National Eating Disorders Association

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Being Watched

So lately my brother is always in the kitchen. We have a kitchen island with bar stools and he is always sitting there. Watching shows on his laptop or sketching. I have told him that I don't like it, but I didn't tell him why I didn't like it. I don't like him up there because I feel like he will judge what I am eating and he sometimes makes comments on it. And I am hungry, but I am very embarrassed and feel vulnerable when I eat. And sometimes I cook/bake and I want to listen to music and not feel watched. But when he is there he just watches me and I feel very anxious and I can't listen to music. My family thinks (but doesn't know) I have and ED and it is even hard to admit... But how do I make him understand?



I can understand your discomfort at feeling and being watched. It must be very uncomfortable. Is there any way that you can ask your brother to give you some space while you eat? That you share the place and you just want some time alone while you eat? You said you told your brother you didn't like him being in the kitchen but not why. I don't think you need to tell him why, but just ask him to give you space while you are eating. He may not understand or even want to, but you need to eat and be comfortable doing so. I can understand how it is to be watched, earlier on when I was so ill I was and it isn't easy. I am glad that you are trying to eat and that is good. But the additional stress of being watched isn't a good thing so if you are able to ask directly to have your brother give you space during meal times when you aren't eating together, a more direct approach, may be better than just hinting at it. I am not sure the approach you did take but it isn't working so maybe just be more assertive. Yes, the assertive word. I know it isn't easy. It backfires on me when I try sometimes so I am not saying it is easy but it seems necessary for you right now.

To be able to admit hunger is a big step forward. I still don't like to admit to being hungry, not sure why, as it is natural. That is your body telling you that it wants nourishment. SO I encourage you to try again and let your brother know that you want some space while you eat, and that he can have the kitchen the rest of the time. I don't know if this was helpful but I want you to know you were heard and understood.

Take care, please let me know how things go.


I go through the same thing

I go through the same thing with my parents. One thing that has helped me is to do opposite what I want, and just challenge yourself to be vulnerable. Just get your food like normal and do your thing, and i bet you the result is he won't care or say anything at all. We are often so scared of such irrational things and make up scenarios that will happen and what others are thinking, when were the only ones stressing ourselves out over it. You being clearly anxious and hiding things would only make it worse and give anyone a reason to be concerned or worry. So realization I have come to is that it's normal to be in the kitchen getting food and doing stuff, so just do your thing and you won't draw attention to yourself. Eating and getting food is legit something everyone does and you should feel no shame or embarrassment about it. Majority of the time like I said were just making scenarios up in our head and in reality your brother probably doesn't care at all haha!

Before all this, I never ever

Before all this, I never ever thought twice before going into the kitchen but now it's like i'm putting my battle gear on and i'm bracing for judgment or people saying, "Is that all your eating?" I never thought that it's natural for people to just walk in and out of the kitchen grabbing food all day. Hmm

I will try to act natural,

I will try to act natural, like a spy, and be cool


Ata girl!!)))

I’m sorry to hear it’s giving

I’m sorry to hear it’s giving you anxiety. One thing that pops into my head is remembering my thoughts that were similar. Often times, I felt the most judged when I knew I was making compromised decisions (whether people were watching me or not). I’d feel anxious if I did decide to restrict and choose something to eat that wasn’t as nutritious. It sounds like your brother cares about you a lot and is worried about you. He doesn’t seem to know how to express that in a healthy way, though. Maybe if you are able to talk to him about your ED and anxieties it will allow him to be more understanding and compassionate. I’m sure he just wants you to be okay, happy, and healthy. If you’re able to express what you’re dealing with, it may help him realize that certain things may be triggering you right now and be more conscious and considerate of your requests.
That said, make sure that these anxieties aren’t coming out of a place of self-judgement. I know I often displaced my own judgements on others by justifying to myself that “I was still eating, so I was fine” when in my heart I knew I was making poor decisions. When I started really committing to recovery and making the nutritious decisions I needed, it was so hard, but I found I was only fighting one thing - my ED. I was no longer fighting myself or the people around me. And with their support, recovery was much more possible. You deserve that support too. And I’m sure your brother and your family will have your back no matter what. They’re not acting out of judgement. They just care.
And so do I

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