2. Have you seen your therapist lately?
“When you ask me this, it throws me deep into my shame cycle and I believe that there is something wrong with me… I’m unfixable… I need help… I’m too much for you. I’m unloveable… I need professional help. I’m beyond help.”
Better Question: I can tell that you are having a rough time right now, would you like to talk?
3. Were you in the bathroom throwing up?
AGAIN? Did you eat and throw up that piece
of cake I’ve been saving?
“Yes, and I feel mortified that you caught me. I’m so ashamed that I can roll up into a little ball and wither away. And I feel awful. And another thing— why is it that you can keep a piece of cake in pristine condition in the refrigerator for a week? What are you saving it for? It makes no sense to me that you can have a piece of cake in the refrigerator for a week without eating it. It makes me feel like I’m a totally strange and horrible human—because I can’t do that. I can’t have tempting food just in there because it tortures me. And the fact that you’re not tempted or tortured makes me feel awful about myself.”
Better question: Are you okay?
4. Maybe you should give up sugar
“Oh my gosh, how many times have I stopped? And most of the time — It’s all rice cakes and carrot sticks for me. But then—out of nowhere the beast comes out and tricks me and it will ravage you for a case of two-year-old Cadbury Cream Eggs that I can literally break my teeth on. Giving up sugar is not the answer– I am learning how to eat it in a healthy way.”
Better statement: What kinds of things are you working on in your recovery?
5. Have you considered going on a diet?
“Um… when am I not on a diet? I shouldn’t be dieting but I’m terrified not to! It makes no sense. But that’s all part of my disorder. Dieting always makes me act out but I’m afraid if I don’t diet, I’m going to lose all control. Which I do anyway… My mind is playing tricks on me and it’s a constant battle in my mind to figure out what the right thing to do is. Please don’t give me advice, what I need is to learn to trust my inner guidance, and when you tell me to do something else, it will make me believe that my inner guidance is wrong… and my inner guidance is where I will find my recovery. Telling me to diet makes me doubt myself and undoes all the work that I’ve done.”
Better question: How else can I support your recovery?
6. JUST EAT SOMETHING! WHY CAN’T YOU
“I wish I could just eat like a normal person. But I don’t feel like a normal person. I feel alone, alienated and uncomfortable in my skin. Eating fills me with dread and angst and shame. I’m working on it. I really am– but this journey is so hard.”
Better question: I would really like to learn more about what happens when you think about eating, can you explain it to me? I want to learn more about this.