Joanna Poppink describes how your relationships will change during eating disorder treatment.
Relationships change during eating disorder treatment. If there’s love and honesty in the relationships that the woman has, the people in her life, those relationships can deepen as she becomes more honest.
Not that she was dishonest before, but the eating disorder covered up sections of herself that even she didn’t know about and so the people around her don’t know very much about them either.
And if there’s love and trust and respect as she discovers more of herself and brings that to her relationships, the people in her life will respond and the relationship just become deeper.
Unfortunately, what also happens all too often is that the woman with the eating disorder has blanks in her psyche where she didn’t develop, where she doesn’t see or she gets frightened and eats or does her eating disorder activity to cover over her fear.
The relationships in her life are people who represent the things that she doesn’t want to see. So if someone lies to her she doesn’t want to know that she was a liar because it would destroy the relationship. So she really doesn’t see it.
If somebody is abusing her in serious, violent ways or in mild ways, ways that seem mild but to her emotionally painful, she won’t see that this person isn’t doing that to her or manipulating her.
What she will experience is guilt and feeling that there’s something wrong with her and she will continue to eat to defend her perceptions from who she is with and to soothe herself from her guilt and fear and shame.
When recovery starts, even a little bit of recovery will expand perception a little bit and her strength and ability to tolerate who she is and where she is increases.
And so even a fragment of a lie that she didn’t notice before, now she notices and she doesn’t like it, or abuse or criticism that is uncalled for and as manipulative she’ll notice, she didn’t notice it before.
Maybe the person is unaware that they are behaving this way and they will be sorry and they will stop. Again, all too often it’s the way these people are and they don’t like the fact that they have lost a victim.
They will try sometimes to really bring that person back into the fold with more control or seduction.
But if she keeps getting better she is going to see more, feel more, enjoy more freedom, discover what she really believes what’s authentic to her, what she wants to try, what she wants to experiment with, what she wants to honor in her life.
And the people who have a vested interest in not having her do that either because they want to control her or because she has skills and gifts and talents that they are using for their purposes and now with recovery she wants to use them to honor her own heart. This can cause a lot of chaos and breakups.
About Joanna Poppink, M.F.T.:
Joanna Poppink, M.F.T., is a psychotherapist specializing in eating disorders. Joanna’s own recovery experience from bulimia contributes to her understanding in her work with others. Her specialized psychotherapy practice is designed to allow her adult women clients to progress through anxiety situations to ongoing recovery from bulimia, compulsive eating, anorexia and binge eating. Joanna’s primary goal is to provide her clients with a way to achieve thorough and long lasting healing and to live a satisfying life in freedom.