National Eating Disorders Association

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Rodgers12
Girlfriend with anorexia would rather die than therapy or gain weight

Hi,

I've posted on several topics but I never opened one.

Last week I was about to throw the towel. I felt completely helpless and I felt my options were to stay with her and watch her die in some months, or stay away and deal with the break up on my own.

My GF had anorexia when she was a teenager, she started treatment and it turned into bulimia, and it was much worse. She kept it hidden. Then she got married and had a kid, and the kid was more important so she stopped acting on her impulses.

Years past, and after another kid and a divorce, something trigger her again and she started losing weight. That's when I met her for the 1st time. Since then, she has lost half of her weight, and she's on the verge of being considered clinically too thin, which is way too thin.

At first I thought I was good for her because she ate food with me. And felt ok. But in time, she stopped eating even with me or in front of the kids. When she did, she applied methods to eject the food from her body (I thought it was occasionally, but it was mostly every time). She had 4 or 5 times the dose she was supposed to have. I've been more and more concerned and desperate. She said she was in control and that she would stop once she reached her desired size. But she didn't, again and again.

Almost 3 years passed. She got scared, she fainted a couple of times in the same day, and she saw a friend's colon (all black on the inside), and she stopped the practice of ejecting the food. But in order not to feel the need to do that, she has to eat like a little bird. About 1/4 of what it is considered healthy, and most nutrients are banned from her "safe foods".

I have to measure anything I say. If I say she looks beautiful, she says I like her better now, so I'm a trigger. If I say nothing, she thinks I don't like her because she's fat. If I say she looks too thin, sometimes she doesn't believe me, sometimes she takes offense and starts crying because she thinks I don't like her. I try to convey the thought that I like her every way, because she's the woman I love, and because I liked her body in the past and I do now too.

I tried to support her on stopping a dangerous practice, but she kept talking to me about what she ate, and why she can't stop losing , etc... And I told her I was proud of her, but still very worried. Because she's really close to the edge. I don't know how long she would have to live if she keeps like that. So, I try not to be a pest, but I can't shut up and watch her wither. Most of the times I manage to stop talking when I know it's not productive anymore. But last week I didn't stop, and I told her the kids will hate me and demand answers as to why I hadn't stopped her by any means necessary.

As in many other occasions, she said we couldn't be together. And I thought it was over. But after the waters settled, we talked and we listened to each other. She understands I say things and I think what I think because I love her and I have her best interest in mind. But she can't stop. She refuses therapy, even "from me". She knows she's really hurting herself, but that's better than "being fat", and she equates the smallest thing with being fat.

A few days ago, 7 different people told her she looked sick, too thin, and offered help. But she says the more she hears that, the fatter she sees herself.

Some days after this, she told me: "this is going to end me, and you shouldn't have to be here to see it". She couldn't stop crying... We manage to take our minds off it for a while, and the mood is better now. But I don't know how this is going to evolve.

She is a brilliant woman (mid thirties), gifted, highly educated, and she know's about psychology and nutrition, and many other things. She knows everything that's happening. But this thing that kidnaps her mind is stronger than her. And she doesn't want help in any way.

A few months ago she started visiting a forum of people with EDs. She feels finally someone understands her, and the way she feels. And she says that's good for her. I get that. But since she's there, instead of thinking about this 70% of the time, she thinks and talks about it 90% of the time. I feel in my bones this is bad for her. She has started to see other people as fat, when before she loved that people felt good with their body how it was. I mean, she thought everyone was beautiful in their body before, except her. Now she sees even an actress considered "hot" and she says she's fat. She got meaner when she talks about other people.

The thinks that scare me are pilling up.

I thank you because I found support here, at least for me, to keep supporting her. Not to win the "fight" but to find courage to keep "fighting". And our story was scattered here and there and I wanted to summarize and update it all in the same place.

I found out most of my problems are common ground for partners of sufferers, and just that it's a big help to know it's not something I exclusively am doing wrong. I wish you all the best of luck.

Erin_Patricia1
I am concerned!

Hi Rodgers!

I am so glad that you have found the NEDA forums for some help and support and I am so sorry to hear that you are going through a difficult time right now with your girlfriend. It sounds like you have a lot of concerns and uncertainty about what to do next. I am very concerned about what you have written in regards to what your girlfriend has stated. You said that she stated, "this is going to end me, and you shouldn't have to be here to see it” and some of the behaviors she is engaging in sound very dangerous, along with the symptoms she has been experiencing. I know I don’t know you personally but I care about what happens to you and your girlfriend.

Does your girlfriend have a medical team currently? If not, I would advise you to take your girlfriend to see a physician immediately. If she does not have a medical team currently, the NEDA website also has some resources for your girlfriend to find a medical team in your area. In addition, if your girlfriend does not feel comfortable seeing a therapist right now, do you think she would be willing to call the Helpline phone number? She would be able to speak privately with a trained volunteer in regards to what she is struggling with right now and what the next step might be. The phone number is 1-800-931-2237.

If you need anymore resources or need a place to vent, please do not hesitate to write here on the forums. Keep us updated, as we care about what happens to you and your girlfriend!

Erin_Patricia1

Rodgers12
she does have a medical team

Hi, thanks for your response.

I'm trying to get an appointment with her doctor. I'm told she is a nice person, and she's prescribing some nutritional supplements that help a bit. She advises her to gain weight, and keeps a positive attitude. As if she didn't realize that she has an ED and she just had lost a lot due to stress. I'm sure she suspects everything, but she doesn't have a true account of the things my GF does and doesn't do, or just the story I've written.

The problem is I don't know how to lie. I need to do some spy work to get an appointment with her doctor. I need the number of her medical insurance card, for example. She is extremely concern about privacy, so I'll be violating her trust if I go through her purse. I can't ask their family even though they share the same doctor, because they're evil, and they can use the information against her. Also she would feel so betrayed if I share any info with her family. She'd feel betrayed if she knew I want to speak with her doctor, but even if she dumps me, it won't bring her any harm that I do so.

It is concerning what she said to me. Terrifying. But I'm used to her going to a very dark place and saying things like that. It is not that it doesn't affect me, it breaks my heart, but I'm trying to give you peace. She had it and has it really hard in life, it would be too much for anyone. When I was just her friend, it was easier to take her out of that dark place, now I'm too emotionally involved, but I manage to guide her out at the end. When she's out, it's delicate, but she can enjoy the small things in life. And it seems she won't be depressed anytime soon. But then life gives her another blow, and we start again.

In a previous relationship a hug always helped. But I don't know if this is common for all women with an ED. Sometimes it's OK, but other times physical contact freaks her out. So I'm never sure how much distance is required for her to be comfortable. This is very hard, as I want to assure her she's not alone, and that I want to take care of her, and my natural instinct is to hug her. I also want that for myself. So this is very confusing and fills me with anxiety.

I need to take breaks on confronting this. And many days I try to be positive for her, as if I didn't know this. Just be a source of companionship, if not happiness. It's on my mind all the time, and I feel I'm wasting some time. But also, when I do address the problem, I'm not sure I'm helping. Over all, she says the kids and I are the reason she wants to live, and wants to try to stay healthy. If we weren't here, she would be an skeleton by now. So I guess I'm helping.

The stopping of taking non prescribed meds and remedies is good news. And last weekend she discovered a symptom of her ED she really doesn't like.So I hope she takes that as a sign she's gone too far, and does something about it.

She wouldn't call the Helpline, I wish. She doesn't want help. She wants to be left alone, and for everybody to stop questioning her decisions. In all other things her brain works better than anyone's, and she's used to that. So she trust her judgement better than that of anyone's. Only in this thing she's completely in denial. In denial if the danger, of her health state, of her thinness... I try to reason " you know you're not seeing the reality, you know you're sick, and the sickness is talking, not you, so you shouldn't trust what you think about this. You can tell me you can't help it, but you can't tell me you think it's good....." But this only prompts her to be less rational. As in "I'm super fat, you don't understand, I shouldn't have told you anything !! ". That's a sign that I said too much and I'm not helping anymore in that conversation.

Her family is treating this as if she did it to call attention to her. And they are nasty on their comments. Some sort of "though love approach" but without the love. So they make everything ten times harder. She avoids people in general and friends in particular, so nobody notices she's sick. That leaves only me to love her and speak to her from a position of love.

I'm here because if I can't get someone to help her, at least I could reach to someone to help me feel less helpless. Take some of the frustration away from her, also. And not making her more nervous talking too much to her. But talking some to you guys. :-)

I have to keep the hope that she's going to recover. But I can't take any shortcuts, I need to be patient, and figure out what helps and what doesn't. She doesn't know how beautiful a person she is, how she's a source of light, when she's smiling, when her mind is free from this captivity... I've never met a person so intelligent, so quick to understanding problems, I though she couldn't exist, but that and also her big heart, how she's emphatic and generous, and caring... It's a combination surely unique. The world (not only me) cannot lose a person like her.

_admin_moderator
Rodgers12

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Adage
Hi Rodgers12. I understand

Hi Rodgers12. I understand that you are in a very difficult situation. I want to preface by saying that I am not a health professional. That being said I have found your posts somewhat alarming and think it might be a good idea to seek some form of help. I agree with Erin_Patricia1 especially about the part about calling the NEDA helpline. Again that number is 1-800-931-2237. You can call yourself and get some solid support from trained volunteers.
Secondly, I feel that I should make these two numbers available to you:
Self-Harm Prevention line at 1-800-334-4357
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255)
I believe that you can call yourself and get advice about your girlfriend's situation on her behalf. It's up to you.
Know that you've been heard Rodgers. I recognize the tough position you are in, and the stress you've had to endure. I hope that things eventually work out. Keep us updated. And do continue to visit the forums and check out other posts that people have made.

Adage

Megan8
Hey

Hey Rodgers. So, I don't have any advice or pieces of wisdom you haven't heard before.

But, I just wanted to comment and say that I'm wishing you the best and there is someone out there who is pulling for both you and her. I know that doesn't change anything but I guess we gotta take the little things when we can get them. So, this is my little thing. You're in my thoughts, I understand what you're feeling, and it's okay to feel what you're feeling.

Rodgers12
Thanks

Thanks for all your comments.

You really help. On my personal circles I can't really talk about all this with anyone. I can't tell this to anyone if she doesn't want them to know.

I'm glad she didn't stop telling me things. I believe she texts me as if I was a diary, sometimes it seems she's not aware it's me reading. That's good because I have info first hand, but it hurts because she's not thinking how her words might affect me. So I'm glad I know things, but sometimes is painful to know them. Well, she's my first reason to want to live, and I'm not that for her.

I tried to tell her she's great and that she's so much more than this illness, and that she's a thousand times better than the people she envies... But when I say those things she tells me I understand nothing, that it's a mental illness and she's tired of telling me, and I don't understand. That it was a mistake to talk to me.

What I understand is that she believes that her mind can't fight this. But part of that is her illness talking. Of course, if she thinks she doesn't want to get better, she won't do the effort to try to change it with her thoughts, even if she believed she could.

I know it's not a choice, at least not an easy and free one. Something is deciding for her. I give her positive thoughts and alternative ones, not because I think she would say "oh, you're right, I was wrong, I'm cured". But just to remind her of her value as a person, and to remind her she is loved. Is that wrong?

I read a "story of hope", about a woman who struggled for years and recovered. Most stories (I read several) happen after a big scare, when they face death, sadly. But the positive thinking in that story it was almost word for word what I tell my girlfriend. It was great to know my thoughts weren't that far from the path, but it was sad to realize my girlfriend has heard all her arguments and they mean nothing to her. I know it has to come from her. She knows I want her to recover, so she will always be a little defensive with me. I'm trying to take her "thing" away.

Maybe if it came from her kids would work too, there's nothing she wouldn't do for them. The problem is that she's in denial about many things, she thinks she can live forever doing what she does. She thinks she'll stop when she needs to (even when that failed several times). So she thinks she's eating enough to survive and have energy for the kids forever, but 1. She's not eating enough, and 2. She does it only when she's not stressed.

ashleyk
Hi Rodgers12

I'm glad you found the stories of hope! It is sad that only when people are faced with a big scare do they decide to seek help. Hopefully your girlfriend doesn't let it get that far. Although she has to want to recover, it always helps having someone like yourself supporting her and encouraging her. EDs are mental illnesses, and people typically feel all alone and as if no one understands, so its great that you continue to tell her positive messages about how great she is and how beautiful, even if she reacts angrily. She needs to know that she's not alone in her battle, and you're being an amazing boyfriend by continuing to support her.

I was just wondering if you had a chance to call the Helpline yet? Again that number is: 1-800-931-2237. It would be a great way to get support and advice from trained volunteers. Personally, I like talking to others to get everything off my chest and feel more secure. Volunteers are available M-Th 9-9 EST and F 9-5 EST.

Please keep us updated and know that we are all here to support you and your girlfriend!
-ashleyk

BobJ48
Hi Rogers.

It's pretty clear that she's deeply in ED's grasp, but none the less, my sense is that she knows there's a problem.

So the question I'd ask her is what sort of risks is she willing to take ?

There's no two ways about it : Dealing with something so powerful is going to mean that she'll need to take some big risks for herself, and I bet that she knows that part too.

As she has seen, and as she has pretty much admitted to you, she's probably not going to be recovering on her own any time soon. She may want to, but now the obsessive thoughts and modes of thinking are simply too strong. This is something she may also realize too.

So again, there's some risks she'll need to be willing to take, and basically that means getting some outside help.

She may tell you that no one could possibly understand what she's going through, so therapy would just be a waste. But she's bright enough to know that that's probably not true either.

So the reason she'll not reach out for help is….what ??

It's easy to think that she has no self-awareness about any of this, but allowing ourselves to believe that would be selling her, and other people with EDs, short I believe. While they may still find themselves going full speed ahead with this, there's usually a part of them that still understands that their lives are unlikely to improve if they simply keep going in the direction they are. In spite of what the scale tries to tell them.

Again, it's going to get down to the risk-taking thing. She's just going to have to dare to take some I think.

She might even agree if you asked her ?

Rodgers12
I'm sorry, I don't understand

Maybe it's because I'm really down today. But I don't know what am I supposed to ask her.

She knows she has anorexia. She knows she's risking her life, even though she sometimes says she's not going to die. She takes everything she knows about anorexia and uses it as a shield. If I say "you are doing this and it's very dangerous" she says "I'm sick, everyone with Anorexia does that. You don't get it. It doesn't matter, you don't have to".

Now it has come to this, she can't watch other people eat. She gets filled with anger towards that people, myself included. Luckily she can watch her kids eat. So she says she wont be able to stay with me or in any relationship.

She's willing to die. She knows she has the risk of leaving her kids orphan. But she blames that on all the people that eat, and make her anxious. If she was left alone she would eat her safe foods everyday, and survive and take care of her kids. But people around her eat, and invite her to places where there will be people eating. So we, these people, are killing her, not the sickness, not herself.

I'm lost. She tells me all the time: "I'm mad, I'm not right in the head..." I feel like she was spinning out of control and she couldn't focus her thoughts. She's so afraid of everything she can't think. And I believe she knows a lot that she won't admit.

Please pray for her, I don't know what, short of a miracle, can help her.

Rodgers12
The reason

The reason she doesn't reach out for help is that she want's this ED, without it she wouldn't have the self control to stay thin. And that's worse than death to her.

She thinks if she eats a diet, even a doctor's diet to lose weight she would get supper fat. Why? because she checks with the scale multiple times a day. And she can't wait to see the effects for one week if she gains weight one hour. Even if she knows it's water, it freaks her out.

It boils down to this: she's so depressed and stressed, she doesn't have any hope on being happy one day. So why bother? Her only satisfaction is to be thin. So she's holding on to that as if her life was on it.

ashleyk
Rogers12

Your comments about your girlfriend are really concerning. I want to provide you these numbers to call and talk to someone about your girlfriend's problems:
Self-Harm Prevention line at 1-800-334-4357
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255)
NEDA Helpline at 1-800-931-2237, available M-Th 9-9 EST and F 9-5 EST.

If you are able to talk to someone on your girlfriend's behalf, you might be able to help her get help. I understand that she doesn't want you to, but it never hurts to try. If you keep trying, you might get through to her one day or find a way to. Or if possible, have her call the lines listed above to get help. Having her talk to someone might be so beneficial to her health and wellness.

Don't give up! I believe that you can help her with this struggle.
-ashleyk

Rodgers12
I called

I called the helpline. But I don't know what to ask/tell them. I can't think straight myself, I'm not in danger of self harming, nor suicide. But I need to calm down to have a proper conversation with them.

I see her today. Most of our relationship is on the phone, and we usually live together on weekends. When we are face to face everything is way better. I hope after that I'll be better and I will be able to help her better. But I'm also afraid she's going to break up with me today.

Wish me luck.

Rodgers12
A bit of hope

This weekend we had a long conversation, and it was positive. Among many things, she said "please, don't let me turn into a skeleton". She reached out to me. She said she knows it's not fair to ask me that, as I can't force her to do or not do anything, but the mind set it's better, I think.

She usually has breakfast with me , on the weekends, and I can tell that's her biggest meal of the week. It's against all her fears, what we eat (not specially a big breakfast), so I'm hopeful that when she's with me, she's a bit less stressed and her stomach opens up. It's a happy memory related to food in a positive way, and that gives me hope.

BobJ48
Her self-awareness.

Rogers,

As you wrote earlier : "She tells me all the time: "I'm mad, I'm not right in the head…" "

So…she does get it about that part. Which a lot of people with EDs do. However this awareness doesn't necessarily mean that they will be changing their behaviors any time soon. So try and put yourself in her shoes : She knows that the stuff she is doing, and the thoughts she is having are irrational, crazy even, but at the same time she finds it impossible to change them.

This sort of inner dilemma can really do a number on them as well, and makes their situation feel all the more worse. But it is progress, as people in the early stages of their EDs often don't question any of it at all.

"Among many things, she said "please, don't let me turn into a skeleton".

As you may suspect, this sort of reaching out counts as progress as well. As was mentioned, it's not really your job to save her or rescue her, but still, just the fact that she's allowed herself to have the idea that she may need some kind of external help if she's going to get through all this….that's kind of a milestone too.

And she does take the risk of eating with you, which can be a big deal too. That she does eat, of course, but perhaps even more so that she allows you to watch her eat. People with EDs can have almost a phobia about having others see them eat, so the fact that she allows this is something positive too.

These are all small steps of course, but as perhaps you are seeing, any sort of step can be a big accomplishment.

So here's a practical suggestion : People with EDs are reluctant to get help, and as you said, as their supporters we often need to watch our step with the suggestions we make or the sorts of "help" we offer, so when she asked you to not let her become a skeleton, that's your chance to ask her what sort of practical things she would like you to do, in order to help her with that part.

Getting her own suggestions - that's an opportunity you want to take advantage of. It's possible she could ask you to help her with things that she knows she (or more accurately, the ED part of her mind) might normally object to. It's also a clue to some of the things she has a difficult time dealing with herself.

Once she gives you permission to help her with certain things, then that can be a breakthrough too, in the sense that she's coming to terms with the fact that she's really not as much in control of things as she might hope she is.

Whatever the case, it does sound like some progress is taking place, even if it's just confined for now to some new things that you've been able to say to each other.

Also, remember to try and stay calm and centered around her, even if you totally have to fake it sometimes. The last thing she wants is to be a burden or a worry to others ( like we're somehow *not* supposed to worry ?? ) so do your best to seem steady and confident if you can, while still being caring and seeming like you understand things. This can be a pretty hard position to maintain, but if you can manage it, you may find that she'll feel more comfortable about being open with you.

ashleyk
Good luck!

Rodgers12, I'm so glad to hear that you had a positive conversation with your girlfriend! It's great that she is reaching out to you for help and that her mindset is better. It sounds like your weekend breakfasts really help!

If she ever asks you for resources or additional help, maybe try giving her the NEDA Helpline number (1-800-931-2237) or show her the forums, specifically Working Towards Recovery: https://www.nationaleatingdisorders.org/forums/working-toward-recovery. She can find threads from others that she can relate to and post herself.

I hope your girlfriend continues to improve and stays positive! Best of luck with everything and keep us updated!

-ashleyk

miKanik
Treatment Center

My Girlfriend is currently in treatment for and eating disorder as well. It's been a difficult 4 years to get her there. Please try a google search for treatment centers.. My girlfriend is having success a step at at time. Although it's going to take many months of live in treatment and therapy in order for her to learn to manage that issue as well as the many other associated issued that are the cause of the disorder. Like you, I've been scared, angry, happy, frustrated and everything in between. I'm also afraid of losing her (not to death now...thank god) but I am afraid of losing our relationship. Please reach out to a treatment center. They have very good information that may help in the decision for her to voluntarily get treatment.

Rodgers12
great weekend

Hi folks,

it's been a great weekend. She's much more receptive and close to me. She ate food outside our breakfasts too, not much, but some.

I told her about the helpline... Some other times I said that I've been reading something to help me understand her better, she told me she's not a project, she's not something have to fix, or my good deed, and she got mad. But she was OK with the suggestion, although she told me in her forum she already does this, she talks with other patients and with therapists, in order to get motivated to recover. Her words about recovery are much more positive, it's not her only goal, but she doesn't see it as completely undesirable.

There's still a long way to go, but it truly feels like a milestone and a big deal.

I'm hopeful, and I wanted to share this also with you and some other people struggling. It sometimes gets better. Keep at it.

BobJ48
Good progress.

Rogers,

Yes, it does sound like some progress has been made ! Of course it's not the progress we would wish for : That somehow they would just see the light, and somehow be over it just like that. But as I suspect you are coming to know, it just doesn't work that way.

Instead it's the small things you mentioned, and particularly the part where they've come to realize the sort of trap that they've found themselves in. Sure they may still be pushing forward with weight loss, for all of the reasons you mentioned. Weight loss gets all wrapped up in the "good enough" thing. Which is something that still seems like it can be measured in black and white, by number on the scale.

But it seems like she is starting to understand the "negative side-effects" of all this too. Sure they know, in the abstract, that EDs are probably a bad thing in general, but at the same time, they've still got ED whispering in their ear too.

Plus it does sound like she's doing some experimenting on her own with eating. Which is a pretty big chance for her to be taking. it's still not going to feel "right" to her, so she may find herself discouraged about that part, but at least she's giving it a try, and letting herself see what's possible.

Plus the fact that she's talking with others who are in her same situation is probably positive too. They will be having the same sorts of concerns that she is, which gives their words credibility, so from that standpoint she won't be feeling quite so alone with the sorts of feelings she finds herself struggling with, and there will be something reassuring for her about that part too.

It's probably OK that she talked about not wanting to be anyone's project. Things like this are not ours to fix ( if only we could ! ) but there's still an element of control going on, so that's probably part of what you're hearing as well.

In any case, even if she does set her mind on recovery, there are invariably a bunch of bumps in the road, so be ready for that part too.

It's just one of those bit-by-bit sort of things, and she'll need to be patient with herself, just as we need to be with them too.

Rodgers12
Ups and downs

I feel a storm coming.

We are moving in together this month. This is a big change in her life, and it's scary, so everything is unsettled in her mind. I have to set my fears apart and be strong for both of us, and it's taking its toll.

She is not OK. But she tried to eat enough to stop losing weight. And that was a big win. But she took her strength from other areas. She chooses her clothes to look intentionally unattractive, she refuses all forms of physical contact. She wants to be alone more often, and she's fed up of trying to get better for the sake of others. She's has anger towards everyone. she told me she hates everyone, including me.

I took everything as well as I could. But today she told me she needs to lose more, because she can't stand herself in pictures taken by her kids. I have an 11 year old niece, and she is extremely thin, and my girlfriend of 36, weights the same as her. It's really scary. She's been having some heart problems, and fainting often. She is herself scared, but she can't stop it.

Today I'm really afraid of talking to her in case I make things worse. I feel completely powerless.

BobJ48
Storm ?

Rogers,

It does sound like things may be coming to some kind of head for her.

All the things you mentioned - the irritability, the withdrawal : These things sound like a reflection of her becoming increasingly frustrated with how things are going for herself. Frustration which, considering the care and support you've been providing, sounds like it's coming from with inside of her own self, rather than being a reaction to any missteps on your part.

And yes, the heart issues and particularly the fainting - Those sorts of things do tend to get a person's attention, and I'm sure it's getting hers.

Plus the part about her anger and hating everyone - That's another sign of her internal frustrations. The world just seems to want her to be normal, which can feel like a very oppressive demand. I can pretty well guarantee that she wishes she was normal too, so who's side is she really on ? These sorts of internal dilemmas can end up resulting in her exhibiting all of the unsettled emotions that she seems to be struggling with now.

And yet somehow despite all of this, she's still agreed to the idea of the two of you moving in together ?

I'm not exactly sure what that signifies, but ED has a pretty active imagination, and is probably not happy about all of what this may imply, so the fact that she apparently still finds herself willing to go forward with this probably says something as well. Because her ED is going to be telling her that things would be a whole lot easier and less complicated for the two of them, if the two of you didn't move in.

So I can certainly imagine it must feel like you're walking on eggshells about now, and I suspect you are right in having the feeling that some kind of something may be on it's way.

Hovering over all of this is the fact that she's the one who's going to have to take responsibility for how things proceed for herself. It's not going to be you who fixes things for her - It's going to have to be herself who ultimately takes the needed risks.

I can pretty well guarantee that she understands that part too, so you may be right about things coming to some kind of head.

While things could all go south, there might be some kind of positive breakthrough instead. I believe you're doing as good as you can, so it may be for now that you're stuck with having to just wait and see.

Rodgers12
the puzzle

The fact that she agreed to move in together (we and her two kids) is the piece of the puzzle I couldn't place. It all seemed to point to the conclusion that we should break up. She's not moving in with me at my place, we are all moving to a new house. So she knows it's a big step for me too.

She gets into a state where I know she's not listening, and she interprets everything as a threat. She is in defensive mode. So then I speak as little as posible, I listen, and I wait. But if this goes on for too long, she starts to imagine what I am thinking, and believes she is right as If I had said what only herself is thinking. Then I become more of an enemy and an scary stranger. But I can't see that, I only see she is avoiding me and that hurts.

She's aware all of this takes a toll on me. And she thinks "how can someone love someone as myself? I'm too complicated, I'm mean..." And that puts pressure on her. She doesn't want to be mean, but she doesn't want to change for anybody, and the second thought is stronger. She also says she hates herself more than anyone.

It's been getting fewer and fewer the times she says something that tells me she counts me as an ally. That's all I needed to keep going.

She's getting rid of a lot of bad influence and triggers by stopping the living with her mother and sisters. She's gonna stop living in two places and start in just one new one. Change is really scary to her, but I think she could start being herself more. She's gonna have more freedom and privacy, and more independence with the kids. I hope all of this helps. And I've seen that when she faces the things that scared her, things that she thought she couldn't bear, she actually deals with those quite well. But the anticipation,that kills her.

I wish she got "cured", but right now I just want her to stop wishing she was dead. I want her to have a bit of hope in life. When we saw the house she was hopeful for a week or so. Being as messy as it is, our relationship, I'm the only one she (kind of) trusts. And I know it's not my job, and I know it isn't fair, but I can't just step aside and watch her die, or look the other way. I can't love her and not do everything in my hand to maker her feel better.

This is a huge bet, I'm putting my heart on the table. I'm all in, but doing less is not enough. I hope and pray it gets us four to a better place.

I'm sorry this is not about EDs. Thanks a lot for your answers, BobJ48.

Adage
Sounds like you're in a rough

Sounds like you're in a rough place Rodgers12. While I commend you're being there for your girlfriend, I do think that it is important that you remember to take care of yourself. Are either you or your girlfriend currently in therapy? I think that it could work well for the both of you to go to your own therapists. There are also therapist that specialize in EDs. A dietician might also be able to help your girlfriend.
Your earlier post concerned me. I think that it would be wise for you girlfriend to see her doctor or primary care physician as soon as possible. Heart problems are no laughing matter - this ED could end up taking her life and leaving her children without a mother.
While I don't personally have a lot of experience with a partner with an ED, NEDA has a lot of good resources. Have you checked out the helpline? Volunteers are ready to help out during the day most of the week days. I'd also suggest checking out the greater website for more links like these:
http://www.nationaleatingdisorders.org/information-referral-helpline
http://www.nationaleatingdisorders.org/neda-navigators
https://www.nationaleatingdisorders.org/what-should-i-say

Best of luck. And keep us updated.

-Adage

Rodgers12
I have

I've tried everything. I went to therapy before knowing more about EDs. Then I knew she had been anorexic, but the whole importance of it eluded me. I just saw she was a bit weird about food. And I went to help me with other issues.

Now, if I go, I can't lie to her about it, I can't go in secret. And if I tell her I'm going to therapy she would have another reason to leave me. She already thinks she's ruining my life as it is.

I think I told you. So far we only lived together most weekends, and she went back to her mom's on weekdays. When we are together everything is a bit better. Trouble starts 90% of the time when we are apart, and of that, 85% is because something that happened with her mother, or sisters. They are fairy-tale-evil, if I could tell you...

Day by day is really hard. But I have hope. There are little things that give me hope.

Before, or related to the ED, she have always had social problems. She's overcome with anxiety when she has to visit any doctor. She's a very private person. And she had lots of therapy before, so now she distrusts therapists, actually hates them too.

I thank you for your concern, but I don't want to worry you. There's ups and downs, and mostly ups don't last enough, or they are not so spectacular to write about them, and they are harder to explain. I am too aware that she might die because of this. That's why the first step is for her to care about not dying. She tells me she has an appointment with a cardiologist, but she's been telling me that for a while, and when I ask, she tells me it's not yet, or that she lost her appointment because of something with the kids... This scares both of us. I know she takes it seriously, but the kids are first always, she loses a lot of opportunities to attend the smallest wish of any of the kids.

It really is like being with two different people, one that cares about being there for us, the kids and me, and one completely irrational and full of anger. Depending on the moment. And it pains me because the 1st person is so bright and sweet and valid, that I hate to talk about her being also the 2nd person. I don't know if this makes sense to you. But I believe the 1st person is kidnapped somewhere inside her, I see her sometimes. The bad is so overwhelming that it's hard to see the good, and I understand that other people can't see it, when I talk about these problems.

I did talk to volunteers and read everything. Sometimes you can't do any more than what you're doing. Then the only thing to do is not to despair. And find support to do that.

BobJ48
"Bad"

Rogers,

You wrote : "She's aware all of this takes a toll on me. And she thinks "how can someone love someone as myself? I'm too complicated, I'm mean..." And that puts pressure on her. She doesn't want to be mean, but she doesn't want to change for anybody, and the second thought is stronger. She also says she hates herself more than anyone."

Yeah, the "badness" thing. All the self-hate, and worries about how bad of a person they are. It's one of the hallmarks of EDs, that's for certain.

Like in the beginning, they were happy : Happy that all that weight was falling off. What a surprising accomplishment !

But if their weight would start creeping up, that would be…bad. In fact it would start to feel as though they were somehow a bad and personally inadequate person, if the scale was not going down.

Now, though, if a person is trying to recover, and the scale doesn't go up, then that means they are a bad person too.

So it's coming at them from both directions inside. If the scale doesn't keep going down, they have this instinctive feeling of being bad, and if it doesn't go up, they feel like a bad person too.

So when it comes to recovery, as well as the feelings she's having now, the whole "I am a bad and horrible person" thing is something that people with EDs are going to have to confront at some point. Otherwise the self-hate thing will just keep dragging them down.

We can tell them how wonderful they are, but they will always be convinced that we are "just saying that" to try and make them feel better. So that sort of approach rarely seems to make much of an impression on the self-hate thing, no matter how much we repeat it.

The better thing is to point out concrete good-hearted things they do. Like their love for their children, or if you catch her expressing sympathy for people who are in trouble. Or little things like picking up litter, or expressing care to animals. Any kind of "good" or kind-hearted things you notice.

Because you know, people who actually were bad or hateful wouldn't even begin to give a darn about any of that stuff. Which might be something she could grudgingly agree with ?

So make sure that you go with the concrete specifics, when trying to battle the self-hate.

"I know you worry about this, but I think there's a possibility that you might be a good person."

We can't really tell them that they are, but we can point things out certain things that we've noticed. They need to be the one who's considering the possibility that perhaps they might actually be good…if only in tiny bits of themselves to begin with.

Rodgers12
I can't stop screwing up

I can't help but think if in spite of all my good intentions I'm making it worse. I feel very tired, almost beaten up.

Many things have happened. Her family doctor finally caught up with the situation. She (the doctor) knows my GF is anorexic, and referred her to a psychiatrist She's thinking about going or not, some days she says yes, some days no.

She also told me I could tell my family about her problem, her shame to admit she has a mental problem is better than having to eat. I thought it could be a liberation, stop giving excuses and feeling ashamed of what she has (not what she is), but it's not like that for her, it's just the lesser of two evils.

We had a big argument, because I feel I'm walking on eggshells, and I only talk about her feelings and I take all decisions with that in mind. And even so, she always interprets something that means to her I want her to do things she hates, or that I want to get away with what I want. I hadn't even thought about what I want, It hadn't crossed my mind. So when she accuses me, and gets aggressive, it's more than I can take. But the more I explain I meant this or that because I want what she wants, the more angry she gets, and the more accusations come. She ended up telling me she hates me and everyone and that she wanted to leave the city.

We had problems with the house and we couldn't move in together yet. Supposedly we will this next weekend. But I can't take anything for granted. we made peace, but we haven't analyzed what happened, she just say's she's bad for me, and that I would be much better without her.

I can't talk about numbers here. But yesterday she told me she was happy because she had set a new goal, which is a kid's weight. Sh'e afraid the psychiatric won't take her seriously "because she's too fat" (she's skin and bones already). Should I have been content that she said she was happy? I couldn't, I lectured her. I said:

"For an adult, (Your weight since more than a year ago) already sounds like science fiction to me, less than (some pounds above her goal) I don't even know how to take it. It's really hard for me to understand this doesn't seem to you as worse than anything that makes you want to lose weight. I'm sorry.

There has to be a way to be underweight but healthy, But then you would need to plan every meal to get all the minerals and vitamins that are needed, and that means eating things you don't like. That would be being in control (as opposed to the control anorexics think they have).

Besides making you thin, this is destroying your health. You are in your fiction and you are blindfolded, hand in hand with "your friend" walking towards a cliff. She tells you "you won't die", "you are in control", "the important thing is this or that". but I'm outside watching you, without blindfold, and I see how you get closer and closer to the abyss. And I can't do anything.

You already know everything she tells you is wrong, and she says that because she wants you to hurt. But knowing doesn't matter.

If this sickness just wanted you to be thin, it would let you see you've went too far. If it wanted you to be happy, it would let you keep your health."

Then she only said "good night". And I said " I don't know what you understand when I say all of this. I love you, and I want you to live".

This morning I apologized for the lecture. And she told me she had a horrible night and that she shouldn't tell me about her weight. She asked me not to lecture her anymore. And then she stopped talking to me, so far.

I know she won't "snap out of it" with my words. But what can I do? How can I stay silent while I watch her hurt herself?

I didn't tell her, but I had a rough night too, I had nightmares about this, I'm working but I want to scream and run and hide and cry out of frustration. I'm super tense, I feel dizzy on and off, and very tired physically.

I "see the future" and I know she will go too far and leave her kids either with their monster father or with their monster grandmother, and I'm not able to care about the future of the kids because I can't stand the idea of her dying. I can't think past that.

I have anger towards her, because everything would be over to her if she goes too far, but it would be hell for the kids, and I don't know what will become of me. She believes we all be better off without her, so she's not scared of dying.

I can't talk to her about this. It only leads to break the communication between us. I can't talk to anyone else, because she already thinks I do that. And we were friends before, and we talked about how unhappy we were in our previous marriages, and she feels she makes me more unhappy, and she hates that role, as she hated my ex and thought I deserved better. I don't talk to my friends and family, because I don't want to hear "you should run", "you can't allow anyone treating you like that" and so on.

With my family it's a relieve that I don't have to lie or give excuses. But they don't understand. As we all do at the beginning. And it pressures me that they tell me "tell her to eat something", "she's too thin", "Doesn't she think about her kids?", and stuff like that.

I told her I talk with an association like NEDA, but I didn't tell her the name. If she agrees to join or call the helpline I will delete all my posts, as they would hurt her. But I don't want to badmouth her, I don't want to complain about her, I love her and I want to help her. I hope you, at least, understand this, as she doesn't seem to do.

Adage
Act now

Rodgers12, what you've said is extrememly concerning. I think that if you truly want your girlfriend to live/recover that you'll have to get a third party involved. Please, strongly consider calling the National Suicide Prevention helpline at: 1-800-273-8255 and or the Self-Harm Prevention line at 1-800-334-4357.
If you truly are as caring for her and her children as you claim to be, you will reach out and get a professional involved. Even if you have to call the NEDA helpline (1-800-931-2237) or an on call nurse at a local hospital, time is very likely critical.

-Adage

BobJ48
"Screwing up"

"I can't help but think if in spite of all my good intentions I'm making it worse. I feel very tired, almost beaten up."

Trust me, you are not screwing up in any sort of conventional sense. You are only responding the way any normal person would be expected to respond. But yeah, the part about feeling beaten up by all this. It's one of the reasons that SOs often get therapy of their own.

Plus, you are not badmouthing her. You are only telling the truth.

"...the more angry she gets, and the more accusations come. She ended up telling me she hates me and everyone and that she wanted to leave the city."

People with EDs…those who are self-aware, I mean…often will talk about the "Hangry" thing. The thing where when they are hungry all the time, it leads to them becoming hyper-irriatble and angry. So that's a lot of where the irritability is coming from - the hangry thing. Not that it's not supposed to hurt us when it's directed towards us, but it can help us a little to know that maybe it's not really as personal as it seems at the time. I would *not* mention "hangry" to her though, but it may help you a little to keep it in mind.

And yes : Wanting to somehow get a new start by moving away. As if that would somehow fix everything. But it's a common urge that people with EDs often have, and a part of the " Just leave me alone ! " kind of thing, that many regular people sometimes feel, when they find themselves trapped in a fix that they don't know how to get themselves out of.

Which I suspect is the phase of her ED that she's come to now.

In the beginning it was this big personal accomplishment and a sign of self-control, and although in some sense it still may represent those things to her, I think she's past that phase now, and has moved into the phase where she's begun to realize that she's in some real big trouble. But where the idea of changing feels impossible too. So yeah; in a fix, but not having a lot of faith that they can get themselves out of it.

People can find themselves falling into depression when they reach that stage, which is why you often hear people with EDs talking about killing themselves.

But….the idea of seeing this psychiatrist is a hopeful thing I think. Even just that there are periods where she does allow herself to consider it. Not that that's going to be the big cure, but more that it's a sign that she's starting to allow herself to think that there *might* be some kind of step she could take.

Of course it could end up being a total bust too : Even if she does see this person, things still might not work out. So it would mean taking a big risk.

Which…may be the emotional theme you'll want to start thinking about now. The "being willing to take a risk" theme, and the fears that can come with risk-taking.

Because if she decides to see this psychiatrist, that's exactly what it's going to be about.

Bob J

Rodgers12
Touching base

I wrote yesterday a long post, but it got lost.
I'm having some good signals, mixed with the same troubles, I hope I keep having more of the former and less of the latter.

Regards.

BobJ48
Signals.

Rogers,

Arrgh, nothing like loosing long posts !

Still, I'm glad that you are getting *some* good signals.

When it comes to recovery, my sense is that are always going to be some mixed signals, from the standpoint that ED is just such a terrifically persistent mindset. Challenges come along that usually have to do with the control issue, and when that happens it's probably no surprise that the person's old coping methods will make a reappearance in response.

But the difference is that in recovery, we often see the person making some attempts to resist those old ways of dealing with things, and that's an honest reason for encouragement I think, even if some of the old behaviors do continue to pop up.

Having the person not allow those slip-ups to be as discouraging as they once might have been - Not seeing them as a signal of impending failure, while continuing to give the successes their proper due : That's one of the keys in all this I believe.

So yes, bumps in the road - They are just an inherent part of the territory I think. The person may find themselves discouraged, but "Tomorrow is another day" is the way to look at it, if a person can allow themselves to take that stance.

Keep in touch, OK ?

Bob J.

Rodgers12
Those signals

For months the only emotion she found herself capable of feeling was hate, most of the time she felt just sad and she wouldn't allow herself to feel anything else.

That has changed. She has shown affection, she has said things she feels like doing (watching a movie...), she has talked about things in the future, she even talked about some foods saying that are delicious. Opening herself to emotions has brought about traumas from the past. I find most people with EDs have those. And she questions herself and if it is worth it to allow herself to have feelings.

We are in a delicate balance. At least she's not losing more weight, and she keeps thinking she will go to the psychiatrist (just days away now). Everyday is difficult. But we've had many days without a big crisis, and we've shared good moments.

I hug her expecting her to go away fast, but now she stays, and at that moment everything is worth it.

I gave a lecture to her mum and sister. Telling them this is dead serious, and the time to act is now, or we would lament later. That brought about a positive change as well. My GF doesn't know, she wouldn't approve I did this. But I feel I have to do everything in my power, and take risks too. The change it the way her mother talks to her now (she was really nasty before) I think it's bringing the biggest healing effect on my GF. The mother started criticizing her for being overweight when she was a toddler, and kept on criticizing anything all her life, even after treatments and suicide attempts. She has the parenting style of a angry coach or an army officer, I'm sure you know that style. After nearly 40 years, I pointed out to her it doesn't work with her daughter.

She's eating alone, at night, when she doesn't have the pressure of the presence of other people. And I estimate she's eating almost a normal amount of food. Half of the time, she's ok with that. The other half she's scared she's not lossing more, and she feels guilty for eating "too much". She talks to me about those feelings, she cries sometimes, but it doesn't go as far as before. I could focus on the negative things, but I choose to do it on the positive signs. Nevertheless, I keep in mind the battle is far from over, and bad times will still come. But I'm enjoying a bit of hope.

Almost a month ago she would have committed suicide. I asked her for a month. To give us a chance of living together as a family. She agreed at least she owed me that. For days it was ugly. The change, and mostly the anticipation before the change was too much for her. I felt I was losing "my bet" many times. But slowly it's getting better.

I had assumed our live as a couple was done. That she loved me as a valuable friend, but she was incapable of having a romantic interest (and she told me many times she couldn't think about those things). I wanted to take care of her anyway. But she has surprised me. To me it's great, but I also think it's a good sign about her will to live.

I'm sending this before it goes away.

BobJ48
Developments.

Rogers,

Recovery can be a pretty long slog, but it sounds like a corner has been turned, and that there are legitimate reasons to be encouraged.

" Opening herself to emotions has brought about traumas from the past. I find most people with EDs have those. And she questions herself and if it is worth it to allow herself to have feelings. "

Yep, that's one "plus" to EDs - People have a goal, and pursuing it with such mindful intensity often allows them to wall themselves off from otherwise painful thoughts and feelings and remembrances. Once a person gets rolling with therapy, and finally find themselves facing these unsettling issues, things often can appear to get worse for a while. So be prepared for some of that when the time comes.

But yes, it does sound like she's becoming more open the sorts of every-day feelings that make life richer, so that's wonderful to hear, and really does count as the progress you feel it to be.

. " The change in the way her mother talks to her now (she was really nasty before) I think it's bringing the biggest healing effect on my GF. The mother started criticizing her for being overweight when she was a toddler, and kept on criticizing anything all her life, even after treatments and suicide attempts. She has the parenting style of a angry coach or an army officer. "

I'm glad that you did take the risk to confront her, as in "How's that approach been working so far ?" The very fact that she's found herself emotionally able to make such a change really says something I think. Plus, if she finds that her change in approach is actually producing positive results that are noticeable…well…as I'm sure you are finding, everyone has some wisdom to gain, I think, when trying to do their best in situations like these.

"...The other half she's scared she's not lossing more, and she feels guilty for eating "too much". She talks to me about those feelings, she cries sometimes, but it doesn't go as far as before…"

Remember, when people have EDs, eating is just *not* going to feel like the right thing at all. It's the exact opposite of "being in control" as far as ED is concerned, so it's no wonder she finds herself crying sometimes. She probably knows that it's what she needs to do, but at the same time, it just feels so wrong, and simply the clash of those two ideas (outside of the food) is enough to drive them to tears.

" I could focus on the negative things, but I choose to do it on the positive signs."

Man, I really do think that's the way we need to go about it, if we are to stay OK ourselves. Her mom may begin to realize the same thing as well.

Because someone needs to be the custodian of hope in all this I think, when our loved ones may be struggling to hold it themselves.

Bob J.

Adage
Really glad to hear that such

Really glad to hear that such a change has occured Rodgers12.
I agree with most of what Bob said.
Recovery is very often a rollercoaster of ups and downs as you know.
But it sounds like your persistence is really starting to pay off.
You've even made strides in improving her support network.
Kudos man. Your optimism is well earned. Keep up the good fight.

-Adage

Hi Rogers12. I've got a

Hi Rogers12. I've got a girlfriend with an eating disorder and I've got some thoughts that might help you. (binge eating disorder, but EDs are really not about food itself, it's that the unhealthy relationship with food is used as a coping method to originally deal with one issue, then the ED just gets bigger and takes over the persons life). I'll just comment on the last post you made, cause things have changed a bit from your other posts.

It helps me to think of it like there are 2 entities in her head: herself, and the ED, and sometimes it's really hard to determine if something coming out of her mouth is her or the ED. I have a counselor for myself, primarily to help sort through other issues but she happens to have both personal and professional experience with EDs, and she is damn good. Getting a personal counselor for yourself to help you navigate this relationship that is constantly being interfered with by ED is an idea I hope you will consider. If you do, make sure they have experience with ED things, specifically. A former counselor of mine suggested that I could choose to see things, BTW, as my GF and I against the ED, and the suggestion has really helped me.

Anyways. She's been clinically overweight all her adult life from the ED, and we've known each other about 5 yrs and been together for 4. I realized about 10 days ago that for years, I had been unknowingly enabling my GF: I had been doing most walking related tasks for her, like getting things from the other room, dropping her off at the front of grocery stores and parking so she wouldn't have to walk as much, reminding her of things she needed to do, paying her half the bills cause she couldn't work due to her physical/emotional issues, etc. What I thought was supportive was actually shielding her from the consequences of her decisions, and it just made me so frustrated and angry, at the situation and at her. The line between supporting and enabling can be hella thin at times...you might want to think of doing some Google research on enabling addicts.

<<My GF doesn't know, she wouldn't approve I did this.>>

You could reframe this: ED would not approve if you did this...but fuck ED!!! Right? I have made it clear to my GF that I don't give a flying fuck if what I do makes ED unhappy-I hate ED and wish it'd go die in a fire already, and/or fuck itself. Something I heard a lot when I was at family week last year when my girlfriend was in residential treatment was that "secrets keep you sick". ED WANTS to destroy your girlfriend in secret, and helping keep that secret and putting on an "everything is OK" front to her friends/fam is actually something that enables the ED. You did the right thing by telling her mom and sis what's going on.

Be aware that if you've been enabling someone, when you stop, it will make the ED angry with you, and you might start mentally preparing yourself to hold your ground, even if the person gets super pissed at you. This is what happened with my GF when I stopped enabling the ED, and having my personal counselor around to help me figure out the details was super helpful.

<<But I feel I have to do everything in my power, and take risks too.>>

My counselor warned me that my GF might decide to end the relationship after I shut down the enabling train. Having that discussion with her was hard, but I was considering ending the relationship myself cause I had become so so so frustrated and angry that she wasn't taking her recovery seriously. BTW, me being that frustrated and angry? That was a sign I had been enabling her, and my frustration/anger has gone from 100 to essentially 0 now that I don't enable. She's taking her recovery seriously now.

<<She's eating alone, at night, when she doesn't have the pressure of the presence of other people. And I estimate she's eating almost a normal amount of food.>>

It's good that she's eating, but that's only half the issue. Is she eating what her body needs? Is she eating only her safe foods? This is why people are suggesting a dietician, preferably one that knows about EDs.

<<The other half she's scared she's not lossing more, and she feels guilty for eating "too much".>>

I think what's happening is that ED is yelling super loud in her ear, how fat she is, that she eats too much, and that she needs to lose more. It's prolly very hard for her to hear lots of what you tell her, and when she does hear it, the message is often distorted by ED. If you tell her she looks too thin, ED twists it and she hears that she's doing well and should keep it up. I think I remember the lead counselor at family week advising us to just avoid general body comments, cause ED just screws that up too much. Saying stuff like, I like what you did with your hair, are OK I think.

It's awesome that you're trying to learn about ED issues. Self education is one of the best things you can do for her. Hugs if you want some.

_admin_moderator
emma274az Edit

Hello emma274az.
Your post has been edited to conform with the community guidelines.
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Rodgers12
November

Hello again,

I can't believe I didn't write to thank you all for your words. You are my support network. My friends and family would want me to run away as far as I can from all this trouble, but most of them are too polite to say so. They see it's taking a toll on me. Even my GF herself is always pushing me away because she thinks I deserve better.

Some days I wonder if she would be better off without me, without the pressure of keeping a relationship she doesn't feel fit to maintain. I can't make head or tails of my mind, I don't know if I'm selfish for holding on to her, or if I'm selfish when I think she could be better off without me. It's hard for me to separate my sense of duty from other feelings. She accuses me many times of thinking about her as a social project. And after blocking all the pain, I surprise myself with how much I love her. Even when she's not the girl I knew, even when she treats me like an enemy some of the time. But I have to think about "duty" because if I have in mind all the time I love her, and If I keep in mind a hope of her loving me back, It's too much disappointment to stay functional. I don't know if this makes sense to you. If I ask myself too often "Will she ever love me again?" I get depressed, because there's almost no sign of that happening anytime soon.

So I have to focus on "doing the right thing" by them. But they're not a social project, I do love her, and I care about the kids.

Many people tell me "Are YOU happy?" Of course I'm not. But what is the alternative? Abandon the people I love in a situation of great need? Will I be happy if I did that, when It's completely wrong for me? I'm not happy, but at least I'm doing what I feel is the right thing to do. That's my only comfort. If I leave them, well, If I said OK to the many times she says she's leaving me alone, I would be leaving them practically to live on the streets. The chance of my GF killing herself eventually is great. She loves the kids more than anything, but as with me, she thinks they would be better with anyone else. She says ideally, the best case scenario would be for her to die and know I would keep the kids. But legally I would be the last on a list for the custody.

So everything's a big pill to swallow, but I don't like the alternative. I can not do less than everything in my power.

I often think about her as two entities, as emma274az said. The problem is that one entity is the ED, and the other is a "jobless mother with troubled kids, severe depression, a history of abuse, Asperger's traits, and a family history out of a horror movie". Both "entities" have trouble with physical contact, trust issues, fears... When she fell in love with me, she dropped her guard, and she beat her fears because something was making her stop thinking too much. Now She thinks about that as a weakness, she feels guilty she was so fool as to have hope "in a man". And she reacts against it. Almost as soon as she "got me", all her thoughts and fears came back. She was constantly pushing me away, partly because she feared I would leave her (to leave before someone leaves you). Now she can't believe I love her for real.

I've been at her side for 3 years as a friend, 2 of them as her boyfriend, if the life we have qualifies as a couple. But she thinks I will betray her eventually, she is convinced I will, it is a fact for her. She also thinks I lead a double life (even If days are too short to lead just this one), that I have many women - friends with whom I flirt, that I talk to everyone about how bad a girlfriend she is, that I talk all the time with my ex-wife (who's completely out of my life)... I feel she uses unconsciously this lack of trust as a barrier to keep me at a distance, because she doesn't want to let herself feel or have hope. So she doesn't want to trust me.

I don't have a reason to lie to her. I was married when we first met and I never lied to her, not hide any of the hurtful things and my defects. She could have disliked me then for the truth, but I didn't lie to her. This, writing here in this forum, is the worst thing I do that she may think it's a betrayal, but even this, I told her I do it, because it is not easy to cope with this, and it makes no sense to hide it. She's not stupid, I wouldn't tell her our relationship is a walk in the park for me. I try to tell her it's better than she sees it, and that there is no real obstacle for us to be happy together, but I wouldn't patronize her mollifying it.

I have to do some self-examination to figure out if I'm enabling her. I haven't done it yet. I know I shouldn't talk about weight or thinness, or answer when she compares her with everyone... But most days it's all she talks about, and I want her to keep talking to me.

She mostly eats only her safe foods, yeah, but she's conscious about what she might lack, and she tries. It's far from perfect, but I don't wanna lose the progress she reached.

The visit to the psychiatrist was a complete bust. The doctor wasn't specialized in EDs, and gave her the advice a market vendor, or a aunt from the 19th century would gave her. "Eating is a pleasure, you just have to eat...It's is harder not to eat" and so on. She, the doctor, told her she had anger and depression issues that were way more important than the ED, and sent her to a psychologist. My GF lost her first appointment, and we are waiting for the second. That visit was a big step back. I'm horrified to see that even many doctors are complete ignorant of the dimension of an ED. As you know, sick people with EDs take very personally that other people don't take them, or their sickness, seriously. Conclusion: "I have to be ever thinner, so they really see this is serious". Well, "I have to be thinner..." seems to be the exit for any kind of trouble, or the comfort to keep living.

I really liked the "custodian of hope" idea. It brought tears to my eyes, and I repeat that to myself sometimes. I like the idea that I'm keeping a flame on, that someday I would be able to return to her, and it wouldn't be lost.

These days she's less angry, she's more sad and extremely tired. But somewhat cynical, as in "I can't care enough to be angry, but I still hate everyone". She feels she needs to be this angry to protect herself, she thinks she's happier this way. And I see she's not. She doesn't want to be a doormat anymore, she doesn't want to be the person that puts everyone's needs in front of hers, just to be ignored and taken advantage of. She feels she was like that all her life, and she ran out of energy to be that person anymore. She needs to be a bad person, and to be OK being a bad person, in order to survive. You wouldn't believe how sweet and caring, and funny, and brilliant, and child-like hopeful she was when we started dating. Even when she had all the same troubles she has now, and spent many hours just crying. I saw her as a broken person crushed under the weight of too much trouble, but with a gigantic light inside of her. She says the bright part is gone forever, that she became her mother, always angry. I don't know if that's possible. Someone with the biggest heart, so good... Can she change so much with no way back? She's still so good with the kids, even when they are awful to her.

If it was a social project, I wouldn't know what to do. I keep hoping things go better, but I never know if what I'm doing, or just being here, is good or bad. I hope because I love. As Saint John of the Cross wrote: `Where there is no love, put love -- and you will find love` I don't know what else to do.

I'm not a saint myself. Many times I have to just go to another room, because I don't have anything good to say, I spend hours thinking "how can she be so mean to me?" and "this is too much", or "this is too unfair". I sometimes think "let her go, it would be a relief, you did all you could". But then I see her and I just want to hug her, and comfort her.

I was, but I'm not very religious nowadays, I choose to believe in God, and my education was catholic all the way. My parents are almost fanatics, and their answer to anything is "go to church more". I don't want to give you a false impression, because I respect people with authentic faith, and I'm not trying to pass for one of them. I believe, and sometimes I pray, that's about it. Having said that, I think God put this on my way because I can handle it, and maybe not a lot of people can. That goes for each one of you, you need to be a special kind of human being to be able to look beyond all this and see the person inside an ED, and love them. I also think God gave her (and us) these difficult children, because even if they take us to our very limits, we are able to love them, and we manage to be patient most of the time. I know many parents that wouldn't try to understand their needs, and simply would be punishing them all the time. This doesn't mean I think I'm special. This means that if God put them in my way, I must believe in myself and think I can make something good. Even if to me it isn't clear, Someone who knows better planned this, and put me, not other, in this role.

Well, this wasn't much about EDs, but you told me to keep in touch and I hope you don't mind.

Best wishes.

BobJ48
Rogers

Hey Rogers,

I'm glad yo took the time to stop in, and the time to write all this out. If only for yourself, you know ?

Because when there are so many pieces of the situation to consider like this, it truly is hard to assemble it all into a story that we can get a true grip on. And there really are so many pieces.

I've heard so many narratives from people with EDs, over the years I've been on other forums, so I can recognize all that you speak of from hearing from their own perspective. And then talking with other men too.

The girls, they worry about their worthiness, and worry that they may be harming their partners. Plus now their partners know their whole story, and are bound to have expectations. Expectations they can feel that they won't be able to meet. So that's where a lot of the withdrawal comes from I think.

Plus the depression and ugly self-hate that they deal with almost constantly.

Abuse adds another layer too, with the fears and associations to old relations and experiences. More and more pieces, and more.

So your'e seeing it about as bad as it gets I think. They're in real trouble, and it's a serious matter for sure.

Then there's the part about what are we supposed to think, when so much of it seems beyond our influence? Our heart and our loyalty won't set it aside, and then add in the feelings of powerless we can feel… I know that you know what I mean.

What is the right thing to do ? How would we feel about our own selves should we find ourselves feeling that we have abandoned them ? It puts us in an emotional corner it's true.

Everyone has to make their own choices I think, and none of us can pass judgment on another man's choice.

Part of the dilemma is practical I think. I apologize if I've mentioned this before, but in any relationship we can only our half of the thing, and by definition the other half will always be beyond our control. So it helps to keep that part in mind I've found, when we find ourselves worrying about what more we might do. Because even if we are doing 100% with our half, there's still that other half that's in the other person's hand.

So I really don't know what to tell you. Some people might say that it's all too dramatic, but it's all very real as well.

Have you come to any conclusions do you think ?

It's just such a hard thing I know.

Rodgers12
started therapy

Hi there,

as always thanks a lot for your messages and for listening.

My GF has started to see a psychologist. And she liked her therapist! That's the best that I could hope for, because she hates therapist of all kinds, even doctors, because she can't barely stand to be touched or even looked at. She feels she has found a nice person, and she has hope she can help.

She wanted to go in the end because of the severe depression, she still doesn't want to get rid of her ED, but she wants to stop wanting to die every day. She wants to know what to do with all the rage. She can't stand life as it is, so something has to change, and she can't change it on her own.

You know how I feel because I'm not a factor, she can't cope on her own and I don't make a difference. I make it worse sometimes, many times. I wish I could help her without "forcing" her to live with me, but then she would be a "social project" or worse, I would be her sugar daddy. Anyway I can't afford that. The only way of giving her and the kids a home is sharing my own. And she's nowhere near ready to live with a man, we all know that, but she doesn't have a choice now. I try to be a roommate and leave her alone every time she needs that, which is almost always. And then, when the kids are present, I'm their father figure. They love me and trust me, and they have expectations. And I honestly don't know if their mother is going to die, or to leave, or if she loves me in any way.

Layers and layers and layers...

I understand most of her behavior, but understanding it doesn't make it OK. I try to look OK in front of her, so she doesn't carry my weight, but when I face her rage, or when she avoids me, or when I think about how long has it been since we kissed or hugged...It shows in my face. I just hope she doesn't know how much she's hurting me. She knows it's a lot, but I secretly hope she doesn't know the whole deal. Then when I feel angry I think about telling her something on the line of "how can you do this (and this and this and this....) to me?" but in the past, that only made things way worse.

I'm holding my breath with this therapy, I pray it works a miracle. I know two things would make her better:

1. A job. She'd feel less useless, and she would spend much less time thinking about "her unworthiness". But the job market is hell, and she needs something that is compatible with taking care of the kids, at least while I'm working.

2. The older kid starts caring about her. The day he stops giving her hell, she ends the day happy (she's even affectionate with me that day). I see he has the tools on his hand to be happy and to make the life of her mom bearable, doing the same things, but he seems to be at war with anything any other person than himself wants or needs. I see he has the power I lack, but "chooses" not to use it. And I know he's a kid and one with problems with maturity, attention, jealousy...He can't take that load on him, I know. But I also know one day it could be too late to do something. My GF gets hurt many many times, but most of all, she is devastated that he's not happy. Also, when she thinks she can't take it anymore, that she wishes not to see the kids for a week (as I thinks any mother does, even with good kids), she feels like a total failure as a person. I could write a book about the two kids, but just trust me. If she didn't have any other problem, these two kids are enough to drive someone mad, I haven't seen anything like it, not even on TV. And she manages to be patient and loving everyday. I know good and bad mothers, and I think she's the best I know, I think she's inhumanly good. And she thinks she's the worst mother in the world.

Anyway, fingers crossed for this therapy. I'll tell you if I can.

lovetowrite81
Rodgers12

Hi Rodgers12,

Thank you so much for updating us with where you and your girlfriend are at. This whole situation sounds so complex, as you said 'layers and layers and layers'. I cannot imagine. I am glad that she found a therapist she likes- that is definitely progress ! Has she been actively searching for jobs? It's really unfortunate that the kid is acting this way especially when it is so clearly altering the way your girlfriend perceives herself as a mother.

I wish I had more direct advice, but I just wanted to ask what you have been doing to take care of yourself in the midst of all this. And remind you that you are never alone-- you always have support here. Please keep us posted on how everything is going. Keep pressing on-- I have hope for things to get better.

-Lovetowrite81

Rodgers12
Maybe it's childish,

Maybe it's childish,

but it feels great to read some words of encouragement, even from people you don't know at all.

Yesterday I talked a lot with her and she thanked me and hugged me, and after I went to sleep she texted me " I hate to say this, but I don't know what I would do without you (heart)". So even though we talked sad things, I feel much energized.

She's been looking for a job for a long time. She did some trials where she worked almost for free in campaigns, and then they said they won't hire her, even when she tripled the goals they gave her. The thing is she has the two kids, and that doesn't give her much time , most jobs would interfere with taking care of the kids without help. I can, and I do, help when I'm not working, but she doesn't have anyone else. She lost a bunch of interviews and opportunities because the kids got sick, or something like that. Companies want to avoid that, if they have a thousand applicants, mothers go to the paper bin, and they still have 900 to choose from. i understand if she doesn't have the energy to being rejected day after day in jobs. Job hunting has been the root of depression for me many times.

We don't know for sure why the kid is acting up so badly. He could help himself and be happy now. He has a good life. But he's not over things from the past. Both he and my GF were bullied by her ex-husband for a long time. He positively knows his biological father doesn't love him (that monster told him), and he has to face that everyday his father doesn't even call. My GF begs him to call for birthdays and Xmas, but he doesn't do even that. It's been 3 years since they divorced, and he hasn't visited his kids once, despite all the efforts of my GF that I have witnessed. We love the kid and we try to have this in mind all the time, but he's becoming a bully himself to all the family, specially the little one, and it's hard to show him love when he's always defying us. When we talk calmly to him, he gets very pissed off, and screams "stop lecturing me!", and he doesn't listen to a word we say. He's going to therapy too, but even his doctor can't believe how he behaves. He's ten, and he talks like a ten year old, but he acts like a 3 year old with a tantrum.

His mom, she's been so unlucky in life that she fears therapist would think she's making everything up. Because most of her life is a horror movie.

I write here to learn, and more and more for myself. I don't do anything else to take care of me. I'm thinking about therapy, but when I had it, it was disappointing, because the therapist didn't have any answers that I hadn't tried or thought about them before. So she basically agreed with me all the time, and told me it was normal to suffer. I know the best thing for me in a psychological point of view is to run away from this relationship.

I had a previous marriage and I thought about myself as a servant to her happiness. And that was wrong, and we both paid the price at the end. This time, I'm making an effort, but I know I'm giving more than she could ask, and I know I won't do this forever. At least I don't feel obligated to do it forever. I don't know if I'm making any sense. I help her because I love her and because I like to help, it's part of who I am (for better or worse), but not because it is my duty. So it's a free choice everyday, I don't feel trapped.

This is hard, but it's also life. I'm living deep aspects of life and learning from them. I'm learning a lot about myself too. I value things that maybe I didn't before. I wasn't happy with an easy comfortable life, and now I'm living something completely different. At some level I'm proud of myself for keeping up with all this drama. It doesn't break me and what doesn't break you...

I really hope we work this out, because I admire and love my GF, and I want to have her happy by my side. It's the life I want. But if this doesn't work out, I don't have a plan B, but I know I will eventually manage. I think I'm as happy as I can be with this situation. So I don't see the point of therapy right now.

Anyway, see you soon.

dropthemetaphor
re: maybe it's childish,

Hey rodgers12--I just wanted to leave a quick comment to assure you that it's not childish in the least! That's what we're here for, and writing can be so therapeutic in any capacity. Do you journal at all? I have for many years and I find it very helpful to collect my thoughts and find new ways to express the same ideas. Or is it the community aspect of the forums that you find the most encouraging? I wonder if you might get something more out of group support sessions in your community, rather than individual therapy. What do you think?

I hope you continue finding support on the forums. You're obviously working really hard to do the best you can in a very tough situation, and somehow you're managing to maintain a positive attitude through it all--one of the hardest parts for many people. It's so easy to surrender to feeling hopeless. I'm sure that in these dark corners, your partner and her kids appreciate you so much more than you may ever know.

BobJ48
Rogers

Hey Rogers,

Some great notes. And like you said, when we find ourselves in situations like this, not only do we learn more about our partner, but we learn more about ourselves too. Like I said : Some great writing.

Great to hear that she's become open to therapy. I know there was a time when that seemed like it would never happen, so it's progress indeed. Even though, as I know you found out, it's rarely any sort of magic bullet.

But it does help with the reflection part I think, and we get some validation too. Hopefully she can continue to feel safe with this person, and that they in turn can use that trust as a means to encourage her to take the risks that she needs.

Plus that note you got from her : That's really something indeed.

Blah blah blah : All the drama. It's really hard to pretend that there's not a lot of it. Or that life might not be a whole lot easier if we were with someone else. Oh Golly, are we just trying to prove something to ourselves by sticking around ?

Honestly, I don't think it pays to dwell on those angles too much. My own therapist once pointed out that I was a very loyal sort of person, and that (apparently) it was a positive human quality. So I think it's OK to let it be that - and that we are just being true to the sort of person we are, even if others might find themselves making different choices. Even if we might find ourselves making different choices at some time in the future.

I hope you'll keep writing.

Rodgers12
Hey there

Something is happening...

My GF has been with the flu, and maybe you know this, but when a simple flu attacks an underweight body, it's very strong, she couldn't get up of bed. And I'm talking about a woman that went alone to have surgery once, and told me when it was done because she didn't want to worry anyone. She's up and working when every one else would be in bed.

Anyway she thought she was going to die. And at first she thought "finally, some rest! " But then she realized she wouldn't see the kids and me anymore, and she got scared, she didn't want that.

She's talking about things in a slightly different way now. She doesn't want to feel the desire to die. Which is a step closer to wanting to live, but not there yet. And boy she's talking! It's great, although I feel I can't keep up, I can't remember everything, I can't even get a word or two between her lines. She's opening up about many traumas, and putting the origin of trouble there. I feel that is way better than feeling anger towards every one.

I wish we had a break, and we could just watch a movie, or relax any other way. I mean, forget about all the drama for a couple of hours. I've been very tense around her for many months, and now she's treating me like a friend again, I mean that in the most positive way, I mean it as opposed to being a threat to her, which is what it felt like before. So... I feel a little guilty about wanting to rest, when I see that listening to her is doing so much good right now. I hope I can keep up.

I'll keep writing as long as someone is reading. I love to write, and this is keeping me sane, or as sane as I can be. I got my birthday coming up, and that's about people and food, so it's a source of stress. I wish I could go without celebrating anything (Xmas is next) but then she would feel that she's interfering with me having a normal life. She already told me that something along the line of "Don't let my craziness ruin your birthday".

I've been thinking about how the media, movies, and TV are very insensitive to the problem of EDs. There are many "good intentions" messages, but then there are no serious efforts to keep triggers away from their products. Many underweight girls posing as normal, and even a model of beauty when they look sick. That's the extreme, On the other extreme is sick people and us who live with the sickness. And in the middle is the public, who is widely misinformed. And that misinformation translates into comments that send our loved ones steps back in their progress, or worse. I guess we all have experienced a shock when we faced what an ED actually is and what we thought it was before. Is this so ugly people don't really want to know? Is one of these things that people avoid to keep living in a nicer reality ? I've seen that sick people also don't want the rest of us to know much about the disorder, we are considered outsiders. So that makes it harder. I don't know if there's a forum to discuss this. I mean, it seems people with EDs have many things in common, even if everyone is different, but then why most of the people have general ideas that are so far from the truth?

Gotta go, best wishes to everyone. And Thanks.

lovetowrite81
Rodgers12

Hi Rodgers12,

Thank you for posting. Keep writing- we are definitely reading :) That is really great to see that this sickness is bringing about new perspective for your girlfriend and that she has been able to be so open with you & let you in more. Definite progress for sure!

I completely agree with your insight. It annoys me so much that ED's are so misrepresented in our culture and that so many people don't have any clue about the severity or complexity of these illnesses- or even worse, wouldn't even consider them valid illnesses. There tends to be so much misunderstanding around it- that it is a choice, that an individual is just in a phase that can be snapped out of at any moment, that it is solely about body image, etc etc etc. And stigma drives the issues back into a place of shame and silence. It is really unfortunate that even when the media does cover an eating disorder, it is portrayed in one certain way by one certain type of person. Or is completely underplayed. I can think of several TV shows in which a main character purges or faints as an effect of restrictive eating, and that is never followed up with again. Like it was just some kind of normal addition to the plot or something and not a major issue that needs much exploration. It is very very frustrating. Totally get where you are coming from there. That is why I think it is so important as people in recovery or with a loved one suffering/in recovery to spread awareness about what is true and what is not to promote understanding. There's definitely a long way to go. I would love to see more of these discussions taking place on the Media forum- maybe I will start one in the near future :)

Please keep us posted on how you & your girlfriend are doing!

-Lovetowrite81

BobJ48
Lots of topics !

Rogers,

" She's talking about things in a slightly different way now. She doesn't want to feel the desire to die….And boy she's talking! It's great, although I feel I can't keep up,... She's opening up about many traumas, and putting the origin of trouble there. I feel that is way better than feeling anger towards every one."

Yes, it would be wrong to assume that people don't move forward in their EDs. What I mean is, they still have their ED of course, but their thinking about it evolves. Like you said, she's beginning to make some connections now, and not simply being a product of her hunger and irritation. It's not "the cure" of course, but it is a sign of things moving forward I think.

"I wish we had a break, and we could just watch a movie, or relax any other way. I mean, forget about all the drama for a couple of hours. "

You're right about this. And really, when we try and think about what we can possibly do to help, this is one of the answers I think. By that I mean doing activities like going to the zoo, or the library, or the historical museum, or other sorts of engaging activities that help the person (and ourselves !) connect back with normal life for a while. So you might want to think about making plans for some things like that ?

" So... I feel a little guilty about wanting to rest, when I see that listening to her is doing so much good right now. "

Yep, in the beginning a lot of people find themselves in the "fix it" stage of things. They see that their partner has problems, so they try and come up with plans or suggestions that might fix it. "Being supportive" or "just listening" can sound like a pretty weak and passive response in the beginning, but after a while we can begin to realize just how helpful those things can actually be. Plus, in contrast to trying to fix the other person, it actually does qualify a legitimate thing we can do to help matters !

" I've been thinking about how the media, movies, and TV are very insensitive to the problem of EDs. ... Many underweight girls posing as normal, and even a model of beauty…"

No kidding, the "normalization" of thinness isn't something that's just our imagination. I mean think about the image of "flappers" that we have from the 1920's . They were all supposed to be thin and flat-chested, right ? So go on Google and bring up some bathing-beauty contests from back then. Those examples of the "thin ideal" body from back then would be considered large, when compared to what the media presents us with today. And the girls are being presented with it every day. And not just in the media, but among all the girls who they see at school too.

Not that that's what EDs are "about", which only goes to confuse matters more. In the beginning it might be about "being beautiful" for people, but that stage doesn't last very long. All you have to do is go on some of the forums, and you'll find threads about how getting thin is no longer about being beautiful or vanity once a person's been in it for a while. It's more about the control thing, you know ?

Then the thing about the scale : The numbers go down = You are in control. The number goes up = your whole life is slipping out of control. Are you "good enough" yet ? The "good enough" thing is a big part of it too.

So it's hard to expect "normies" to understand all of that. And why should the media waste time trying to explain something so boring and complex, when they know without too many shades of doubt that many of their viewers would love to look thin like that themselves ?

Lovetowrite said :

" I can think of several TV shows in which a main character purges or faints as an effect of restrictive eating, and that is never followed up with again. Like it was just some kind of normal addition to the plot or something and not a major issue that needs much exploration. "

No kidding. And really, it almost seems like it's trendy to have *some* kind of obligatory mental health issue these days, so why don't we have it be an ED !! I mean they might be in trouble of course, but we all know in the back of our minds how beautiful they might look if they happen to get a little bit thinner !

" It is really unfortunate that even when the media does cover an eating disorder, it is portrayed in one certain way by one certain type of person. "

You wouldn't by any chance mean the already-attractive young white girl from the well-off family who's a straight-A student, would you ?

This is a subject that comes up for tidal waves of ridicule in the forums as well. And there are only more movies on the way right this moment that follow up that same old plot line. :P

So yes, there are *so* many angles to the media and sociological aspects. It can be hard to keep from getting a little cynical about it at times too.

Bob J.

Rodgers12
It is a great gift to have all these responses.

---- To birdie22,

Thank you for taking the time to write me back. Mi GF always talked to me, before becoming my partner, we started talking in college and we connected, and from the start, we shared things we didn't tell to anyone before. It truly felt like we had found a soul mate. Being in a romantic relationship made things more difficult, but we never stopped talking, except for mental/emotional blocks, or episodes of distrust and anxiety.

The thing I'm talking about now is more complicated. I've been supportive of her against herself. She wanted to be alone, she wanted to die, and I kept hope for her. What I feel is as if I had been trying to rescue her from drawing in the sea, and she fought me back all the way. Now we get to the shore, and I'm exhausted, and she say's "Oh, now I'm ok, lets go for a swim!" And I'm not sure I have the strength. It seems that she's going to let me help her a bit more, and that's great, but now I need to get my anxiety levels a bit down so I feel I'm ready for the next stage.

I know what you are telling me, I've been on the side of the depressed partner most of my life, and my ex, my family, my friends, always felt like doing things, and I felt like staying at home. It always felt wrong, and 90% of the times, it felt it wasn't worth it. Nevertheless, I thank the people around me to try to make me "live a little", and taking me out of my comfort zone. I believe my life is richer because of them.

That feeling of needing a break, has a lot to do with fear. I fear that if she keeps talking and crying, we're gonna stumble upon something awful, and she will push me away again. I just need to enjoy for some time that she doesn't hate me, you know? And I was trying to make sense of that feeling. I wouldn't say this to her, I know it's a selfish feeling and that she doesn't need distractions as much as getting everything out of her chest. I also know I'm entitled to want something for myself and have selfish thoughts and feelings. But I wanted to understand them, before choosing what to do with them. It's being good, although I feel I'm walking on eggshells.

For yourself. Don't ask forgiveness because for you something is important even though people would think it shouldn't. Here we all know that half a pound means the world to many people. I hope you get better and it was very nice of you to write to encourage me when you are going through a rough time yourself. I bet there are many more people with depression than we thought, everyday, close to us. So you should know many of us would get it, it is all too common to think "no one understand what I am going through", and that makes us lonely and an easy pray to depression. I can tell you are an excelent person.

----- To BobJ48

You've been my therapist this last year, and I saw you are helping a lot of people here, and I know you are active in some other places. I hope life brings you a lot of blessings in return.

Her thinking was dangerous, she thought she was a bad person, specially with me, but she wanted to learn how to live with that, because being a good person so many people took advantage of her. Now she has said a couple of times that she doesn't want to be a bad person. So instantly, she isn't.

----- To lovetowrite81 and BobJ48

I'll just say I feel the need to raise awareness, but it clashes with the desire of privacy of my GF, that it is more important right now. If I start to talk about how complex and deep anorexia is, all my circle of friends and acquaintances would put 2 plus 2, and know my GF is anorexic. Which no doubt many suspect, but, you know...

I guess the desire of being thin, normal or pathological moves a lot of money around the world. So socially it doesn't pay to take the foot from the gas pedal on this. We are a too small comunity to being taken seriously.

The pitty is that I see family and friends who got it so wrong, and then act so harming to the people who has ED's. Even if they just don't know what to do or say, and they put distance between them and the sick person, who feels it as a stigma. I think we do the same to friends who are into drugs or drink heavily, we feel we will be a party pooper if we say something early on, and then when it's a serious problem it takes courage to say something, so we just stop calling these people that often. There is a point where we can't treat people as if they were guilty of being sick. Maybe at some point in time they made a poor choice, but that could happen to anyone. Now, they need help and they need us most than ever. Even when they push us away.

I feel ashamed, because if I didn't love my GF so much, I would have given up a long time ago. And I wish I had known more from the beginning and my patience wouldn't be so worn out.

BobJ48
Rogers :

You wrote :

" I fear that if she keeps talking and crying, we're gonna stumble upon something awful, and she will push me away again. "

No kidding : The "Pushing away" thing. It's a pretty common thing when it comes to EDs.

And you do kind of have to wonder where it comes from or what sets it off. My sense is the "something" is shame. Shame about where they've brought themselves, shame about being a burden on their loves ones, shame over the fact that it feels like they can't bring themselves to believe that they could possibly change things. And the worry that they'll disappoint us. Shame is the very worst emotion I think, and it can have a lot to do with EDs.

But at the same time it's just a feeling, you know ? An ugly and draining one it's true, but a feeling none the less.

So do we face it or what ? And what if we do ? Does it mean that we are destroyed, or does it mean that we've finally got things out in the open ?

" She wanted to be alone, she wanted to die, and I kept hope for her. "

Yep, I've been there myself. And am still there with one person I know. When things get rough for them, someone has to hold on to hope when they can't, and sometimes that task falls on us.

Which can be wearing . We care about them of course, but it's also like we have this big investment too. All the energy we put into the matter you know ? And to top it off, it's an investment in something that the *other* person has to fix. And that angle can be draining too.

"I just need to enjoy for some time that she doesn't hate me, you know? .... I also know I'm entitled to want something for myself and have selfish thoughts and feelings. But I wanted to understand them, before choosing what to do with them…"

Yeah, there's a limit to the self-sacrifice, and a limit to the saintliness part as well. We have a right to hope for good things for ourselves I think. But you're right : It's up to us to decide what those good things might be.

" I guess the desire of being thin, normal or pathological, moves a lot of money around the world…"

You've heard me mention the control part of EDs, but the other main theme is the "Good enough" thing. Are we good enough yet ? This is not just something that people with EDs worry about, just as you said it, a whole lot of money goes into people trying to be "good enough". "Good enough" on the outside, so that (apparently) we'll begin to feel good on the inside too. It's a pretty old story I think, and really plays such a role in EDs. At least in the beginning I mean. And ultimately once again when it comes to getting better I think.

"...The pitty is that I see family and friends who got it so wrong, and then act so harming to the people who has ED's. Even if they just don't know what to do or say…"

EDs are hard things to understand, so people can be forgiven for that part I think. But at the same time, many people don't seem to have the first clue about being supportive either. And when you start feeling like no one else "gets it" about how you're feeling…it's not the greatest thing, that's for sure.

" Maybe at some point in time they made a poor choice, but that could happen to anyone. Now, they need help and they need us most than ever. Even when they push us away. "

Yes, that's the truth. But it's still up to them to let us in, you know ?

"... I know you are active in some other places. I hope life brings you a lot of blessings in return…"

Um, yes. I'm really active in some other places. But it's all at a distance, and that makes it easier to keep an emotional distance.

And yes, it would be wonderful if I got a lot of blessings in return, but as you may or may not be finding, often it's ourself who need to give ourselves our own blessings. Kind of like our loved-ones ultimately need to do too ?

But yes, speaking selfishly for the moment, any sort of materially manifesting karma would be welcomed should it decide to show up.

As I'm sure you know what I mean. :-)

Bob J.

Rodgers12
Roller coaster

What a roller coaster of a week...

I had my birthday, and she was sick and we postponed any celebration for the next week. I mentioned her that I got some birthday messages, and she started to think, and next day she was concern about what I might be telling about her to my friends. She closed herself in and told me she didn't trust me and that she shouldn't have told me anything. And that she would never will. We got into a mild argument, and I should have kept my mouth closed, because she has told me this a hundred times, and then she talks to me the next day. She says it's normal that I have to talk about her, but she hates thinking she's the topic of my conversations. I don't share this I tell you with friends or family. But it affects our lives, I cancel many meetings with friends or family, or I go alone, and they ask....I have to make up excuses all the time, and tell everyone they can't count on us showing up. And this is when we have next to zero social life.

Then a couple of days before I was gonna meet my family we went into a big argument. As most of them go, I notice she is upset, so I try to say things in a different way, as in, "please, don't get mad, I'm not saying anything against you, I'm on your side". I think "with the next sentence, she's gonna realize there's no reason to be mad". But the more I explain, the more I upset her. And in the moment I don't see why. She asks me to leave her alone, I think I do, but when she talks again, I answer, and she tells me if I loved her I would have left her alone, because that's what she asked. The fact that I try to say I want to do what she wants, makes her the angriest, because she believes I'm trying to manipulate her.

Anyway, I was hurt and I got really nervous, desperate. She was livid, screaming at me when I was already in bed. I got what she was understanding, and I told her I got it and that I had been stupid for not seeing it. She calmed down, and left. An hour later I saw a text saying "I'm so sorry", and I was going to go see her, and in that moment she came into my room, and hugged me, and I cried my eyes out, she was super affectionate, calming me down like a baby, saying I was gonna have a super nice birthday and such. It felt great.

Next day, she said she was only hurting me and that she ruins everything and every life she touches, and that she must go. She was saying the most horrible things about herself, saying the things the abusive people in her life told her, and that they were right all along. That I don't get a single thing about her, and she didn't get me. That she was feeling better some days ago, and then one fight and she's worse than ever... she would either run away with the kids, or end her life. I was crying at my workplace trying to calm her down. I begged her to take time and make a plan, and not to take the kids in the middle of the school year. I told her we could be flat mates and nothing more for the rest of the year (we practically are).

I got home and we talked, and she was saying the same things, but I got to her a bit more. We went for the kids and we started "parents mode" were the kids are the only thing that exists.

Without conclusion, next day we went to the zoo, with my brother's family. She loves my nephews, and loves animals. She looked funny at me many times, and when I approached her to ask her if she needed something, she kissed me several times. And it's been good these last couple of days. When we talk, she says she's a mean B, and that I should not put up with her craziness, but she doesn't go into a spiral of negativity.

Around this time she should have had her period, and she didn't. That freaks her out.

Apart from all this, she's using less the scale, and she's keeping away from the forum she read all the time. She's also watching re-runs of Dr. Phil and getting some good insight from them, maybe the same things I told her a hundred times, but I'm realizing something important: I'm too close for her to listen to me. That happens to many couples, both parts feel the need to protect their territory, and get defensive and we don't listen too much, but we listen to outsiders better, because we don't feel threatened by them.

So there are many good things, progress. Only that with progress comes fear to lose control, comes new emotions and insecurities. And when these things break lose, it feels like we're going back to square one. I try to think this is normal, and that everything is not lost. I try to tell her the same. But I'm scared and tired too, about the life that awaits us. Then I see how she suffers and it seems wrong to complain.

lovetowrite81
Rodgers12

Hi Rodgers,

Just wanted to check in with you & see how everything has been going? Thinking of you!

-Lovetowrite81

lovetowrite81
Rodgers12

Hi Rodgers12,

Thank you for updating us! It does sound like such a roller coaster of a week (also, Happy belated birthday!) It seems like some progress and some things that may seem like a step backward- but I don't think it is either. Like you said, what progress has been made is not lost.

Mainly I just want to say that I admire you so much for the support and unconditional commitment you offer your girlfriend. You are really truly incredible- and it seems like you have been handling it all so well. I can definitely understand the fear around what is to come. We are here for you. Please keep us posted !

-Lovetowrite81

BobJ48
Roller Coaster - You bet !

Dear Rogers,

No kidding, a big roller coaster for sure !! It sounds like her feelings were all over the place, and were changing from one moment to the next !

My sense is that a lot of this comes from their own frustrations : They know that they have this problem, they know that *you* know they have this problem, they know that it's causing *all* of these problems, but at the same time, they feel like it's impossible to do anything about it.

So imagine how you'd feel if you felt that way. You'd probably be all over the place too.

So I guess what I mean is that they can have *so* many inner battles going on, and what we are seeing is the fallout from that.

Like this for example :

" Next day, she said she was only hurting me and that she ruins everything and every life she touches, and that she must go. She was saying the most horrible things about herself, saying the things the abusive people in her life told her, and that they were right all along."

People with ED struggle with *so* much self-hate. It's an ongoing theme on the forums. Perfectly good and good-hearted people, feeling so bad about themselves. It's gotta be one of the very worst things about EDs I think.

"Apart from all this, she's using less the scale, and she's keeping away from the forum she read all the time."

Um, yeah : I know that place, and it's probably a positive sign that she's taking a break from it. Not that it's really that awful a place, but more for the symbolism that's behind not going there for a while. Same with the scale : Just the fact that she *can* take a break from it ( even if that means just using it once a day, instead of 10 times) is symbolic too. That she is showing herself that if she wants to, she can put some distance between herself and these symbolic things. Maybe not forever, but even just for a while is good.

They show themselves that they can indeed have some flexibility about such things, and that's a really good thing for them to be able to realize, even if just for a while.

Bob J.

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