had already become sensitive to the slightest hint that perhaps I wasn’t measuring up to be in order to deserve love, acceptance, and praise.” Her need to be perfect led to an unhealthy obsession with her weight and obsessive habits to achieve her ideal weight. Cherry was obsessed with her calorie intake and the calories she burned via her scheduled exercise. “In the cases of both anorexia and bulimia, obsessions lead to levels of anxiety that can only be reduced by ritualistic compulsions,” and these compulsions controlled Cherry’s life. Cherry Boone O’Neill created a schedule she compared to that of an olympian in training and complained, “Any disturbance of my painstakingly structured personal agenda was like yanking on a tightly held security blanket. I regarded phone calls from my friends as unforgivable interruptions.” Cherry’s stress level in correlation with the meticulous schedule was a sign that went unnoticed of her obsessive compulsive disorder. The compulsive