What is emotional anorexia?

It’s a fixed policy of not connecting with ourselves or others on an intimate level.


We “self-medicate” via emotional anorexia to avoid emotional intensity. Whether you date compulsively or have not been in a close, personal relationship for years, it’s all born out of the same fear of emotional pain.


Emotional anorexia causes us to shut down, dissociate, numb out and avoid. As a result, without realizing it we tend to receive rather than form our own opinions. We look to others to tell us how to think and feel. We lose touch with ourselves and become progressively more aloof. This creates rigidity of thought, fragility in self-expression and a general lack of humility.


The antidote is emotional literacy. We need to slow down, literally take a deep breath, and start getting better acquainted with ourselves. What makes us tick? How are we getting in our own way? What terrifies us about other people? What do we need, and how will those needs be met? As we learn to accept ourselves and express inconvenient, complex feelings in a calm, assertive manner, we are better able to connect.


It’s challenging, but once we start making progress, we start to lighten up. This makes us more grounded, confident and even happy.

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