Eating disorders have PhD’s in arguments. They are lighting fast with comebacks, sense any hesitation, and will go right for the jugular, every time. They are also masters at starting arguments, with a seemingly innocent statement.
Typically, it will start with something like, “Let’s have a quick look in the mirror to check you are ok”.
That quickly spirals into magnifying parts of your body you are dissatisfied with, changing outfits, perhaps not going out and... end result, changing your food or exercise as a response to the emotions following “Let’s have a quick look...”
The key to not entering arguments with your eating disorder, is gathering awareness of the precipitating statement that causes the spiral. As you gather awareness you can start to ‘highlight’ these suggestions or statements in your mind.
I have one client that any time she says to me, “I just need to do something real quick” or “I just need to take some time to think things through”, an immediate alarm goes off in my mind. This is the statement that will have her descending the staircase, that leads to eating disorder land.Sometimes she descends the staircase arguing the whole way with me about how she isn’t actually going down the stairs. Other times she descends the staircase arguing against her eating disorder but finding her legs are going in that direction anyway.
You don’t need to attend every argument you are invited to.
What we have worked together on is anytime she hears those invitation words of “I just need to...” what she actuallyneeds to do is say, “I’m hearing myself saying the thing that gets me in a spiral. I need help doing something different.”That way she declines the ‘invitation’ from her eating disorder to have an argument and comes to me - her therapist for a conversation.
What are the invitations your eating disorder uses to draw you into an argument?