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Question
Posted by: C | 2010/01/06

emotional age

Hi CS! Hope you' ve had a marvelous holiday, and i sincerely wish 2010 will be a wonderfully blessed year for you.

I am kind of struggling at the moment, do you think it' s ever possible to completely catch up to one' s chronological age? I am in my twenties, but emotionally I feel about 17 or maybe 18 (on a mature day). I' ve had an eating disorder since 14 so maybe that has played a role? I' m still kind of entrenched in my ed-behaviours, though I' m trying VERY hard to recover. Do you think it' s necessary for me to completely give up the bulimia in order to mature on an emotional level?
I need it to help me cope with all the changes in my life at the moment - new job, new flat, living with a flatmate for the first time in my life, etc etc.

take care
C

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageCyberShrink

May we all share the blessings we deserve. Spending too much of the holidays in the dark due to the Tshwane metro's inability to maintain its electricity supplies didn't help greatly.
As to your question, I'm no sure that there's ever more than a broad correlation between chronological age and emotional age, or our various other "ages". I've known some alarmingly Old teenagers, and some alarmingly immature pensioners.
AN eating disorder can be very absorbing, and indeed can distract from other important tasks of growing as a person. Like excessive devotion to a hobby, it can waste time and effort that could have been better devoted to other more fruitful activities.
The way you describe bulimia, as something that you're reluctant to give up and as something that "helps" you deal with other problems and issues in life. This fits a concern I have had over the years, that for some people ED becomes a way of obsessively controlling something that need not be controlled, so as to at least feel in full control of SOMETHING, when faced with other more important issues in life which are far harder to control so completely. And part of the problem is the underlying assumption that one actually needs to control everything so closely and completely, which actually, fortunately, isn't so.
This is why I favour realistically based therapies including CBT to help one learn how to cope sufficiently with what needs coping, and to relax and ride along with what doesn't need such complete management
I suspect that with sucyh realistic help to enhance your existing coping skills, you could handle the challenges you describe better, especially if you didn't have to attend to the demands of bulimia

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Our users say:
Posted by: cybershrink | 2010/01/06

May we all share the blessings we deserve. Spending too much of the holidays in the dark due to the Tshwane metro's inability to maintain its electricity supplies didn't help greatly.
As to your question, I'm no sure that there's ever more than a broad correlation between chronological age and emotional age, or our various other "ages". I've known some alarmingly Old teenagers, and some alarmingly immature pensioners.
AN eating disorder can be very absorbing, and indeed can distract from other important tasks of growing as a person. Like excessive devotion to a hobby, it can waste time and effort that could have been better devoted to other more fruitful activities.
The way you describe bulimia, as something that you're reluctant to give up and as something that "helps" you deal with other problems and issues in life. This fits a concern I have had over the years, that for some people ED becomes a way of obsessively controlling something that need not be controlled, so as to at least feel in full control of SOMETHING, when faced with other more important issues in life which are far harder to control so completely. And part of the problem is the underlying assumption that one actually needs to control everything so closely and completely, which actually, fortunately, isn't so.
This is why I favour realistically based therapies including CBT to help one learn how to cope sufficiently with what needs coping, and to relax and ride along with what doesn't need such complete management
I suspect that with sucyh realistic help to enhance your existing coping skills, you could handle the challenges you describe better, especially if you didn't have to attend to the demands of bulimia

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