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.

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I'm very new to this forum.

I've been reading an overwhelming amount of posts about parents caring for teen children. I see a lot of similarities with my AN wife.

However, I do not have "power" over her. I cannot take away her phone, car, etc...

Inwouldnlove to hear from spouses about what lengths and means they can use to achieve compliance in the process of recovery.

My wife is tepidly talking to me about confronting her ED. But I do not trust what comes out of her mouth any more than I would a hostage telling me everything is "OK" and "not to worry" as a gun is pointed at them by their capture. I do not believe she is free to be honest at this point.

So yeah, I'm gaining courage to do battle against ED in an attempt to free my hostage wife.

Her doctor thinks she "looks wayyy better and healthier" than she did when she weighed 90 pounds more that she does now. But he readily admits he knows almost nothing about ED.

I believe that I'll have to wage this war against ED to save her all by myself.

Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated.
Welcome scaredhusband.  The Around the Dinner Table forum can offer invaluable peer support with other carers/parents/spouses as they help their loved one recover from an eating disorder.

There are other spouses here who will hopefully be around soon with some thoughts and insight for you.  

In the meanwhile, there is a lot of good, evidence-based information on the main FEAST site that would be good to read.  Some of the info is available in pdf format, and can be downloaded or sent via email to treatment providers or other family members.  This would be especially helpful to the medical provider that you mention who is treating your wife, but has little knowledge of EDs.

Here is the Academy of Eating Disorders Medical Management pamphlet.  The FEAST Family Guides are also very useful and informative.  All four are good, and starting with Puzzling Symptoms might be a good place to begin.  All the other Family Guides are available on the main FEAST site as well, by choosing the Services tab, and then hitting printable resources.

There are short 5 day programs that can help you & your wife to get started and continue on a path towards wellness through the University of San Diego, and the Center for Balanced Living in Columbus, OH.  

My husband & I attended the Adolescent 5 Day program 5 years ago with our then 17 year old daughter.  We learned skills & tools that helped us to help her move towards recovery.  She's doing very well now, and about to graduate from university.

The 5 Day Adult program is geared for spouses or other support providers, and it may be well worth your while to contact UCSD and speak to an intake person or therapist to see if this might be a good step for you & your wife.

Wishing you all the best in your journey,
It is good to not only hope to be successful, but to expect it and accept it--Maya Angelou

I'm not a spouse of a sufferer, but you said any thoughts are appreciated, so here are a few.

Welcome! I am so sorry you've needed to find this site, but I am glad you're here. You are right that, while practicalities are different for adult sufferers, the illness and its treatment is basically the same: restore, as quickly as possible, to a weight range healthy for the particular sufferer, help keep and support that range until the sufferer is well enough to take care of herself, and address co-morbids like anxiety and depression.

It is excellent that you are reading all you can. Information is power. Before I started refeeding I read every inch of this site multiple times, as well as the standard list of best books, as well as a whole lot of less-useful and sometimes downright dreadful and dangerous information from other books and sites. IT helped me a very great deal, when things were hard, to be sure that I was doing the right thing. Whenever you read something about eating disorders, ask yourself, is this evidence-based? Much of the "information" out there is not. 

If your doctor admits he doesn't know anything about eds, can you either get a different doctor, or get accurate information to your current one? There is some good printable info on this site for clinicians. If possible, it would be excellent if your wife would sign the HIPAA release allowing your doctor to give you your wife's health information. Even if she won't sign anything, there is nothing preventing you from GIVING information to your doctor. 

Definitely try to prevent him from saying problematic things like "she looks way better now". (Determining what is a healthy weight for her has to do with her individual growth history and at what weight her brain functions optimally, and very little to do with how she looks!) If you must work with this doctor, try and at least be in the room at appointments--that way you can know what is actually said and try to correct it if necessary.

Also, there is a program at UCSD for adult sufferers. I believe there is a program for couples, or families. I don't know anything personally, but I have seen this program very highly recommended many times here. Or you could check on the providers page for recommended help in your area.


If you want to get started helping your wife get more nutrition, what would happen if you started with a smoothie? At the easiest time of day (for my d that was morning, and eating got harder as the day went on), say "I made a smoothie for you. It has what you need and you need to drink it all." If she asks what's in it, the answer is "what you need." You can sympathize if it's difficult but reiterate that she needs to drink it all. (Before you make the smoothie, look on this site for smoothie recipes--they can pack up to 2000 cals.) Be firm and if she wants to argue or disuss it, you can say, "I'm glad to talk about that after you finish the smoothie." Seeing how she reacts will help you figure out how to proceed. 

I know there will be more answers shortly with more relevance to your situation, but in the meantime I hope you feel welcome and free to ask lots of questions.

best wishes,
D diagnosed with EDNOS May 2013 at age 15, refed at home Aug 2013, since then symptoms gradually lessened and we retaught her how to feed and care for herself, including individual therapy, family skills DBT class, SSRI medication and relapse-prevention strategies. Anxiety was pre-existing and I believe she was sporadically restricting since about age 9. She now eats and behaves like any normal older teen, and is enjoying school, friends, sports, music and thinking about the future.
Hi again,

Here is a recent thread where that discusses a contract between a parent and young adult. Maybe it will give you some ideas.


Best of Luck,
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.