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

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So, my daughter is doing pretty well right now.  We are on a good path and while there have been setbacks, she is going in the right direction overall.

My question is what can I do about my Mother In Law.  I wouldn't say she has an eating disorder however she absolutely has disordered eating.  Is SUPER picky about what she eats, will pick through fruit or whatever is served to only grab the things she likes,  She's rude to people in restaurants, ordering at a restaurant is often embarrassing to others sitting at the table as she's rude to the wait staff.  Specific orders, basically orders everything plain and well done.  If there is a slight tinge of pink in the meat it goes back.

So we had them over for dinner this weekend and it was so stressful.  Made a huge deal about a roasted vegetable she doesn't like which was in the mix, proceeds to tell a story about said vegetable from 1st grade. Said vegetable touched other vegetables in the mix and she commented on it.  I can taste this vegetable when I eat the other vegetable.  Seriously, she's in her 70's.  

I could tell it was stressing my daughter out.  We are working so diligently to get her to just eat what is on her plate and without emotion.  Food is medicine, all foods are good foods.  etc etc. 

MIL has been like this her whole life.  My question is do we just not eat any meals with her for the next year or so until my daughter is fully recovered?  Do we tell her why?  She'll get very offended.  She doesn't live in the same state so not eating with her would mean not visiting there or having her stay with us.  

She loves my daughter.  I'm wondering if there is a compromise that we can reach.  If she would just eat what was in front of her and not comment or do all the special ordering nonsense at restaurants, it would be fine.  Is there any educational material we can hand out to her?  She doesn't understand the disease, if she knew that she was stressing out my daughter I think she would try really hard to stop.

She is not underweight at all, rather the opposite.  
You probably aren't going to be able to change your MIL.  Why not address it with your daughter?  I never ate the same things as my daughter and I told her right from the start that everybody is different, has different health issues and therefore needs to eat differently.  She knows that she needs to eat more than most people.  I've had far more luck making my daughter comfortable with that idea than changing a 72 year old woman with eating issues.  If your daughter can't tune that out at this point, then I'd address it with your MIL.  There were also many family dinners that I fed my daughter first and then everyone else after that. She would join us at the table but had already eaten.  If none of this is possible, then you may need to avoid meals with her until your daughter is more comfortable eating.

I guess I always focused on my daughter being more comfortable and working on her ideas because you never know who is going to do or say what when with other humans. Someone is bound and determined (at least in my neck of the woods) to say something completely stupid and no appropriate to say in front of someone with an eating disorder.  You can't control that.
My mom is a very picky eater too, always has been. Since she is my mom I can tell her very directly to be careful what she says or look at her in a certain way when she starts making negative comments about food (she's a very estrict vegetarian and the only animal product she eats is cheese). But sometimes is too late or I'm not around. Curiously she doesn't trigger my daughter as much as she triggers ME. Actually it is easy for my daughter to recognise her (my mom's) behaviour as extreme/inflexible because she sees it from the outside and sometimes I have been able to help my d eat more/something challenging  by saying: that excuse/reason sounds like something grandma would say or do. My mom has a bit of OCD behaviour regarding saving water and recycling stuff and gets anxious when she can't do it. it has been useful to point out to my d that even something "good" when taken to an extreme can be unhealthy. I agree with mjkz that we can't control what other people say or does, I can only try to help my daughter learn how to deal with it.
13 yo d started to eat "healthy" September 2018. We found ATDT and started refeeding at home march 2019. WR+ cushion June 2019.
I have found inner strenght, patience and compassion that I did not know I had.
Never retreat, never surrender
keep feeding
wackamole wrote:

She loves my daughter.  I'm wondering if there is a compromise that we can reach.  If she would just eat what was in front of her and not comment or do all the special ordering nonsense at restaurants, it would be fine.  Is there any educational material we can hand out to her?  She doesn't understand the disease, if she knew that she was stressing out my daughter I think she would try really hard to stop.

I agree that you will not change her at that age but not eating with her for the next year is no solution and guess it might happen something to her in that time you will never forgive yourself that your family has not seen her any more.

I think you should do both:
Talk with your MIL and tell her that her behaviour is stressing your d and give her some examples and some solutions with it. So when you tell her "I feel that your behaviour in the restaurant yesterday distressed your grandchild" give her some ideas what to do next time (can you order some meal that you know you will be content with or can you tell me ahead that you will want your vegetable in a special way).
And you should try to talk about her behaviour with your d. It will happen in her life that she gets together with people with strange eating behaviour and she must learn that other people can eat different and that is o.k. and does not need to stress her.
My d found it hard at university when other girls ordered only salat for lunch. We talked about it and she decided to sit with the boys that eat more than she does 🙂.
My MIL ate nearly normal but made unuseful comments at meals we had together. She lives with us so I did reduce the meals together in that first time but I could not stop that totally. I needed to kick her under the table a hundert times before she got that. Today when this happens my d says "you do not need to kick grandma, it does not bother me any more".

Do you think it would help to watch some of Eva Musbys videos with her? So she can understand why normal eating behaviour is so important for your d?
Keep feeding. There is light at the end of the tunnel.
Thanks.  My husband doesn't want to talk to her about it and it's not my mom so I guess we will just wait.  

Eventually my daughter will be able to be around her and eat with her (She did for most of her life anyway before she was sick).  Just right now, it adds a level of stress that isn't healthy.  It's not how I would proceed but it's not my mom.  My mom has been talked to quite a few times.  She gets it but doesn't meant she doesn't say things that are triggering, it is just a learning process for everyone.  I know I'm hyper sensitive to it all at the moment but you do what you do to protect your child.

When she's more on the path to full recovery this won't be such a big deal.  It's just uncomfortable at the moment.  (and truthfully it has always been uncomfortable eating with her-my family isn't picky and we were taught as children that if you don't like something you don't make a scene, try everything and then if you really hate it, just leave it on your plate)  
Curiously she doesn't trigger my daughter as much as she triggers ME.
 PurpleRain I hear you loud and clear!

Wackamole, I fear your best hope is to be able to use your MIL's behaviour as teaching moments for your d, as PurpleRain says.  My elderly in-laws, with the best intentions, put their foot in it every time they spoke to my d, or so it seemed.  We tried all we could to educate them, but, in their 80s, it's been very hard for them to understand.  And even when they've understood, they just can't help the thoughtless comments.  Like, 'gosh, can you fit any more food on your plate?!'  And, 'how nice to see you looking better, dear, more to cuddle/ those chubby cheeks/ etc'.  And even, 'oh darling, if you're feeling sick, why don't you just go and throw up, it'll make you feel better'.  And little aside comments to the rest of the family about how much weight we've all put on, as a result of supporting our d to eat 🙄
Hi there,
i see you have all been at this for over a year. Have you had many meals with MIL in that time and how did your d react?if it bothers d then supporting d is the way to go in those moments with coaching prior to the meal. You also stated she lives in another state, so I wonder how frequently you may be in the position of eating with her? 
I think you just eat with her and remind d how that what grandma does is not necessarily normal or what you guys do, if your d gets upset.
i feel sad for your MIL, tbh. She has worried about food her whole life. That must be hard for her. 
Sending my best.
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)
We don't see her that often and when we do see her, we mostly gather (as most families do) around the dinner table.  I think we will just pass on eating with them for a bit and let my daughter get a bit healthier.  She's on a great path, I just don't want this to set her back as it definitely did affect her but how could it not when there was a 20 minute conversation about this vegetable touching this vegetable and how much she doesn't like said vegetable...

Agreed, she doesn't have a healthy relationship with food.