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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Mcmum

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Reply with quote  #1 
Hello. I'm sure I can't be alone in this but since the beginning of summer, just prior to my son's diagnosis, we had a family wedding. I spent much of this looking after my s and therefore wasn't on particularly good form. My h told my in laws what the problem was but only a couple of people mentioned it at all and since then no one has been in touch. My h has phoned a couple of times (they live in Ireland) but nobody has asked after my s or phoned here. What do I do??? My h could probably do with some support or at least could do with knowing that they care.
Everyone here, friends, neighbours, colleagues have been brilliant. Has anyone experienced this? My h's sister told he he was too strict. I don't think for a second that he is but that's not the point. Should I write to them and explain a bit about ed????? Any thoughts?????
scaredmom

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Reply with quote  #2 
This is a hard one, as we never told our families, knowing they would blame us and would not understand that medical science behind ED. 
Some have lost friends and family over ED and some have the greatest support ever. Some have educated their families, and that has helped some, but not all. I am sorry, I hope your H's family will be receptive to an explanation and supportive of your H and s.
I am not sure anyone can advise you what to do. You and H know them best and how they might handle it. I hope no matter what, that they support your family 100%
XXX

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Food+more food+time+love+good professional help+ATDT+no exercise+ state not just weight+/- the "right" medicine= healing---> recovery(--->life without ED)
WorriedMum68

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Reply with quote  #3 
Hi McMum

I sympathise with your dilemma, I have found the same complete lack of interest from three very old friends, and have decided just to keep contact ticking over but not discuss my daughter’s illness at all. It’s obviously much harder to understand when it’s family, and that much more hurtful, but you can’t force people to take an interest and some just don’t know how to feel with matters of this nature. It’s always surprising at times like this who offers support and who doesn’t, I have found this both now and also previously when dealing with family loss. Sorry not to have any better advice than that, I hope your in laws start to offer you support before to long.

All the best

WorriedMum xx
Mcmum

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Reply with quote  #4 
Thanks. It was an unfair question really and doesn't particularly have an answer. I will probably write to them but veer between angry outrage and sadness. It's a bit like when someone dies - not everyone knows what to say so some avoid saying anything at all...
debra18

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Reply with quote  #5 
Most friends and family don't understand especially if they didn't read or research what you did. If they are interested you can send them some articles you read or direct them to Eva Musby's website. If they don't seem interested, continue to get support from others such as on the forum, and build your relationship with them outside of the Illness.
teecee

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Reply with quote  #6 
McMum I was just talking about this subject recently! I’ve found it truly bizarre that most friends have been absolutely amazing and unwavering in their support. Even work collegues and school staff! We have made new friends out of this illness but family....just very strange in that only a couple have shown genuine concern and been in touch to ask after D. I don’t quite know what to make of it!
Ellesmum

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Reply with quote  #7 
It’s very tricky, most of my small family have been great but 2 members I expected more of have barely been in touch, I’ve also had to let a couple of friends go. Very hurtful at the time but I’m pragmatic and simply don’t have the headspace to give them any longer,. I’ve become very unforgiving and will never let them back in. I’ve found it’s the people that have had their own troubles who have been the most compassionate.

People don’t understand this illness, they just don’t and tend to minimise it. The behaviours arising from the illness can look like wayward teens and poor parenting from the outside view I realise but quite how you get through to those who won’t listen or support I don’t know. I hope the family step up, I guess you have nothing to lose by sending info. It can be a very lonely thing to deal with.

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Ellesmum
Mcmum

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Reply with quote  #8 
Good to know we're not alone. It is just one of those odd things but then again, I didn't know much about this illness until it came into our home. On a more positive note, my brother, who works in Saudi has been amazingly supportive despite the fact that he's usually quite reticent about sharing emotional stuff. We're probably closer now as a result. I wish mh and physical health were not so polarised in people's minds but hey....
HopeNZ

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Reply with quote  #9 
Hi Mcmum

Oh I do feel for you and your h. It’s a hurtful and confusing situation.

My experience is that people often simply don’t know what to do or say in the face of big, scary or sad life events. Sadly, I think what you describe is not unusual.

Perhaps you could give your in-laws the benefit of the doubt and assume that it’s ignorance or awkwardness that’s keeping them from reaching out to you and your h? Could you email them with an update and information about the disease? Something along the lines of: ‘S making progress but it’s a really challenging time for us all - current medical knowledge is that it’s a brain disease with largely genetic causes - thankful that medical world has moved on from old fashioned thinking that parents/upbringing are to blame - good prognosis for recovery etc etc but upheaval for whole family in the meantime - really appreciate the support we’re getting from friends’ etccetc. I think the comparison of EDs with cancer helps people get it in perspective.

Hopefully this will elicit some support from your family. But if not, it may just be that you need to move on without them.

We’ve had a different problem with family! H’s elderly parents, who live in the same town as us, keep trying to help but get it ALL WRONG. They say things to my d like ‘you’re looking so much better - lovely chubby cheeks again - more to cuddle’! Or, because we’ve all put on weight supporting our d, they comment on this and suggest we all need more exercise!

Warmly
Hope

Mcmum

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Reply with quote  #10 
Oh dear hopenz! That made me chuckle though I'm sure it's not so amusing at the time. Your poor d!! Actually, that's another positive - I've put on loads of weight since this started and truly don't care anymore. Priorities change, don't they?? I'll try an email to the relatives and if there's no joy I'll move on... It's just one of those things but clearly you guys "get it" and that helps!!
mimi321

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Reply with quote  #11 
There is some information here that may help guide you in talking to your family. We had a family reunion this summer and not everyone knew. Before we went we gave a little background of our own personal situation in an email, and then said that this document pretty much applied to what we were going through. We also said we would not be discussing it in front of our D. Luckily everyone we sent it to "got it" and were very good during our visit. 

http://www.ceed.org.au/sites/default/files/resources/documents/CEED%20Family%20Tip%20sheet.Topic%205%20.pdf

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Promise me you'll always remember: You're braver than you believe, and stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think. - A. A. Milne
Pingu

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Reply with quote  #12 
Hi there
I too also understand totally where your coming from. Only this week a friend who I have helped loads - we worked together - went awol for months after I told her about d AN . She then messaged me to say she had not been in touch Cos she didn’t want to joester and she knew -I knew fro contact her if I needed anything. I then thought ok il update on my d and her Words were “oh- and how’s you” . Then a well you know where I am.

I’ve also found d father a tad frustrating Cos he keeps saying she needs to eat and her some meat in her bones. An when she was admitted to IP that it’s “not a holiday camp you know”
The funniest thing was when they prescribed fluoxetine I thought he was going to combust
Discussing MH is a real challenge and I think some people get scared and some people prefer to pretend it’s not happening.

Lots Of love and you will always get support here
deenl

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Reply with quote  #13 
Hi mcmum,

My in laws were rough going. At one stage telling my husband that he had made our son sick because of his character.?! Grrr. Anyway they are very difficult so I didn't bother with Educating them, just coached hubby in how to disengage from the conversation without just slamming down the phone. Teaching him scripts like `We've done a lot of research and we know what we're doing. I have to go now.' But if possible I would always assume the lack of support came from fear and lack of knowledge. Giving them that information may help.

Don't be afraid to make very specific suggestions. I told my in laws that it was very difficult having a sick child and hubby needed their support. I asked them to send a card saying they loved him and appreciated the efforts he was making. Lo and behold a card arrived!

As you can see the relationship with them is confused and difficult but I always try to focus on the fact that they love hubby and he needs them.

My family, also in Ireland, have been as normal as they ever were. In crisis ringing often, Mom came to visit frequently and then going back to their usual scatty ways and ringing 3 times in one week and nothing for a month! Ha, ha.

I do also think that the distance makes it impossible to imagine what it's like. Before this if someone in Ireland had said their kid was restricting and the were refeeding and even described what it was like would you have imagined it was so %#@*y? That's why I think providing them with knowledge and asking specifically for what you need may work better. X numbers of phone calls, encouragement for hubby, no advice as you are the experts, please post little gifts for ED kid distraction and for other kids as it's hell for them too. My mom and ED son wrote snail mail letters to each other for a year during the worst phase. You will be doing them a favour by being specific.

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, tons of variety in food, stepping back into social life. Sept 2017, back to school full time for the first time in 2 years. Happy and relaxed, just usual non ED hassles. 

  • 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. (but don't give up on the plan too soon, maybe it just needs a tweak or a bit more time and determination [wink] )
  • We cannot control the wind but we can direct the sail.
krae

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Reply with quote  #14 
Hi Mcmum - This family - F.E.A.S.T is the best for understanding, information and support. [smile][biggrin]

In-laws, well what can you say about them - never been there since she was 2 as separation in partnership had happened. Sorry to say this but I'm very glad they are not involved. Never been supportive in any respect. Offered for them to see her whenever they liked and never once did they contact me to see her. She deserves better. There is no way that they could understand AN. 

I would love the support of my mother but she has alzheimers and albeit her love for her granddaughter she can't understand this illness. Believes it is partly because of her - it is so sad what MH diseases do to us and our loved ones.

I will say that my stepfather, who is dealing with mum and her MH, is absoulutely fantastic and has always tried to support me and D in our journey towards good MH .

Lack of understanding of this illness is expected because there is not any funding to give awareness to the general public about how devasting, debilitating and emotionally hard it is to deal 24/7 with this illness, it's a hidden illness in the eyes of the public.

Mcmum

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Posts: 141
Reply with quote  #15 
Huge thanks for all of the advice. It seems that anything goes as far as family responses are concerned. I will definitely draft a letter this weekend. Thanks for the suggestions. We'll see how that goes . I suspect that any crisis brings out both the best and the worse in people. My non ed d has been fabulous all through this. Sympathies to those of you coping with sick or demanding parents as well as ed. Life sometimes really throws things at you doesn't it??? It's true though Krae....F.E.A.S.T provides a level of support and understanding and compassion that is sometimes difficult to find in everyday life.....
scaredmom

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Reply with quote  #16 

Hi there Mcmum,
How is it going?

XXX


__________________
Food+more food+time+love+good professional help+ATDT+no exercise+ state not just weight+/- the "right" medicine= healing---> recovery(--->life without ED)
Mcmum

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Posts: 141
Reply with quote  #17 
Hi, one of the family has been in touch but you're right - most people just don't "get it" do they?? We are just focusing on getting through day by day. My son is very anxious about everything at the moment.
He seems to have really low self esteem at the moment so even when something goes well, he gets upset and cries and worries. He had a glowing parents evening earlier in the week but in his mind this contorted into a terrible one. His team won their football match but he beat himself up because he did 't score one of the goals....and so it goes...everyday a new challenge!
On a positive note, he did enjoy a good tickle earlier - usually he flinches rather than be touched! Like everyone else on here, I really HATE this illness!!!!!
scaredmom

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Reply with quote  #18 
It is hard to relay to others exactly what we go through, isn’t it?
As for your S getting upset at not getting a goal, my d was the same for soccer last year. Now well WR and plus a lot more, this summer she actually said that the team should help the forwards score goals! She is defence. She would be so mad last year comparing how many goals everyone had and how she had to score more. This year she is not very competitive at all and for that I am grateful. The perfectionism is so hard on them. No one is perfect so they can never win so they beat themselves up. Well it is ED beating them up. It does get better and I see on another post of your he did settle watching th Simpsons. Distraction really does help.
Glad he enjoyed the tickle! It’s so nice to be able to hold them any way we can to show our love!
XXX

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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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