Watch my Youtube video here – basically all the information I include in this post but summarized

Eating disorders & Attachment style

4 Reasons why those with Insecure Attachment develop eating disorders
1. Emotional dysregulation
2. Inaccurate self-beliefs
3. Perfectionism
4. Reduced mindfulness
Let’s get specific. Here’s a breakdown of each Insecure Attachment Style and how they impact someone’s eating:
I. The Anxiously/Preoccupied attached:
  • expect to be rejected or abandoned by those close to them so they often have an increased need for approval. This can result in setting unrealistically high standards and comparing themselves to others.
II. The Avoidant attached:
  • have a tendency to detach or distance themselves from distressing emotions and “turn away” from painful experiences – similar to the way someone with anorexia denies their physical hunger. As a result, the avoidant attachment style explains the strict dietary habits that someone with an eating disorder tends to engage in.
III. The Disorganized attached:
  • experience issues of unresolved trauma and loss
  • if someone who is disorganized displays as anxious, they might engage in binging and purging to curb their feelings of distress around their appearance and weight gain. If they fall more on the avoidant end of the spectrum, they may restrict their calorie intake in an attempt to strive for the “perfect” aesthetic and detach from distressing emotions.

How do Caregiver Behaviors impact Eating Disorders in teens?

  • Ones need for independence can often create an internal struggle for a teen. On the one hand, they desire a sense of freedom and control over their own lives & on the other hand, they still seek comfort and support from their caregivers.
A Mothers transmission of trauma can lead to eating disorders:
  • By allowing her own unresolved trauma to impede her ability to respond to her child’s needs. This is referred to as: transgenerational transmission of trauma.
A Fathers’ avoidant actions could be a risk factor for eating disorders:
  • In particular, when he’s avoidant, detached, controlling, and less attentive, a child tends to show greater food restraint, anxiety about eating, and concern with their body shape and appearance.
The good news: anyone with anxious, preoccupied, disorganized & avoidant attachment can become more secure with the right help, honest disclosure and a willingness to break unhealthy patterns of behavior.