National Eating Disorders Association

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Girlfriend has eating disorder, says she wants to leave me so I don't get hurt


I have a girlfriend who suffers with I believe bulimia. She has had it for a while and refuses to get help when I speak to her about it. She is currently back home in Bulgaria visiting family and it all seems to have got worse. She is now telling me she will leave me when she gets back but wants to be with me for a few more days when she does. She says she doesn't want help and doesn't want to live anymore and that's the reason why she wants to leave me so I don't get hurt. I need to know how to go about this, she is constantly talking about the future with us so its all confusing and I need help with what to say when she gets back as I don't want to do it through text. I need to convince her to get help and I can't just let her leave me because she doesn't want me to see her die.

Any tips/help would be nice.

Jay jay

As I'm sure you are coming to see, eating disorders are serious business, when it comes to the metal turmoil they cause ! One might think they were about food and loosing weight, but they are about so much more than that !

The person can be overcome by waves of different feelings. At one point, when their mind is clearer, and they can have thoughts of the future like other people do. The next moment they can find themselves overcome with despair and self-hate, and wonder if life is worth living. It can be an emotional storm for them, and unsettling for us, and something that's difficult for us to know how to address.

They can also feel terrifically guilty, and worry about the mental burden they are being for all of their loved ones. So they will often feel like pushing those people away, thinking that somehow we will be better off if we never have to think of them anymore.

So yes, what do we say in response to that ? We can't really tell them that they just need to get better, because they often don't feel like they can. So it can be hard to know how to respond, it's true.

My sense is that it's good if we can try and show them that we understand some of the thoughts that they must be having. We understand how terrible they must feel, we understand how much they must hate themselves sometimes, we understand how toxic depression can be, and we understand their fears about the future. And we understand the sense of guilt they must feel about causing worry for their loved ones. In my experience it helps things a little, if they can believe that we understand about all of those things. Like it helps them feel that they can be more open with us ?

Which may help settle their anxiety a little ?

But yes, I'm never sure there are any magic words we can say. The best we can do is show that we are not frightened about acknowledging and talking about the sorts of fears that we know they are having. Just being able to name them…that may take away some of their power, at least within the interactions that we share with them.

In any case, I hope this note helped a little, and that you will feel OK about continuing to write here.

Bob J.