Lots of people say their ED isn’t about getting attention. It got me thinking, because sometimes thoughts run through my head: “I want to get so skinny that my bf gasps when he sees me. I want to get so skinny that my friend tells me he’s worried.” That’s totally about getting attention.
So what if someone’s ED is mostly about getting attention? Is that selfish?
I don’t think so.
The reason is that humans are built for social interaction. So if we don’t get enough attention we feel deprived and depressed. It’s healthy to want attention if you’re not getting enough of it. Similarly, humans have a need to feel accepted by their peers. If we don’t get that acceptance, we get depressed and crave attention. Same goes for romantic interest.
Wanting my friends to gasp at my stick-thin figure (once it is stick thin) is a clue to the fact that I want acceptance from them. Starving myself and overexercising was born out of the idea that I wasn’t worthy of romantic love.
If we seek out attention sometimes people call us vain and selfish because we want something for ourselves. The problem is that we might need more attention in order to feel like we’re getting enough, because we have to fill a gap that other people fill with their self-esteem. When we seek it out more often, people think we just want everyone to focus on us when that’s not the case.There’s a difference between being an attention whore and trying to make life better for yourself. If someone seeks out attention but also gives it, as most people I know do, looking for that fix doesn’t seem selfish at all but friendly.