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

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ally2016

My D has never been badly behaved or rude, but all of a sudden w/ the ED she is horrible, and it's all focused on my. It's breaking my heart to hear the swearing, the food throwing, the insults. She had orientation for IOP yesterday, will begin on Monday, could that increased anxiety be the reason?

I don't recognize her.
Should there be consequences for bad behavior, or should the only focus be eating?

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deenl
Hi Ally,

I can only tell you what works for us;

At meal times the ONLY thing that matters is food.

My husband and I look at the bad behaviour/spitting/hitting/screaming/throwing/swearing/ scratching/pinching etc as a mirror of how absolutely terrified our son is feeling inside. In his mind we are trying to poison him with food and in his panic he lashes out. But we can't feel too sorry for him because then we wouldn't push him to eat. So we are pretty matter of fact (and often crying in bed or bathroom later [bawl])

Lots of people find it easiest to personalise the bad behaviour as ED and then catch glimpses of their 'real' kid. Our son goes nuts if we talk like that though.

I feel very strongly that our two pronged approach is working really well. Like a toddler we ignore behaviour that we do not want to see while giving attention to the positive behaviour.
  1. We ignore bad behaviour that we feel is a symptom of ED. How can we punish him for a symptom of his illness? And by ignore, I mean simple continue doing what we were doing and using our normal tone of voice (or at least as normal as our acting skills allow [smile] [wink] Sometimes we may say one sentence later about what we do expect in those situations but usually not.
  2. We work really hard to create a calm and affectionate atmosphere in the home in between meals and doc appts. We play games and cards, chat, buy odd little gifts, give him the gift of our time and our love etc. The most important thing for us is to use unstressed voices. I read somewhere that anxious people interpret neutral tone and body language often as negative so I really try for affectionate without sounding [crazy] crazy! This atmosphere is also great for our other two kids and I think why they are still doing ok. 
Our son now is still tortured by ED but most of the time has a relaxed, positive relationship with everyone in the family and his depression has lifted without medication and he is gaining weight.

Typing this out it looks so easy but it wasn't. Think glares that could kill, walking out of a room when I walked in, always having his back turned to me as well as the usual freakouts around food and docs. But this approach has worked for us and for him.

Wishing you all the best,
D

PS When the team initially asked us what our discipline approach was we looked at them as we hardly ever had to correct our son!
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.
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iHateED
Hi Ally,  Oh how it breaks your heart, doesn't it? 

What Deenl said!   She describes her approach so well.    We all know that it's easier said then done so don't beat yourself up if you lose your cool or your emotions once in a while.  I tried so hard not to let my D see me get upset (although I cried in the shower daily).   My D said such mean and nasty things to me for many months that I thought our relationship would be ruined.  I'm happy to say that it's back to a normal and loving mother/daughter relationship and thankfully, I don't think she remembers much of it. 

I am so sorry for what you and your D and family are going through.  It does get better and food=medicine so just keep feeding. 
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Colleen
Bad behavior, especially towards mom, is part of the recovery process. I hate to say, "Look at my old threads," because that is so vague and you don't need one more thing to do. But my d was the poster child for rude behavior toward mom. I have a strong opinion that it is a biological issue, not a cultural or personal problem. And not because mom challenges ED or kid feels safe venting to mom. Biological, physiological basis - how the brain is wired from birth with food (breast), comfort and mom. When the food part goes haywire, the mom part is collateral damage.

That's my theory. Maybe it helps you not take it personally. Kids in recovery hate their moms whether they are refeeding at home or in a treatment center. I remember when my d first hissed "I hate you!" It was so out of character for her but so predictable for ED. I had to turn my head so she couldn't see me laugh. It got a lot less funny as it got more intense - and as it went on and on and on and on. She didn't speak to me for most of 18 months. But with full w/r, continued nutrition, time and persistent, insistent love, she has returned to the kind person she used to be and our relationship is closer than ever. She is grateful for what I did for her. Don't give up. Don't lose hope. Your d is in there, behind the behavior that ED forces him to commit.
Colleen in the great Pacific Northwest, USA

"What some call health, if purchased by perpetual anxiety about diet, isn't much better than tedious disease."
Alexander Pope, 1688-1744
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deenl
Love your thoery, Colleen. My gut says you've hit the nail on the head [smile]. Sometimes it seems that ED wants a bit of variety and likes to go for dad too. We tag team here.

Cheers,

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.
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happiness
Hi Ally,

I think it is reassuring that everyone seems to go through the same and that it must be the illness making them like that. There are days when I can tolerate it but there are also days where it just hits me and i break down (not in from too her, but also in my quiet crying spot). It breaks my heart and I am not sure how long, as a Mum, you can do this? I find it also so incredibly hard for the siblings as they see how she treats me. 

What do you do to not take it personally. I find that so incredibly difficult.


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K63
Hi Alley, this illness brings heartbreak after heartbreak. We find out they are so ill and then the behaviour and insults and remarks . It's ed raging my h has got the blunt of it and my other d and at times I have had to pick my ed d up on comments and behaviour and say I understand you are unwell but this behaviour is not ok in our home , or this language is not ok. As she has become nearer weight restoration behaviour has improved so much so don't take any of it personally as it's so upsetting , keep feeding as behaviour will improve . This behaviour seems normal part of the course so you are not alone. Take time away from it it helps so much .
Daughter started restricting in February 2014, tried re feeding at home hospital admission 4 1/2 months weight restored started restricting post discharge, back on meal plan full supervision weight restored april 2016. Starting to hand back responsibility for meals it's scary. 
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deenl
happiness wrote:
 I find it also so incredibly hard for the siblings as they see how she treats me. 


Excellent point! I just explain to the 15 year old brother that it is a symptom of the illness and ED son can't help it and that it doesn't mean anything.

We have personified the illness as a gremlin in the system for our 9 year old son. So I just explain that the gremlin is pulling ED son's strings and controlling him, it is part of the illness and doesn't mean anything.

As for myself, hey, I'm a mom. We all surprise ourselves with how much flak we can take. I always think it's better to momentarily hate me than hate himself. It's just an expression of stress. (Some days it hurts more than others though) It really is just NONSENSE pouring out of their mouths in the fearful moment. THEY CAN'T HELP IT. The less attention you give it the quicker this phase passes and the less damage to your relationship and their self esteem.

Eva Musby describes just allowing it to flow over her and away without absorbing it (paraphrasing here, correct me if I got it wrong folks!)

You'll find a way that works for you, you just need a bit of trial and error. Keep going.

Warm wishes,
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.
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pipes2406
Hi Ally, as everyone has said this is such a standard part of the illness but despite that it is heartbreaking. Our d, who previously was the most gentle, graceful person you could meet, has spewed some of the most hateful stuff in the last 3 years! H gets the brunt of it in our house but I'm not immune. The majority of the foul language/temper is directed at me at mealtimes when she was home, but the rest of the time it's dad who suffers.

How do you deal with it? Well my mantra is "I'm doing the absolute best that I can as a Mum, with the time, energy and tools available to me. This is not my fault". I had started to believe all the hateful stuff, but this helps to keep me calm.

Good luck with your journey - sending positive vibes
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Colleen
It's almost impossible, if you have a heart, not to be hurt by this behavior, not take it personally. Hurt - I was beyond that, so far beyond. I needed medication, tried therapy, did self-care, etc, and was barely able to survive it. I get this. An antidepressant was key for me - don't hesitate to try whatever you think might help you cope. You are your child's best hope of recovery and you deserve to have whatever resources you need to get through.
Colleen in the great Pacific Northwest, USA

"What some call health, if purchased by perpetual anxiety about diet, isn't much better than tedious disease."
Alexander Pope, 1688-1744
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momon
After starting up a serious push to get D's weight up , following a drop and continued height growth, I am getting huge blasts of nasty. Tonight she erupted when I said "no" after she said she was going to make her own breakfast. Making her own breakfast didn't work, she's just not able to. I was tucking her into bed and just walked away after she began raging. About 10 minutes later I realized I should go back in and do our usual loving goodnight routine, if she would. Though I felt like staying away. She was completely sweet when I went in.

We are 3 years in, and I am so ragged right now working on weight gain that it can be hard to separate ED from my child. But it is so important because they have a sense of shame and while I will now tell her she needs to stop the nastiness as it is harming me, it is important , I believe, to show you believe they are still good and lovable-- always.

Now if my child was in early refeeding I wouldn't waste much time even calling them on verbal nastiness, their brains can be so impaired then that it can be futile to talk about it.
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Elena
Oh boy, I wish we could do it as well as deeni describes in her first post here. Can I join her family? She sounds such a great Mum.
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deenl
Ha, ha. It always sounds so neat and tidy when typed!

It was heartbreaking, messy, emotional, scary, helpless, angry, .... at times but I do think that the parents should strive for a healing atmosphere. With a goal in mind you can get through the sh*t.

BTW, there were even times when I wondered if our marriage would survive. But we are through the worst of it I hope.

Onwards and upwards. (I feel that I should be on a steed with my sword held aloft! Into the continuing battle)

All the best,
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.
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berry75
One of the hardest things about my daughters eating disorder is when she looks at me with hate in her eyes.My husband left when my girls were 12 months old so it's always been the three of us and we have always been really close.I couldn't quiet believe some of the things she would say, it was like a demon took over.We call it the monster and it really helps me to separate her and the disease.She usually apologizes after and I tell her that I know she wasn't herself.
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mjkz
When my daughter was younger, I did the "food is the only thing that matters".  Having been through refeeding more times than I want to talk about, I no longer accept any of the bad behavior.  My daughter is a YA now and has had enough treatment to be able to stop the nastiness.  I have set very firm boundaries on what I am willing to accept and what I will not tolerate anymore but it was different when we were first starting out.

Even when we were first starting out though, I never accepted bad behavior with anyone else around and that included other family members.  I think you just have to find your own limits and respect those.
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