How to Built Self-Esteem in Adult Eating Disorder Sufferer.

How to Built Self-Esteem in Adult Eating Disorder Sufferer.

Tips for Family, Caregivers and Friends

Dear Readers,


Low Self-Esteem and Eating Disorders go hand in hand. It’s our low-self esteem and the desire to go on one of those aesthetic diets to feel good about ourselves that causes Eating Disorders. Most of the times, families and friends of eating disordered patients do not realize the extent to which eating disorders can create serious physical and psychological problems. I was asked a Question by a reader on how to build self-esteem in a loved one who suffer from Eating Disorders. I love this article by Dr Irina Webster from Eating Disorder Institute, these tips are excellent. I can give you my opinion, but I feel it’s pivotal we use tips by the renowned people who’ve contributed greatly to the field of Eating Disorder. Their work is here through their experience.

 Please read below:

How to Built Self-Esteem in Adult Eating Disorder Sufferer.

This article is for spouses, parents, friends or other caregivers who want to help their loved ones to recover from their eating disorder by building their self-esteem first.

A lack of self-esteem can ruin any relationship. Unfortunately, most of eating disorder sufferers have low self-esteem and if you are in relationship with them it is your responsibility to help them to built their self-esteem up.

This problem is especially relevant for marriages because in adult life there is no other relationship like marriage. Eating disorders can cause serious problems in marriages because the sufferer often feels guilty, inadequate, not worthy, anxious or depressed.

This can lead to lack of intimacy, openness and poor communication.
But, by helping your spouse (or other loved one) to build her/his self-esteem will improve your relationship with the person and also help them to fight their eating disorder.

Here we are giving you 12 useful tips on how to build self-esteem in eating disorder person.

1. Show unconditional love. Love your spouse (or daughter, or friend or other loved one) without any conditions or limitations. If you have issues with your loved one’s behaviour, discuss it with them in friendly manner. Don’t show your distress with them. Show your love, without demand and command. Tells them : “I love you and love the way you are, but this behaviour make me think that maybe we should talk and discuss if there is anything wrong.”

2. Offer your genuine support. Let your spouse (or the other loved one) know that you support them completely. This means that when someone is berating them you will  step up to your loved one’s defence. In a marriage, the relationship between the husband and wife outweigh all other relationships. So, you should stand by your spouse first and foremost.

3. Appreciate what they do. Appreciating her for what she does will help her to trust you and feel more comfortable with you.  Whether it is something small like cooking a dinner or washing up, let your loved one  know that you appreciate it. Is she a great mom or daughter , or sister, or friend?  Acknowledge this . Try to appreciate her as much as you can. That will pull her attention away from her eating disorder  and make her focus more on the things she is good at. This also will build her self-esteem up by knowing that she is useful and needed.

4. Show her your respect. Respecting means simple things like to say “please” , “thank you”  and to talk in a friendly tone of voice. Those are little gestures that go a long way. Don’t treat your loved one like a child. She/he is  an adult so, treat them as an adult. Criticising your loved one and treating her/him as a child is degrading and rude.

5.  Share the credit. Because eating disorder sufferers have low self-esteem she may not see the contributions she makes or regard them as insignificant. You should point out these things to her and tell that without her this would not happen. Tell that not only to her/him, but to others as well. Brag on your loved one (within earshot preferably) about her/his talents or what she/he does.

6. Discover their “hidden talents”. Ask your loved one about things what they like to do or do well. Eating disorder sufferers normally are perfectionist. Perfectionism is their personality trait. This trait is also one of the things why they got an eating disorder in the first place. Perfectionism can also mean that the person is very clever, smart and talented but because of the eating disorder and the low self-esteem all her/his talents remain hidden.

Help them discover their hidden talents. Encourage them to take a class, pursue a dream or get an interesting job. You may be surprised that her/his interest will interest you too. Then, you can go on the same journey together.

7. Don’t forget “little things”.  “Little things” means leaving notes, giving  little gifts and do special things for your loved one. In a marriage it is nice to write her a letter even though you don’t go away.  Just write her nice encouraging words, express your dream and write something you think will inspire her.
But don’t wait for a special occasion. “Just because” gestures mean much more.

8. Never be deprecating (especially in public). Never put your loved one down. Avoid generalizations such as “you always make a fuss out of nothing” or “you always behave immature when you talk to your parents.” These types of statements will leave your loved one with feelings that they never do anything right.  Saying bad things about your loved one in public is unacceptable. It damages their self-esteem even more. It can also bring depression or anxiety on.

9. Be interested in them. Make sure that you know your loved one favourite colour and their favourite animal. Talk to them about the way they were brought up. What did they want to be when they grew up? What is the one dream they would like to fulfil before they die? Find out the little things and then use that information.

For example, if your loved one loves the blue colour, buy for her as a little gift a blue coffee cup or a blue scarf or blue slippers.  Let them know what you love. If they present you with a little gift – express your joy and general good mood.
Continue to explore your loved one and play on “little things”. Remember, “little things” can mean for her/him more than big ones. “Little things” can make her feel loved and trust you more. Trust will improve her self-esteem significantly.

10. Ask them for their opinion. The four most important words to create and maintain a good relationship are “What is your opinion?”  Nothing else decreases a person’s self-esteem faster than having a partner who does not take their opinions into consideration.

When you are going to buy a car or a suit for a meeting  or even change the colour of the kitchen walls just ask your loved one what they think. Let them know that you value and trust their opinion. Thanks them for their opinion even if you disagree with it.  When you do that you show them  that you value and trust them  and that will improve their self-esteem.
11. Respect their privacy and respect their personal space. Although you and the loved one are in a close relationship this does not mean you own the person. Many abusive problems are personal space problems. Personal space depend on a habitat level by profession, livelihood and occupation. Learn the boundaries of how far you can go without becoming an intruder. The boundaries are very individual and what is good for you – may not necessary good for her/him. Watch her/his emotional reaction to your action and follow your intuition.

12. Develop trust. Trust is what you should focus on in all your actions.  Anorexia people have difficulties to trust something or someone outside one’s self. When trust begins, it is likely to grow into acceptance many things which were forbidden in the past – such as food and relationships with other people. Trust will make your loved one love herself and others.



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