Talented People at Greater Risk for Eating Disorders?
Or are people with eating disorders more likely to be extra-talented?
“In my early years I equated my worth as a person with the level of my performance and I felt that the love and approval of other people would be conditional upon my perfection.
“Therefore, I expanded every effort to be the best I could possibly be in any given area of endeavor, only to repeatedly fall short of my goals and risk losing value in the eyes of others. Trying even harder, only to miss the mark again, and again, resulted in compounded guilt and self-hatred.”
Cherry Boone O’Neill’s memoir, Starving for Attention :
Beverly Hills psychologist Dr. Jenn Berman notes, “Psychological experts have found that many of the personality traits which make children great athletes or performers are the very same characteristics which make them more susceptible to eating disorders; the most common being: perfectionism; the desire to please; the ability to ignore pain and exhaustion; obsessiveness and the burning desire to reach their goals.”
It’s an interesting question – sort of a “which came first” discussion. To shed some more light on the subject, psychologist Patricia Gatto-Walden, PhD explains that “All my gifted female clients with an eating disorder shared these characteristics, namely:
> personal identity that does not include being gifted
> debilitating perfectionism
> excessive need to please others
> experience of isolation and loneliness
> stressful transitions during onset of disorder.”