Oftentimes I hear said, “But if I give up anorexia, who will I be? I won’t know myself, I won’t know HOW to be.”
When emotional development is arrested, an individual has little direction in that area. The ‘self’ is lost. Therefore, during this time, it is difficult and almost impossible to make positive choices about anything. Most things become a panic of indecision. The sufferer feels she can never do anything right, and everybody else’s opinions are more valid. The negative way she feels about herself is subjectively encouraged and, over time, compounded, so that ‘anorexia’, despite its detrimental consequences, becomes an interim identity.
“I haven’t got rid of my demons yet...but its kind of hard...it feels like half of me doesn’t want to...I feel protected as this anorexic woman now, it feels like its me and its my illness/excuse/protector, it hides everything that’s wrong with me. I just don’t know where to go and what to do now...”
She has been like this for ten years.
When I read these words and hear these questions, I am reminded of when I talked to battered women in a shelter, ‘a safe house’, who for a long time kept going back to their abusive situations because it was ‘the known’. The difference between this and ‘Confirmed Negativity Condition’ is only, that, their abusers are external rather than internal. Either way, with compassion, consistency, love, trust, and presenting possibility, the victims can be gently persuaded to see a more positive side for their future—and, to then, begin to work to repair the damage that has been done.
Most people are afraid of change—‘the unknown factor’. Despite the repercussions of remaining static, they cling to familiarity, even at the risk of their lives, and certainly, with the possibility or probability of living unnecessarily, painfully compromised existences.
With CNC, the ‘Negative Mind’ attempts to convince the sufferer that it is its friend, its protector. “In psychology, Stockholm syndrome is a term used to describe a paradoxical psychological phenomenon wherein hostages express adulation and have positive feelings towards their captors that appear irrational in light of the danger or risk endured by the victims” (wikipedia.com). With CNC, and hence, its manifestations, e.g. eating disorders, one part of the mind, the then diminished, logical part, watches helplessly as the emotional mind is taken hostage.
Here are quotes from a poem written by one of my past patients (from my first book).
I hear cries from the shrinking self:
“No one can see me or
Watch me watching myself walking
I hear the despair:
“Scuffed faces stained with defeat observe
The still existence of themselves and others.”
I love you all so much. Take care of yourself in a positive way each day.