August 12, 2012

Give Yourself a Break!

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.

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  • carole: this makes a lot of sense to me too.I instead of asking and asking for help with my partner and kids do the...
  • Jennifer: Try looking up F.E.A.S.T. on the internet and going onto ‘Around the Dinner Table’. It is a...
  • Jenny: What about spitting? My daughter has changed from anorexia, to a habit of chewing but not swallowing food....
  • Jenny: I just showed my other daughter this (the one without an eating disorder) and she looked skeptical… Do...
  • pip: He’s just moved to CREDS today after his second sectioning. Hoping this is the break we are needing

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Book: Enduring Change in Eating Disorders

Enduring Change in Eating Disorders - Book Cover

Dr Fishman is the author of 'Enduring Change in Eating Disorders – Interventions with long -term results' (Brunner-Routledge 2004).

This book presents the powerful and proven effective model of Intensive Structural Family Therapy and its application to the treatment of eating disorders.