Can a toxic family environment cause someone to develop eating disorder symptoms? What can you do to truly find yourself? How can you change the way that you perceive yourself to unlock greater potential for your life? In this podcast episode, Dr. Cristina Castagnini speaks about how toxic family dynamics can contribute to ED and how to recover from it with Susan Gold.


Originally from Pennsylvania, Susan Gold brings her honest, no-nonsense approach to the table by way of New York City where she got her basic combat boot training at the top talent agency, ICM. She went on to form her own talent brokerage firm, Celebrity Talent, before it was chic providing celebrities, athletes, and entertainers for endorsements promotions, and events. Among her successes, there was convincing a semi-reclusive Andy Warhol to do a television spot that former ad agency exec, Donny Deutsch (CNBC) claims was one of his best. Visit Susan's personal and professional websites and connect on Instagram.


  • Growing up in a difficult household
  • Making a change in adulthood
  • A change in self-perception

Growing up in a difficult household

I grew up in a very chaotic household. I knew something was awry very early [on]. I was very intuitive, I was highly sensitive, very empathic. I could sense the emotions in the room as soon as I walked in and it was very difficult to live in a toxic family system. (Susan Gold)
Susan was self-soothing herself through food very early in her childhood to seek comfort, security, and some enjoyment in an otherwise terribly difficult and painful household. Her father was an alcoholic and her mother had an eating disorder and was addicted to speed tablets which were sold as diet pills.
It was a very unlevel playing field and I wanted out as soon as possible and I remember coming home … from my grandparents and they would always pack treats in the bag, and I secretly snuck in and got the bag of oreos and tore in … and could not stop. (Susan Gold)
Empaths are often in tune with the emotions around them and try to soak them up to make things better, however, it doesn’t work. After quite a lot of work, Susan was able to understand her family better and continued to love them even though she needed distance from them.

Making a change in adulthood

Susan got into a relationship with someone she later came to realize was a narcissist. She took her eating disorder and food addiction to a higher level and started physically training her body like an athlete while self-soothing with food. Her husband filed for a divorce, which came as a gift to her, as she could be released from this situation.
I was going to have to finally address the self-hatred and the anxiety and the codependence that I was layered in. My heart was almost blackened, so the experience of going through the divorce … that’s the billboard it took [for me] to really go deep, and really start to do the work. (Susan Gold)
She held a no-contact rule for one year with her ex, and after they signed the contract and the check, and then she began to rebuild herself.
Through that experience I really saw my own authentic purity, power, and beauty, and that’s when the self-love got real. I could no longer overeat and really say to myself, “This is the most loving thing?” I could no longer get up and go into the pool at 5:30am … on a cold morning … I started to treat myself with more gentleness. (Susan Gold)

A change in self-perception

Right after Susan’s marriage ended, she started to think differently about herself. Her real healing and change began at this point, and even though she was terrified to be alone and yearned for male attention, she prioritized her recovery.
This was the first time in my lifetime that I could authentically say, “You know what, I’m going to learn who I am and I’m going to learn to really care and nurture [myself] from within and not [the outside]. (Susan Gold)
Susan changed the way that she had seen herself and it allowed her to unlock a whole new part of her life to live and enjoy fully.



  I am a licensed Psychologist and Certified Eating Disorder Specialist. While I may have over 20 years of clinical experience, what I also have is the experience of having been a patient who had an eating disorder as well. One thing that I never had during all of my treatment was someone who could look me in the eye and honestly say to me "Hey, I've been there. I understand". Going through treatment for an eating disorder is one of the hardest and scariest things to do. I remember being asked to do things that scared me. Things I now know ultimately helped me to get better. But, at the time, I had serious doubts and fears about it. If even one of my providers had been able to tell me "I know it's scary, but I had to go through that part too. Here's what will probably happen...." then perhaps I would not have gone in and out of treatment so many times. My own experience ultimately led me to specialize in treating eating disorders. I wanted to be the therapist I never had; the one who "got it". I will be giving you my perspective and information as an expert and clinician who has been treating patients for over 2 decades. But don't just take my word for it...keep listening to hear the truly informative insights and knowledge guest experts have to share. I am so happy you are here!


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