Permitters find any kind of rules abhorrent. If they've ever lost weight on a diet, it was through wrenching, abject misery. They are suspicious of programs, guidelines, eating charts.
Permitters say, "I've gained fifty pounds in the last six months and I just can't understand what happened." Whereas a Restrictor operates with hypervigilance, with their antennae in constant motion like those of a sea anemone, Permitters prefer going through life in a daze. That way, they don't need to feel pain--theirs or anyone else's. If I'm not aware of it, there's nothing to fix. If I go through life asleep, I don't need to be concerned about the future because I won't be aware of it. If I give up trying, I won't be disappointed when I fail.
Like Restrictors, Permitters operate on the need to be safe in what they consider hostile or dangerous situations. But unlike Restrictors, who try to manage the chaos, Permitters merge with it. They see no point in trying to control the uncontrollable and have decided that it's best to be blurry and numb and join the party. Have a good time.
Geneen Roth has a Permitter friend, Sally, whom she calls her what-the-hell-friend. "No matter how I feel when I arrive at her house I soon find myself thinking, "Oh, what the hell. Might as well drink champagne from crystal goblets. Might as well paint my toenails gold. Might as well take a bath in the middle of the day in her giant tub with the mermaid spouts. What was I so caught up in before I got here, anyway?" Being with Sally feels like being on a binge without the food.
Although both Permitters and Restrictors believe that there is not enough to go around, that they won't get what they need, Restrictors react to the perceived lack by depriving themselves before they can be deprived; Permitters react by trying to store up before the bounty/love/attention runs out. They are the ones from whom the (distorted) stereotype of "fat and jolly" derive because they often appear as if they are having fun. They look like they are carefree, but only because they refuse to include anything that impinges on their protective orb of numbness. Their lives depend on denial in the same way that Restrictors' lives depend on deprivation--and when your very survival depends on sailing through life by eliminating the lower rungs of truth, it is no longer fun. Or jolly.
Nonetheless, since most of the culture does not delve beneath the world of appearances, it seems as if Permitters have more fun. For a Restrictor, being with a Permitter is like being let out of school for a snow day. It's like being with someone from another planet. When I go to Starbucks with a Permitter friend, I order a small chai tea with organic milk and no water. She orders the biggest possible Frappuccino--not the lite kind--with extra whipped cream. "But it's eleven in the morning," I say. She grins and says, "Life is short, honey, want some whipped cream?"
So are you a Restrictor or a Permitter. I had a weird realization when I read this information. I am a Restrictor when it comes to food but a Permitter when it comes to spending money. How about you?