ABUSIVE RELATIONSHIP SYNDROME
List all the reasons you can think of why someone would be afraid to leave an abusive relationship. For example, âœShe is afraid to be without him. â
If we now change the question to:
Why are you afraid to leave your eating disorder? Use the list above and see if the same reasons apply.
I am afraid to leave my eating disorder because:
Choose 2 others from list:
What similarities do you see in the two lists? Journal your thoughts about the difficulty in leaving an abusive relationship and your difficulty âœleavingâ your eating disorder. Write about how this analogy might be helpful for you to keep in mind.
I WANT GET BETTER, BUT .
Like most of our clients, you can probably think of reasons why you want to get better, yet there are a number of statements floating around in your head along the lines of, âœI want to get better, but .â You may have written some of these in the previous assignment, but there are probably more that don’t directly relate to leaving an abusive relationship. Take some time to complete as many âœI want to get better, but .â sentences as you can. Writing these down will help you become more concrete and specific about your ambivalence, or what gets in the way of you getting better. Use your journal to do more than 3.
I want to get better, but
I want to get better, but
Go over your list and look closely at each statement. Some statements might be thoughts or feelings generated internally in your mind like, âœI’ve had it too long, â or âœI am afraid I’ll get fat. â Put an âœIâ for âœInternal Obstacles â next to those. Some statements might reflect external situations or practicalities that actually get in the way, such as, âœI don’t have the money to pay for a therapist, â or âœI live with someone who also has an eating disorder. â Put an âœEâ next to those to represent âœExternal Obstacles. â
Look over your statements categorized as internal or external. If you take a closer look at the statements you labeled âœEâ for external, practical reasons that interfere with you getting better, you can probably find beliefs or fears hiding underneath. For example, not having money to pay for therapy or living with someone who has an eating disorder are both very real external situations that can make things more difficult for you. You might need to make some changes in your living situation, create boundaries, or let go of some unhealthy relationships in your life.
Financial limitations create obstacles, but they don’t mean you can’t get well. Free support groups, online mentoring programs, and self-help secretss like this one are available. There are also organizations such as Project Heal and the Manna Fund that offer scholarships. Even if you can’t find the resources or have no access to professional help, we don’t want you to think you can’t get well. Many people (including Carolyn) have recovered without the use of a treatment program or therapist. That being said, even though it can be done, we recommend getting whatever help is available because it is much harder to do this alone.
External obstacles will present difficulties you might need to work around, but the beliefs or fears that these obstacles mean you can’t recover are just that beliefs and fears. In truth, there are very few, if any, actual reasons you can’t recover. The only real obstacles in the way of you getting well are your own thoughts and feelings. This is actually good news, because In Key 4 you will be learning to identify and respond to your thoughts and feelings in new and healthier ways.