National Eating Disorders Association

3 posts / 0 new
Last post
How to Help a Parent

Hi there, I figured this would be a good place to figure out what to do because I can't really seem to find anywhere that talks about helping parents with eating disorders. My mom is obsessed with her weight, she constantly counts her calories and works out any chance she can get. When she finds herself snacking, she gets so angry. She'll take laxatives if she thinks she's "snacked too much." She's constantly watching her weight and lately, she's been extra mad about it--she's been taking her anger out on my dad by yelling at him and calling him names because she's at an undesired weight.

My dad and I have tried so many different things to try and help her. We've tried explaining to her that what she's doing isn't healthy but she always fights back that underweight is where she feels comfortable. We could show her all the science in the world and she wouldn't believe us or listen to us. The hardest part about it all is that she knows she has an ED, she admits it, but she refuses to get any help. When I've suggested she go to therapy to talk about it at least she says that all therapists are bad because she's had one bad experience with one. I guess I'm reaching out here because it's sort of my only hope at this point. She's always angry at us now. She'll wake up angry about her weight or a pair of pants not fitting right, and then the anger just carries on throughout the day. Any time something is even remotely wrong or someone's tone is slightly off, she goes into this rage. Like I said, it's mainly directed at my dad (she'll call him lazy, she'll yell at him, she'll pick out small things he did wrong and tell him off, etc.) but it creates a tension throughout the whole house.

I want to help her, everyone in my family wants to help her, but we don't know how. She's an adult so obviously she has the right to make her own choices, but her actions are so harmful to her and everyone around her. She refuses any kind of help and it hurts us all to see her like this. Sorry if this is really long, it's my first time on here, but does anyone have any advice?

welcome to the forums

Dear ArizonaTea, welcome to the forums. We slightly edited your post to remove a mention of specific foods and weight, which are not allowed on the forums. You can review our community guidelines here. Thanks for your understanding and please continue to post!

Arizona Tea

Yeah, this sounds pretty awful alright. And your mom probably knows that it is. Plus she can't be happy herself, being constantly irritated all of the time.
At the same time, it's simply not fair to your family, that's she's taking her moods and her frustrations out on the rest of you.
So…it sounds like you guys may need to have an intervention with her. This probably should take place in some kind of family therapy type setting. So there's a neutral party there to see that things stay on track and don't get out of hand.
I suppose she could refuse to take part in something like that, but at the same time, I think it's fair for you to tell her that although you love her, the situation with her moods is becoming intolerable for the rest of you.
And that yes, she'll need to get help with the emotional end of her situation. Which will mean that she'll have to start taking some emotional risks, no matter how frightening or unlikely to help that may feel to her now.
Because you guys want to see things get better both for her, and for the rest of the family as well.
Which…that's something that she's going to disagree with?
Like why would she disagree with the possibility of an outcome like that ?
In any case, I hope you'll keep writing. It's kind of quiet on these forums, but sooner or later you'll get a response if you are patient.
Because yes, it's an issue for sure. xx