Registered: 1498043296 Posts: 2
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This is my first time on the forum. My 11 yr old daughter is at maintenance on Mausdsley and we are trying to start having a life again - trying to break down the anorexic rituals and introduce more foods. I am mentally shattered - if M has a good patch I love and spend time with her constantly encouraging and being positive - if M has an aggressive patch I do the same - I always pour out to her and I feel it's always on her terms and she is effectively controlling us. yesterday I felt beat and I just couldn't speak to her and feel terrible but am trying to treat her like an other child with bad behaviour - i.e when she was feeling ok I was civil but not affectionate for the first time ever. Is this a good idea? I can be very strong but this is the hardest thing I have faced - will tough love and setting emotional boundaries work or should I just always be 100% loving and understating whatever her mood? Please help....
Registered: 1452437794 Posts: 2,194
Reply with quote #2
Hi & welcome,
Have you seen tnis video. It is very good.
__________________ Son,DX with AN, (purging type) in 2015 ,had 4 months immediate inpatient,then FBT at home since. He is now in very strong recovery, and Living life to the full, like a "normal" teen. This is with thanks to ATDT. Hoping to get him into full recovery and remission one day at a time. Getting him to a much higher weight, and with a much higher calorie plan than his clinicians gave him as a target, was instrumental to getting him to the strong recovery that he is in now. Food is the medicine. Recovery is possible.
Registered: 1452437794 Posts: 2,194
Reply with quote #3
This illness is vile.
I advise you to separate your child from the illness. Your child cannot help the behaviour, her brain is " broken" so to speak. Food is her medicine, food food food & time. No I dont think it is a good idea to withdraw affection. She has been taken " hostage " by ths awful illness & is screaming for help underneath the anxiety & aggression. Does that make sense? Another thing is ,my S does not remember any of this, their brains are hijacked. Have you read " skills based learning for caring for a loved one with an eating disorder" by Janet Treasure, Also Help your teenager beat an eating disorder by lock & le Grange, For starters...this is a steep learning curve. I quickly learnt that, bad & all as it is for us - it is much much much worse for our kids ... their brain is bullying & beating them up... The controling is a symptom of the illness too. Here is another example https://mobile.nytimes.com/2006/11/26/magazine/26anorexia.html Best wishes __________________ Son,DX with AN, (purging type) in 2015 ,had 4 months immediate inpatient,then FBT at home since. He is now in very strong recovery, and Living life to the full, like a "normal" teen. This is with thanks to ATDT. Hoping to get him into full recovery and remission one day at a time. Getting him to a much higher weight, and with a much higher calorie plan than his clinicians gave him as a target, was instrumental to getting him to the strong recovery that he is in now. Food is the medicine. Recovery is possible.
Registered: 1438737617 Posts: 1,519
Reply with quote #4
will tough love and setting emotional boundaries work or should I just always be 100% loving and understating whatever her mood? Please help....
I just went with regular old parenting which is setting emotional, physical, mental boundaries. Kids need boundaries and people who can set them. If she is on maintenance and in a good space physically, the mental things will catch up in time but that doesn't mean let her get aggressive and keep giving her the message it is okay. There is no reason to put up with inappropriate behavior and the sooner you curb those behaviors, the better. With my daughter, I found that trying to make her feel better when she was distressed and acting out didn't work. All it did was feed into (no pun intended) the acting out. I found making a general statement like "I'm sorry this is so hard for you" and then setting boundaries worked much quicker and effectively. I think you can be loving and still set boundaries and extinguish the behavior you don't want. Check out this thread for someone who is learning how to do the same thing. http://www.aroundthedinnertable.org/post/welcome-new-member-caryl-8565396?pid=1296293842#gsc.tab=0
Registered: 1454901521 Posts: 375
Reply with quote #5
My D is also 11 and we're at the same point, trying to get rid of ED rituals. We were refeeding for a year and I was so looking foward to weight restoration. However what happened was PTSD ☹. If you look at older posts here you would find similar stories after weight restoration. I couldn't sleep for two weeks and didn't feel tired at all. Weird hey? Maybe you are experiencing some of the same symptoms? Try to take some time for yourself. You have been through a terrible war.
It was hard to stay calm and compassionate when my D acted out, but it gets easier. Eva Musby's brilliant book: "Anorexia and other Eating Disorders: how to help your child eat well and be well" has a section on self compassion which you can use when things go south.
I tried to be compassionate, but when aggressive behaviour happened I would tell her it is not acceptable. With time it became easier to stay calm in those situations and not be influenced by her moods. In turn this helped my D not to be completely overwhelmed by her emotions and in time she learned not to act them out.
Going through this illness is very tough on our children and showing compassion does help. __________________ D became obsessed with exercise at age 9. Started eating 'healthy' at age 9.5. Restricting couple of months later. IP for 2 weeks at age 10. Slowly refed for a year and WR at age 11 in March 2017. She is back to her old happy self and can eat anything put in front of her. Now working on intuitive eating.
Registered: 1396016102 Posts: 4,923
Reply with quote #6
Hi mtrotman - welcome to the club no one wants to be a member of.
To a pretty big extent, we each have to find our own way on these things. I can tell you about my experience for what it's worth. I will never forget the day, fairly early on, when I was exasperated with my d for not doing something she would normally have done. (Nothing to do with food - just some normal thing like gathering her books on time or something.) D started crying and said, "What do you want from me?!? I'm eating everything you tell me to eat, and I'm not cutting." I thought ... good grief, how did we get here? What has happened to my daughter, my life, my world? My smart, beautiful, competent d is overextended by the absolute basics of life??? But somehow it clicked - that she really was overwhelmed, and it was taking a tremendous toll on her to eat what I required. Kind of like studying for a professional exam or whatever, but much more so. From then on, I was much more patient and gentle with her. I usually didn't feel irritated any more, but when I did, I kept it to myself. I should say that my d was an "easy" case, and we didn't have to deal with violence or even swearing. ("Just" starving, lying, cutting, suicidality, and the like.) And now, 3 1/2 years in, I'm in the process of showing my d more typical reactions when she says something self-centered, unkind, or thoughtless. "Unspoiling" her, if you will. Trust me, it is a breeze - a joy! - after what we went through. That's life in the Torie household - your mileage may vary. Please keep us posted. xx -Torie __________________ " We are angels of hope, of healing, and of light. Darkness flees from us." -YP ♡
Registered: 1494356702 Posts: 14
Reply with quote #7
I would very strongly advise against treating a child with an eating disorder as a badly behaved child.
It is actually the case that children with eating disorders are extremely well behaved, extremely high achieving, caring, compassionate, loving, kind, sensible, helpful, strong, motivated, friendly and decent.
However, the eating disorder covers these up.
Treat your child as a extremely well behaved, extremely high achieving, caring, compassionate, loving, kind, sensible, helpful, strong, motivated, friendly and decent person.
Treat the eating disorder as a vile, horrible, evil and bad monster.
Your child will be able to rediscover their non ed identity if you treat them as their non ed identity, and show them that they are still there, but the ed is covering it up.
There should be WAY more emphasis on finding the child and recovering the child's true identity than getting rid of the ed identity. You should still get rid of the ed, but the emphasis should be on the person, who is desperate to be heard, desperate to be accepted and needs someone to recognise they are still there, but just for now the ed is covering up their identity, however in a while they'll be back to their true self.
Registered: 1496061527 Posts: 1,124
Reply with quote #8
nobody can be 100% loving and understanding whatever her mood is. You are a human being and your nerves are down at some point. But then you have to get out of the situation if possible. Let another one take over. Its not your mistake. Nobody can act perfectly 24/7 hours. You will see that staying calm and friendly and strict is the best way. Read Eva Musby's book: "Anorexia and other Eating Disorders: how to help your child eat well and be well". She gives you good advices how to react in every single situation you may face. Bounderies are necessary, but no punishment. This is an extremly thin line. Work with incentives. If you have finished your meal, we can do...(something she likes very much). Try to face your d with love and the ED with bounderies. She will not see the difference at first, but as time is going by she will learn that ED behaviour has bounderies and normal behaviour will get incentives. Its hard when you stuck in that very difficult time at the beginning but it will get better with every month. We are now 6 month in recovery and I see a great difference. Looking 6 month ahead will be a total change, believe me. Just keep on going and get help if you need a break. This is too hard for one person. Tina72
Registered: 1435435970 Posts: 365
Reply with quote #9
I started off with punishments for bad behavior. Then a light bulb went off after reading a lot, and I switched to the calmest, firmest, gentlest, support for eating with no punishments. Even broken dishes and punches didn't bring on any kind of discipline. I did announce (not threaten) that I would call the police if it went on, but that's a genuinely normal consequence of violence, not a punishment.
For me, it seemed she was suffering so much and she felt terribly guilty after the AN made her behave so badly. Even when I did lose it and get mad, I tried to walk away--and then return fairly quickly. She seemed so relieved when I came back and wasn't mad. Actually things were always a little bit better after those terrible moments.
Registered: 1436500021 Posts: 906
Reply with quote #10
It is so difficult to draw the line sometimes between behavior caused by the illness and just plain old acting out with a child. But we are here to guide our children to adulthood and we can teach by example, by modeling the types of behavior we want to see and encouraging them to be their best selves even while suffering in the depth of the illness. So if we react with punishment and anger, that is how we will teach them to handle angry feelings. If we react with compassion and willingness to discuss problems and find solutions together, that is what they will learn. No one is perfect and there is no parent on this earth who encounters an eating disorder without experiencing a wide range of feelings from despair to anger to fear to exhaustion to unconditional love, compassion, and support. Certainly, there need to be some firm boundaries in place for example with mealtimes and food intake, in order to tame the illness. Also, remember that your daughter may be very frightened and angry by what has happened to her and it is possible that any acting out might be a reflection of that. Are you able to see a therapist on your own now that things are a little better with your d., so that you can work through how to best support your daughter while being able to manage your own feelings? I found that very helpful. Best wishes, Kali __________________ Food=Love
Registered: 1498043296 Posts: 2
Reply with quote #11
Thank you sooooo much for your responses. After watching the parent to parent video on the first response and sobbing when I understood how wretched my little one is feeling already I have completely disregarded the thoughts of tough love. I have taken a very loving and nurturing approach and it is working. Thanks again -
Registered: 1452437794 Posts: 2,194
Reply with quote #12
this is a steep learning curve, how were you to know...None of us were taught the language of anorexia. A lot of treating this illness is counter intuitive. Another good read for your stage is Eva musby, Her books and her website and her videos..... http://anorexiafamily.com/ Here is one of her videos... __________________ Son,DX with AN, (purging type) in 2015 ,had 4 months immediate inpatient,then FBT at home since. He is now in very strong recovery, and Living life to the full, like a "normal" teen. This is with thanks to ATDT. Hoping to get him into full recovery and remission one day at a time. Getting him to a much higher weight, and with a much higher calorie plan than his clinicians gave him as a target, was instrumental to getting him to the strong recovery that he is in now. Food is the medicine. Recovery is possible.