National Eating Disorders Association

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MrMustachethe3rd
Helpless

I'm 18 years old and have been with my girlfriend for almost a year. She suffers from anorexia and body dismorphia but hasn't moved on to purging yet (although she has tried). Before she was with me she spent two years in a abusive relationship with a much older boyfriend who encouraged her ED to ensure her self esteem was low enough for her to stay with him. The way I talked to her about this when they were together made me wrongly believe that he's was the main reason behind it and I wrongly assumed that once she was with me her habits would disappear.

I know that's narrow minded of me but I've not had experience of ED's before. Not only does she suffer from an ED but also extreme anxiety and has self harmed before we were together. Within our first month she told me she loved me and I said it back and I really do, we're perfect for each other. But what I'm worried about (selfishly) is that I have a history of picking up mental disorders from people I'm close too, almost as if they are common colds and I have a weak immune system. I picked up self harm from my first self harming girlfriend, started getting panic attacks when my best female friend did and now I've started to notice that I've picked up a couple of ED tendencies and to be honest I'm scared.

What does anger me though is the way she treats me regarding this, being extremely patronising and hypocritical to the point I can't stand to be around her, even though I know she just wants to protect me. I always try my best to be supportive, never dismissing the disease or hurrying her with food choices and eating, I even aid her in covering up her disorder from her family because I fear if she gets discovered and sent to the inpatient she will kill herself. The other thing I can't handle is the idea of a cycle of recovery and relapse, I'm an incredibly weak person emotionally and I wouldn't be able to handle seeing and helping with that. I managed to convince her to see a therapist to talk about the anorexia and anxiety as she feels the feed each other (no pun intended) but I still feel trapped and have no idea what's best for her or me.

MrMustachethe3rd
Oh and the other thing I

Oh and the other thing I struggle with is her refusal to hate her last boyfriend despite what he did to her physically, emotionally and sexually. I get so angry thinking about him that it scares her and me and have had to been physically restrained by my friends from attacking him. She doesn't get angry because on some level she feels she deserved his treatment and that depresses me because to me it means she doesn't care what I tell her about how I feel about her.

kayleigh91
Mrmustachethe3rd,

Mrmustachethe3rd,
I don't think the fact she isn't mad at her ex has anything to do with her feelings about you.
This is simply her feelings towards him. She probably does struggle with guilt and blames herself for things that are not her fault. This is all part of this disorder.
/i would recommend talking to a couples therapist to help out. It would be a nice, neutral, safe environment for you two to be able to talk honestly and open to each other with a bit of moderation from a unbiased third party.

Good Luck!
KayLeigh