I have been doing a lot of thinking recently about how destructive our eating disorders are and the impact they can have on our relationships.
Over the years, my illness has played a huge part in mine, with negative and often painful consequences. This has not only been with romantic relationships but those with family, friends and associates too.
My previous two relationships were very influenced by my eating disorder, especially my last. Looking back now I can see it was completely dominated by it. He wanted to ‘fix’ things but of course, he couldn’t. And in the end, he just couldn’t cope anymore. At the time however I was so involved in my eating disorder to reconise just how badly it affected us. Whether or not we would still be together had I not been ill I cannot say, and of course there were many other factors that added to the breakdown of our relationship but I’m sure it would have made things easier.
But when we are so consumed by our illness, it’s almost as if we are blind to the impact it has on others. We are, in effect, in a relationship with our eating disorder and have little room for anyone else. And this of course all adds to our isolation. But by pushing away those that love us we are actually only hurting ourselves in the long run. Personally I have not only jepordised relationships but lost some too.
Of course there are those who will 'stick by you'. Those that refuse to ‘give up’ on you. Even when they are being treated badly, shouted at, screamed at and even just ignored. Sadly it is these people I have found suffer the most. Because they love you and it pains, angers and frustrates them to see you unhappy, unhealthy and trapped. Those that just simply want for you to recover.
I have talked of my Mum quite often and openly here before. She has been my rock over the years but my god she has been put through a lot too. Yet she has never once turned her back on me, never once given up. And I know that she wouldn’t.
You could argue that this is because she is my Mum and that’s what family do but as many of us know, family aren’t always close and when someone is in the midst of their illness, even the strongest can be pushed.
So how do we stop our eating disorders ruining relationships?
I believe so. Once we reconise certain behaviors, which of course isn’t always easy. But I think once we start to see more clearly and begin taking responsibility, it is never too late to make amends and re-build bridges. Those that truly matter will still be there.
Once you are on the road to recovery, I have found you can actually form closer bonds with others and it’s with this strength and love that you keep on going.
So, open your heart and let others in. Break down your relationship with your eating disorder, and not only save the ones you have, but allow room for new and exciting one’s to blossom.
You wont always get it right and neither will they but then life simply doesn’t work that way.
My Mum told me just yesterday ‘with all her heart, all she wants is for me to recover’. I promise you Mum- I am getting there….
As will you, reading this now.
With Much Love, Smiles & Support