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If you suffer from an eating disorder now or have in the past, please email Joanna for a free telephone consultation.



Eating Disorder Recovery
Joanna Poppink, MFT
Eating Disorder Recovery Psychotherapist
serving Arizona, California, Florida, Oregon and Utah.
All appointments are virtual.


I read this article a few times at different points during the day, feeling like I should have a response, but not having one because of what I eventually identified as some kind of resistance, holding me at a safe distance, at a place where I didn't have to engage with that is written - I could read the words, but not take then in deeply to a place where processing them acts as a catalyst, releasing my own thoughts and experiences, and that's what I did, just read them in a shallow way and let them go again.

I pondered about my reluctance to allow myself to "go there", after all I am physical pain on a daily basis, it's not like I can't identify with that.

My pain is the pain of relapsing so badly and regaining so much weight so quickly through ED behaviours, that my joints just can't cope, my knees and feet are especially bad. And you would think "if you're in so much pain, why don't you do something about it, you know, start losing some weight?" - I think it myself all the time! and the answer seems to be that if I stop doing the things that have led me into this physical pain, then I would have to deal with the psychological/emotional pains that the ED behaviours and physical pain are shielding me from.

About an hour ago when I first decided I would push past this resistance, I didn't even know what the pain I was avoiding was about, but the first sentence that sprung to mind was "to avoid having to feel like a failure", I kept on beyond this, and wrote a list of the things that would really bother me right now if I would stop eating and allow them to

  • I'm not a good enough partner/ex-wife
  • I'm not a good daughter
  • I don't know how to help and support my girls through their father's gender reassignment
  • I'm not the mother I used to be, I don't have as much time for my girls as I used to, and I think the effect is noticeable
  • My house is a mess, needs going through and cleaning and de-cluttering from top to bottom
  • I'm always behind with my uni work and feel like I could well fail my exams in Oct if something doesn't change
  • I don't have an established career/don't earn enough money
  • I'm not a very good friend at the moment

And what I realise is that a lot of the above go in pairs and create double bind type situations:

  • When I say or do something that is supportive of my ex's gender transition, I feel like I'm being insensitive and unsupportive of how my girls feel, and vice-versa
  • When I spend time on uni work I feel guilty that I should be doing housework, and vice-versa
  • When I contemplate getting some part-time work to supplement our income I feel guilty that I don't spend enough time with the girls, but when I'm with the girls I feel guilty that we don't have enough money to do the things they want to do
  • When I accept social invites I feel guilty that there's so much else I should be doing instead, but if I constantly decline them I feel like a bad friend

And I realise that I do try and sit in the middle and do enough of each thing to "keep all the balls in the air", but actually, I'm failing at every single thing because I'm either dropping half of the balls in order to keep the others up, spreading myself too thinly and not keeping the balls high enough in the air.

I've sat with each thing and asked if it's really as bad as I think? am I being too hard on myself? but unfortunately the answer is yes, I really am failing or on the verge of failing at everything, and I'm not really sure of a way out of it, which is why I'm still using my ED behaviours to cope and get by enough.

I'm not really sure where I go next with this!










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