National Eating Disorders Association

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Maintaining My Own Sanity

Every day I live with a man who comments on the amount I eat. I eat a normal amount; but to his mind it is too much. I listen to him talk about "fat" on other people's bodies and how they have let themselves go. I listen to him talk about food and calories in every discussion and I refuse to participate in this nonsense. I refuse to read his journal, I refuse to sneak around looking for evidence, I refuse to question, I refuse to cause myself emotional harm in that manner.

I remind myself that it is not necessary for me to comment on every sick ED comment that I hear, that he is an adult and it is not my place to make decisions for him. I remind myself that I have pointed out his ED to him and to his doctor and that now it is up to him to decide what to do with that information. As much as I am able, I prepare myself emotionally and financially for the coming health crises and his eventual death. I still need to speak to an attorney about this.

I remind myself that he is ill and that his reality does not have to become my reality. I remind myself that I am not in charge of how he chooses to treat his body, or his relationship with food.

I remind myself that I am also being negatively affected by his ED and therefore, I am not as mentally or emotionally healthy as I would wish. I remind myself that I must let go of my anger (the very hardest part for me). I question why I stay and continue to involve myself in this. And I remind myself that staying with him is a choice I am making but that I can change that choice at any time.

I remind myself to seek out friendships that do not involve ED, so that I continue to have contact with healthy perceptions. I also remind myself to seek out people who are dealing with this so that I have emotional and mental support, and so I can learn from them.

I remind myself to maintain my boundaries and that part of those boundaries is focusing on my own recovery from the secondary effects of ED. I remind myself I am far from perfect and do not have all the answers. I remind myself I have no control over his ED.


It's a difficult matter when our partners won't own up to their situation. If they will, that's one thing. If they won't, that's another.

How we stay in either situation involves ways of thinking about things which will allow us to preserve our own mental health.

What you've written are some wise emotional strategies.