Finding Freedom – Families and Eating Disorders.

I’ve mentioned in previous posts that I have had difficulty in disclosing to my family about my eating disorder. In the past, they have questioned my eating behaviours but have never pursued the reasons behind the weight loss or approached me or confronted me – I am certain this was not from a lack of concern, but rather a sense of helplessness.

I have also felt the same hesitation in speaking to my brother about the anorexia and bulimia – I assumed that they would have no understanding of what had been going on, or think I was blowing it out of proportion or just sweep it under the carpet and not deal with the issue.

I seem to always be reading a different book every time I go to write a blog post, and that stands for today as well! Currently reading ‘Boundaries’ by Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend and last night I read a chapter about families and boundaries. I am going to quote it here and I apologise in advance for the lengthiness of it – but it’s a really worthwhile read!

“Nothing clarifies boundaries more than forgiveness. To forgive someone means to let him off the hook, or to cancel a debt he owes you. When you refuse to forgive someone, you still want something from that person, and even if it is revenge that you want, it keeps you tied to him forever. Refusing to forgive a family member is one of the main reasons people are stuck for years, unable to separate from their dysfunctional families. They still want something from them. It is much better to receive grace from God, who has something to give, and to forgive those who have no money to pay their debt with. This ends your suffering, because it ends the wish for repayment that is never forthcoming and that makes your heart sick because your hope is deferred (Prov.13:12). If you do not forgive, you are demanding something your offender does not choose to give, even if it is only a confession of what he did. This “ties” him to you and ruins boundaries. Let the dysfunctional family you come from go. Cut it loose, and you will be free.”

This prompted me to do something rather spontaneous: I turned my light off, rolled over and sent my brother a text message containing only the URL to this blog. He tried to ring me a few minutes later. I didn’t answer; he tried again and eventually we talked for 47 minutes about the past two years and my eating disorder. I still don’t think he understands completely, but that’s okay. I still don’t think our relationship will be any different but that’s okay too. He deserves to know. So. Big changes. As in, a family member now knows and maybe now it’s time to bite the bullet and tell my parents too. I don’t think I’m worried about how they will respond anymore; but I do figure it’s only fair if they hear it from me.

Refusing to tell people about my eating disorder and my process of recovery is the same as refusing to let go of my eating disorder. And I refuse to keep it forever, so I guess I’m going to have to refuse to be held back!

B xxxx

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