For the past two years I was diagnosed with anorexia. I went into recovery at 5’8 and 113lbs. I was terrified of food and gaining weight and treatment really helped me get back up to a healthy weight and allowed me to eat again. Since I restricted for so long I put on weight fast I’m now 135 which is a healthy weight.
My mom keeps commenting on my weight, asking me if I worked out, harassing me about everything I eat. Ive confronted her and told her that she needs to stop because it’s triggering and she doesn’t. She hangs around the kitchen at night to make sure I don’t get something to eat after 8. I ate an apple and a cup of air popped popcorn for dinner tonight and she said good job. I was just in the kitchen getting a bowl of oatmeal and she said ” do you really think you need that” and stuff like that is triggering me to lose weight again. She makes me feel self conscious to eat anything around her. When she goes to grocery store she buys me separate groceries all mine being sugar free/fat free fruits and veggies, which I don’t mind I eat a lot of that stuff but I don’t ask her for it, it’s almost like she is trying to say something without saying it. I just don’t know what to do…..she literally won’t let me live normally and eat what I want….What would you do?
Congratulations on your recovery. I am very encouraged by your success despite living in what seems to be a challenging home situation. I hope that you take pride in this major life achievement.
Having said that, recovering from an eating disorder might be a lifelong battle. Eating disorders do not simply “go away” even if substantial recovery takes place. There may be remnants of old thinking patterns or behaviors that occasionally resurface. That is to be expected.
Your current challenge is dealing with your mother. Her behavior is unusual, out of line, and you are correct to be concerned. It will be a difficult task but try not to let her behavior affect you. She may have her own untreated mental health issues. I believe that might be the case, though I have a limited amount of information to make that determination. The fact that you confronted her, and it had no effect on her behavior further supports the premise that she has untreated mental health issues.
Perhaps the reason she has not altered her behavior after the confrontation is because there was a miscommunication. Confrontations do not always lead to the desired outcome. You might want to try a different form of communication. One idea is to write her a detailed letter expressing your concerns. That might help you better achieve your desired outcome.
I noticed that you are in college. College, for most students across the country, reconvenes in a few short weeks. I am wondering if you will soon be leaving home and moving to college. If so, it would be advantageous to your recovery.
Moving might solve the problem. If that is not an option, then I would strongly suggest family therapy. A family therapist can help to change the relationship dynamic.
In addition, the therapist can assess how you interact with your mother and determine if changes are necessary. The therapist might also speak to your mother, on your behalf, about her behavior. Furthermore, the family therapist may be able to teach your mother a new way of interacting with you that is less likely to trigger negative eating patterns.
The “find help” tab at the top of this page, can help you to find a family therapist in your community. If you choose therapy as an option, which I would highly recommend, pick a therapist with a successful track record of helping individuals with eating disorders and their family members. I hope this helps. Please take care.
Dr. Kristina Randle