National Eating Disorders Association

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austinwantstoknow
Trying to find ways to help her more.

My girlfriend of one year now has struggles with bulmia for going on 3 years now. She is on the path to recovery but every now and then has slip ups and feels she needs to relaspe. She always finds a way to contact me before she does anything but i don't know how to really help her. I don't know what to say to make her feel better. I hace tried all of the basics like telling her she is beautiful and doesn't need to change. And other things along that line. I have found talking about tomorrow and what the futire can be like sometimes helps her. I really don't want to lose her and i want to be part of her recovery. I need help doinhf this

Rodgers12
Hello Austin,

Hello Austin,

you are lucky that she is in a path to recovery, and you must know that's a path with many ups and downs. Many times it will feel as if you where going backwards, you have to say this to her, this is normal, this isn't a bad thing, it's just the way it works, but you believe in her, and you are proud that she's trying to get better.

Please read the parents guide of the website, it has a lot on useful information. The more you know and the more you listen to her, the more you'll be able to help.

Good luck and keep up the good work.

ashleyk
Hi austinwantstoknow!

I just thought I'd chime in and let you know that the Parent's Toolkit that Rodgers12 is referring to is available here: https://www.nationaleatingdisorders.org/parent-toolkit. Its definitely not just for parents! It has a lot of information, from how to talk to a loved about their disorder to questions about insurance. Even if you're saying the "right" thing, it might not feel like it. Just keep supporting your girlfriend through it all. It's so good she turns to you when she needs help, and I'm sure you're helping her more than you realize!

adagio
austinwantstoknow

Hey austinwantstoknow!
I can already tell you're an awesome person straight from the get-go because you care enough about your girlfriend's health that you were able to find this forum! Now, to answer your question. Eating disorders flood people's minds like a nagging itch that they can't reach completely. One way to help your girlfriend is by taking her out of her environment. Do something different with her if she is used to routine! Though neither I nor my girlfriend have suffered from an ED, we both REALLY enjoy the zoo and the aquarium -we are animal lovers in general. Find activities that you guys both enjoy a lot to help her ease her mind off of the ED. Going to a museum is a great idea, a local art gallery, even just going for a walk. Find some natural landmarks in your area and go visit them. This may all seem weird, and she may be reluctant to go (that's the ED speaking, not her), but she will truly appreciate it because she sees that you're trying for her. Most importantly, just be there for her all the time and let her know that she has your full support no matter what. I hope this helped!
As always,
Adagio

lovetowrite81
Austin

Hi Austin,

Welcome to the forums! Thank you so much for posting here and sharing with us. First of all, that is so wonderful that you have sought out this forum so you can better support your girlfriend. She is so fortunate to have you as she walks towards recovery. That is also awesome to hear that she is on the path towards recovering- and unfortunately, relapse is a normal part of that process, but does not in any way discredit the progress she has made so far.

It is also wonderful that she feels able to reach out to you when she feels the urge to engage in behaviors. The things that helped me the most when I was in the throws of my ED were 1- Showing full support and concern from a place of love, and not condemnation or judgement. Do not shame her for struggling with a disease that she did not choose. Sit with her, listen, and as Adagio said, let her know that she has your full support. It already seems like you do a great job of letting her know that you care and are there for her. And also 2- gaining understanding of what the disorder is/isn't. Eating disorders are so complex that what helped me tremendously is when my loved ones refrained from making assumptions or generalizations that were not true. Try to learn about and understand how deep the roots of ED run that are often so much more than body image concerns. Don't be afraid to discuss with her how her ED serves her, and the ways it is more harmful and limiting than anything. Be willing and educated enough to have meaningful discussions around what could be some underlying factors contributing to her ED. Does she have professional help such as a therapist or other support systems to help keep her on track as well?

Above all, remember that just being there to care for her is saying so much already, even if you find yourself struggling to say the right words. So many people in my life withdrew from friendship with me, and even family members did not know how to handle my issues, so just said nothing and backed away. Your presence means so much to her I'm sure. Again, she is so lucky to have you. Remember that- and that you are doing the best you can. I also noticed that Gustav7 seems to be in the same boat. His thread "Girlfriend with Bulimia" a few threads below yours discusses very similar things- so maybe you could connect with him as well.

Please keep us posted on how you and your girlfriend are doing! Thinking of you. You always have our support here on the forums.

-Lovetowrite81

austinwantstoknow
We are making progress how

We are making progress how can I help her feel like she is in control? She feels as if food is controlling her I really want to help and can't find strategies to help her.

Rodgers12
That's a very good question.

That's a very good question. If we could make them feel in control, they wouldn't need the ED any more.

I would need to know more. I think listening to her and knowing her is the way to come up with an answer. It will be a different answer for each person, or EDs would have been terminated by now. There isn't a formula.

For now, try to tell her that food is not taking control. Her body has needs and instincts that are there for good reasons, and it is wise, and not weak, to listen to them. Tell her she's gonna be in control if she keeps her path of recovery, but that it isn't easy and you are not there yet, but she's doing a great job so far.

Good luck.