National Eating Disorders Association

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Don't know how to talk about it

my girlfriend just told me today (June 21) that she only feels good about herself when she doesn't eat. my reaction only ended up hurting her feelings; she said it made her feel "wrong," "bad," and "gross."

she has struggled with eating disorders in the past, and recent events in her life have been difficult for her. i'm so worried about saying and doing the wrong things again, and truly just want her to feel in control and not pressured, but i'm afraid for her wellbeing.

i hope to be able to create a dialogue to help her think things through, or at least to know her thoughts better, but i don't want her to dwell on it and fall deeper into it. i'm also not sure what she did to get through it the first time.

Don't know...

Hey there.

Yeah, it can be hard too know how to address this when she expresses positive feelings about restricting, and negative feelings about eating. What's a person supposed to tell them then, when they have made it clear that they aren't going to be seeing eating in the ways that healthy people do ? Getting into an argument about how they are "supposed" to feel can be a losing proposition it's true.

But you did mention what may be a connection between her current eating behavior, and some recent events which have been difficult for her. And it's true; if these events caused her to feel…not in control of her life, or brought up old and unresolved issues from her past, then there very well may be a connection.

What I'm getting at is that while you may not be able to effectively talk with her about food right now, it's possible that you could help her express her feels more openly about the other issues you mentioned. Given that her concern about those issues may have been, in part, what brought this on in the first place.

Keep writing ?

Hi, I'm sorry your girlfriend

Hi, I'm sorry your girlfriend has been struggling with ED recently, it sounds like this has been hard on both of you. I don't know what you said to her, but just know that there is a ton of misinformation around eating disorders out there, and I don't know about you but I didn't get much education on EDs in school, so it's not your fault that your reaction might have made her upset. Nevertheless, I would recommend apologizing to her (if you haven't already of course) and just express how you don't really know how to approach this, and are willing to learn from her and find out what she needs. It's really clear that you care for her a lot, and just want to see her get better, and something you might find helpful is this article on NEDA's website: Hope you can find it helpful, I'm wishing the best for you and your girlfriend. Stay well!

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