We all know and have fought with trying to be “perfect”, and the paralysis that this can lead to. Never being satisfied with anything other than “perfect”, can lead to constantly feeling like a failure and feelings of hopelessness.
Perfectionism is central to understanding eating disorders, as the eating disorder is often pushed by trying to be perfect.
Furthermore, it is difficult to challenge people who believe that they are perfect, and therefore change can be hard. If the eating disorder is occurring within a family system that sees itself as “perfect”, the person with the eating disorder can feel trapped. Although the family is contributing to the negative eating habits, because they don’t admit that they have problems, these issues can’t be addressed.
Many couples that I have worked with over the years have told me, “We have a perfect marriage, we never fight”. Never arguing doesn’t mean that it is the perfect relationship. A functional relationship is one where people can say, “Hey, I’m not happy about this, can we change it or at least talk about it”, as this means that they feel empowered to talk about their feelings.
So getting back to eating disorders, give yourself a break, don’t try to make things perfect. Recognise that things are never perfect. Instead, work at doing things that make sense to you and make you happy rather than chasing the elusive idea of “perfection”.
Please share your thoughts and experiences.