There are many reasons why someone develops an eating disorder. Culture, environment, physiology, life experiences and even geography may play a part. Another of these is personality type. The type I call ‘good girl’.
There are, of course, sufferers who won’t fit this description. Similarly, most good girls will not develop anorexia. However, aspects of their personalities make them more vulnerable to it than others. Good girls are often people pleasers and perfectionists. They are bright, sensitive and hard-working, and many of them are in our churches. They tend to see the world in black and white, and are used to excelling in different fields. Despite this, they have low self-esteem and struggle to make sense of who they are. As a result, they seek approval and build their identity on the reflections of other people.
Good girls like me are terrified of rejection – yet we long for relationship. We believe that to have any value, we must meet certain standards. We must be ‘good’. This means that negative emotions such as anger or sadness are seen as ‘bad’ and unacceptable. Many people deal with these by talking with others. But the good girl believes that if she opens up she’ll be exposed and rejected. Instead she retreats inwards. She copes by repressing her feelings and redoubling her efforts to gain approval. Yet, despite her striving, ‘good’ is never ‘good enough’.
Read the rest here.