When talking to your loved one or close friend regarding their eating disorder, it is important that you relay your concerns in the most loving, non-confrontational, and non-accusatory ways possible. Listen to their denial, defensive tendencies, and anger issues and don’t give up. You might be able to save them.
Here are some ways Eating Disorder Center of Denver and other experts recommend when planning to approach loved ones about their eating disorders:
- Never use accusatory or critical comments, as this can make your loved ones go on the defense. Rather, focus the conversation on particular behaviors that concern you.
- Never focus on food and weight issues and direct the conversation on relationships and feelings instead. Relay specific concerns, such as health and psychological, and why you think your loved one needs help. Don’t push too hard to invade their privacy. Make it clear that you will always be there for them and that they have all your support when they’re ready to seek help.
- Never comment on their physical appearance, even if what you have to say is positive, since that could be the root of your loved one’s problem. Know what to say to keep the conversation.
- Never go into a power struggle over their eating habits. Don’t demand for their obedience either since one of their main struggles is about controlling themselves. Forcing them to change can make things worse.
- Never play the blame game and blame your loved one about their attitudes. Instead, say things like “I am just concerned because you didn’t eat this morning or evening.” or “I fear for your health.”
- Never reinforce their obsession on being thin or relay feelings of fat prejudice. If they tell you that they need to lose more pounds, don’t tell them that they’re not fat. A better way is to advise them to discover their apprehension on becoming fat and why being thin matters to them that much.
Getting help is a difficult thing for those who are struggling with eating disorders. Be there, be patient, and always make them feel that you’ll help in any way you can.