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

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

I love your conclusion! Now your challenge is to learn what it means to be kind to yourself.

Please remember, when your eating disorder began part of your development stopped. So parts of you remain undeveloped. Sometimes people talk about this as "your inner child" or the child within.

When you can't face an adult responsibility it may well be that the undeveloped part of your psyche feels overwhelmed and inadequate to the task. Then you experience anxiety and the urge to run to comfort.

But you also want to punish yourself for not doing what you need to do. So you honor the child within by not doing the adult task, and you punish the child within for being a disappointment to you. This is a situation that can continually recycle on itself.

Your task now is to change the system. Being kind to yourself, in this context, involves your acknowledging and being tender and caring to that undeveloped part of yourself.

I suggest you make a list of activities that a young child would enjoy. Then, when you feel that pull away from an adult task, instead of going to a binge, go to your list. Pick one activity and do it. Maybe it's going to a park. Maybe it's watching a Clifford the Big Red Dog cartoon. Maybe it's coloring or doing art. Maybe it's cuddling and crooning to a stuffed animal.

If you make the list you are bound to include at least a few that will be just right for you in the moment. Once you learn to trust that you will care for that undeveloped part in yourself instead of punishing yourself, you may find you have more energy and courage to face your adult tasks.

This is not a once only fix it suggestion. This is an approach that you can use long term as you grow, heal and develop. You keep tweaking the list as your developmental needs changes.

Good luck and remember, kindness is your key to recovery and freedom.


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