The diseased voice
The diseased voice
People who suffer from eating disorders often struggle with repressed feelings and needs. However, eating disorders can also be attempts at solution or silent protests or rejections. The fact is that those affected fight an internal war with themselves around the clock. There are two voices in her head, two souls living in her breast. The mostly small and weak part reflects the own personality – the larger and more powerful part is the extremely evil, negative and destructive voice. What started as doubt, indecision, and moderate self-criticism becomes an autonomous power and the symptoms of an eating disorder become visible. They express their inner tensions on the “battlefield body”.
Patients suffering from an eating disorder are consciously taking everything they have said against themselves. You are no longer able to see things real and objectively. This supercritical subjectivity compels the victims to interpret every remark as a negative reflection or to pick out a blame for every possible event. This makes it especially impossible for family and friends to get to the true “side of the affected”. Any remark, however benevolent it may be, takes the subject material, which confirms its negative beliefs of itself. She is less able to see things rationally or objectively, or even to make decisions. She submits to the wishes of others and becomes increasingly insecure and anxious that any decision she makes may be wrong.
The emotional and mental development of a person affected has been interrupted. Mentally, she is still a child with an unformed sense of self.
Many of those affected try to be “perfect” to please others.
Only when we have reached emotional maturity do we develop the necessary objectivity to realize that it is impossible and not desirable to be perfect or live a perfect life.
In therapy and in dealing with a person who suffers from an eating disorder, we must always reckon with this split inner attitude. It is important and crucial in the therapeutic work to separate the affected from their illness and to keep them apart.
The eating disorder comes to one side (the subjective side) and the true personality (the objective) to the other side.
The sufferer will increasingly realize that she is not the anorexia or bulimia, but that she suffers from this disease.
“I am not anorexia, but I have anorexia!”.
When the patient is on her way to becoming healthy, the true inner voice becomes stronger and more adept in her arguments against the negative inner voice, and the patient also asserts herself in her actions and takes control more and more. The further she gets on, the less faith she gives to her illness.
I’m so hungry. I want to eat something….
Are you completely stupid? It’s the middle of the night. You do not need anything to eat.
Why not? I am hungry now and I feel it …..
No one eats at night! It is totally abnormal to eat at night.
That’s not true. Last week, my brother also ate at night. It is very normal! If someone is hungry why not eat at night?
Tell me, what do you think, who you are? As soon as you are in this stupid therapy, you just want to eat. If you go on like that, you’ll be fat and fat!
I beg your pardon! That’s not true ….
If you absolutely want to head through the wall and do not listen to me, then just eat some fruit. Then you will not be so fat.
But I do not want fruit. When I eat fruit, I’m still hungry for it.
If you eat something now, you will definitely skip breakfast tomorrow morning!
I’m so confused. I’m supposed to be too thin, then it would not be so bad for me to eat something?
Now I’ll tell you goof for the 10th time: You will not only gain weight, but you will gain a lot and afterwards you will not be able to fit through the door frame! If you want to be such a fat pig, then eat!
I believe that I am in control of it. I can not grow from what I want to eat now.
Say, do not you understand it? You’re not going to gain weight, you’re going to grow extremely and diverge like a yeast dumpling.
Ich glaube, dass ich es im Griff habe und nicht von dem, was ich heute nacht essen werde, zunehmen kann.
Sag mal, verstehst du es nicht? Du wirst nicht etwas zunehmen, du wirst extrem zunehmen und auseinander gehen wie ein Hefeklos.
I should believe my therapist, she says that this will not happen.
You can not control your weight. Only I can do that! The therapist is talking nonsense. Why should you believe her? She does not want you good. Trust me! I’m always there for you, you’ve known me for so long, I know what you need.
I do not want to believe you anymore. I’m trying to believe the therapist now. I know that I do not feel well with you, so I cannot lose anything anymore. I can only win …..
You are so stupid! Do what you want, you’ll see what you’ve got
How inner conflicts manifest themselves in eating disorders
Inner conflicts in eating disorders are clearly evident when sufferers are faced with the dilemma of eating at night. The disorder itself paints a frightening picture of uncontrollable weight gain and the threat of isolation, while simultaneously claiming to be the sole guardian of control and self-worth. But at the core of this conflict, the person begins to question the toxic narrative. Why should satisfying a basic need – eating when hungry – be associated with shame and fear?
This inner dialogue reaches a turning point when the crucial step is taken to transfer trust from the pathological inner voice to a professional therapist. It is a shining example of the struggle against inner conflict in eating disorders that paves the way for healing and hope. The resistance to the illness and the longing for a self-determined life become the driving force.
This story illustrates that the path out of an eating disorder is characterised by the inner conflict of the eating disorder – a struggle that requires understanding, patience and, above all, support. The decision to seek professional help and work on a healthier self-image is a courageous step that represents a light of hope despite the darkness of the night.