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

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When my underweight, food restricting daughter is stomping around, slamming doors, and then crying "I'm FAT" (with continued silent treatment all day)...how to respond?

I've not engaged. Mostly because I'm drained.  

I don't know what to say, in particular, to the "I'm fat" statement. There's no point saying "no you're not"!  So, silence??  

Sooooo tired...

Want this to be over.  I read so much suffering in the posts tonight.
Validate feelings and change the topic.
As Debra has said, talk about the feelings that are behind the state, but then look at distraction as a technique. Her behaviour and cries of "I'm fat" almost certainly come from being given a hard time by her ED thoughts so - hearing her and saying something like - " I can hear you are very distressed about things" acknowledges that she is distressed. The change to something else is the big trick, because as you say it is hopeless to get bogged down on yet another discussion on why she needs to gain weight, why she is not fat. Her ED brain cannot deal with that.

Some ideas that may work - have some ready things to go to pay her attention - board games, jigsaw puzzles, even a few ready conversations that you can strike up - use those conversation starter cards for parties you can buy for ideas. The trick is to help her move on from her distress. 

Other things that may help include going for a short walk, mindfulness, meditation, stretching, watching TV, doing crafts. 

Other times silence or perhaps just a hmm may be the best option - we have to learn to tolerate their distress, but they also have to learn to tolerate those feelings of discomfort too. 
D diagnosed restrictive AN June 2010 age 13. Initially weight restored 2012. Relapse and continuously edging towards recovery. Treatment: multiple hospitalisations and individual and family therapy.
debra18 wrote:
Validate feelings and change the topic.

Yep.  It's good to have a mantra to repeat as needed so you don't need to think of what to say.  Something like, "It sounds like that is really hard; do you know where I left my keys?"

Keep swimming xx

"We are angels of hope, of healing, and of light. Darkness flees from us." -YP 
We are going through that too as she’s going along with the refeeding process. Every night it’s her stomach is bloated, her thighs touch, she’s getting “boobies”. I hate it! I usually tell her that she’s getting ready for a growth spurt and it will all even out soon. Or I’ll just say you are not fat and then immediately change the subject. It’s no fun at all.
Good advice above. This seemed to go of for ages to us so it became less distressing after a while and the whole family would just say "no you"re not" and leap into a mindless distraction but just to reassure you that for most people his ends.
We started this around May time but we're only diagnosed in August but by October the cries of anguish about being fat had gone. He did become anxious about the cat becoming fat though!
Our son even quite likes his new body shape now and sees how much more strength he's got.
There is hope! This will pass x
Hi amirak,

The tips you have gotten already seem to work the best. Here is a handy summary from CEED in Australia.

Hang in there,

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.
Mcmum wrote:
He did become anxious about the cat becoming fat though!

Haha! Tell him the cat is not fat, it is MUSCULAR! Like Garfield [biggrin]...
Keep feeding. There is light at the end of the tunnel.
It was a standing joke for a while that he was trying to transfer his anorexia to the cat.....even that has passed 🐯 Thank goodness!