Most immediate thoughts with the word anorexic are about food, and in this regard anorexia is a shockingly painful reality, emotionally. The control and restriction, the isolation and judgments of a behaviour that is very little understood, and treated as a disease, make it a deeply challenging experience for the sufferer.

But anorexia has other manifestations, all equally uncomfortable and misunderstood.

First, but in no particular order of intensity, there is “sexual anorexia”. This can manifest as long-term celibacy, Sexual Aversion Disorder, hypo-sexuality, or “frigidity” and a fear of sex or sexuality.

The roots of this manifestation of anorexia can be abuse and trauma or extreme religious indoctrination. The consequences can be personally terrifying, reducing what many of us consider “natural”, “normal” and our right, into something abhorrent. In relationships this causes huge problems and co morbid issues. Alone, there is no comfort, and seemingly no way out.

Financial anorexia is related to self-esteem. The sufferer’s overwhelming sense of shame results in self concepts telling the, they cannot use the earth’s resources, they cannot spend money on themselves and take this reality to painful extremes, living on the edge of poverty, isolation and deprivation.

Emotional anorexia is linked to the control of the self and your immediate environment. Refusing to engage, emotionally, with your and other’s emotional reality gives a huge, but ultimately empty, sense of superiority. Rejecting to protect, it is a potent defence mechanism.

All of these manifestations of extreme control are linked to abuse and attachment issues, low self-esteem and a very real lack of self-parenting.

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