"What if your parents are in denial even more than you are in denial?"
Posted Feb 25 2010 4:05am
I want to thank " Now is Now " for her comment on one of my other posts. Emphasis: mine.
"It took a REALLY long time for my parents to get it.I asked for help on multiple occasions (when I was in college), and they said, "It's a phase." (Despite having friends call them from campus telling them I'm not eating enough). I have commented on your post before, "BUT WHAT ABOUT WHEN PARENTS ARE IN DENIAL EVEN MORE THAN YOU ARE IN DENIAL?!" That was the case for me. And I really just thought that this FBT stuff only worked with parents who already weren't in denial... but it didn't seem like there was anything for people with parents who didn't know anything about EDs. But every since my really amazing therapist got me to agree to let her call my parents.. and ever since she highly suggested my parents fly up to attend a lot of family therapy... and ever since my therapist taught my family how to communicate about this... I've realized that parents can be educated. My parents (like all parents) love me so much. They were just so confused and scared - and hurt (the lies surrounding EDs don't really help). For so long, I thought my parents just were clueless and would never get it. But through parent education from my therapist, etc., my parents have shown me that they have always just wanted to be included... they just never knew how or what to do. They needed to be taught how to be included. And they have been taught. And now they're great. Just a couple of weeks ago, I was feeling a little lonely, and I said to my mom on the phone "I don't know why my food is getting off track, but it is... whatever. I don't care." My mom came up the very next day, stayed with me for 10 days, and we just cooked together, ate regular meals, and had a blast enjoying life. I know I'm lucky to have a mom who is able to take time to visit... but still. Yeah, it's kind of embarrassing that I'm 24 and this happened... but it is what it is...
What is my point here? Maybe to say that 1) Parents just want to help their kid; 2) They can be part of the process, but they have to be taught how to be part of the process... and 3) They have to be taught about EDs. And 4) They want to be able to talk about food and other EDish topics with their kids, but families need help in this sort of communication. The sufferer isn't exactly articulate at explaining their situation. And the parent doesn't get that.... so the whole communication thing needs to be taught too.
but the good thing is that IT ALL CAN BE TAUGHT.
My story is an example of parents in denial turned parents involved. And, honestly, it has made alllll off the difference. I've been in treatment for 3 years, and the vast majority of my progress has been made in the last 6 - 9 months, ever since my parents became involved.
I know my situation isn't everyone's... but it's something worth sharing maybe... "
Too many patients, therapists, and parents think that if it doesn't happen naturally it won't happen. Patients, whose age and illness tend to reject the help of others, are believed when they say their parents are not going to be able to help or understand - and parents believe it too. Of course there are parents who simply won't and can't - but I believe most will and can but only with information and support and being included. Bravo to you, your family, and your therapist. I am so moved by the bravery and hard work you all are achieving, and for passing this story on to others who may find direction or insight from it!