Psychologist (518) 372-0166

Q&A- Struggles with Bulimia

Susan S. Woods, Ph.D.question and answer with Dr. Susan S. Woods

Struggles with Bulimia

Q: I currently have bulimia and have had it for 7 years or so, it’s a constant battle, I hate having it, I just
can’t seem to get rid of it because I am so obsessed with perfection and being thin and beautiful. I
live with this girl who knows I have bulimia struggles, we used to be friends, she used to be chubby. I started
noticing she was copying everything I did, like all of a sudden she started drawing, waking up at
the same time as me, eating the same foods as me, she even started throwing up after eating. I
told her I was worried about her and that she should stop throwing up, she got so defensive and
denied that it was even an issue. Now she’s really skinny, skinnier than me, and I hate her. I don’t
know if its because she’s skinny or if it’s because she got that way by copying me, I’m finding it
really difficult to live, it’s hard for me to see her and not feel bad about myself, I overeat and then
throw up and I really want to stop doing that. How can I deal with living with this girl that I hate?


A: A person should never live with someone they dislike especially if there is no compelling reason to. It doesn’t matter why your roommate is copying your behaviors but it’s certain that your relationship is not benefiting either of you, and in fact, may be quite harmful to you both. Having bulimia for 7 years is a longtime and your binge/purge pattern is well established by now. You can learn other ways of staying thin and pretty that will leave you feeling good about yourself and confident in your ability to control your life and maintain your weight. Bulimics rarely think they are thin and pretty enough. But bulimia is often about other issues besides weight however, it is also a way to cope with strong emotions especially anger that a person may find difficult to express in words fearing to hurt other’s feelings or become disliked for saying their true feelings. The strong emotion then gets stuffed away only to be expressed later through a binge/purge session. This provides only temporary relief from the fear of being fat or disliked. Anyone engaging in bulimic behavior should seek medical and psychological help and with time and hard work you can free yourself of this self-destructive lifestyle and really begin to like yourself. The longer it goes the harder it becomes to differentiate perfectionism from illness.

Susan S. Woods, Ph.D.

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