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What It's Like to Breakup With Your Eating Disorder

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When I was a sophomore in high school, I met my first love. I was swept away by his compliments on my beauty. He told me to never change because I was perfect. I thought I was happy before our relationship, but he made me realize that he was what was missing from my life. He pushed me to be the best version of myself. He was there whenever things in my life weren’t going well. He reminded me that no matter what else happened, I still had him to help take control of the chaos in my life.

Life has a tendency to get a bit chaotic. As the world changes around you, you change too. But he would remind me that together, we could stop the change because I was perfect and didn’t need to change. I felt so lucky to have someone who saw me as perfect. Every relationship has its ups and downs and we were no different. Sometimes I would disappoint him. Sometimes he would lash out and say horrible things in his anger. I would be left feeling devastated. But he would always apologize, explaining that he just wanted what was best for me.

He would say how the world can be ruthless. I would interject and say that I haven’t experienced that in life. But he would explain that my perfection has kept me safe from the cruelty of other people. If I just stayed perfect, I would be safe. I felt so lucky to have someone in my life who cared so much about me. I promised to never disappoint him again.

We were together for six years and our relationship became the most important thing in my life. But things weren’t like they were when our relationship started. He seemed to compliment me less and less, but expected so much from me. I didn’t want to disappoint him, but his demands were getting extreme. I did what he asked because I didn’t want to experience his disappointment, which had evolved into a relentless fury in which he reminded me of all my failures and inadequacies. I tried to be perfect just like he wanted, but it seemed like nothing could please him anymore.

Trying to live up to his expectations was draining my energy. Sometimes I couldn’t handle it and would try to end the relationship. However, he would remind me that I was nothing without our relationship and that I would never be happy without him. At first I believed him and would always take him back. But I started to ask myself if being with him was actually making me happy. Was I happy letting him control my life? Was I happy when he constantly made me feel like a failure? Was I happy when he kept me from growing or changing because he lied and told me I had to be perfect? Was I happy when he made me stop living my life so that I could try to meet his unachievable goals? No. I realized that he had destroyed me. I did not even recognize the person I was anymore. He had left me emotionally and physically broken. He did not want the best for me. I took what little fight I had left and finally ended my six year relationship with my eating disorder.

Eating disorders are like a terrible relationship. The eating disorder will often pretend to care and say it wants only the best for you. But the eating disorder is almost like a cheating boyfriend who is saying whatever he can to make sure you don’t break up with him. Your eating disorder will probably never bring you true happiness. I think you deserve so much more than the life your eating disorder has created for you. So please, break up with your eating disorder.

If you or someone you know is struggling with an eating disorder, you can call the National Eating Disorders Association Helpline at 1-800-931-2237.

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Originally published: December 15, 2017
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