How relationships change through ED

Written by Starlight 

Relationships is quite a ‘messy’ (as one classmate described it on Tuesday) topic when it comes to ED.

My relationships in condition and through recovery have been on a roller-coaster ride!  

Condition Relationships

The people who cared about me the most I pushed away for fear they would become too attached and I’d let them down and of course I just wanted to self-destruct without them getting in the way, without realising I was actually putting them through so much pain while doing this.

A lot of my friends I had since primary school didn’t understand ED and this caused so much tension and fights and ultimately led to them not wanting to be around me anymore, which looking back now I couldn’t blame them I was very very difficult to be around!

In condition I had no relationships, yes I talked to people put I was in such a self-absorbed mind-set that I couldn’t develop any feelings towards anyone.  For example I just wanted my mam to stop being so upset and just leave me to my own thing (my own ting being condition and behaviours) and thank god she never did just leave me alone and never gave up on me or else I wouldn’t be here today.

I pushed away and avoided all my friends who cared about me. I bopped from group to group not making any real connection because I knew by doing this I would never be challenged and questioned about my behaviours and could go a whole weekend without a text asking did I want to hang out, sounds fun right? NOT! That’s how most of my last year in school went.

I am very lucky to have had a group of school friends that never gave up on me in though I tried so hard for them to avoid me and leave me alone. They challenged me to go to birthday parties, drop up for tea etc… It did put a huge stress on our relation and I’m still mending some of them now, but only the friendships worth fighting for.

The thing about ED is it has so many destructive strategies!

As I began to realise through recovery I didn’t want my only friends to be my desorted thinking and the food games we played. I wanted friends, I hated the fact I pushed so many people away.

I made some new relationships in recovery, with people who have big hearts but just wanted someone to look after and mould in the shape of a friend they wanted. I fitted that mould as I had no idea who I was, so whoever they wanted me to be that was fine with me because I was so desperate for connection.

Sometimes I would just force relationships by pretending to be interested in what they were interested in, pretended to care about xyz and laughed along without finding anything funny. I didn’t know who I was yet so I tried to find myself through

I eventually realised this kind of fake life wasn’t for me and I needed to do more work on myself and discovering who I was.

Now I am happy to say I know who I am now, I am learning to accept who I am now. I am learning how to build boundaries and demand the respect I deserve from relationships and people I meet.

In recovery/recovered

The relationships with friends I had pushed away/ couldn’t handle my behaviour are mending, but only with the ones I want in my life. With my friend I have talked about the challenging time in our relationship and she apologised for not having enough understanding of ED and not being there and I have totally forgiven her because I think I would have done the same! And it wasn’t her job to be there to support me; she had her own life to live!  Only I can support me!

The ‘friends’ that were attracted to my ED are no longer in my life. I couldn’t understand why they didn’t want to be my friend anymore but now further into being recovered I see they can’t handle the fact I have worked on myself and have my own opinions and things I want to do now, and feel challenged by it.

My relationship with my mam is probably the best it’s ever been. It has shifted from a care-er and sufferer relationship to a mother-daughter/friend relationship. We talk about our lives, our interests, we went on a city break to Barcelona and had so much fun, and we’re honest with each other. Now in saying that she wrecks my head sometimes and we do bicker but it’s over normal stuff like empty the dishwasher rather than her pleading with me to have a bit of potatoes which would always lead to tears and frustration!

Something I do find challenging is romantic relationships. I really want to fall in love and feel loved but I fear letting people in and knowing the real me and that I am ‘not enough’ but I’m working on it and it’s all a process. 🙂 I am worthy of love and friendship because I am a good human being.

A challenge at the moment for me is to just believe that people want to be with me for me. They want to spend time with me because I am a nice, funny, bubbly women and good fun to be around. There is no hidden agenda to a friend asking me to meet up, that’s it they just want to hang!  I need to take away the pressure I put on myself to be all things to all people!

Size does not play a role in relationships.

I could go on forever about values and interests and attraction etc… but I just wanted to write a few words after group on Tuesday!