National Eating Disorders Association

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sadcop519
Just found out my gf has an ED and am heartbroken and so sad :'(

Hi Everyone..
Where to start..Well i just found out two nights ago that my girlfriend of a year has recently started having problems again with Bulimia/Self Harming. She hasn't had an issue with this for a little over 7 years until about a month and a half ago. I found out by seeing a Twitter account she has made and is interacting on and so she was not the one to tell me although she said she would have eventually but was just waiting for the right time. She had posted on the twitter account that she thought I would be disappointed in her if I knew and that she loves me so much and didn't want to hurt me by telling me about her problem. Her issue stems from her father who constantly puts her down for one thing or another. He makes her feel inadequate and worthless and since she still lives at home there is no escape. I am so in love with this girl and we both believe with all of our hearts that we are meant to be and will someday get married. Since finding out about this I am just so heartbroken and sad. I have not let on to her just how hurt and sad I really am but since finding out I haven't gone to bed without crying myself to sleep. I love her so much and would do absolutely anything for her and I just feel like this is all my fault. I just want her to be okay and just want my girlfriend back :'( I am very scared right now because this Twitter account she is not discussing how to get better but it's more a bunch of girls discussing how they hate themselves and how they are ugly and how to not eat or whatever. Most of the girls on there are not seeking treatment and some of them even talk about being "Pro-Anorexic/Bulimic" and so seeing those kind of posts make me even more sad and scared. She also has an issue with self harming and when I saw her twitter account I also learned that she had cut herself about a week and a half ago. I know she has only done that once but I am also worried that it will start happening more often. I signed up for this to just get any help and advice you all could give me. I'm soo sad and hurting and just want my girlfriend back:( Thank You soo much in advance for everyone's help.

nanzhu
It's NOT your fault

Hi sadcop519,
I'm so glad you reached out, and it sounds like you are dealing with an extremely difficult situation. You're strong for speaking up about it and your girlfriend is lucky to have someone who cares so much about her!

First, I want to say that is is definitely NOT YOUR FAULT that she is going through these problems. It sounds like her background has a lot to do with her behaviors, and do not think for a second that you have caused any of them. You are taking the first step to help her after all by discussing here!

Websites and social media are definitely dangerous in the way that people share "tips" and information. It can be hard to start the conversation with your girlfriend without offending her or intruding, so I would suggest contacting some resources first about how you can approach the situation. The NEDA Helpline (1-800-931-2237, M-F, 9-5 EST) can help connect you with someone who has tips and resources for you to try. This link: http://www.nationaleatingdisorders.org/parent-family-friends-network also has some good places to look.

The most important thing you can do, which you are already doing, is being supportive and helping her through this! Everyone's journey through recovery is different and it can be a rocky road, but having support is one of the strongest and most meaningful parts there is. You are clearly taking the steps to do all you can to help your girlfriend, which is admirable and inspirational! Don't give up!

All the best,
Nan

nanzhu
What should I say
sadcop519
Thank you for your reply

Thank you so much Nan for replying to me. I looked at the links you posted for me to check out and they have been helpful. I am planning on calling that helpline that you mentioned and am hoping they can also help me out.

I think one thing I am so concerned about is that she is not ready for help. She posted something on that Twitter account last night about how she "can't stop and won't stop and that even though my boyfriend knows and is there for me I just can't stop now but don't want to disappoint him or lose him". When I read that my heart literally sank and I started crying in my patrol car while on the job. This is affecting me so much and is even causing me to not be as safe as I should be at work. I can't get it off my mind and when I am with her I don't let on that I'm soo sad inside because I don't want her to feel bad and then feel guilty. All I want is her to be okay and would do anything to help her. I told her the other night that I wanted her to be "whole and healthy because we have such an awesome future together and are going to have such an awesome life together" and her reply to that was "baby I am whole and healthy". She isn't though and that's what scares me. My niece is also going through the same issues right now and before I knew what was going on with her I said something to my gf about my niece and she started telling me about how dangerous it is and how sad it is and then when I found out about my gf I thought to myself how can she tell me how dangerous it is and that my neice really has a problem and yet the whole time she was hiding her own issue from me. I am trying so hard to talk to her about this but all in all I really haven't gotten to have a long talk with her about it except for the night I found out and confronted her about it and other than the next evening me telling her how I was concerned about that twitter account that it was not good we haven't talked about it. The other thing I have said to her is that I am worried about her and her reply is "baby don't worry I'm absolutely fine". Well she's not fine and I can't stop worrying because I love her so much and this is killing me. I'm sitting here bawling typing this out because I'm so scared. Anyway thank you so much for replying and please continue telling me anything you think I could do to help get this under control. Thank you

michael26
Stay Strong!!

Hey man,

I'm so sorry that you are experiencing this pain and worry for your girl friend. You certainly do love her to be here for help!

Have you asked your girl friend if she would be willing to try couple therapy? If she agrees to it, you can share more of your heart and worry for her in an environment that would be very controlled and supportive. Sometimes when we tell our loved ones about our concern for them it comes across as an "intervention" or something like that. In therapy, the counselor can help you approach your feelings in the most effective way.

I know how scary it is, man. I have recovered from my eating disorder and I know how difficult it was for my family when I didn't want the help. In all honesty, I would not be alive if I didn't have my family behind me. They were ready and there for me when I realized that I need help to recover. Unfortunately, I cannot really give you magic words that will help your girl friend realize that she can live without her eating disorder. However, showing her your support now will definitely help her engage in therapy and treatment when she is ready.

Looking back, I can relate to how your girl friend may be feeling right now. She may be looking for a sense of security and control over her body that she believes the eating disorder can provide. In my recovery, I needed someone to be there to love me in my insecurities and doubt. I can definitely tell that you are doing this for your girl friend! That's awesome! I think it is all in the approach of how this is expressed that makes the biggest difference. That is why I am suggesting you see a therapist with her so that she feels safe in knowing you love her in that way.

I hope this makes sense... How are you feeling? I hear how much your heart hurts and I certainly am worried about how you have been affected by this. Is there anyway I can help?

nanzhu
Be proud of yourself

Hi sadcop519,
I'm sorry to hear that you are still struggling with this situation, but it is clear that you love your girlfriend and niece very much and would do anything in the world to help them. You are an inspiration for us all! I know how taxing it can be to fight for someone you love and feel like they are not receptive or acknowledging the problem in the first place. Do not get too discouraged - you're doing all you can right now. Unfortunately there's no secret formula for getting through to someone, but continuing to keep the conversation open and being honest about how this is affecting your relationship WILL make a difference in the end. Going forth with perseverence and determination - both of which I can tell you have - will get you far.

Remaining supportive and using "I statements" to show how much you care, for their own good, is a safe way to communicate. (This is something I learned as a Resident Advisor through conflict mediation and it might be worth a shot.) Avoid using statements that can make them defensive (like accusing them or pushing them too hard to admit to a problem); instead, talk to them through "I statements", which means explaining how their behaviors are making YOU feel. This includes things like "I feel scared when you do..." or "I feel so worried about these consequences...". This way, you are simply sharing the impact of the situation on you and your genuine intention to help will show. Striking that balance of not being too forceful and still being assertive can be tricky, but don't give up!

I also think therapy, like michael26 mentioned, might be a good option, as talking to a professional can help mediate the conversation better. The NEDA Navigators can be a good resource too for helping you find resources and tips: http://www.nationaleatingdisorders.org/neda-navigators. Talking to other of your or her family members may help too to gain a bigger support network.

I'm wishing you and your loved ones all the best and please let me know if there's anything else I can do to help!
Nan