National Eating Disorders Association

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My partner and I have been together for about a year and a half. About 3-4 months in she confessed she about her ED. I have remained as supportive as possible even going to in person support groups when she requested. I've read articles, attended webinars, and have read these forums regularly.

She recently has started both therapy and cognitive behavioral therapy for ED. She's made some serious improvements and I'm sosososo proud of her for them. However, she is still struggling with controlling her anxiety. She lashes out at me often and treats me like a punching bag on low days. I recently started therapy again myself too because she's damaged my own self-esteem throughout our relationship. I was strong enough in the beginning to support her and take those lashes, but I'm not that emotionally or mentally strong anymore. I'm even questioning if she actually loves me or is she is using ED as an excuse to just be mean to me when she wants to. It's somehow always ED or some other anxiety that she claims are causing her to be mean.

I'm just looking to see if other people also suffer from the ED damages like this too and how to cope or manage it. I love this woman with everything in me, but it's getting increasingly more difficult to continually take the arguments she causes due to the ED voices. I'm feeling more and more drained and I'm uncertain where to turn or how to manage this anymore. I've been wondering if now is the time to exit the relationship so she can fully grow without worrying about us and the relationship we have so she can heal since she's entering a more intense form of therapy.

Any advice would be much appreciated.

Angry in Recovery.

Hey Smalls,

" It's somehow always ED or some other anxiety that she claims are causing her to be mean."

She's probably telling the truth about that, so I think you can take that for granted. And while I don't know what her situation is, if I had to guess, now that she's started therapy, she's probably finding recovery to be harder than she thought it might be, or questioning whether she wants to recover at all. And here you are, being Mr Supportive, which kind of just pisses her off.

So yeah, people often go through a whole lot of ambivalence, when they start to consider recovery. And even when they are making a run at it sometimes. It can sort of start driving them crazy, because everything they are supposed to be asking of themselves just doesn't feel right to them at all. Particularly right in the beginning.

You might try letting her know that you understand that, and that you know there must be a lot of inner battles that she's fighting. Along with worries about people's expectations for her. Because that's likely where a lot of this is coming from.

And honestly, you're not being a wimp by letting this effect you. Here you are, bringing your best energy and love to the situation, and what do you get in return ? Rather than thanks, it's arguments and resentments instead. Which…are not the sort of lessons that we need to be learning when we are trying to do our best by someone. As much as we'd like the believe that the "Love is all you need" thing is really going to help, a lot of times it's much more complicated than that. I tend to believe that it can help in the long run, but don't expect it to be obvious right in the moment.

So I can't really give you any recommendations. It's totally reasonable for you to want to look out for your own health in a situation like this, and you'd probably feel some relief if you distanced yourself from all this.

Would this be beneficial for her as well ? Hard to say, but if she's feeling lousy about her success with recovery, the fact that she's driving you away may not help her to feel a lot better about herself. Even though a part of her might feel OK about you leaving. I'm sure you've seen all the "She's pushing me away" posts here, but I rarely think that there's much that's healthy about that.

However, despite all the discord, if it seems like she's not quite in favor of you guys breaking up yet, that might be a hopeful sign.

In any case, no one is going to condemn you, no matter what choice you make. As you are finding out, we can't be expected to be a saint forever, and a person has a responsibility to themselves as well.

Bob J