One of the things that seems clear to me is when a girl or woman develops an eating disorder, to an extent she replaces her relationship to people with a relationship with food. This concept of calling ED a relationship and separating the eating disorder from self was developed by Thom Ruttledge.
How does she replace food with people? Her thoughts become consumed by food, weight, calories; her emotions with anxiety, fear, and loneliness. She can’t go to sleepovers because they may have food she can’t eat. She won’t go hang with friends as much in case they end up at a fast food place.
These are just a couple of simple examples to give you an idea of what this can look like. What I want you to understand and consider is the relational aspect of an eating disorder.
You know how sometimes we get into relationships (with people) and jump in feet first without much evaluation? I know I have…what a mess and what an emotional mess to clean up afterward!
I think this happens with the eating disorder relationship too. But let’s stick with the human kind for a moment.
The reality is when we start courting, we really don’t know much about the other person. I have found over the years there were red flags I missed and “should” have paid attention to. But I truly didn’t know the person I was dating. That’s the whole point right, to get to know someone?
In the process of getting to know someone we decide if this person is a good fit for us; in friendship, dating and marriage. Then we go from there. If it’s a good fit we continue the relationship. If it isn’t, we end it. Ideally right?
Just like in your human relationships I want to invite you to begin to evaluate your relationship with ED. Most likely you just jumped in, fell in, don’t know you got in, whatever, but maybe you haven’t spent much time asking the question, “Do I want to be in a relationship with ED?” or “Do I want to continue this relationship with ED?”
I mean if you had a “do over”, would you jump in with ED? If a friend came to you and asked, “Should I start starving myself or purging? Has it worked well for you?” “Are things better for you now than before?”
What would you say to her? Let’s look objectively at this. You really didn’t know ED when you got involved with him. You didn’t know what he would do or wouldn’t do for you. Sometimes we get into relationships we don’t know how to get out of.
In the next several posts I am going to ask you some questions to help you evaluate your relationship with ED. I think it will be a good exercise to spend some time answering these questions and writing about them.
Here is the first question:
How confused are you about your feelings for ED?
Also answer and write about the questions I asked in today’s blog. Include the question, “How do you replace food with people?”
Your comments are welcome as always : )
If you are a parent, everything I write here is to educate you and to give you some things you can share with your son or daughter if you feel it is appropriate.
To learn more about eating disorders go to http://www.why-my-daughter.com and download my free e-book Eating Disorder Basics for Parents.