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misunderstanding and fear

Posted Jul 06 2009 6:03pm

There's a lot of misunderstanding, some misinformation, and tons of assumptions floating around out there regarding eating disorders, psychological/emotional issues.

This results in many not great interactions between people, and unfortunately between people who care about each other, like families and friends.

It may be true that Courtney's mom thinks she's "crazy," but there also might be other explanations. Often when people say things like her mom said to her, the statements come from a place of ignorance, misunderstanding- and the consequence of both of those: fear.

Fear makes us do and say things we wouldn't usually say or do. It can make us behave irrationally, impulsively and thoughtlessly. It can make us appear angry, aggressive or abrasive. 

Of course, the antidote to misunderstanding-caused fear is education and accurate information. This is the reason I really like to work with families- to help them ask whatever questions they may have and get answers to those questions. 

Human beings have a need to understand how things work, why things work. We are hard-wired to figure out things, to "get to the bottom of things" and when we don't understand things we tend to become fearful and anxious. (yes, I do realize there are things we cannot understand and fully know in this lifetime... those aren't the kinds of things I'm talking about here). When we can get answers to our questions we feel calmer, more stable and more connected.

It can be uncomfortable and nerve-wracking to have honest discussions about emotional/psychological things (and there are, sadly, some situations where doing so truly is contraindicated). But where it's possible it can be very, very useful. The more accurate information we all have about those we love, the less fear we have, and the more we can connect with those people in real ways, based on real life things (as opposed to  being stuck in our assumptions and worried imaginings about what might be going on).

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