National Eating Disorders Association

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pastorrich
Wife has an ED that is consuming her entire life

I wrote this a few weeks ago to vent to my wife. I didn't know what else to do. I shared it with her but she didn't want to hear it at the time. She has since shared it with her counselor I believe. Just wanted to share with people who understand. My wife and I have 4 children and her ED effects our entire family.

It's not Fair

It's not fair to the children who have an absent mother. She may be there physically but she is not able to meet their needs emotionally because she can't meet her own. It's not fair to the children who deserve a mother that is always present. A mother that is able to help them deal with the struggles of life. A mother who is attentive to all of their needs. They cry out for her but she doesn't hear them because she is too deep in her sorrow to really hear their cries. It's not fair to the children because they have done nothing wrong. All they want is their mommy to be there for them. The my overreact every time she leaves it they leave her because they just want her to feel something. It's not fair to the children because even though they can't express it through words they know. They know that mommy is not feeling well. They know that mommy would rather lie in bed with her sorrow than to be an active participant in daily life. Mommy wants to be around but she needs to be able to love herself before she can truly be there for them at every moment they need her. They can't see that mommy is simply overwhelmed by just getting out of bed everyday but they know and that's not fair.
They know their mommy is struggling so they cry out and they act out trying to get mommy to snap out of whatever she is going through. They know and it's simply not fair!

It's not fair to the husband who tries his best to provide for every need of the family. Even though his wife will not tell him how she is really feeling he knows and it's not fair. He carries the burden with him everyday. He would never think of giving up because that's not in him but he knows that his wife is struggling and it's not fair. The husband often wonders if he is doing something wrong. There are times when he is overwhelmed by what life is throwing at him but he simply cannot show it. He must always be strong and it's not fair. Everyone needs their moments of weakness and it's not fair that he can't have a weak moment every once in a while. It's not fair to the husband that his wife seemingly leads a double life. She has a side to herself that she will share with him but will never truly let him in so he can understand and it's not fair. It's not fair that he will never truly know her struggles, he would never back down from them. He would help her fight if he could. He takes his vows seriously and will gladly be there through all of the ups and downs. He wants to take her burden away but he can't. Maybe it's because she will not let him in, maybe it's because it's a battle that he cannot fight for her and it's not fair. He would gladly lay his life on the line for her. He would gladly carry her burdens so she would not have to and it's not fair because he can't. He can't do it for her and that scares him. He wonders what she will become. He prays that she has the power to help herself. He prays that she does not succumb to her weakness because he knows he can't do this alone and it's not fair. He tries his best to take on the burdens of the family but he can't and it's not fair. He cannot do everything alone although most of the time he feels as if he is. He prays that his wife will find peace. He prays that she will one day be able to love herself as much as he does. When he looks at her he does not see faults he only sees perfection. When he looks into her eyes he sees what she can become but she does not and it's not fair. He looks forward to a time in the future when she will win her battle and wonders when that day will come but he doesn't know and it's not fair.

Most importantly it's not fair to his wife. It's not fair that she has never truly loved herself. It's not fair that her innocence was taken from her and has caused her so much pain. It's not fair that she has to struggle on a daily basis. It's not fair that when she looks in the mirror she o my sees her faults and not her strength. She is stronger than she could ever imagine. She has been given several lifetimes worth of burdens but she is still here. It's not fair that she does not know her own strength. It's not fair that she questions whether or not she is worth it. It's not fair that she feels she has to live a double life in order to protect her husband. It's not fair that she had never truly been able to lie him as she should. Its not fair that she has to put on a happy face for those around her so they will not see her pain. It's not fair that she does not have the energy to do what she wants to do. It's not fair that she can't give her children undivided attention because there are always so many things running through her mind. Its not fair when she is overwhelmed simply by her children being in the same room. That is not the life she imagines. She knows there is something better and it's not fair. It's not fair when she chooses to live like this because she doesn't feel she is worth the effort. It's not fair that she carries her burdens on her own when they simply could have been avoided. Its not fair that her parents didn't help her when she was crying out. It's not fair that she had to deal with this alone. It's not fair that she has trouble seeing the person that God wants her to be because of the issues she has with trust. She is supposed to be able to trust her parents but she can't and it's not fair. It's not fair that they let her down over and over. It's not fair that she can't see that her husband would never let her down. It's not fair that she can't truly let him in because she is afraid of what he may think of her if she does. It's not fair that she fights these battles on her own every minute of her life. She tries but it does not seem to get better and it's not fair. It's not fair that she feels guilt and shame. It's not fair that she barely ever sees the light. It's not fair that she is comfortable in the darkness because that is all she has ever known. It's not fair that she does not think she deserves to live in the light. It's not fair that she questions if she matters. It's not fair!!
SHE IS WORTH THE FIGHT!! SHE IS WORTH THE STRUGGLE!! SHE DESERVES TO LOVE AND BE LOVED BUT SHE DOES NOT SEE THAT AND ITS NOT FAIR! SHE DESERVES TO LIVE IN THE LIGHT! SHE DESERVES A BREAK FROM THE DARKNESS! SHE DESERVES TO FEEL GREAT! SHE DESERVES TO BE ABLE TO LET GO IF HER PAST AND NOT LET IT DICTATE HER FUTURE BUT SHE STRUGGLES WITH THIS AND IT’S NOT FAIR! SHE DESERVES TO BE HAPPY, SHE DESERVES TO ENJOY LIFE! SHE DESERVES TO GROW OLD AND MAKE A DIFFERENCE IN THE LIVES OF OTHERS. SHE DESERVES TO LIVE A SINGULAR LIFE WHERE PEOPLE APPRECIATE HER FOR WHO SHE IS AND NOT THE FRONT SHE PUTS ON TO MAKE IT TROUGH THE DAY. SHE DESERVES TO BE HEALTHY AND HAPPY! SHE DESERVES TO KNOW THAT SHE IS STRONG BEYOND HER COMPREHENSION! SHE DESERVES TO BE SET FREE BUT SHE DOESN’T SEE THAT AND ITS NOT FAIR!!

kelsey207
Hi Pastorrich,

Thank you for posting this here. I think a lot of people here on the forums can relate to what you're experiencing. You're right: EDs consume a person's entire life, and they affect the lives of everyone around them. You're right that it isn't fair. Your wife didn't choose this, she didn't ask for it, and this ED is affecting your entire family.

It sounds like you and your wife are taking great steps to work through this. It's great that she's seeing a counselor and that you're involved in her treatment journey. It's great that you're an understanding spouse and that you're taking on extra burdens because of the ED. I hope that things improve soon so you can start to see the light at the end of the tunnel. Recovery is possible. You, your wife, and your family are capable of getting through this.

You might already be aware of these, but here are some pages with resources for loved ones of those struggling with EDs:
https://www.nationaleatingdisorders.org/family-and-friends
https://www.nationaleatingdisorders.org/parent-family-friends-network
https://www.nationaleatingdisorders.org/neda-navigators
http://proud2bme.org/content/taking-care-yourself-while-caring-others
https://www.nationaleatingdisorders.org/blog/self-care-master-post

Please keep us updated on how you and your wife are doing. We all wish you and your family the best. <3

Erin_Patricia1
I'm so sorry!

Hi Pastorrich,

I just wanted to check in with you. I know it's been awhile since you last posted but I wanted to see if you were able to check out some of those resources kelsey207 posted last week. Let us know if there is anything more we can do to help you and your family through this difficult time. Please keep us updated on how you, your wife and your family are doing. <3

Erin_Patricia1

Rodgers12
I understand

I've read your text and I understand and relate to the feelings and experiences behind every word. You deserve to be heard and to seek some solution or at least relieve.

But in my opinion that amount of issues is overwhelming and counterproductive to tell your wife all in one take. At the beginning it seems as you were blaming her, and it's not until the end that it makes it clear that you aren't.

You should see a therapist yourself, and talk to people, vent here or in other places, but she already can't cope with what she has, and she doesn't need you to remind her that this is affecting everyone around her. She needs the last part.

It's almost impossible for us partners to do things right. We are bound to fail 9 out of 10 times. So do not despair, I know it's maddening. You won't give up but you don't know what else to do. And it breaks your heart over and over again. Many of us here are in the same situation. I can only say this: don't take it all at the same time. Lower your expectations and try to work in one thing at a time. You need to win her inch by inch, not make her snap out of it.

You would give her the world, but you can only give her something while you are OK, don't get to the point where you are mad, and frustrated, stop before that and take a brake, a breather, help yourself before continuing to help her. It's easier said than done. But those are a few of the thoughts that keep me sane fighting this. It's a long run, and there are no shortcuts.

Good luck.