Body dysmorphia is a characteristic of commonly diagnosed eating disorders. It basically describes the phenomenon in which people with eating disorders have skewed images of themselves and obsess over specific features, even if there is nothing wrong with them at all. It can be challenging to know what to say or how to help someone struggling with disordered eating behaviors. But, body dysmorphia help is available to both people who struggle with this issues and their loved ones.
In this article, we discuss how to help someone who may be struggling with body dysmorphia by giving advice on what to say to these individuals. And, who to reach out for to help with treatment.
Educating Yourself About Body Dysmorphia
The best way to offer body dysmorphia help to a loved one who may be struggling with this is to educate yourself further on this condition. When you know more about what to expect and what to say to a loved one struggling with this issue, you’re better able to help and offer the support they need. One of the things you can educate yourself on is how to approach and speak to a loved one struggling with body dysmorphia. This is because what you say and how you approach this issue has an impact on whether or not your loved one may get help, how they respond to your support, and considers their sensitivity on the topic which allows you to be the support they need.
Some of the supportive and helpful things you can say to a loved one living with body dysmorphia may include:
You’re There to be a Listening Ear
Just simply being there to listen to a person who’s struggling with body dysmorphia is a great way to provide support. Being a listening ear is a way to provide support without judgement – allowing the person who’s struggling to have a safe outlet to talk about their emotions without having to feel shameful or guilty. Remember, you don’t always have to offer advice. Listening without offering your two cents is better in order to remind your loved one that you’re there for them always and without judgement.
Tell Your Loved One You’re Sorry
If you have never dealt with body dysmorphia yourself, providing advice and personal insight into a loved one’s struggle with body dysmorphia isn’t ideal. Someone that’s struggling with body dysmorphia doesn’t need someone to tell them how they should feel. Rather, they need support and understanding so they can process their emotions and experience on their own terms. To give this, you can tell your loved one struggling with body dysmorphia that you are sorry that they are dealing with what they’re experiencing. This allows them to know that you are there for them without malice and while you may not understand, you still care about how they feel and their personal experience with body dysmorphia.
Tell Them That Their Feelings are Completely Valid
Body dysmorphia may cause symptoms that lead a person to believe they have physical flaws when they don’t, leading to negative feelings of self worth. So, it’s common that loved ones of people living with this condition will tell them that their feelings and thoughts are made up. But, this just invalidates a person who is struggling with body dysmorphia’s feelings, which isn’t helpful. Rather than telling a person who’s struggling with the effects of body dysmorphia that their feelings are made up, suggest that what they may be experiencing is due to their diagnosis. This offers insight into why they’re feeling what they are rather than making it seem like they shouldn’t be feeling the way they do.
Getting Help for Body Dysmorphia and Other Eating Disorders
Are you or a loved one struggling with the debilitating effects of body dysmorphia? Support and assistance is available through treatment. At Willow Place for Women, women living with body dysmorphia can learn about their condition, get support through both evidence-based treatment and therapy, and be a part of a supportive community of women who understand and have like experiences.