Medical Articles

Eating Disorders: My Child's Anorexia Has Turned Our Marriage Upside Down

When your child is diagnosed with an eating disorder your life gets turned upside down. Your relationship with your spouse changes in ways you never could have imagined.

How does your relationship with your spouse change? We all know that with each child you have, there is less time and energy for your spouse. What about when one of your children develops anorexia?

For one thing you are both thrown into circumstances that you have no idea how to deal with. You both may have opinions about how this happened, how serious it is, and what you should do about it if anything.

An eating disorder can divide parents almost quicker than a physician can say the words. If there is already conflict or some division in the marriage, the eating disorder can serve as one more wedge in your relationship.

Parents are often compelled for the sake of their child to change their work schedules which can cause stress. Sometimes employers are sympathetic and flexible and sometimes they are not. How employers react to your requests for change will impact your spouse and your marriage.

You're employer's response may also impact your financial situation. You may have to take cuts in pay or work fewer hours which will bring in less money. When you need money the most, you may have less to help pay for your child's medical and emotional expenses. This brings added stress to an already difficult and frightening situation.

What if you disagree about how serious this eating disorder is? One parent can feel terrified and adamant about seeking help; another accuses the other of overreacting. How do you go about deciding what actually needs to be done?

Sometimes you may agree on the seriousness but don't agree on what form of treatment to pursue. How do you break that stalemate while your daughter is slowly or quickly starving herself?

The bottom line is even in the best and strongest of marriages, the impact can be devastating. The stress of having to re-feed your child at home and outwit ED at every turn is difficult.

The emotional stamina and strength it takes is staggering. It is painful to ask your daughter to take one more bite when you see her sobbing, lashing out and begging you not to make her eat more.

Let me just end with this. If your child had cancer, you would not allow her to stop taking the chemo or radiation she needed to get well. If she begged, pleaded and lashed out at you to keep you from forcing her to go to the hospital you would take her anyway.

Anorexia is no different. Her medicine and form of treatment is food. It is eating more food than she wants to. If you need help as parents to get on the same page for the sake of your daughter's illness and ultimately her health; please get it.

Don't wait. Call a professional now and get the help you need to find the right treatment for your family.

Keywords:

eating, eating disorder, eating disorders, upside eating, eating food, marriage eating, diagnosed eating, food eating, serious eating, anything eating
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