National Eating Disorders Association

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lavender.violin
How can I help my girlfriend?

Hello,
my girlfriend is suffering from bed and because of that she often feels horrible about herself to the point, where she literally isolates herself from everybody, including me. She says that she does that because she looks atrocious. I'm constantly telling her that this is bullshit and she's beautiful but it doesn't help. Once when she canceled our date evening before, I went to her house and when she finally let me in she was hiding her face from me not allowing me to look at it because she claimed her face was puffy and fat, but the thing is it wasn't, it looked just like always.
I have no idea what can I do, I feel so useless, I can't even understand her behaviour, please help me

BobJ48
Self-doubt, self-hate, and shame.

Hey Violin,

First off, your friend is fortunate to have a friend like you. Often when people isolate themselves, that's pretty much it for their friendships. So by keeping in touch with her, and not allowing her to completely hide from everyone, you are already helping right there.

Eating disorders are pretty rough things. Sufferers are often overcome with self-doubts and shame. Your friend could not even show you her face, because she was filled with such hate for herself. It's emotional symptoms like these which make EDs such terrible things.

"I'm constantly telling her that this is bullshit and she's beautiful but it doesn't help. "

Yes, our first reaction is to try and argue or use logic with the person, but I guess you are seeing how well that works. Not very well, unfortunately. They honestly have these feelings and thoughts about themselves, and trying to talk them out of them…they'll just think that you really don't get it. So you may want to try another approach. One thing you may want to do, is try and put yourself in her shoes, and go for understanding instead ? Which can take some practice it's true, and may not come naturally at first. But try some things like this, maybe :

"It must feel awful to doubt yourself so much."
" Yeah, a person can feel hateful towards themselves it's true."
"It must feel terrible to feel like you can't even go out."

Things like that may help her feel more understood, and help get a better conversation going ?

Keep writing ?

lavender.violin
Thank you

Thank you for your advice