National Eating Disorders Association

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MCNewtron
Exercise

My gf has an ED and as part of it she fixated on people’s bodies, mine especially. She’s not actively purging but her diet is very restricted, and she’s grappling with this whole ‘control’ issue. To complicate things she has epilepsy and has to eat a certain way because of it, to heal herself (though sometimes I have my suspicions, but I don’t press her on r.)

She feels triggered if I work out. I am trying to be supportive, but I feel like I need to hold firm that It is ok for me to work out, and that her being upset about it is a sign of the illness. On good days, I can help use this topic to steer her towards the idea of therapy, on bad days I take the bait and start engaging emotionally on the issue and we fight.

Anyone else out there dealing with similar issues? Any thoughts/tips?

From reading the forums I know enough to try and stay supportive and calm, and to gently insist on my right to make my own decisions about my body - while recognizing it is a legit difficult topic for someone with ED.

BobJ48
"Triggered"

Hey Neutron,

" I feel like I need to hold firm that It is ok for me to work out, and that her being upset about it is a sign of the illness…."

It's probably not unusual that she's fixated on other people's bodies. Other people….if they are thin, then it just proves how able they are to be in control of their lives, and be "perfect", while she is either a failure, or just not good enough, or any number of equally negative self-judgments. The whole "not good enough" idea really is a plague on people with EDs, and can be one of the most corrosive influences on a person's thinking.

I mean here you are, just chugging away at being perfect, without it being some kind huge self-defining moral issue ( as it would be for her ! ) so no wonder she finds herself getting upset.

"...on bad days I take the bait and start engaging emotionally on the issue and we fight."

Yes, it can be easy to get drawn into issues that become unfortunately emotional, but which don't really get at the heart of the matter.

Which is what therapy is for. And something that should not be your job. Not that you don't care, but more because you guys have so many other connections.. I'm sure she doesn't like how things can become argumentative any more than you do.

So yes, for the sake of the both of you, she may have to start some therapy of her own. Granted therapy can be risky ( things might not work out ) but she would tell you that she's not willing to take any risks for herself ?

Bob J.