Pride is one of the biggest obstacles to recovery from an eating disorder. It blinds people to their problem. And even when they find a way to admit the problem to themselves, pride stops anorexics, bulimics, and compulsive overeaters from reaching out for help.
“How clever and strong I am for being able to…”
- Resist what others cannot. Anorexics experience hunger. They simply ignore and endure it, taking pride in the perceived strength, discipline, and dedication it takes to abstain from food.
- Get away with something others cannot. Bulimics may binge on food, but they are in no danger of getting fat. They take pride in this, having discovered purging — the secret to eating as much as you want without gaining a single pound.
- Defy something others won’t. Compulsive overeaters gain weight, but relish in the choice they’re making to do so. They take pride in this immovable position of defiance. If they choose to be fat, they’re in control.
- Turn pain into a positive. Eating disorders develop from a need to cope with pain. Anorexics, bulimics, and compulsive overeaters take pride in their ability to use their pain to create something positive — perceived control and the power that goes with it.
How Proud Are You?
Chipping away at the pride that feeds your eating disorder starts with the bigger picture of pride in your life.
The following are characteristics of people whose actions and relationships are driven by pride, excerpted from Hope, Help & Healing From Eating Disorders: A Whole-Person Approach To Treatment of Anorexia, Bulimia, and Disordered Eating by A Place Of Hope founder, Dr. Gregory Jantz.
A prideful person:
- Won’t admit error.
- Needs to win when dealing with others.
- Takes inappropriate authority over other people, even if the authority is not rightly theirs.
- Has a tendency to shame others.
- Overuses sarcasm.
- Takes things to extremes.
- Has difficulty developing intimacy.
- Denies events or characteristics that don’t fit her own self-image.
- Takes pleasure in the distress of others.
- Feels a need to be in control of people and circumstances.
- Is critical of self and others.
- Won’t receive the criticism of others.
- Is really compensating for intense feelings of insecurity.
- Punishes others when they don’t act “correctly.”
- Places blames for failure onto others.
- Has a self-righteous attitude.