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I’ve been making an assumption that if you have an eating disorder you experience ambivalence (read last 4 posts).  As you know I have been researching this and I thought this might interest you as it does me.

I just read a study that asserts there are people who only feel ambivalence because someone they care about disagrees with them.  So let’s look generally at ambivalence (not focus on ED).  Frenk van Harreveld, 2008

For example you want to take a class at your local college.  As long as the people you care about agree that this is a positive thing, you will feel no ambivalence.  It is when someone you love disagrees that the ambivalence rises up.

What does that say about ambivalence with an eating disorder?  Am I wrong in saying that every person with an ED is ambivalent about whether or not they want to get better?

That ambivalence only occurs when people you love disagree with your eating disordered behavior?  What if everyone agreed with your ED behavior?  Would you feel ambivalent?  Or would you be grateful because you can now engage in ED behavior without interference; thus not ambivalent at all?

I have no answer to this…but would love your thoughts on it.  It is something to ponder.


All that said, here is your last question as you evaluate your relationship with ED.  I am including all 5 in case you missed the other 4.

  1. How confused are you about your feelings for ED?
  2. How much did you think about or worry losing your independence by being involved with ED?
  3. How ambivalent or confused are you about continuing in your relationship with ED?
  4. To what extent do you feel ED demands too much time and attention?
  5. To what extent do you feel trapped or pressured to continue this relationship with ED? (Questions adapted from Braiker and Kelley’s Construct)

I would encourage you to write about these questions in your journal and talk to someone you trust about them.  It really helps to get all that is going on in your head on the outside.

I welcome your comments!


Do you want to learn more about eating disorders?

If so, download my free e-book “Eating Disorder Basics for Parents” here: http://www.why-my-daughter.com/edb.html.

Lynn Moore educates, coaches, and consults parents on how to help their adolescent with eating disorder behavior. She will guide you through the treacherous waters of deciding what kind of help you need and what you, the parents need to do and can do to help your child.


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