Boundaries And Eating Disorders

Recently a friend of mine in recovery told me that she was sharing with a group of friends about the boundaries she had to make with her mother. The word “boundaries” was foreign to her friends and many asked, “What are boundaries?” My friend went on to explain, but her friends couldn’t wrap their minds around the concept saying, “Boundaries sound mean.”

This scenario got me thinking about when I first entered therapy. Psychology jargon like boundaries, co-dependency and narcissism were shocking to learn about. I had no idea that it was healthy to tell someone, “No” and not feel bad about it. For many of us in eating disorder recovery boundaries are terrifying to set up and equally to abide by. We think a boundary is someone else being mean or we are.  This thinking is simply a result of the information that has been filtered through our addict mind.

Boundaries are actually a really good thing. They allow us to protect ourselves emotionally, physically, financially and spiritually. Over the next 4 weeks The Victorian Healing Blog is going to be discussing boundaries in

  • Friendships
  • Family
  • Work
  • Dating

We hope you join the conversation and learn something new to add to your eating disorder recovery.

We would like to kick off our series by first addressing what boundaries are and why they are an issue amongst those with eating disorders.

Boundaries are like drawing a line in the sand between oneself and others. A boundary many of us are familiar with is showing up to work on time. Many employers have the boundary that you must show up to work on time or there are consequences. The 1st time you are late you get a warning, the 2nd time you are written up and the 3rd time you are terminated. This boundary is put in place between employer and employee so that the working environment is a healthy productive one. If this boundary wasn’t in place, employees might show up whenever they wanted, which would make for chaos and stress which might lead to the deterioration of the company.

The first element of a boundary starts with a human being having a healthy level of respect for their self. If you value something, you protect it right? Which is why we lock our cars and front doors. We value what we have and don’t want people taking what is ours. The same goes for our time, energy and emotions. We put boundaries in place so others don’t harm what is ours.

The problem for those in eating disorder recovery is that many have low self esteem and a lack of confidence in themselves which leads to not valuing oneself and then leads to poor boundaries which perpetuate the eating disorder behaviors.

Try and think of areas you may need to increase your boundaries. Journal about it and bring your questions here to The Victorian Healing Blog, we would be happy to talk about them with you. See you in a few days we discuss boundaries in friendships.

Happy Recovery,


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