Take Responsibility and Make The Split

"You have created your eating disorder into an imaginary living thing to pass the blame along - but it is for you to become the real decision maker in your life. The choice is all yours, not theirs. You have the power to choose between two voices, the eating disorders and yours. That's what the split is all about".


You must take responsibility for your own voice, don't let Ana speak over it. You must take responsibility for your actions, don't let Ana dictate them. 

Ana likes to steal your thoughts and change them to be negative. Or her best game is to steal the pronouns of all our sentences. Rather than Ana saying to us, "you are fat", "you are lazy", “you are worthless" she nabs the 'you' and changes it with 'I'. So, our thoughts always become, "I am fat, lazy or worthless". Ana is a top-class thief and the more ‘you’s’ she takes the more we believe in the ‘I’s’.

If she changes the ‘you’ to ‘I’, and gets us to believe it's us saying it or thinking it rather than it coming from her.. she will win. Ana’s existences relies upon her stealing skills, if we forget to separate Ana for ourselves, she can easily go behind our backs and swap our words – from ‘You are fat’ to ‘I am fat’.

Learn to separate or she steals, it’s that simple. 


Agreeing and obeying. 

Ana: You need me. You'll be fat without me.

Margherita: Well maybe I should try to leave you.

Ana: Ha, be my guest but you'll be fat in seconds and no one will like you, oh and have fun trying to put a leotard on.

Margherita: Yes, you are right. I would hate all those things, I am sorry. Thank you for helping me. 


Disagreeing, but still obeying. 

Ana: You need me. You'll be fat without me. 

Margherita: I don't need you. I have a dietician that won't let me get fat. I have learnt about your tricks. 

Ana: Ha, be my guest but you'll be fat in seconds and no one will like you, oh and have fun trying to put a leotard on. 

Margherita: That's not true, but I am very scared to leave you. I don't want to get fat, please don't let me get fat Ana. 


Disagreeing and disobeying. 

Ana: You need me. You'll be fat without me.

Margherita: I don't need you Ana. I want to recover and it won't make me fat. 

Ana: Ha, be my guest but you'll be fat in seconds and no one will like you, oh and have fun trying to put a leotard on. 

Margherita: That's not true. I won't be fat without you, I will have friends and I will leave you and I will wear a leotard and be confident in it. Just watch me! 


Separate but don't blame. 

Whilst I encourage you to separate yourself from your eating disorder I also must stress that you can't blame Ana, Mia or Ed for anything! This is from personal experience and professional advice seeing as when I first made the split from Ana and started treating Margherita and Ana as two different people I constantly made the mistake of blaming her for my destructive actions with food and exercise. Here's a few examples so you can see where I went wrong. 

Ana: Don't eat breakfast tomorrow and go for a run to make up for last night’s meal. 

Margherita: But I don't want to do that, although I guess you are right, I'll do it. (Margherita would).

Ana: I can't believe you ate all that Margherita, now go and be sick or you'll get fat. 

Margherita: But I don't want to do that. 

Ana: Well you have to. So go. (Margherita would).

Ana: Quickly roll your potatoes into your napkin, so that no one sees! 

Margherita: But I don't want to do that, I am still hungry and I would like the potatoes. 

Ana: You can't have them though so get on with it. (Margherita would).

Now in all these examples myself, Margherita has a conversation with Ana, I tell her that I don't want to do what she's telling me to do but she responds that I have no choice. Which is wrong, as I always did and do have a choice. I let Ana get away with it though and always blamed my final actions and decisions on her. I would say to my therapist, "I skipped breakfast today and went for a run instead, I didn't want to but Ana made me." Or "I was sick yesterday, but Ana made me do it. I had no choice." Although in each and every case my therapist would always reply that I did have a choice, and that I needed to stop blaming Ana for my behaviour. My therapist told me, “It is great that you are now able to separate your voice from Ana’s but now you must also separate your actions and realise that if you have a voice then you also have a say to what you do, your actions and your choices. You need to start being accountable for your own behaviours and take responsibility in what you choose to do." This tough love from my therapist is exactly what I needed to help me to face up to what I was doing. My therapist explained that it is all well to spilt Ana from myself but I must also make sure that this spilt doesn't tempt me to give in to Ana by feeling that blame could be easily placed on her. 

This all means that the spilt from yourself and your eating disorder is step 1, but step 2 is realising that even though your eating disorder exists separately from you, it means that your new job is to respond to what they say with a choice. If they shout, "binge", "be sick", "don't eat" and "exercise", respond with a choice and decide whether you are going to or not, don't allow their voice to hold the reins. Maybe you can't control what Ana, Mia or Ed says but you can definitely control how what they say makes you feel and take responsibility for your own actions. Tough love is sometimes the best love, facing that Ana didn't have to change, but that it was me that did was the biggest step in my recovery. Split, separate and choose! 

You see, the point in personifying your eating disorder is to learn and practice the skill of taking responsibility, not to blame. You have created your eating disorder into an imaginary living thing to pass the blame along - but it is for you to become the real decision maker in your life. The choice is all yours, not theirs. You have the power to choose between two voices, the eating disorders and yours. That's what the split is all about.

Margi

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Margherita Barbieri