Black and White Thinking

Even if you do not have ED, you might find yourself falling into the traps of white and black thinking. This type of assumption means that things are one way or another - that you cannot have two things that are different happening at one time. There is no medium; no balance or moderation. For example, today may be the worst or best day of your life - it probably is never just a 'neutral' day. You may really like a food, or you hate it. You are rarely indifferent to a meal.

I suffer from this type of thinking. I admit, I often fall into it's trap. ED takes advantage of this. For example, I am either very thin or very fat. I do not believe that I can ever be 'just in between' or at a healthy weight. I am either pretty or ugly  - I cannot be 'medium'. And of course, in my head, ED will tell me that I am fat and ugly. He does not even inform me of the other end of the spectrum - the positive parts. He likes to remind me that I am always on the terrible end of the line - the fat, ugly, failure, useless, and unworthy ends.

It is difficult to change this type of thinking. It takes a lot of practice. The first thing I had to do was to realize that these thoughts were from ED. Then, I had to counter what he was saying. It took a while to believe what I was saying, but eventually, it started to sink in.

You can never be just 'healthy'. You will gain weight and be fat. That is why you need to restrict - to stay thin. 

Well, ED, I think I may just be able to be healthy. I can work with a team to make sure that I stay at a normal range. This way, I won't need to restrict to lose weight, nor will I need to be worried about dying from malnutrition.

You will never be beautiful. You will remain ugly.

I am beautiful in God's eyes. I am the child of the Lord. And I know well enough that you will always tell me that I am ugly, because you know that this makes me turn to you. You know my weakness; you know how feeling fat and ugly makes me feel. But now I know that this is your trick. And I refuse to let you in again.

There is no medium-ground in anything in life. Black and white thinking will help you stay in control.

When I used black and white thinking, I became your slave. I believed your lies about being fat and ugly. I heeded to your commands because I was scared of the 'other' side. I thought I was in control of my weight, but in fact, I was losing control with each day that I let you boss me around. What started off as a journey to control my weight ended up with me in the ICU, where I had no control whatsoever.

....And the conversations carry on and on. ED is smart; he does not give up easily. If I close one door in his face, he will find another. If all doors are closed, he will try to find a window, a crack - anything to let himself in again. My job now is to put up barriers and locks everywhere. Lock the doors and windows, fill in the cracks, and hide the keys. ED will no longer be allowed to creep into my mind and my heart, where he deceptively implants negative thoughts and feelings. I won't give him anywhere to stay - he will be homeless, with no one to give him the time nor the energy that he so desperately longs for.

And with everyday that he remains homeless, I know that I am one step closer to reclaiming my life from him.


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