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Adult Eating Disorders – How to Deal If the Person Doesn’t Admit Having One

September 27, 2009 – 2:08 pm

If you are dealing with an adult who suffers from an eating disorder, then you should adjust your talk to a relevant format. Remember, an adult may use stronger language than a child would use. Do not get angry. It will not do any good, and will probably make things worse. Plus, the sufferer will not want to confide in you.

Remember that your appearance and tone of your voice should make her/him feel that you are coming with an open heart, and you do it only because you love her/him and care very much about the person: that you don’t have any intention of putting them down or embarrassing them in any way.

Be sensitive, diplomatic and intuitive. Regardless of what happens during the conversation, you should finish the exchange letting the person know that you are willing to listen to them anytime they feel more comfortable about talking.

If the person you want to help doesn’t admit they have a problem, then:

1. Understand that you (and the person close to you) are not responsible for their illness BUT you should take responsibility to do what you can to help them to improve and recover. Without this decision to help, it is more difficult for them to improve on their own.

2. Focus on loving and supportive relationships between you and the sufferer. Avoid being on a drama triangle which means avoid being a “Persecutor”, a “Rescuer”, or a “Victim”.

3. Create intimacy between you and the sufferer. When the sufferer feels completely secure with you, she/he will open up and talk about the problem.

The ways to create intimacy between two people are:
• Be Present and Tune In.
• Ask questions in which you can show your caring and lovable attitude toward the person.
• Listen with Empathy and compassion.
• Accept without Judgment.
• Saying softly “Tell me more….” when you are listening it will make her/him feel immensely loved by you and connected to you at a deeper level.
• Reflect Back.
• Respect Soul.
• Be Transparent. Let others see into your heart and inner world.
• Speak Gently.
• Realize that if the person doesn’t want to talk about her/his problems and denies their anorexia-bulimia, it could be the result of her/his emotional state of mind at that time. They could be experiencing emotional cut-off.

4. Emotional cut-off refers to the mechanisms people use to reduce anxiety from any unresolved emotional issues with parents, siblings, and other members from the family. To avoid sensitive issues, some people either move away from their families or rarely go home. Or, if they remain in physical contact with their families, they avoid sensitive issues by diverting the conversation, cutting off the risk of having to face their emotions.

The opposite of an emotional cut-off is an open intimate relationship. It is a very effective way to reduce a family’s over-all anxiety and acts like security priming.

5. Continue on with your education about eating disorders. The more you know about the disease, the easier it becomes to conquer it.

From our personal experience coping with a person suffering from an eating disorder, it is obvious that there isn’t one single definitive guide or course of action for you or the sufferer to follow that will guarantee a solution to their eating problems.

Your attitude and beliefs about how the sufferer should act and your ability to interact as a caregiver can affect the way you respond to your loved one.

Remember, that if one approach for coping with your loved one’s illness does not work, there is always another way. People who develop eating disorders are absolutely normal. However something happens in their lives that make them suffer emotionally and they turn to an eating disorder to compensate for this emotional discomfort.

So you as a caregiver have to be very understanding, caring and most of all none- judgmental if you really want to help.

To read about eating disorders books go to http://www.eating-disorders-books.com

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