Building friendships that are not built on attention-seeking
The number one thing that eating disorders are all about is control. However, control is a fallacy, so what might be the secondary thing that eating disorders are about? Well, I think the answer would be attention. I say this because many EDs are reinforced by the attention they are given from those surrounding the person who has an ED. Of course it’s natural for someone to receive lots of attention if they are sick or unwell. This attention is negative attention- meaning the attention is given because of one’s struggle with an eating disorder, not because of some other positive aspect.
When I go back and think about my relationships, I have to consider which ones are built surrounding my ED, and which ones are not. Thankfully, a few of my relationships, like that which I have with my best friend, are genuine and positively built around love and connection versus a need for attention or a craving for affection. This friendship has been in place since sixth grade- six years before my struggles with eating began.
Next I have to consider the relationships that I had formed while I was being affected by my eating disorder. Are they genuine? Do people care about me because I was sick, or because of who I am as a person? Granted, not everyone knew about my eating struggles at the time that our relationships were formed which further supports the idea that the relationships are real… or does it? Perhaps I was seeking said relationships because I was lonely, sick, and needy. Perhaps those relationships are merely on the surface because I needed attention and support.
Now that I am in recovery, I want to really focus in on this matter. I want my relationships with the people in my life to be loving, caring, and supportive relationships. I don’t want to seek attention for having mental illness(es) any longer. I want to just be me, and form relationships off of that.
I have been blessed to have as many supportive people in my life as I have now. I hope that they all choose to stay.