So frustrated

My parents know about my ED, but my mom just wants to know every little detail about what I'm thinking, what we talk about in IOP, what might have caused this, and so on, and so on. I've told her before that it is overwhelming and only makes things worse and I don't want to share everything that I say or think. I brought this up in IOP and the therapist said that I need to talk about boundaries that must be respected and to know that not everything will be shared. I've told this to my mom before and then she tried to talk to me tonight again and keeps asking if there is something I think they could have done differently or what sort of "set off" the ED. Then when I don't want to discuss much she just resorts to thinking that if I don't want to talk about it with her then the whole issue must be her fault or because of her. I know I had some bad experiences in high school and always had low self-esteem, but I don't know the exact moment that started my ED. I just need some advice on how to handle this because I feel like it makes things worse and more stressful. Thanks for the support :)

Ang,

Wow... This is a tough one... ♥ I'm sorry you're having to deal with all of that... There is a reason that professionals need to have specialized training to help sufferers of eating disorders... My therapist has her doctorate. They're complicated, multi-faceted mental illnesses. Somehow people tend to miss the "illness" part of that... No one CHOOSES to have an eating disorder... No one wants to act compulsively or self-destructively. We would never expect someone with cancer to explain how they developed the disease and blame ourselves for their illness... But because eating disorders ARE mental illnesses, people often misconstrue that as meaning that there is some choice that is involved... Just because we are suffering and have an "insider's" view of our thoughts and behaviors, does not mean that we have greater understanding of why things have happened to us, or why we have coped with things as we have... Boundaries... Whew-- I'm so grateful that I don't have to live with my parents as I recover from this disorder... It is hard enough to deal with all of the emotions, trauma, abuse, and depression without adding guilt and responsibility for others' reactions to our suffering... Yes, you'll need to establish some boundaries with your mom... I'm not really the best person to advise you how to do this... ;0) Keep talking to your therapist and treatment team. ♥ It would be great for your mom to get some counseling and education of her own. Perhaps you could suggest some websites to her? Many of them offer pages of information for the family of sufferers. Or you could print some out for her... A book I found to be very helpful is, "Why She Feels Fat: Understanding Your Loved One's Eating Disorder and How You Can Help" by Johanna Marie McShane and Tony Paulson.

I wish you lots of luck, dear... Please keep writing. ♥

Love,

Jen

Hi Ang, I can imagine this must be quite frustrating for you. I think what the therapist said in IOP is right, you do need to set boundaries. At the same time, though, I wonder if the part of the reason why you dont want to share these things with your Mum is because there are some issues between you that maybe you need to work on? When I was really unwell with anorexia and my parents continued to get me to open up and share with them what I was experiencing,I hated it, but I hated it because I wanted to keep the ED and its experiences to myself. I was afraid that if I let them into my world then I would allow myself to feel loved and I would allow myself to grieve (which is what needed to happen), and at the time, that was too scary for me. I needed the ED to myself to cover up those emotions, and expressing them with other people, especially my family was a big no-no. So I am wondering if that could be part of what you're experiencing? Yes you need appropriate boundaries, but at the end of the day your mother is your mother, all she wants is to help you and love you. Maybe by sharing some things with her you might find that letting her in isnt all that bad and will probably even help you.

Let us know how you get on. Thinking of you xx