Bias Confession from an Eating Disorder Specialist
- Category: Healing Resources
With or without an eating disorder, you live your life based on your agenda with your values leading the way.
However, I am not neutral. I want, with all my heart, for you to live a long healthy life. I want you to be well, to have love, joy, satisfaction, confidence and a genuine liking for yourself as you proceed onward to a feisty, interesting and healthy old age. I especially do not want you to break your own heart.
Your Reasons for Entering Psychotherapy
People who come to my psychotherapy practice or writings need a reason to make that entry. Primarily, you come because you have an eating disorder. You also come because a person with an eating disorder is in your intimate circle. You may also come because you know someone who benefited from my work and want those same benefits for your life. Mostly, you come because you experience emotional pain and frustration in your life and have a spark of hope that a better way to live exists. Ending an eating disorder is a step, a major step granted, but still a step toward creating and living a better life.
In my practice, my focus is on the whole person sitting in front of me. I see how much energy you pour into your eating disorder. I get a glimpse of what might be possible for you if that energy were directed toward living a more full life. When we share that glimpse we become a team of two with the goal being to send life energy to life. That means dismantling the eating disorder mechanism and removing the need for the protection given by the eating disorder and to the eating disorder. Our mutual goal becomes creating a psychological, emotional and spiritual new normal state that allows your genuine life potential to unfold.
Priority of Your Goals
My job, as I see it, requires me to state my bias and let you know that your best choice is one that comes from your beliefs, not mine. You also need to know that I will support your living based on your values, not mine. But neither of us will make or honor decisions based on the distorted thinking and value systems that are hooked to the eating disorder.
Goals Based On Eating Disorder
A free and healthy person faces difficult choices in life. If an eating disorder doesn't exist, then an automatic and artificial guiding system doesn't take over the decision making by default.
For example, you don't stay home and binge or use instead of meeting with friends. You don't binge and throw up before meeting a potential employer and therefore meet that person in a partially numbed condition.
If an eating disorder isn't there then decisions about school applications, career choices, pregnancy (to conceive or terminate), relationship choices (positive or negative), commitments of any kind, are based on personal agenda and personal values. These must belong to the individual, not me. And neither of us want them to be determined by an active eating disorder.
Discovering and Honoring Your Genuine Values
I do my best to make my bias clear so that you are free of any sense of obligation to please me. More importantly, my stating my bias helps you sort out what you think you are supposed to choose based on the agenda and values of others, including the entire culture, as opposed to what you deeply value. After all, in the end, you live your life. And a satisfying life is one that is based on living according to your own true agenda and values.
Sometimes self sacrifice is based on deeply held and honored values known and appreciated by you alone. I believe a person needs to be free to make such a choice. However, if an eating disorder is in the way, choices involving self sacrifice can be blurred or seen as required with no possibility of flexibility, change or even a vague sense of the option to say, “No.”
If you are oblivious to your values or put the demands of an eating disorder before your own highest priorities you can make a choice that will immediately or eventually break your own heart. As an eating disorder fades you are challenged to listen and learn your own truth.
I stand for your listening to and honoring your own unbuffered self, mind, spirit, body and heart. When you can do that, you are on your way to living your real life. That is a joyous and satisfying way to live.
Questions for You
Can you identify ways or instances where you contribute to breaking your own heart?
What would it take to honor what you truly care about?