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likipie's avatar

Ana/Mia jellies only: If your friend knew about your ED and was using it against you (black mailing) what would you do?

Asked by likipie (1454points) February 24th, 2012

My best friend knows that I have an eating disorder and every time she sees me heading to the bathroom after a meal, she gives me a look that tells me she’s considering telling my mother. She uses it against me when she wants me to do something or wants me to tell her something and I’m really scared that she’ll tell someone and I’ll get caught. I don’t plan on stopping anytime soon and I REALLY don’t want my mother to find out. I can’t erase her memory but I know, despite her promises, she’ll end up telling someone eventually. It’s not serious, it hasn’t been happening for very long but when she found out I made her swear not to tell anyone but now I’m worried she’s going to go back on her promise. What would you do in this situation?

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31 Answers

XOIIO's avatar

OH, I thought this was erectile disfunction. That’s what ED is short for btw.

If you make someone swear to something, anything, it’s pointless, promises don’t mean anything in todays society. I would say, come to grips with it, and just tell people and seek support about it. IF you are brave enough to let people know and ask for help she has nothing on you.

XOIIO's avatar

And no, I don’t have an eating disorder, but it’s just common sense.

likipie's avatar

@XOIIO That’s not what ED stands for in the eating disorder community. But thanks anyway.

King_Pariah's avatar

Fess up to your mother that you have an eating disorder. It’s gonna get out sooner or later and it’ll be better if you are the one to speak up rather than someone else. You need to overcome this one way or another, it is really, REALLY unhealthy. My metabolism is so out of whack that when I am asked my weight I have to give a 10–15 lb range because what my weight may have been yesterday may easily be 5–7/8 lb different than what it is today.

likipie's avatar

@King_Pariah Thank you but I don’t want to overcome anything. Not yet anyway. But it is great advice. If I ever decide I want to stop and can’t on my own, I’ll be sure to tell her.

Buttonstc's avatar

The only helpful advice any of us can offer is exactly what KP. just wrote.

You don’t seriously expect any of us to suggest ways that you can continue to keep killing yourself in secret, do you?

You’ve just chosen a slower form of suicide and I certainly wouldn’t be comfortable helping anyone to commit suicide either instantly or slowly.

You may think you can stop on your own (and that may even be true today) but the inevitable result is that you will become so ensnared by your obsession and body dysmorphia that you’ll be in a different reality altogether.

If you really think that now you can stop on your own, the best advice I have for you is to do precisely that. Then you don’t have to fear your secret being exposed. Saying that you simply don’t want to is already a danger sign. You just don’t recognize it as such.

XOIIO's avatar

@likipie true, but literally everywhere else it’s different. meh.

Aethelflaed's avatar

Ditch the friend. Seriously, she sounds like a crap friend to emotionally blackmail you like that. She doesn’t have to support you in your ana/mia, she doesn’t have to enable you, but using tattling as a way to get what she wants is just shitty. Especially if (and I don’t know your situation) your actual mother (so, not the ideal mother) is not a good person to tell about your eating disorder. Either she confronts you directly (she’s currently passive-aggressive), she tells your mother immediately because she thinks that’s the best way to be your friend (time has pretty much passed for that), or this friendship isn’t possible, at least until one of you drastically changes your behavior.

Nullo's avatar

I second the above. A proper friend would go ahead and tell your mother, since you need the help and you can’t bring yourself to get it on your own.
Your mom won’t be angry if you tell her what’s going on. She’ll be distressed, and she will likely insist on seeing you a therapist, but she loves you and wants the best for you, and you not killing yourself is definitely something she’d be open to.

jca's avatar

Like @XOIIO said, to most of us, ED = erectile dysfunction.

LuckyGuy's avatar

This will be painful but confess while telling your side of the story. Then DON’T tell your “friend” that you did. Let her continue to try to play you. Her demands will get bigger until you tell her to kiss off. When she tells your secret she will be exposed as the low-life blackmailer she is. Now you have the power.

By the way, telling you mom won’t be as bad as you think. She sees what you eat, knows your activity level, and can see the size of your body. Unless you’re carrying tapeworm she knows and has been wanting to talk to you about it.

Good luck to you.
By the way when I read your Q, I thought you were a boy and was so Ana you had Erectile Dysfunction – like some Ana girls lose their periods.

LuckyGuy's avatar

Oh one more thing.
Start keeping track of all the things she manipulated out of you. Be specific with dates, times, demands outcome.
2/10, 8:00, Threatened to tell Mom if I did not buy her lunch, bought lunch
2/11, 5:00PM Threatened to tell Mom if I did not tell Amber’s secret. Told secret.
2/12, 10:00 Threatened to tell unless I do her homework. Did her homework
Write it all down.
After you confess to your Mom you can continue the charade but can play your blackmailer.
2/28 Threatened to tell unless I do her homework, Did homework incorrectly.
2/29 Threatened to tell unless I betray Brittney’s secret. Told bogus secret.

Eventually she will make a request that will be quite shocking.
When the inevitable happens you will have the power to destroy her with data.
She is being a bully and deserves it.

JilltheTooth's avatar

I’m afraid that I’m on board with the A) “Tell your mom” folks it’s going to come out anyway and the B) “Dump the blackmailer” folks.

And BTW, by the context of the Q and details I knew immediately that you meant Eating Disorder.

missingbite's avatar

Sorry but I’m not buying the whole thing. BOTH of you are screwed up and need help. Your friend ought to tell your parents before you do irreversible damage to yourself. Eating disorders are not to be taken lightly and by your own words you don’t intend on stoping anytime soon. There are other ways to handle weight control if that is what you are looking for. SEEK HELP and your friend needs help too!

pshizzle's avatar

She obviously cares about you a lot. Eating disorders are deadly. By telling someone, she could save your life. If she doesn’t tell someone, you could die, and that would be on her conscience. How would that make both you and her feel?

cazzie's avatar

If she was a true friend, she wouldn’t be blackmailing you, but I think you know that already.

It is quite a secret you are carrying around with you, but I suspect you know that already, too.

If you were my friend, you’d be getting a stiff, open handed clip upside the head and major pressure to talk to someone about what is making you feel you need to do this to yourself.

You see, it isn’t the ‘ED’ you are trying to keep secret, it is the reason or reasons you are doing it. You can’t under-eat your way to having power over your own life. It is exactly how you lose it. By showing such blatant disregard for your own well-being, you will be forcing people to take even more control over you and what you do.

Been there, done that. Got the therapy.

This friend is no friend at all, and you should just tell her you feel that way. Friends don’t manipulate each other like this, and you are BOTH doing it to each other.

I had a friend in high school having food issues as well and she had been hospitalised etc… she saw the tell tale signs in me and sort of tricked me into visiting the school councilor with her. I realised I had someone to talk to and talk I did and it got better. Everything got better.

Talk to someone. It doesn’t have to be your mother. Not eating (or thinking you have to vomit it up) is a symptom, not the disease.

SuperMouse's avatar

@pshizzle what makes you say this friend cares for @likipie a lot? As others have said, it she seems to have the exact opposite of her best interest at heart.

@likipie the best way to stop this behavior is step up and tell your mother or another trusted adult what is going on. I know if you have read all of the above resposes you know exactly why I am saying this so I won’t repeat it here. Do it before this situation gets totally out of hand.

One more thing, I tend to think that part of the reason you asked this question on a site such as this was to reach out for help (consciously or subconsciously). Doing so is a fabulous first step, please keep moving forward toward a healthy lifestyle and tell someone you trust about your eating disorder and get the help you need. Good luck to you.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

I wonder if she really will tell…threats and doing aren’t the same, often. I’d say to such a friend ‘you can tell my mother whatever you want, we’re no longer friends.’ Do you run a risk? yes but you run that risk with this ‘friend’ around anyway. Nobody should do that to a person, that’s NOT how one helps a person who has ED.

quiddidyquestions's avatar

I used to have an ED. In retrospect, I wish someone would have told someone who could have helped me.

People with ED don’t think clearly about what they are doing, and your misguided thoughts are obvious from your question. Accept the help.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@quiddidyquestions I don’t know if you meant it that way but that is condescending. Your experience was just your experience, you can’t possibly think all others with ED (that’s millions of us) would go or even want to go through the same trajectory as you. You have no clue whether her family would know what to do (and they never do and sometimes make things much much worse quite fast) even and to say someone isn’t thinking clearly is to imply that you: a) are thinking clearly now (what’s your proof of that, even?) and b) she has no agency which she has.

Aethelflaed's avatar

Why does everyone assume that the best way to handle this is to tell her mother? So many girls with eating disorders have them because their mother isn’t this wonderful mother who would handle this situation with love and respect and grace (but possibly is abusive and creating whatever mental health issues there are that coming out as an eating disorder), and a lot of girls pick up the behavior from their mother, who herself has some ED.

dappled_leaves's avatar

@likipie It’s hard to give you advice about your friend, when we know that the secret you’re keeping is so dangerous to your own well-being. Maybe she desperately wants to tell someone for your sake, but it keeps coming out all wrong, or she’s trying to figure out what you’ll do if she tells. Or maybe she’s just a jerk – we can’t know that.

Please find someone who you can trust, and tell them what’s going on. You don’t know how much worse it can get – and by the time you recognize that, it will be so much harder to stop than you believe it is now.

Plus, it will have the added benefit of taking away your friend’s power over you, if that is really what is happening.

janedelila's avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir Wow. I’m confused at what you are trying to say. First you express that every ED experience is different, and there are “millions” of differences. Then you use the word “never”. And, in my opinion, you ramble for a moment. Then, also my opinion, you attack @quiddidyquestions sensibilty. Then you ramble again.

cazzie's avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir She does have agency. Of course she does. She does this to herself. @quiddidyquestions assesses it correctly. Of course this young girl is not thinking clearly. She requires some outside help to see what she is doing is harmful in the extreme. You didn’t read quiddi’s response either, because neither quiddi or I suggested she talk to her family. She needs to talk to someone she feels safe with.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@janedelila Well, I will concede that sometimes (albeit rarely) parents might help so that never should have been often, instead. Whether I appear as rambling to you is irrelevant and all I was attacking was that person’s paternalistic attitude. @cazzie I will agree to disagree. How about that?

Aethelflaed's avatar

@cazzie Doesn’t the idea that ED comes from not thinking clearly mean that her agency is reduced? If she’s not thinking clearly, how can she does anything about it? Either this is something she consciously and deliberately does to herself, or it comes from unclear thinking that she has no control over. They’re conflicting theories about where mental health comes from. Not to mention that the question asked wasn’t at all how to stop the ED, and in fact, the OP specifically said it’s not something she wants to change, so all of this talk about changing the ED is besides the point.

cazzie's avatar

@Aethelflaed She is ‘addicted’ to a self destructive behaviour. (I put it into parenthesis because it isn’t addiction in the classic sense.) It is more of a compulsion and, as she writes about it, she is very aware of what she is doing and writes of it, explicitly. She COULD have written that she just had a ‘secret’, but instead, writes all about what it is she is doing. It sounds as if she is read to talk to someone, if not now, then very soon, about what is troubling her. THAT is why I say she has agency.

If this question was ONLY about a friend blackmailing her because of a secret, she would have had NO need to write what the secret was. Think about it. She also asks that only people with a history of ED write back to her. I think we need to reach out and tell her that she isn’t alone and it can get better, but she has to talk to someone.

Aethelflaed's avatar

@cazzie Huh. And see, I think we should respect her right to bodily autonomy and self-determination. In my experience, when people are ready to really, really deal with their stuff, they talk to people in real life, not on internet forums.

likipie's avatar

@JilltheTooth THANK YOU for properly interpreting my question and not arguing with me about the meaning of my question!!!

SuperMouse's avatar

@likipie no one argued with you about the meaning of your question. Many simply pointed out that in many contexts ED stands for erectile dysfunction. There are some very well meaning answers in this thread and lots of encouragement for you to work on getting healthy.

likipie's avatar

@SuperMouse Yes, there is a lot of good advice, I didn’t mean to come off as rude, I apologize.

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