chapter  4
24 Pages

The body boundary, the ego boundary, non-menses and patterns of relating in anorexia and eating disorders

WithDanielle Redland

This chapter will question whether a return to menses in anorexic patients and those with eating disorders (EDs) is a marker of a return to better health, physical and mental. What do menses and non-menses symbolise for patients and how important are they in embodying the unconscious quest for control and order? Seminal and earlier papers alongside more current research on identity will be referred to and clinical case studies from psychotherapy will appear throughout. The analyst needs to be skilled to withstand the patient’s pull. Freud’s idea that anorexia can be seen as an aversion to sexuality is explored in studies amongst women searching to defy and overturn convention. The cultural fixation on thinness is contained here and the strong bonds between mothers and daughters are discussed. Finally the link between menstrual irregularities and autism is presented (so too between anorexia and autism spectrum disorder) to reveal the boundaries that separate “in” from “out” and “I” from “you”.