National Eating Disorders Association

5 posts / 0 new
Last post
Jennalee
I dont know how to do this

I'm so scared and exhausted from this journey. My partner of 7 years has struggled with ED since she was 15. We are 36 now. For the first 5 years of our relationship the disorder seemed to be dormant.. probably because she was working 65-70 hours a week... once that changed and she was no longer being a work-a-hokic she began compulsively working out and reducing her food intake.
My heart is hurting so bad... I was so hopeful that I would get my partner back when the work hours reduced and we could start making our life together..but really she just went from over working to overexercising and restriction..while trying to cover her E.D. with the goal of doing a triathlon..

I'm not handling it well. Every time I try to talk to her about it and get some empathy as a partner of the disease, she just gets defensive, tells me to withdraw energy from her so I dont care so much or feel so hurt. She doesnt see that when she is engaged with the E.D. there is no space for her to be emotionally available.. I end up either angry and over talking at her or just crying... hoping she will hug me or offer some sort of emotion..but normally she just stands there and looks at me, seemingly annoyed that I have emotions about her eating disorder.

I'm finding that all of this is making me anxious, depressed and questioning my own body.. it doesnt feel good or sustainable..
I dont know how to handle this better..

_admin_moderator
 We wanted to let you know we

Hi and welcome! We wanted to let you know we edited your post to numbers and language that can be triggering to our other forum-goers.  Please review our Community Guidelines to ensure we can continue to keep this forum a safe space for all of our users: https://www.nationaleatingdisorders.org/forums/community-guidelines Thanks and keep posting!  

BobJ48
Jennalee

"Every time I try to talk to her about it and get some empathy as a partner of the disease, she just gets defensive, tells me to withdraw energy from her so I dont care so much or feel so hurt. She doesnt see that when she is engaged with the E.D. there is no space for her to be emotionally available.."

I'm really sorry that you are going though this, and sorry that after all these years, your partner doesn't seem to have much insight into her condition, and what it robs her of. And robs the both of you of.

It's interesting that the strategy she suggests you use ( that of turning off your emotions) is pretty much the same strategy that she's been using to deal with things herself. Maybe that's not the proper thing to say about her, but it's true that people with eating disorders often have negative feelings towards emotionality, and can use their behaviors as ways to avoid emotional feelings.

What are they trying to avoid ? People with EDs often are perfectionists, and fight against the feeling that somehow they are still not good enough. Not good enough at work, not fast enough in their sport, not thin enough, and just existentially good enough as a person. It's possible that she's no longer aware of these associations, and these behaviors have simply turned into habits now, but when she was younger it's possible that this is what she worried about. Not being good enough, or having other dangerous thoughts or emotions or memories that needed to be avoided.

So yes, you do have to wonder how much insight she has, as far as her situation goes, and how it might effect others. It is possible to have that sort of insight, but first you need the idea that there there may actually be a situation that calls for insight.

" but normally she just stands there and looks at me, seemingly annoyed that I have emotions about her eating disorder…"

So what about the idea of couples counseling ? Because it sounds like things are not at all great in your relationship right now.

Maybe she doesn't think that she has a problem, and so there'd be no reason for her to need that. But you clearly have an issue, so perhaps she'd go as a way to help you work out your own problems within the relationship ? Do you think she would deny you that help, if you asked her ?

A bit of reverse psychology I know, but there's no doubt that you actually do have some issues within this relationship, and actually would like to see things get better. In ways that will require her help. So that's a legitimate reason to ask for her help I think.

Because it really does sound like the two of you are stuck right now, and that it's unlikely that the two of you are going to work it out on your own, which is a good reason to seek some assistance.

Keep writing ?

Jennalee
Thank you for your reply

Thank you for your reply. You are accurate about a lot. She's just now starting to recognize there's a thinking dysfunction going on around food and exercise, but isn't truly ready to address it.
We are currently in our second round of couples therapy. She eventually didn't have time in her work schedule the first time and this current time seems to be about her learning to access and understand her emotions more than anything. Doesnt seem to be helping yet.
She has so much to learn and grow through, I'm scared I dont have it in me to see her through it. I want a happy life..

BobJ48
Jennalee.

I'm glad that the two of you are doing couples therapy. Do you think that she wants a better relationship with you ? Does she ever say that ? If so, that would be hopeful.

What you said about wanting a happy life, I do think you'll need to feel some happiness, as a result of whatever changes may happen. It's not selfish to want happiness. It's not.