Article Contributed By: Brett McDonald, M.S. LMHC
Clinical Director, The Dragonfly Retreat
We often think increased stress, independence and peer pressure at college make symptoms worse, but I always look to the ways that the family reacted to the child leaving.
Blaming Themselves for Not Over-Exceeding Expectations
Most often, we will discover the client’s underlying feeling of self-blame for no longer being there to hold the family together, coupled with a pushback (subtle or otherwise) from family members in response to their own sense of deprivation.
To resolve the eating disorder, we must look at realistic vs. unrealistic internalized roles and be more fair and accurate about what one person can shoulder in a family. I teach people about internal boundaries so they can stop being responsible for everyone else’s issues and needs.
When the burden of that heavy role is lifted, so often the burden of the eating disorder, is lifted as well.