This is a sample conversation that could go on in your daughter’s head. Notice she is at least trying to talk back to ED. She is defending reasons she should eat.
A girl in the early stages of anorexia would not be able to talk back this well. She would just listen and obey with little to no argument.
ED: “See that girl over there? Look how skinny she is. She makes you look fat. You need to keep losing weight. You can’t eat all your lunch today. If you do you’ll just get fatter.”
Her: “I don’t know. She does look really thin; but my mom and dad say I am too thin.”
ED: “You know your parents don’t understand you. They don’t understand what it’s like to be with all these other skinny girls at school. You have to keep losing or you’ll never be happy. You’ll always be the fat one.”
Her: “Well, I don’t want to be fat; but mom says I’m not seeing myself accurately. I do look in the mirror sometimes and wonder if I’m as fat as I think I am?”
ED: “You can’t trust what she says. I’m the only one you can trust. She just doesn’t understand you and how important it is to be thin.”
Her: “But other people tell me I’m too thin also. They can’t all be lying to me can they? They don’t all want me to be fat.”
ED: “Of course they can all be lying. Don’t be so stupid. Why do you think I keep telling you to shut them out? Because they don’t know what they are talking about! I’m the only one who really understands and knows what you want. Don’t listen to them.”
Her: “But I want to eat my lunch; at least some of it. I am a little hungry.”
ED: “You are so weak! I thought you wanted to be tiny and beautiful. You must not want it very bad if you’re going to give in that easily. You’ll always be fat if you keep this up.”
Her: “I guess you’re right. You are the only one who understands what I have to do. I wish I could believe my mom but I just can’t. She just doesn’t understand. I’m throwing my lunch away while no one is looking and I’ll just go hang out in the common area so I’m not around food.”
Remember when your child does not want to eat; get angry and frustrated with the eating disorder (ED) and not your daughter. She is doing the best she can with all the abusive things ED is saying to her.
Plus, she loses either way. If she eats ED gets mad at her and if she doesn’t eat she risks you being mad. Does this sound familiar? That word we’ve spent so much time talking about…ambivalence. She just can’t get away from it.
Do you want to learn more about eating disorders?
If so, download my free e-book “Eating Disorder Basics for Parents” here http://www.why-my-daughter.com/edb.html
Lynn Moore educates, coaches, and consults parents on how to help their adolescent with eating disorder behavior. She will guide you through the treacherous waters of deciding what kind of help you need and what you, the parents need to do and can do to help your child.