F.E.A.S.T's Around The Dinner Table forum

Welcome to F.E.A.S.T's Around The Dinner Table forum. This is a free service provided for parents of those suffering from eating disorders. It is moderated by kind, experienced, parent caregivers trained to guide you in how to use the forum and how to find resources to help you support your family member. This forum is for parents of patients with all eating disorder diagnoses, all ages, around the world.

Join these conversations already in progress:
• Road To Recovery - Stories of Hope
• Events for Parents and Caregivers Around the World
• Free F.E.A.S.T Conference Videos

Visit the F.E.A.S.T website for information and support.

If you need help using the forum please reach out to one of the moderators (listed below), or email us at bronwen@feast-ed.org.

lovemum
Hi all - my 12 year old daughter is IP in a London unit - been there 6 weeks.  This followed 4 weeks of fierce attempts at re-feeding at home. I tried so so hard to keep her out of hospital - I worshipped Eva Musby, Laura Collins et al. I thought I was being a wall of compassion.. but I just couldn't get the weight on and she ended up in paediatric ward  with slow heart rate and then straight into the ED unit where she is now. It's been 6 weeks. 
First 5 weeks she followed meal plan and gained fairly well, then she suddenly stopped. Now she's losing weight and they are putting an NG plan in place. I am absolutely gobsmackingly terrified. 
This is my main problem (no - my main problem is that my daughter won't eat but picking a single strand of that hairy beast) - my girl has been absolutely viciously angry with me since I tried to start feeding her at home and it has only got worse since she has been in the unit. She sends me hate texts, won't see me, calls me names I never knew she knew, she won't touch things I give her and acts like they are infected. The only reason she's given to others for the anger is that it is because I put her in hospital - which doesn't really make sense as the anger preceeds the admission, its just got more intense. She has said to her therapist that I didn't try to help her at home (forgotten are the flying plates, the spaghetti in my hair, chocolate spat in my eyes) - as far as she seems to remember I did nothing to help her. I try not to respond. I try to say that I hear what she's saying. I try to make her feel loved regardless and without shame. I tell her its not her fault. - but nothing changes. 

I know this is sadly quite common but my issue is that I am beginning think her anger with me is something beyond the ED.   And here is the paradox. Because she can't be near me, she can;t conceive of coming home, and so she just doesn't have the motivation to leave that damn place. The nurses say that most kids are desperate to get home after 6 weeks and that often fuels eating - but she doesn't seem to want to come home because she knows she'd have to be with me. We haven;t been able to have any family meals on the unit because she just won't agree. 

I know alot of you will tell me that she shouldn't have that choice and that she needs to be made to eat with us but that just isn't how it works in UK IP. The patients have quite a lot of input into what they can handle and what they can't. 

I just feel so stuck. The honest truth is I don't know if I could handle her at home right now because she is just so so vicious and it's all directed at me. On top of that she is clearly heading towards needing clinical care anyway with the NG. 

How can I get to the root of this anger? I don't expect it to go away I just want to know where it's coming from. Is it all ED or is there something else? another reason why she doesn't want to be in our home. Things haven;t been perfect in our house - there's been tension between me and my partner for a while but nothing horrendous and nothing I was aware of exsposing her to. She had a tough time at school and anxiety related to that seemed to bring the ED on but she knows we are changing that situation. How can I make her WANT to come home and therefore want to leave the hospital. I don;t know if I doubt the hospital or not. they got more weight on her than I did. But she is so lonely there, so isolated, and I can;t mother her. I can;t look after her. I just feel so desperate and helpless and confused sometimes I don't know what I am for.



Quote
scaredmom
Firstly I want to welcome you here, although the reason you are here is so sad and difficult. Here you will find a lot of support and info and advice.
Your d is really ill. Is she not gaining in the hospital? Was she losing despite their care? That is worrisome. The goal is weight gain.
You have not done anything to her. You love her and they should be getting the weight on her. As for her anger it is ED ED and ED. It does get better with more weight and time.
Our journey was kickstarted by IP and my d hated me too and that I had done this all to her. Because of my unhealthy lifestyle!! It is not me and not you. IP was needed to get her stable and I needed that time to regroup at home too.
I wonder if it helps to reframe, she knows you love her and that you can shoulder her anger and really it is fear. So she lets you have it, so to speak. I hope that helps. They do hurt the ones they love the most, sadly enough.
If ng feeds are needed to get the weight gain going that’s ok. Many have had that and then progressed to oral feeds etc..
Medically that is what she needs now. Others will be here soon to give you more advice based on their experiences.

Please ask all the questions you have. We all want to help.
XXX
Food+more food+time +love+good professional help+ATDT+no exercise+ state not just weight+/- the “right” medicine =healing—-> recovery(—-> life without ED)
When within yourself you find the road, the right road will open.  (Dejan Stojanovic)

Food+more food+time+love+good professional help+ATDT+no exercise+ state not just weight+/- the "right" medicine= healing---> recovery(--->life without ED)
Quote
debra18
Even though she sends you have texts, send her love texts. Tell her you love her. Write all of the good memories you have with her and all of the positive qualities she has.
Quote
scaredmom
I hope when they get some big time weight on her that will help her state of mind better.i know it is not the same when my d did not want to come home from IP too. She was only 11. Does she have a co morbid mental health issue? Meds?
I truly hear you about not wanting her home yet. It is so hard. For when she comes home you may likely need a written set of rule for her outbursts.
Keep reaching out to her in a loving way as Debra says. It does get through to them. You say she is lonely, is there a friend or family member that may go see her to have a nice visit? Can you take her out for an hour or for a walk- we had wheelchair walks for my d in hospital. And I would run with the wheelchair and make her laugh. That helped a bit. Taking her a small gift? Flowers? A favourite toy or book or reading to her may help your relationship or maybe playing games? I found d would be less upset with me when distracted with something fun to doShe always would be loving to her dad and threw mean comments to me or ignored me when in hospital.
I hear you upset and despair but You are her mother. You mothered her from birth to now. You stand by her, you have gotten medical attention for her. You can do this. We can support you.
You will get through this because the alternative is far worse.
Big big hug! I think you need one or two today.
All the best
XXX
When within yourself you find the road, the right road will open.  (Dejan Stojanovic)

Food+more food+time+love+good professional help+ATDT+no exercise+ state not just weight+/- the "right" medicine= healing---> recovery(--->life without ED)
Quote
scaredmom
Ps I would suggest you go and see her anyway. It shows her you love her no matter what. And I felt that when d yelled and pushed me away it really was a test. Like she was saying to me “look at how bad/mean I am see! So go on leave me I am not worth it” . So the more you reach out you are showing her that she is worth it. They feel so badly about themselves they throw it on us. The weird language of ED?
XXX
When within yourself you find the road, the right road will open.  (Dejan Stojanovic)

Food+more food+time+love+good professional help+ATDT+no exercise+ state not just weight+/- the "right" medicine= healing---> recovery(--->life without ED)
Quote
Kali
Dear Lovemum,

This is very common. My d. also HATED me when she went into treatment. I remember writing a post similar to yours, and the other wise parents assured me that it had happened to them and that it would be better. 

It did get better as the weight went on. We also had a very skilled team who helped us there in family therapy sessions once a week to move ahead and plan for her homecoming and work through the things that had come up because of the illness. 

When I visited I made sure we had something to do. We played a lot of games and I kept the conversation on the lighter side. I also made sure to ask from time to time if she needed anything and bring her whatever she needed. 

I have a note on my fridge which my daughter gave to me sometime after she left treatment which says "Thank you for being great, mom" and I will never ever throw it away. Be patient and calm and show your unconditional love for your daughter during this time of terrible distress for her, and trust that she will come back to you. My d. later admitted that in fact she was really really angry at herself and was just taking it out on me and she apologized.

warmly,

Kali
Food=Love
Quote
tina72
Hi lovemum,
a very warm welcome from Germany and sorry that you have to be here with us. I am glad that you found us, this forum was a life saver.

My d hated us, too. We were not even allowed to touch her. She said all these terrible things to us and YES, it was ED.
Today she does not even remember what she said and what she did. WE do.
Today I am hugged 3 times a day and she tells us she loves us every day. It will get better. She will come back.

What I did is:
visit her even when she did not want to see me
send her nice textes back when she send me horrible ones
send her little giftes or cards

I thought she will not read my textes. I thought she will throw away my gifts. She did not.
When she came home I discovered that she saved every single text or photo I have sent to her. And she kept all the gifts and cards. So it seemed to have meant something to her.

When you ask her today what she remembers from that time in IP she will say not very much.
She remembers that she realised that not eating is not possible.
And she remembers that we love her unconditionally. Nothing more.

I know it is hard but that is really not your d and you have done nothing wrong at all.
They mostly do not want to come home because they are afraid of it. They are afraid of falling into the old AN role. They are afraid of the fear food that will come. They are afraid of living a normal life again.

Some need the threat of a NG tube to see that the food will go in anyway. When she is gaining weight her mood will get better and your relationship will get better, too.

Tina72
Keep feeding. There is light at the end of the tunnel.
Quote
Foodsupport_AUS
Welcome to the forum. It sounds like there is a safety plan about your D who is now inpatient, though I would hope they start NG feeding ASAP. Any delay will just give the ED strength.

It is hard to know why your D is blaming you for everything at the moment, at some point as she mentally gets better she hopefully will be able to say more about what is going on. It may be just that her ED is angry with you for fighting it and nothing more. 

It is heartbreaking to be rejected by our children and blamed for things we don't even know about. Our children can feel so terrible at this point. My own D felt completely and utterly undeserving of love or affection, which in turn caused her to push everything away. She deserved nothing in her mind, so there was no reward that could offered. There was no punishment she did not deserve so consequences had no effect either. Through this she was persistently refed. It took a long time as if she was discharged from hospital, she would just stop eating again. 

As others have said being stoic and persistent in the face of this is really hard. I am sure a part of your D still loves you the way she always did, unfortunately it has been hijacked at the moment. Calm persistence, showing up, if needs be just letting her know that you are there to see her, to bring things for her, and responding calmly with love to those hateful messages is your best way forward. At the same time, there should be limits against any violence or aggression, so letting her know that something is unacceptable is OK too. 
D diagnosed restrictive AN June 2010 age 13.5. Weight restored July 2012. Relapse and now clawing our way back. Treatment: multiple hospitalisations and individual and family therapy.
Quote
mjkz
Hand up here for another person whose daughter hated her!!  I think it should be part of the diagnostic criteria that at some point the sufferer will pick the person who is the safest for him/her to hate and heap all kinds of sh*t on them. 

You got great advice although I did tell my daughter that any abusive texts would be erased and she would lose the ability to text.  I would still text her at least once and more often than not several times a day.  I still went to visit her even if she didn't want me there.  Can you talk to her team and work out a way to get time with her?  It seems pretty clear what is happening and I know my daughter's team recognized it was ED and "required" her to see me.  It was a horrible time but all she remembers now is that I never gave up on her.  I do think that she views you as a safe person who isn't going to go away no matter what she does.
Quote
lovemum
Thanks everyone - you are all great at making me feel a bit more able to get through the day. The good news is that she ate everything today so if that continues maybe we will be able to avoid the NG tube. For now. 
Interestingly one of the things that turned her around was a kind nurse assuring her that she wouldn't HAVE to go home as soon as she was weight restored - and that it would take some time for her to heal her mindset too. As heartbreaking as it is that she doesn't want to come home and chooses to stay in hospital even though she hates it, I think this shows how deep the illness gets into a child's psyche. A place where she was happy and settled pre - ED has now become a traumatic thought for her. I hope and pray for the day when she thinks of a picture of home and sees a big yellow sun shining above it rather than a sinister dark cloud of anxiety.
As a post script - to anyone else that has a child in an ED unit - its interesting how when things are going badly we find fault with everything they do but when they have a success they feel like saviours to me. I literally hugged the nurse who told me she'd eaten every scrap today. I wanted her to know what a difference she had made for spending that extra time with my girl to help her through the scary times. 
So whilst I hear alot about UK IP systems being outdated with unproven outcomes - there are also days when they have saved our children from even more trauma than they have already suffered. 
I will probably be moaning again tomorrow but for now, I am going to bed the closest to happy I have been for weeks. And that's only after one days eating!!   xxx

Quote
deenl
Cheering for your good day. We sure do need a little hope once in a while.

My son would turn his back if I came into the room, or leave the room, snarled at me if he did talk at all and reacted as if he was burnt if I so much as brushed against him. The nasty feelings rolled like waves from him towards me. It was heartbreaking especially as his relationship with his dad was starting to normalise and they would chat and sometimes laugh. I was green with jealousy. His dad did try to guide him to be nicer but ultimately we agreed that it was in ED son's interest to have a good relationship with at least one parent. I remained warm and affectionate, thinking it would be easier for him to slide back into our usual relationship if there were no hard feelings. And that is what happened. We're good now and I cherish many tiny day to day interactions.

Hang in there,

D
2015 12yo son restricting but no body image issues, no fat phobia; lost weight IP! Oct 2015 home, stable but no progress. Medical hosp to kick start recovery Feb 2016. Slowly and cautiously gaining weight at home and seeing signs of our real kid.

May 2017 Hovering around WR. Mood great, mostly. Building up hour by hour at school after 18 months at home. Summer 2017 Happy, first trip away in years, food variety, begin socialising. Sept 2017, back to school FT first time in 2 years. [thumb] 2018 growing so fast hard to keep pace with weight
  • Swedish proverb: Love me when I least deserve it because that's when I need it most.
  • We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence Recovery, then, is not an act but a habit. Aristotle.
  • If the plan doesn't work, change the plan but never the goal.
  • We cannot control the wind but we can direct the sail.
Quote
Alethea
My d did everything she could to hurt me emotionally and physically. I wouldn't let go so she tried even harder to alienate me. I was the one fighting the illness with all my might and she was terrified of that wall of determination. It took a long time but she now sends me texts that are pure expressions of love. We came through but it was like walking through fire. You can do it.

As for losing weight when IP, keep an eye on her meal plan. She should have a weekly copy in her room somewhere. My d's dietician (adult services, London) just didn't get how much food she needed to eat to not lose weight. She was also exercising and purging in the shower. I got the PALS involved and went higher to the Assistant Clinical Director. Things changed fast for the better. (24 hour one to one and expectation of weekly weight gain with instant changes if not achieved). Being a child, her care will be more sensitive to falling weight. 

There were times when the only safe place for my d was IP. She felt safe there as everything is so predictable and controlled. Home (and me with my worry, determination and habit of hiding calories in her food) was too scary. IP gives you a chance to gain strength, information and much-needed sleep for when she comes home. I assumed it would be fine when she was discharged weight restored first time (as a child) but it is when you take over from the unit and have to be super vigilant and have lots of strategies to cope. 
Quote

        

WTadmin