WHAT STAGE AM I IN?
In the space below, explain the stage of integration you are in right now.
LEARNING FROM AND TAKING RESPONSIBILITY FOR YOUR EATING DISORDER SELF
Be careful how you relate to and talk with your Eating Disorder Self. Treating your Eating Disorder Self like it is separate from you, or the enemy, can easily get in the way of recovery. Thinking of your eating disorder as âœall bad,â or the enemy may cause shame and a desire to hide your thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. The problem with seeing your eating disorder as the enemy and keeping it hidden is that you will miss the valuable information your symptoms are trying to express. On some level, you feel like your eating disorder is helping you, or necessary to some degree, otherwise you wouldn’t find letting go of it so difficult.
Viewing your eating disorder as a separate entity instead of a part of you can also lead to abdication of responsibility for your behaviors and your recovery. Thoughts like, âœMy eating disorder made me do it!â are common, but not helpful or even accurate. Your eating disorder is not an entity outside of you, as much as you might like it to be, nor is it the âœrealâ you, or stronger than you, even though sometimes it might feel that way. It’s a part of you, or the expression of a part of you, that is trying to protect or help you, and in many ways it probably feels like it does.
Your Eating Disorder Self is the part of you that made you do the behavior, not some entity outside yourself. This is an extremely important difference, because if you perceive your Eating Disorder Self as a separate entity, you can be fooled into thinking it is stronger than you. However, your Eating Disorder Self cannot be more powerful if it is a part of you. It gets all its power from you. Taking responsibility for your eating disorder means paying attention and understanding what your Eating Disorder Self is doing for you and then working to heal those wounds or get those needs met in healthier ways.
WRITING WHAT MY EATING DISORDER DOES FOR ME
Write down three things you think your eating disorder does for you, such as keeping you thin, helping you release or deal with your anger, or making you feel unique or special. Writing these down helps to clarify the issues for your Healthy Self to work on. For example, if you think your eating disorder helps you express and deal with anger, it indicates the need to find healthy ways to deal with anger. That example might sound obvious, but it can actually be very challenging to understand the cryptic messages underneath your thoughts and behaviors. (Tip: The next few assignments have you working on three things your eating disorder does for you. There are undoubtedly many more than three, so we suggest working through them in your journal or adding it to your weekly goals.)