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

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tassie_star_5
D has been weight restored for about 2 months, now 5kg above med team's goal weight. Early days, I know. After a break of 11 weeks, D is back at school and has shown immense courage as she has also faced the challenge of starting at a new school. Doing pretty well in regards to this, I think. 

ED thoughts are still raging and although she has stopped telling us constantly that she hates herself and can't live being this "fat", she has started a new behaviour. One we haven't experienced before. D has become extremely angry, abusive and is hell-bent on asserting herself and her "rights" in an aggressive, hateful way. She is fighting us to gain control in any way she can. It is primarily me who she targets. 

We have screaming, yelling, shouting, challenging and refusal to follow instructions. Any reasonable boundaries set, such as no devices to be used in bedroom are met with screaming abuse and door slamming. Any TV show that we deem to be inappropriate (she's 13) and won't let her watch is likewise met with statements about how everything has already been taken from her and now we are trying to control the rest of her life too. So, so angry. She is shutting down, refusing to communicate and just wants to be left alone to make her own choices and decisions. Everything is a battle.

Her older siblings are disturbed by her behaviour - this aggression and abuse has never been a feature of our home.

How much of this is the ED and how much is bad behaviour that needs to be taken on? During the early days of re-feeding we let a lot of abuse and aggression fly as we understood the dynamic and the importance of separating D from the anorexia. We still have some tricky meals though less often and continue to tolerate her "poor meal time behaviour" for the same reasons. The problem is that this behaviour is happening a good deal of the time now, away from food and the dinner table.

I really thought we were beginning to get our girl back. Now it just feels like she's been replaced by a monster who hates me and wants nothing to do with me. Keep being told by the clinic that we are amazing parents and that they wish they had more parents like us as we've done an outstanding job. Hearing this makes me feel sick. I think I've lost my girl and feel like I've failed as a parent.

I guess I'm just hoping for some support please. I'm not sure I can actually keep moving forward with this. Too hard and I'm just too tired.



 


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Ellesmum
Hi Tassie,

Firstly, wow, you have done an amazing job with your girl, just brilliant. 

It it is very early days, and she may need even more weight to banish her thoughts, so keep going, full recovery will be years not months. Also, though they are still teenagers with all the changes and hormones involved, I know I was awful at 13. Does she have periods? I truly believe that PMS is overlooked in younger girls, I know I suffered badly so might be worth keeping an eye on her cycle to see if there’s a pattern.  Part of growing up is gaining independence and asserting our individual needs and ED or not it’s very human to want an element of control in our lives. 

I wonder what TV shows you think inappropriate? Things her friends watch maybe?  
Overall though, although you’ve all done fantastically it is very early days and she is far from full recovery so keep going, also, pick your battles wisely, she’s been fighting a monster so hearing bad language on the TV (for example) is not something I’d sweat, I’ve been surprised by my own daughters grasp of Anglo Saxon 😁 and as long as she doesn’t swear at me I’m cool.
Ellesmum
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Lildil
Tassie,
I hear your struggles and I'm so sorry your family is going through this. My 13 yr old son is normally kind and before he who must not be spoken of came along he was the sweetest boy. he also has fit's just like a spoiled tantrum, mostly around food sometimes because he didn't think he was able to DO enough. For a while after we came home from the EDU he would call me names or even get physical, I told him a couple times that he wouldn't be going to school if it happened again and that seemed to stop it. Just had a fit this morning because he had to eat a donut w his cream of wheat and then I didn't put a fruit in his snack, lots of tears over that. They would always tell me how good I was doing at the hospital also, they want us to have confidence and self compassion so that we that we can be stong for our kids. My son doesn't like tv and doesnt have a phone and as a family we don't watch R rated movies but believe it's okay to set rules.
So I'm going to say it too! you are awesome! you are doing a great job, be patient and firm and steadfast, love genuinely when she isn't mad. 
Hugs from Kansas USA
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scaredmom
I feel that if the behaviours go against house rules of respect and kindness, then you need to address it as such. Yes she  is ill and you can acknowledge that. But without ED or if the other children acted out how would you deal with that?
Having a discussion about her stress levels and how to deal with those emotions in a better way may be needed.
I know it is hard to find the stamina to keep going and you have done so well.
She will come back. It takes months after WR to see the good stuff.
Take heart, it will get better, and I would discuss her worries with her. She may be displacing her stress about school etc on the family. Give her a healthier way to deal with it.
sending my support
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)
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tina72

How much of this is the ED and how much is bad behaviour that needs to be taken on? During the early days of re-feeding we let a lot of abuse and aggression fly as we understood the dynamic and the importance of separating D from the anorexia. We still have some tricky meals though less often and continue to tolerate her "poor meal time behaviour" for the same reasons. The problem is that this behaviour is happening a good deal of the time now, away from food and the dinner table.


At that age it is really hard to say what is ED and what is puberty BUT: I do not see why you should decide what it is.
Verbal abuse and bad behaviour is not acceptable. There needs to be respect in a family.
If you still have some tricky meals, think about getting her weight a bit higher, maybe she is not really on a good weight for her body.
I would go with Ronson that this behaviour should have consequenses or she might get totally out of control at age 16.
Keep feeding. There is light at the end of the tunnel.
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mjkz
Both probably and just like her ED, you don't need to know the cause to address it and nip it in the bud.  This kind of stuff is why I set the rules up early and required my daughter to conform to them right from Day 1. You got a lot of great advice.  Set your boundaries just like you would with any other kid and stick to them.  My daughter got a warning and then consequences.
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Foodsupport_AUS
As weight recovers it is common to hear of people having labile emotions. Teenagerhood also comes with labile emotions. So as above, yes probably both teen and ED. That being said she needs to learn how to direct those emotions. Allowing the behaviour at home says it is OK to lash out at those who care for you. This is where DBT can be really helpful. 
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.
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tassie_star_5
Thanks for the gems of advice and feedback.

Feeling rather rattled right now as we have had another big episode this morning. I am privately wishing that a neighbour would call the police on us and that she would be forced to hear from the authorities that this level of verbal abuse and bad behaviour is not acceptable - would it be wrong to stage this myself? 🙄 At present, even when she calms right down, she's not capable of having a reasonable, constructive conversation as things escalate very quickly and we are right back into it again. Was told this morning that she'll be moving out soon as our rules are unreasonable and we are disrespectful. What the actual??????

Ellesmum and Ronson - the TV programme (there was only one), that we put our foot down on was the result of some unwise parental choices and lack of foresight on our part - definitely NOT gold star moments for us. Overall we are pretty relaxed about viewing (within reason). As a family, we had fallen into watching a couple of episodes of a tacky reality TV show - nothing else on and def not the kind of thing we'd usually watch . It seemed innocent enough at first but then quickly deteriorated when some of the males in the show started commenting on the female participant's weight and body shape in derogatory ways, comparing them to the "more attractive" (skinnier) females in the show. There were also some pretty dysfunctional relationships developing and we realised this was likely going to get worse. While these might be seen as "teachable moments",  with all the body image stuff D is currently facing, we felt it potentially triggering. 

When speaking to D we apologised that we had to make this decision and owned that we'd stuffed up (like to try and model humility and ownership of mistakes made where we can). While we expected there to be backlash and disappointment from D at our decision to stop viewing, (she was getting hooked), I guess I was disturbed by the level of rage and abuse we faced (and still are).

Lildil, Scaredmom and mjkz - Thanks for your advice and validation. We are pretty strong but reasonable parents and insist on respect and kindness from all members of the family. We'll keep putting in those consequences and boundaries, even though they really don't seem to change a thing at the moment but enrage her further.

Tina - you are so right. I am terrified of what she might become as a 16 year old if she's this insistent on gaining this level of control now.

Foodsupport - Thanks too. I will definitely look some more into DBT and it's availability where we are. Something's got to give.....
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scaredmom


Wow that brought back memories! D said the same thing about moving out etc. Give it time and food and more time and more food and clear boundaries/expectations and consequences. 
You are both good loving parents with proper expectations. Your love and guidance (and food) will get her through and get you through 😊 too. It is a seesaw, a dance, and tug of war, it sucks for sure and it will pass. 

We were very clear about calling the police, we told her if we could not keep everyone safe  then I had no qualms calling them. It never happened. We also would tell D when she had her fits, that she can do what she wants in her room (scream , throw, whatever) but we would not tolerate it. (We still have yet to fix some lighting fixtures and digs in the walls and scratches on the door- they are sad and powerful reminders of what we all survived- so I have not yet tended to them) It got to a point when she would start to get enraged, I would look at her and say " I will not accept violence in this home". I said it firmly, and very softly ( a bit more than my regular voice- more like my "work" voice), then she took note and would get quiet and run up to her room. That only had to happen a few times (about a week on and off or so) then it really got better. 

Is there a particular time of day this is happening? Some find the rages worse at night? Can we help you with some distractions at that time to help circumvent the explosions?  I know on the appointment days D would be very upset, so I kept things extra calm those days. Helped a bit, but sometimes we just have to get through. 
You are doing a great job of parenting her through this, I know it is exhausting. Please take time for you too. 
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)
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mjkz
If you need someone outside to come and explain to your daughter that her outbursts are not acceptable, then ask a neighbor or even better call the police yourself and ask to talk to someone about stopping by and explaining that violence and abuse is not acceptable.  I know some here have talked to the police beforehand and had them drop by to talk.  Others have called when the situation escalated.  I think any of the three approaches is good.  I talked to the police before hand and then called when my daughter was out of control.  It only took them visiting once and letting her know what was acceptable to help curb the escalation.  I only had to mention calling after for her to quickly calm down.
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debra18
Try to have a discussion when she is not in the moment and is calm. Discuss with her appropriate ways to respond. In the moment when her behavior is inappropriate, avoid any kind of discussion. Repeat the same few words over and over again . " This behavior is not allowed." or whatever works for you. Tell her during the calm discussion that these are the words you will use as an indication when her behavior is inappropriate.
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tassie_star_5
Thank you so much, everyone. You have no idea how much of a difference your advice and support makes. Thanks for taking the time to respond.

We were able to have a  lengthy and positive discussion with D this morning in which we were able to work through some things calmly and pretty much state exactly what you've just outlined Debra18!

She responded well, apologising for her "disgusting behaviour" of late. This feels like a big step forward for her as she's been struggling to own behaviour of late.

This journey is so exhausting, isn't it? I keep telling myself that recovery from this beast is just not linear and to expect the unexpected and prepare for continued unpredictability.

I'm grateful for this community.
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Mamaroo
I also had this bad behaviour, but from the non ed teenager. I had to be very strict and gave consequences at the sight of the very first bad behaviour. It gave my d a chance to change her behaviour or to calm down, before it escalated too much. So at the first disrespectful comment, she is send to her room for 15 minutes, next comment 30 minutes and 3rd 1 hour plus no electronics for the rest of the day. The 1-2-3 steps were reset every morning. You can choose your own consequences, what ever would suit you. It is important to 'over react' at the first instance of disrespectful behaviour to nip this in the butt. My d is now much better at controlling her emotions and I can't remember when she had an outburst. 
D became obsessed with exercise at age 9 and started eating 'healthy' at age 9.5. Restricting couple of months later. IP for 2 weeks at age 10. Slowly refed for months on Ensures alone, followed by swap over with food at a snails pace. WR after a year at age 11 in March 2017. View my recipes on my YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCKLW6A6sDO3ZDq8npNm8_ww
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EASL
Tassie:

We have similar issues and one thing that has worked (so far!) is to point out that we do not tolerate rudeness and abuse from our daughters (suffering w AN) siblings so why should the rules be any different for her? 

Perhaps as an olive branch you could ask her to choose a few programs you have initially said no to and give in - we’ve put restrictions in place for mature content but only to keep out anything on suicide or self-harm. So if your daughter wants to watch something like Riverdale or similar - it might be so she can appear ‘normal’ with her friends. 

Good luck - and give yourself a well deserved hug. 
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Joe
Hi, there's a really interesting link between being over 90% weight restored and huge amounts of anxiety...
Our son (12, anorexia) was the calmest, kindest, most compliant child ever, until ED came along. 
CAMHS were saying that he was within a healthy weight range, but his behaviour certainly did not reflect that. He was just vile. Abusive, verbally and physically  threatening  just awful  This went on for 4 months.
CAMHS were at a bit of a loss, telling us to punish him. We tried taking privileges away, but we noticed it did nothing. The Voice was punishing him enough already, he did not need any more. 
Ask your daughter what she remembers about her outbursts, this was the key for us, as our son had no idea. He remembers very little of last summer and autumn. His behaviour was so badly out of character that we were sent for an MRI of his brain to check for tumours. All negative  thank God, but I knew that already. 
We ignored CAMHS' advice about his weight and added a good 10kgs. All bad behaviour stopped... 
State not weight. 
Feed her more and see if it helps  Most clinicians set these kids' weight way too low. 
You're doing a fantastic job in the most awful situation imaginable  keep going  you're amazing.  Hugs. Xxxxx 
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keeptrukin
We went through this with our son as well. In retrospect really think it's a good sign that anger and emotional control issues are moving from the ED to other things in life and that she's sharing them. Yes, it sucks, but her emotional control will come back after more time with food in her system. It really will.
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hopeinChrist
This thread is so helpful to hear.  My S screams “shut up” during feedings and “I hate you.” “I wish you would die!”  I know this is the ED but it is crazy alarming.  It can also be hard to desensitize yourself to in order to get through the meal.  
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tina72
It helped me to see ED as a monster and to seperate it from my d in my mind. That helped me to stand up against the monster and not feel that I would distress my d. At one time I started to think about how to annoy ED next (with ice cream for snack or with pizza for dinner?). The moment you can start to say NO to ED and to seperate that you will feel better. Please do not take to your heart what he says. It is not your son. Your son loves you. ED hates you and that is good. We say here when you see the flak you are over the target. Seeing ED means you are doing something RIGHT.
Keep feeding. There is light at the end of the tunnel.
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