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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sunny6
So, our d has fallen out of weight range and we are starting the refeeding. At the therapist advice, she is aware of this as we have laid out consequences if weight loss continues or she refuses to eat. Today, it is all my fault. I have been told that I am reason for her poor mental state for this whole process. Because I am returning her to a weight she doesn't want to be at per the doctor's, I am the issue. Because I am setting limits and consequences, I am the issue. She tells me that the anxiety is only getting worse and not better. I told her that that is expected as she gets close to being back in her weight range and that it will get better. She has stopped talking to me, hasn't hugged me but twice in the last year and has refused to talk at therapy to the point that the therapist said no more until she can talk. We have been through sh and suicide last time she was in range. It just seems like she can't seperate her thoughts from the illness. How do we get through to her and past the illness?
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sk8r31
Hi sunny6,

So sorry to hear how challenging it is at present for you & your d & family.  From your earlier posts, I gather your d is 14, and that is certainly a difficult time aside from dealing with an ED.  My d was dx at 14, and it was the perfect storm...an ED dx, a kid going through puberty, and a mom entering menopause...yikes!  I definitely needed a ton of support for myself, in order to help my d.  That meant seeing a counselor for myself, as well as a doc for some meds, which I took for about a year.  It was a tough, tough time, and I would never wish it on anyone.

My previously affectionate d would not let me touch her for the longest time, and I did get a lot of anger and name-calling.  It did help to connect with other parents who assured me that it would get better with time.  And it did.  But not nearly as quickly as I would have wished.

The sh and suicide ideation can be particularly scary and hard to deal with.  Do you feel that you are getting the support you need from your professional team?  Eva Musby has some good videos on self-compassion and meditation which many have found useful.  

Hang in there...sending warm support,
sk8r31


It is good to not only hope to be successful, but to expect it and accept it--Maya Angelou
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sunny6
Thank you. I needed the reminder of the validations. I have only seen a few examples between DBT and IOP. It is frustrating that there is very little information provided to parents on what to say and when in the face of it, it is hard to think of what to say. I have read Eva's book, but really need a whole book with these types of statements related to their distress.
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ValentinaGermania
sunny6 wrote:
So, our d has fallen out of weight range and we are starting the refeeding. At the therapist advice, she is aware of this as we have laid out consequences if weight loss continues or she refuses to eat. Today, it is all my fault. I have been told that I am reason for her poor mental state for this whole process. Because I am returning her to a weight she doesn't want to be at per the doctor's, I am the issue. Because I am setting limits and consequences, I am the issue. She tells me that the anxiety is only getting worse and not better. I told her that that is expected as she gets close to being back in her weight range and that it will get better. She has stopped talking to me, hasn't hugged me but twice in the last year and has refused to talk at therapy to the point that the therapist said no more until she can talk. We have been through sh and suicide last time she was in range. It just seems like she can't seperate her thoughts from the illness. How do we get through to her and past the illness?


I have heard all the same things that your d says to you now. It took a long time for her to be able to seperate herself from the illness and in fact it got better with more weight and start of brain recovery and it go better when she saw that the disease keeps her from doing the things she wants to do.

I did not believe it will get better at the beginning and then I read here something about "fake it until you make it". So I tried to fake that a) I know what I am doing, b) I am an AN expert now and c) I am convinced that recovery is possible and it really will get better soon.
By time I believed that myself and the moment I was sure to do the right thing my d believed in recovery, too. You are her mirror. If she sees that you give up, she gives up. If she sees that you are fighting, she can fight.

My d was not able to talk to us or even let us touch her for weeks and months. But one day she started to do that again. I first did not get these tiny little steps but looking back we sometimes said "did you notice that we did not have fight with meals for 2 days?" and "did you notice that she hugged me this morning?".
Now I get hugs unlimited and she tells me she loves us more than 3 times a day. You will get that all back. She might hate you at the moment (in fact that is ED who hates you) but your d inside still loves you and she will thank you for saving her life in future.

Tina72
Keep feeding. There is light at the end of the tunnel.
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ValentinaGermania
In the end, it was nothing that I said that could ever comfort her, and so I started to say simply "mmh" or "I am sorry you feel so bad" and tried not to engage in all this ED talk at all.
Keep feeding. There is light at the end of the tunnel.
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keeptrukin
We are now a bit more than a year post-ED. My son was stricken by ED at the end of this 12th year, so becoming 13 was not so much fun. It really took getting above his target weight till we saw him for real again and there were for sure a few mis-steps when we thought he was back, but it was really his ED being tricky. At one point at the height of his ED's resistance to refeeding he told us that he just wasn't feeling close to us anymore because of all of the turmoil with refeeding. We assured him that we understood this. I found that what he most needed was to be able to yell and scream (and even hit) at us and to know that we were not scared of ED and were not going to give up. At one point when he was feeling particularly EDful he said to me, "I'm going to take a knife and kill you in your sleep". It freaked me out, but I know my kid, so I simply said, "ED can say what he wants. I'm not scared of ED.". I think the ED felt so scary to him he needed to know that we were unafraid of it. My husband was not able to do this, but for some reason I was. It was letting him kick and struggle and fight ED as I held him, sure that he could beat this and unafraid, that made him finally bust out and decide he could handle it and just eat his stupid snack. I was able to do this because the team in his day program kept assuring me that getting worse (angrier) was key to getting better. In sum, just try to keep reminding yourself that your crappy relationship right now is a good thing. It means you are doing your job in helping her fight her ED. In fact crappier might be even better[wink]  My son now gives as many hugs as he wants and is always happy to get them even though he's a full on teenager now.

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sunny6
Thanks for the response. I know I am absolutely hated by her. I don't take it personally and view it that I am challenging the ED for her. The other day, she said that she couldn't fight it. I told her that that is ok. I will fight it for her until she could. She of course responded that this was her fight. So, I acknowledged that and said, an I will support you through it
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keeptrukin
Sounds like just the right response! I'm sure that it feels huge for her and that fighting ED is so frightening. I can't even imagine fighting a part of myself like that. It must be so confusing! And then having to rely on your family to help you fight it must make you feel still weaker in the face of ED. At this point just getting through the day and getting all meal completed is the best you can possibly aim for. All that stuff like love and affection just falls by the wayside. Just try to hold onto the thought that it will all be there when you are done refeeding her. 
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