One of the most common categories of questions I get from the friends and family of clients is about how to help.
What do I say?
I don't want to upset her, but I am so worried.
Why can't they just snap out of it?
Specifically what to say when your loved one has been diagnosed with an eating disorder will be a separate post, but the folks over at The Mighty posted a great article about what to say and NOT say when a loved one is struggling. Check out the entire article here.
This was my favorite section -
2. Do listen. Properly. Really listen. Ears open, mouth shut. Then ask open-ended questions like “How does that make you feel?” or “What happened then?” Keep listening. It will be your turn to speak soon.
Don’t react to my problems by talking about yourself. If I said I’m bulimic, it’s not helpful to hear stories of other bulimics you met, or tell me about the time you ate so many tim tams you were sick.
Listening is so important when a loved one is struggling. They don't need to hear about your great-aunt Kathy who didn't really have an eating disorder but she got caught feeding her meals to the dog every holiday. They need to feel seen and understood. Listening, responding, and giving the gift of feeling heard is the best gift you can give them.