'Selflessness' - the tendency to relinquish one's own interests and ignore one's own needs in order to serve the interests and well-being of others - is a psychological feature first conceptualized, defined and measured in eating disorder patients and many researchers have emphasised the selflessness of patients with anorexia. Eating disorder patients often feel like selfless souls serving others' needs and cannot imagine other people would be willing to give up - even temporarily - their own interests and viewpoints in order to fulfil their (the eating-disorder sufferer's) needs. A study of 443 women in Israel found that as women recovered from eating disorders their scores for selflessness fell. The researchers concluded that assertion of one's own needs and interests could be an integral part of recovery from anorexia and should be emphasized in therapy.
Bachner-Melman, Rachel ... [et al] - The relationship between selflessness levels and the severity of anorexia nervosa symptomatology European Eating Disorders Review May-June 2007, 15(3), 213-220