In the last post I talked about how when an eating disorder develops, girls and women may lose or replace their relationships with people with a relationship with food. One way to refer to this is they put their relationship with the eating disorder (ED) before everyone and everything else.
I also discussed how we often get into relationships without much thought or evaluation. This occurs in human relationships and I believe it happens with girls and ED all the time.
When a girl or young woman first starts to engage in disordered eating behavior, usually it’s experimental. Who sets out with the thought, “I think I’ll develop an eating disorder. Yes, that sounds like a good idea.” Ridiculous.
The process is gradual and often a girl won’t even know how it happened. She’s just there, doesn’t know how to get back to health and isn’t even sure she wants to.
I always say it’s like she crossed an invisible line she didn’t know was there and now that she’s crossed it she doesn’t know how to get back over to the other side. So what does this have to do relationship?
She has entered into a relationship without really knowing who ED is and what he really has to offer her. She thinks she knows him and what he will do for her.
She certainly has heard enough promises from him; like, “I’ll help you lose weight and then you’ll be popular.” Things like that. But when she first gets into the relationship, all that remains to be seen. She is trusting ED will help her get what she wants.
Do you see where I’m going here? Once she’s in, she’s in and it is very difficult to get that objectivity back so she can ask good questions about the relationship. My guess is many of you have been in a human relationship like this and can relate.
All those red flags we miss and wish we’d paid attention to; but now we’ve put so much time and energy into this person it is very difficult to end it. Can I really live without this person? I like this…but I don’t like this…so what do I do?
I think when you get too far into the ED those questions become almost impossible to ask and answer. Not totally impossible, but so much more difficult.
All this is coming from my recent study of ambivalence and how I believe this is a key to taking tiny steps away from ED. One way we deal with ambivalence in other areas of our life is to evaluate, look at pros and cons, ask questions, etc. We talk about both sides of the issue.
So I’m giving you questions to ask and explore if you are interested in evaluating any ambivalence you may feel about ED. I truly believe that in the deepest part of every sufferer of anorexia and bulimia, there is a seed of hope and desire to have a life without ED.
I don’t care how small it is, it is there. You may disagree and that’s okay.
I encourage you to engage with that tiny place inside and ask these questions. Just in case you missed the last post, here is the first question.
How confused are you about your feelings for ED?
The question for this post is:
How much did you think about or worry losing your independence by being involved with ED?
Again, I think it would be helpful to write about these questions in a journal and talk about them with someone you trust. They are important questions for you to explore whether you are in a difficult human relationship or with an eating disorder.
Comments welcome as always : )
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.