National Eating Disorders Association

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KMV123
Waiting for help and diagnosis for my husband

Hello,
This is my first time posting in a forum like this. I am just looking for some supportive words of spouses in my position or really, any words at all from someone willing to share their experience.
My husband and I are in our early 30's - have known each other for 15 years, have been married for 6 year, have a 3 year old son and a baby on the way.
For the last 8 or 9 years my husband has had extremely restrictive eating habits and he attends the gym an extreme amount of time every day with no rest days. It seemed to start 9 years ago while on a 4 month trip far from home he became obsessed with food and came home completely emaciated. His family didn't support him by trying to talk to him, offer support or asking what was wrong - but telling him to eat more and that he was too skinny and buying him smaller clothes to fit him. From that point I felt it was my job to be supportive and listen and just be there. 3 or 4 times he has gotten very thin with low muscle mass, sunken face, tired and weak over the last 9 years which are our very very low times.
He has NEVER admitted (until about 1 month ago) there was a problem and said "it's just how I am."
I have always seen the vicious cycle where if something triggers his mood to be low or anxious - he goes to the gym more, restricts his eating more, loses weight and becomes miserable and really just horrible to live with. He has no patience for our toddler - yells at him and gets mad for almost nothing.
He will deny it - but I completely live my life on his intense schedule - when he is home there is NO room for spontaneity with meals, meal time, our sons nap time, if I need to go out on my own it has to be within his gym schedule, bed time is always the same etc.. If it strays - he becomes moody, anxious, has an anxiety attack, or blames me for doing something wrong. I myself get extremely anxious if I know I won't be home in time to have a meal ready or if an appointment of mine runs long when I know he wants to be at the gym because I know he will be upset and mad at me.
Things were really bad after our son was born - I saw a psychiatrist for an extended period, but it only helped marginally because he had not admitted there was a problem with himself and refused to come to any sessions. He managed to pull himself out of the total rut and while he still kept his eating and gym habits up, he was happy and we had a good marriage again. So, after 2.5 years we decided to have another baby.. and then he had a small health scare at the same time I got pregnant and for the last 6-7 months things have been just about at their worst. because it triggered things to get bad again.

He recently admitted to me he is unhappy with his habits and has extreme anxiety and intrusive thoughts of guilt if he didn't goto the gym despite having a pregnant wife and young son at home. He knows his weight it so low and he's weak and tired. He made himself a doctor appointment and we are still waiting for a psychiatrist appointment. Seeing the family doctor caused massive anxiety. He has openly been having massive anxiety attacks over things that trigger him which is has never admitted to before. I have been supportive and telling him how proud I am he's trying and admitting his problem and that I am here for him. However, in this month of waiting he has completely stopped putting in effort again and his habits are extreme and his weight is low and his mood is poor. I feel at my wits end with him and how his regime affects my whole life and I'm so scared at how this new baby will affect things once she arrives considering things are already bad. It breaks my heart especially to see him so short tempered with our son or ignoring him while he does all his food prep. I am mostly numb to the fact he ignores me and my needs for it.

I am hoping he gets to see the psychiatrist before the baby comes, but I am sure it won't happen. I want him to enjoy his kids and I want to be able to stand sticking by him when I know he took a big step in admitting the problem at all.. I'm just really struggling and feeling depressed myself in what should be the happiest part of my life.

I feel so lost and I am hoping for some light at the end of the tunnel.

Thanks in advance for reading and any supportive words.

_admin_moderator
welcome

Welcome to this forum, KMV123. Please note that your post has been slightly edited to comply with the Community Guidelines which require that posts avoid including numbers which can be triggering. (https://www.nationaleatingdisorders.org/community-guidelines). Please continue to post. We hope that you will benefit greatly by participating in this community.

liz489
Hi KMV123!

Hi KMV123!

Welcome to the forum. You have definitely come to the right place for support.

It sounds like you have been struggling with this for a while. Especially during this time in your pregnancy, I can see how you would be feeling anxious and eager to help your husband turn things around. Your husband is really lucky to have such a caring and supportive wife!

As you have said, he definitely needs to get some professional support in addressing the challenges he is facing. It is positive that he has become more open and is taking steps towards admitting he is not in a good place. That process towards realization and acknowledgment doesn't always happen as fast as we want it to and sometimes it can be one step forward and two steps back! In the meantime, I suggest that you give the NEDA helpline a call (1-800-931-2237 and is available M-Th 9-9 EST and F 9-5 EST). They can give you some specific advice on how to best address this situation and direct you to resources that can help.

Also, please remember also to take care of yourself! It can be all consuming when someone you love is suffering something like this. Although you want to be accommodating to try to reduce their anxiety, you also need to make sure you are listening to what you need.

Please keep coming back here for support from the community. Let us know how things progress.

Liz

EDSUX
You are not alone

I want you to know you are not alone. My wife has the same type issues. She is underweight, sleeps 15+ hrs a day, eats very little, has a very ridged schedule and it is very hard to stay mentally happy with the situation. I hope someone can give u you some good advice.

KMV123
Thanks so much for your

Thanks so much for your comment. I hope the same for you. It's a hard road and I'm hoping for some light at the end of the tunnel. The whole thing is such an emotional roller coaster for everyone.

BobJ48
Turning the corner ?

Dear KMV,

You wrote :

" He recently admitted to me he is unhappy with his habits and has extreme anxiety and intrusive thoughts of guilt if he didn't goto the gym despite having a pregnant wife and young son at home. He knows his weight it so low and he's weak and tired. He made himself a doctor appointment and we are still waiting for a psychiatrist appointment. Seeing the family doctor caused massive anxiety. He has openly been having massive anxiety attacks over things that trigger him which is has never admitted to before."

Boy, I'm sorry that the two of you have had to suffer through all of this for as long as you have. But that's how it can go when people get caught up in the obsessive nature of their EDs. Any deviation from "the rules" is cause for anxiety, and sense of dread that….well…..they can't really say what it would be exactly, but they really have a looming feeling that something bad would happen, if they somehow "let themselves go".

But it sounds to me like he's begun to realize that something bad already has happened, despite his best efforts. And that it's those very efforts themselves which, instead of protecting him, have turned into the very thing that he's been fearing all along -That somehow he's lost control of his life.

And that's a pretty terrifying realization, given all of the energy and self-discipline he's successfully been applying to this thing for so many years.

So yeah, it's no wonder he's having massive anxiety about seeing the doctor and the psychiatrist. Being told that all you've really done is backed yourself in a corner that could be very difficult to get out of is a truth no one with an ED want's to find themselves faced with.

Still, it does sound like he's developed some self-awareness about his situation that he's not had before, and that really can be an important turning point for people with these sorts of issues. Not that it's "The Cure" or anything, as it can be a long hard slog before things turn around. But it can be a milestone along the way.

Probably the best thing you can do now is to acknowledge that you understand how fearful and uncertain he must feel about all of this. People with EDs use their behaviors as a coping method, and the idea that your only coping method is going to be taken away from you…that really is a frightening thing for someone in their position to have to think about.

I hope you can keep in touch.

KMV123
BobJ48,

BobJ48,

Thanks so much for your input. It all makes so much sense, really. I mean, it's very complicated but what you say makes a lot of sense. It's interesting, over the past couple of weeks he has taken a couple of mornings where he has not gone to the gym. He won't tell me his plan beforehand, but will tell me afterwards what he did and I always praise him and I know how hard it must be but I'm so proud he is trying to make a change. He thinks that *I* think it is a small deal... but I don't. I think it's wonderful that he wants to try on his own and I want him to know I do think it's a big deal and so I tell him. I try not to bring it up unless he does. It seems like a fine balance of acknowledging his efforts and then dwelling on it. I don't always get it right, but I try.

I have suffered with relatively mild anxiety through out my life - but nothing like what he is going through now and it breaks my heart to watch him suffer, but in a sense it relieves me to see that he is seeking change. Knowing that he is on the road to change makes the moodiness and difficult days easier on me, but as you say... it's hard to imagine how scary it is for him.

I hope he can keep being brave and talking about it while we wait to see a professional. He has actually talked to family members about it recently which I never thought I would see. He has admitted to me how relieved he feels that they know now the truth. I find strength in these things to keep me going on this journey with him and to try to keep supporting him the best I can. At the same time I also try to find happiness in my life for myself, our son and baby to be which can be tricky a lot of days.

Thanks again. I hope to have even more future positive comments about the situation.

BobJ48
Real Progress.

Dear KVM,

"I think it's wonderful that he wants to try on his own and I want him to know I do think it's a big deal, and so I tell him. I try not to bring it up unless he does. It seems like a fine balance of acknowledging his efforts and then dwelling on it. I don't always get it right, but I try."

Yes, I think you've hit the nail on the head, as far as how delicate this stage of things can be, and it sounds like you're aware of that too. And doing a pretty good job of navigating it, and striking the sort of balance you mentioned.

"He has actually talked to family members about it recently which I never thought I would see. He has admitted to me how relieved he feels that they know now the truth."

I bet he feels relieved for other reasons too. Mostly that he's discovered that he *has* been able to take this kind of big risk for himself, and yet the world didn't end. Like his ED might have been telling him it would, you know ?

This kind of risk-taking really is an encouraging sign, because to be honest, it might not have worked out. And yet he gave it a try anyhow. Which is pretty darn great.

So it sounds like the two of you are doing pretty good. You are finding the balance between the sort of overly-enthusiastic cheerleading that can end up just putting pressure on the person, and he's receiving some rewards for the chances he's daring to take.

Not that there won't be bumps in the road, because it's likely there will be. And those will present challenges of their own.

But this all sounds pretty encouraging to me.

Bob J.

KMV123
dilemma

If anyone has anymore advice or comments... sometimes we are doing so well and I feel.. not more progress but at least maybe some stability. At this point I need help for myself - I'm struggling to be supportive. Tonight was our son's birthday and my husband thought he was doing well by trimming 10 minutes off his nightly gym visit for his birthday. I want to scream he's 3 and you are his everything please come home! But I didn't.. he said he wanted to do his food prep before his dinner and cake and presents (a good 45 minutes). I wanted to scream but I didn't. I finally said it's time to eat the poor kid goes to bed soon and to me he picks on our son so much at dinner (eat this, try that, sit down, harp harp harp) and I think our son senses the tension and so he acts out and my husband gets more agitated. It's awful.. I hate dinner at our house.
This started to happen when he finally sat down and I finally I felt like I couldn't hold it in any more and asked my husband to just please stop talking and leave our son alone. Well it was then me who ruined his birthday by being rude. He even made fun of / mocked my anxiety over the situation (something I NEVER do to him).
He told me I hurt his feelings so much he couldn't enjoy his birthday and I got to spend all day with our son but he only gets 1 or 2 hours and I wrecked it. I broke down and said I was sorry maybe I handled the end part bad but it is NOT my fault - he could have been home 2 hours earlier if he missed the gym and an extra hour again if he did his food prep after our son went to bed. Then I obviously hit a nerve because he stormed off saying he thought he did well by coming home a few minutes (literally) early and now he's guilty and can't turn back the clock.

I just feel the blame if I am moody he's missing our son's birthday and being his usual self to him at dinner... or I'm blamed if I call him out on what I see has happened. And not to mention, if we had dinner and cake at a normal time, my husband wouldn't be ready and I would be in the wrong again.

This maybe doesn't sound as bad as some of the other scenarios but I just feel so frustrated where I hurt for me and my son and I want to support my husband but the 2 things just don't jive together. It's like I have to feel hurt for me and my son to support my husband or make my husband majorly upset to speak my mind about me and our son... I'm starting to not know how to handle it.. which is bad considering our second baby is due in 4 weeks. Help.

BobJ48
Hangry

Dear KMV,

Yes, it doesn't sound like things are getting better. :-(

And you said that he was acting more angrily ? If he is still undernourished, this sounds like what the girls call "Hangry". They know what it is - When they get angry and bitchy from not eating. They also know it can change their behavior and personalities in ways they don't like about themselves.

It may be somewhat different for guys, but if his character is changing for the worse, that might be some of it. Whatever it is, it sounds awfully oppressive alright. Especially at a time like this.

Which he's probably really nervous about, which never helps things. That could have a lot to do with it I think.

When you wrote a month ago, it f sounded like he was trying to get a grip on things, but it sounds like he slid backwards. People with EDs can get worse rather than better. I remember you being optimistic about his growing awareness of his problems, but it sounds like that's not happening so much now. :-(

You'll have a lot to deal with when the baby comes I know, so I'm not sure what you can do about him. Particularly if he keeps acting like a bully. It kind of sounds like he's acting more that way.

So he'll have to do something about this himself, I think. It's part of his responsibility as the man of the house to help the home situation stay healthy. He may not be able to hear that from you, but hopefully he'll hear it from himself.

To get practical for a moment, did the meeting with the psychiatrist happen yet ?

I've never called the help line, but maybe they'd have some suggestions that might help. It sounds like a difficult situation alright.

Bob J.

KMV123
Bob J,

Bob J,

You hit the nail on the head again I think. Unfortunately we haven't heard back from the psychiatrist and it's been 9 or 10 weeks. Our doc re-faxed the referral with a note today sort of pleading for an appointment soon at my request. He is not agreeing to see anyone else as I personally have a past history with this psychiatrist and he feels comfortable that she already has a knowledge of the problem. So at this point, (even though it hasn't been discussed since he has started to regress back into the disorder) he is only willing to see this one particular doc.

I know other posts mentioned the regression and ups and downs.. it's just so frustrating that the prior self awareness isn't present at a time like our son's birthday. And he definitely plays the roll of a bully to me all the time.. although he would never never see that. He has a definite way of turning the situation around to be my fault.

I think in the period since his self-awareness he realized how many anxiety attacks he was having trying to help himself and he figured it was easier just to sink back into it.

As you said I've got myself, our son and soon another baby to worry about and then I can't be worrying about pleasing or appeasing him to keep the calm. Do you think that because he had that self awareness before he can get back there again? I've been dealing for so many years with this but that realization was a first and now I just don't know what to expect.

BobJ48
Self-awareness.

No guarantees about the self-awareness of course, but in my experience with sufferers on other boards, once they get it, it's kind of like they have it, even though they may regress again, behavior and mood-wise. So I do think it's possible that it may return again, if he manages to start feeling a little more in control of things.

While I'm not him, my guess is that the looming new child may be what's triggered some of this backsliding. As the old saying goes ED's (and compulsive exercise too) are about control. With the baby coming…any guy might have a number of concerns and uncertainties, which might ramp up feelings of a lack of control. And when people don't feel like they are quite in control of things, they often find their EDs getting worse. It's kind of become their coping method, you know ?

Because in the beginning, their brains made that connection between their behaviors and being in control, which once it establishes itself can be a VERY hard association to get rid of. Even when they come to the unsettling realization that now it's the ED that's controlling them. :-(

And what you said about the anxiety - where that may have had something to do with him sliding back - that may have to do with the control thing too. Anxiety really makes people feel like they have no control, so they turn to the thing that always helped them feel in control. Which, in a great irony, was one of the things that was causing their anxiety in the first place. Not to get all grim, but when you hear about how suicide is one of the main causes of mortality in EDs, it's that particular irony that has a lot to do with people's despair I believe.

Good that he still seems open to seeing the psychiatrist though, even if he's sounding pretty inflexible about who he sees. Hopefully the appointment comes soon !

Also, if things with the baby go fairly smoothly, and you are able to feel calm about the outcome, and project some confidence about the situation now…that may help him calm down a little as well.

Because it kind of sounds like he's not calm at all, which is likely contributing to the ways you've seen him being.

Bob J.

3kids2dogs1cat
limits

Hi KMV123. While I truly applaud your enduring support of him, and willingness him the benefit of the doubt, I don't think that your happiness should continue to be sacrificed to keep an even keel in the household -- with you feeling bullied anytime he's around and that you're walking on pins and needles. You don't owe that to anyone. It's not good for you, and it's not good for your children. I do believe that his ED is likely generating the cruel behaviors, but that doesn't mean that it's a blank check. I truly hope that with proper professional help, he will be able to work his way back to complete mental health and become the husband that you deserve and a wonderful, engaged father. In the meantime, perhaps some therapy on your own would help you to set some boundaries around his recovery?

KMV123
A little spark

Thank you again for the validation from both posts. I finally went to the dr myself today and got a referral to see a different psychologist about the whole situation because I'm not dealing with it well at all - too much stress around him being moody and absent, and worrying about my son and of course myself at 36 weeks pregnant. The earliest appointment I could get was for a week after the baby is born - but hey - that is ok with me. I told my husband, and surprisingly he said "what about me?" He wants to come to the appointments after I get settled into going to work on our issues and said he wants to try. He said he feels very relaxed about the whole thing and is looking forward to working out some issues. 4 weeks is my appointment and 5 weeks both of us go.
I'm sure it won't solve the whole ED issue and I'm also sure closer to the appointment he is to attend there will be anxiety- but at least we can work on the marital/family issues that his ED is causing. It's my second go in the last 2 years at talking to someone about this in particular, but this will his first time at counselling ever. I'm glad to know that even though I had to navigate this round of help - he is willing to come and try. I know sometimes giving up seems like such an easier road.
Feeling positive.

K

BobJ48
Better ?

Dear K,

Well, this all sounds *very* positive, and much better than things were sounding before. It just goes to show how much people's moods can vary when ED's spell get's all stirred up !

And cudos to you for getting the therapy ball rolling ! The whole stepping up and "taking steps" thing, you know ? It sounds like your husband is happy that someone has gotten things rolling in that regard, so that sounds pretty positive too !

As you've seen, things can flip around in what seems like a moment sometimes, but still, the fact that he's seemed to come back down to earth each time, after these negative episodes, is something to be hopeful about as well.

I know there's plenty to be concerned about still, but having healthy moments like these continue to make their appearance must be something that helps some I know. xx

Bob J.

Hi KMV - I hope everything is

Hi KMV - I hope everything is going well for you after the birth of your baby! How has your husband been doing? I myself am in a similar situation - 35 years old and married with two amazing daughters 2.5 years and 10 months. I have some of the same problems as your husband where I spend a couple hours at the gym each morning, though I go early in the morning when my family is still sleeping. But I need to gain weight and am very controlling of my diet and workout routine.

I went to a therapist once but did not return due to financial concerns and inconvenient appointment times. I am concerned about the impact ED is having on my marriage and family so I am interested in any feedback you can offer.

3kids2dogs1cat
feeling positive

Hi KMV123 - So glad to read that things have taken such a positive turn. I'm sure you're feeling like it's not a minute too soon. You should really congratulate yourself on getting things to start pivoting. That didn't just happen on it's own and you deserve a whole lot of credit. I hope that you can hang onto your current feeling of positivity and build on that as a team with your husband.

Rodgers12
I hope you're OK

I haven't read your story until now. I wish I could have offered some support. Some times is too painful, when you're going through something so similar, or when yourself don't have many answers. But I think sharing our experiences help.

I find birthdays upset my girlfriend with an ED a big deal. Her son's, her own or mine, always bring anxiety to the table.

I get mad, even when I'm bullied myself all the time, because I can't stand the thought of a man treating his wife like that. But it also makes me sad when people just tell me to think about my own happiness and stop feeling responsible for other people's needs,and just leave. So I want to say I understand your position, and I admire you, while I know you're getting much less happiness than you deserve.

You are doing more than your best, and it's all you can do,it sounds like a great job, and it's a thankless job. But you can be proud, and many people who were sick, and while being sick they pushed their love ones away, afterwards recognize they are so grateful that someone didn't gave up on them, and that it did help them a lot, and it was key in their recovery and survival.

I heard many times, and confirmed it myself, that people with EDs want to be left alone with their illness more than anything. I say: They hate having witnesses. They know they're fooling themselves, and if they are watched, the lies are more obvious, and they feel caught. Bearing this in mind, maybe there is a loving, civilized way for you two to give yourselves some space. You need to take care of the kids and expose them less to conflict and anxiety. And he might need some time to face alone his issues, or just feel he has less on his shoulders and calm down. You felt he's missing his son's life, I know, and that's sad. But maybe less could be more. Maybe he could be a better father and a positive figure in your live more often, if he's not that close all the time. Rushing him into this is not working and you have to do what works.

You know the control thing. Each person added to the equation means less control over your life. Parents need to surrender control over their lives in order to face the chaos of bringing up a child. Some times our individuality complains about this. Some times we give up our lives with complete joy... But a person that has been kidnapped by an ED can't do just that. It is unthinkable. And it must shake them to their very foundations.

My GF describes many anxious experiences as having arachnophobia and being asked to walk through a room full of spiders. A regular meeting with family over food, means that to her. Imagine then, compared with a meeting, a big change in life.

One big change was to recognize he has a problem. It is a good change for us 'normies', but even good changes are scary for them. One half of their brain is going to fight non stop any improvement. A new kid obviously is another big change.

You know when you are listening to one person for some time, and another one keeps trying to interrupt, and you are annoyed... I feel they are being whispered on their ears all the time by their awful best friend, the ED, and we are interrupting that conversation and annoying them.

It sounds like he's not coping with life as it was then, and I don't know about now, with another kid. It's more than he can handle. So I think it will be very useful to find out what is it in his life that he finds too complicated and uncontrolled, and see if you can tackle that problem together.

I hope I'm wrong, and the second kid was the push he needed to change things around. I know some people get a lot better focusing themselves in something bigger than themselves, as raising a child is.

Please tell us how'r'you doing.

_admin_moderator
Hi Rodgers12,

We are glad you are finding support here on the forums! However, your post has been slightly edited to adhere with the community guidelines - users aren't allowed to promote products, including books. The community guidelines are available to review here: https://www.nationaleatingdisorders.org/community-guidelines

Please continue to post!

GlennW
Hi

I am so glad he has finally admitted an issue and is ready to get help. Truth is this is a very difficult and damaging issue. Our some went from being heavy to too low in about a year. He is 32. We ended up at emerge 3 times with him. The challenge is that he may need to do some extensive programs to get into recovery mode. Our son did 7 weeks of in patient, and is now in his 3rd week of an 8 week day patient program that will be followed by a transition program. I think they are similar in that they both feature OCD issues with exercise and restricting foods. Hoping he continues to work on this and moves forward.

KMV123
Thank you and update

Hello and wow - thank you for the most recent posts.
I have been so busy with the addition of our second child I haven't had time to check in.
We now have a busy 3 year old who is not adjusting to his new sibling very well and a beautiful baby girl.

I have been seeing a psychologist for 3 months since the baby was born. My husband came with me at first and immediately decided he didn't like it and now absolutely refuses to go to any sort of therapy. He shuts down every time I bring it up.

So as of now - my husband goes to the gym a lot during the week and in the evenings gets home at 5:45 instead of 6:15 and thinks this is a major change and is "enough." He still spends an hour prepping his food when he gets home and must goto bed by 9:20 every night because he leaves the house at 4:30 to exercise before work. (he works 730-4).

My son is struggling with the addition of the baby and my therapist says is screaming for attention and has been taking it out in major tantrums and physically on me. So I asked my husband at the advice of my therapist to come home every night right from work and pay attention to our son - he can work out after he goes to bed if he must. He absolutely refused to change - says he does enough for him..and questioned the psychologist's credentials to make such a suggestion etc etc. He says I'm blowing my son's behaviour out of proportion and I should be able to handle the 2 kids better than I do.

Now - my husband has put on weight since the baby was born - but it is very controlled and still done by eating the same strict things - just more - and still going to the gym the same amount of time but changing what he does.

As I alluded to - I started seeing the psychologist. Basically I've learned that I'm quite co-dependent and I'm striving to change. My husband HATES this. I am not giving into things that I used to (i.e. he would say "I know I said I'd come home but I'd like to goto the gym, can I? I used to always say "yes go" but now I don't..we have 2 babies.. it is not ok.). I realized I gave in to him and accepted certain things too much at the expense of my son and now my daughter and myself. Now, that I don't accept certain things he says the psychologist is wrong and is making me "whacky" and trying to ruin his life. I admit - it is SO hard for me to stand strong but I had been totally letting his issues eat away at me and I let him off the hook for everything feeling like I was "helping him" but avoiding conflict and trying to avoid him having anxiety by me doing everything for the kids and letting him goto the gym and do his food stuff.

When I ask him what he is afraid will happen if he doesn't go for even just 2 weeks to help our son adjust he shuts down and tries to make me feel like an inadequate mom (he would deny he does this).

I don't want to take his exercise and food ideas away totally from him..they are there for a reason. But, right now I'm in a situation where my co-dependency is wearing me out completely and I have 2 kids that need my best self. To be honest my struggle is what makes my kids suffer more - if I leave their dad and he participates basically the exact same way in their life - when he has time between his issues - or if I stay and they witness how I have enabled him to treat himself, the gym and food ideas be more important than they are.

I wish I had a better report than this.

_admin_moderator
Your Post Has Been Edited

Welcome, KMV123, and thank you for posting to the NEDA forums!

Your post has been edited for content based on our community guidelines. Users are not allowed to mention specific numbers as they may be triggering to others. The guidelines are available here to review: https://www.nationaleatingdisorders.org/community-guidelines

Thanks for being a part of our community! Please continue to post.

Rodgers12
That's sad

I also wish you had a better update. Family, or just marriage shouldn't be something you do in your free time. You have all the right to be upset about his behavior..that's no way of treating you or the kids.
Sometimes it's really hard to tell apart a mental issue with simple egoism, I hope you know him enough to tell the difference.
I admit I have gender prejudices here, I hope being a man I can get away with a bit of feminism. I'm putting up with some things I shouldn't with my girl, but I can't picture them the other way, as women had been putting up with us men for too long.
So I can't be objective, and I can't give you good advice.
I can tell you this, your boy had already little attention from his dad, and now he has to share it with a newcomer, your girl. No wonder he reacts, and the only way he has to express his negative feelings is through tantrums, he can't explain what he feels. He does them to you because he knows you listen to him, not because he's angry with you. He won't have the maturity to address his frustration to the one that is causing it, for many years. Heck, many adults are not able to do that.
Know this all the time, as a mother you will get a lot of anger that you don't deserve, don't let it get to you. You can't be a mother AND a father, so cut yourself some slack, as long as to do your best (that doesn't need to be perfect) you're doing a great job.
I hope luck finds its way to you and things change for the better. You deserve it.

KMV123
Thank you

Rodgers - thank you for this. Wow - what a validating post. Brought tears to my eyes actually and I have re-read it a lot of times. I always had a hard time dealing with it - but now with my children it is so hard.
I've got my family and my husbands family wanting to see me walk out on the marriage and it is just so hard. I think there is probably of a lot of disordered thinking and a little egoism in there too. He comes across as extremely selfish and right now no admission what-so-ever he has an issue. I feel like if it was egoism he should just be able to let us go and go do his own thing.

My psychologist had said my son is critical and needs my husband home more and today is the first day where I should expect him to come home (anxious or not) without going to the gym and I am 99% sure will goto the gym and expect everything to be ok at home. My in-laws think I should pack up the kids and leave if goes. It's so hard.

Rodgers12
I wish I had the answer.

I wish I had the answer.

I walked out of a marriage were I felt I was an accessory, and that I had been giving and giving and had nothing else to try, and she kept complaining and making me feel useless for 15 years. I went through therapy and I found out I was being abused, and that I had been crazy to try to stay with her. None of our common friends told me to try to fix things,because they know she was difficult and self centered... That should have made it an easy choice, right? But no,even if I know it was the right thing to do and I don't regret it, it was the hardest thing in my life and it changed everything.

It is great that you have support from both your families, I hope you'll have it too financially, if you take that step. But I get it if yourself don't feel it's the right thing. It is your choice and your life. And if you do it, it has to be when you feel you're ready. I get that it's the hardest thing, I imagine you are going through hell.

My GF also had a previous husband, and she even had to report him...But she often regrets having listened to people instead of doing things her way. Because she's the one that knows the situation and the people involved better than anyone.

I almost don't tell anything about my struggle with my GF's ED, because no one would understand, and I don't want to hear that I'd be better without her. My friends and family see that I am unhappy, and they would support my decision, but I'm the one that knows (and loves) the person inside the ED. So it has to make sense to me. I hate worrying them, but I have enough in my plate.

It sounds as if he was very confused, very out of contact with the reality that he can't handle. They don't respond well to pressure, responsibility or ultimatums. I'm sure he deserves them, but you have to think about what can work, and what you want to happen. An intervention with both families could work in other cases, but I don't feel it applies to your husband, he could feel betrayed and make things worse.What do you think?

Be sure to let him know that you want a solution that makes him happier too, something that works better for both of you. He is not the problem, he has one, and he tries to tackle that problem by over exercising and controlling his food. You want him to feel safe and in peace, and in control, and at the same time, you and the kids need him to be a part of the family. He must know this is not enough, even if he tells you the opposite. It's not easy, but you have to let him know you are all in the same team. Maybe it can work to reinforce anything that he does well by the kids, telling him they love him for who he is, and they are so much happy when he is around.

Progress is a very slow and uneven thing, but it's true your kid needs him with urgency, so I hope you can get to him. My GF has many issues, but she's amazing with the kids,and she never misses any time with them. I wish she knew how admirable is that. It is also admirable your dedication having what you have on your plate, I hope you know you should be proud of yourself.

Good luck.

KMV123
Update

I know it's been a while - but I wanted to share an update and ask some advice...

The long time between posts was really because nothing had changed.. same old stuff. Same fights, same eating habits, same gyming etc.
Well for the first time EVER over the last several days my husband has not only agreed to - but gone to his first therapy session independently. We have somewhat figured out he has probable OCD and the eating disorder. Tonight to me alone he struggled very much to tell me that he couldn't tell the therapist but he has long struggled because he doesn't want to and is scared to eat because he doesn't want to be "fat and lazy." I think that was a term thrown around when he was a kid, but anyway... He has admitted fear, anxiety and shame and I have assured him that I've been here this long and I will see him through this journey.

The question part of my post is... he wants me to help him with eating. The psychologist is starting off working on other issues first but my husband wants to start on the ED right now. I don't know how to do that. I've been locked into his regime for so long. He's not sure if he wants to eat more, change his portions, have me surprise him with meals instead of him obsessing over what he'll eat and dinner etc.. He says he's comfortable with me pushing him but I don't know where to begin. Any advice there? Should I do it very slowly - trial and error?

Excited and nervous

K

BobJ48
...he wants me to help him with eating.

Hey KVM,

It's true, it can take a long time before people are willing to take these sorts of chances. Going to therapy for one thing. Also being willing to admit the things that he did to you : fear, shame and anxiety. These are not exactly the sorts of things that make a fellow feel competent, in charge and manly, so it was a big deal that he was able to admit this to you.

Also, it's not at all uncommon for people with EDs to admit that they have forgotten what its like to eat in a normal manner. We think "Well, you just eat" but they can honestly have forgotten how to do that. So I think it's quite possible that's where he's coming from, when he's asking you to help him with that.

So, you get to be the expert I think. He's given you permission to take on that role. When one thinks about how much EDs are about control, that's a pretty big concession as well.

As far as exactly what to feed him, it probably won't hurt if the meals appear to be "healthy". I'm a bachelor myself, so I'm probably not the best person to ask, but at the same time I tend to keep things pretty simple, and that may be the best way to start.

Boneless chicken breasts, and some steamed broccoli ? Food that doesn't appear to have anything "hidden" in it, you know ? No mysterious sauces or anything like that ?

Portion-wise I'd keep that on the low end to begin with as well. Rather than trying to "feed him up" you know ? The amount that might seem reasonable for yourself ?

Also the three meals a day thing. Establishing that part as a normal routine can be helpful too.

Ask him how he's doing with the anxiety part after dinner as well. You may want to schedule something engaging like playing cards together, as a way to keep his mind off of whatever emotions may come up right after eating.

I'm no expert, but keeping things on the less threatening side would seem most important to start with.

Really, while there are sure to be bumps in the road with all this ( expect them !) it sounds like a real breakthrough to me.

Bob J.

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