Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Family Issue Polls

Hi--Happy New Year! Hope you all enjoyed your holidays and are ready to work for me! I'm giving a talk in a couple of months on family issues related to e.d.'s. at a day-long conference in NYC. Two of the questions I want to address are: What are the familial consequences of having an eating disorder? Did your parents argue more, split up? Did they experience their own mental health consequences (e.g., anxiety, depression)? Did they report feelings of guilt, sadness, anger? Did your e.d. in some way help the family? The other question has to do with e.d. comorbidity among siblings--if you had an e.d., did your sibling develop one, too? Did your e.d. follow a sibling struggling with one? Do you feel e.d.'s are "contagious" among siblings?

I've included two new polls on the side bar. Please vote and encourage your friends to, as well. I also would love to hear your comments about these topics and with your permission (of course, with identifying information removed), may share a couple of case studies in my talk. Thanks, in advance, for your help!


ckhalifa said...

I am wondering if you're interested in how EDs impact marriages in addition to how they impact parental relationships?

Anonymous said...

In my case, my ED ended up strengthening my relationship with my parents. However, I can say that it definitely had an effect on my younger sister (4 years my junior), it was apparent that she often felt like i was the one who got all the attention because of my illness and she developed some strange food/eating habits that were in complete contradiction with mine. For instance, she would refuse to eat anything that I would eat because she would label those 'healthy' or whatnot- no dark chocolate, no bread that wasn't white, etc etc- now its getting better, but she's still a picky, inconsistent eater who often prefers frozen mac n cheese or PB&Js to other meals- and sometimes she'll go most of the day without eating, then have dinner, and two midnight snacks.
Ever since my diagnosis, my parents have reacted by being VERY careful about saying things to my sister regarding her eating habits because they don't want to trigger anything- she's a healthy girl, so I guess its all good- but those are just my two cents.
Luckily my family is still intact and were an enormous support for me in my recovery

Gayle said...

I agree with the above poster. My raging ED affects not only my marriage but my relationship with my teenage daughter.

Woman of a Certain Age said...

My mother had an eating disorder, which was largely kept hidden. (Binge eating disorder--she is obese so that wasn't hidden, but I never saw her binge or even overeat more than anyone.) I approached her for help at age 15 with what I then called bulimia, and was sort of rebuffed.

When I sought treatment on my own as an adult, I approached her and told her how alone that made me feel. That's when she told me that her underwhelming reaction was because she had lived with her ED for so long that she sort of figured I could too. She has sort of sought help--she was diagnosed with diabetes so her behavior had to change, though many of her attitudes remain the same. I didn't hear guilt from her; more a lack of education and an overidentification that was inappropriate for the circumstance. (My mother is generally pretty guilt-ridden so this seems uncharacteristic.)

My father seemed simply confused--he didn't understand the issues that went into it, and because the whole thing was swept under the table, he never had to confront the larger issues. I never told him I sought treatment later on.

I don't know if my younger brother has/had an ED per se. But I remember when I was at one particular low, I caught him sneaking food--I was 16, he was 10. Secret eating was always one of my symptoms. He's now obese and, just as with my mother, I rarely see him overeat; I suspect he binge eats.

drstaceyny said...

Yes, any and all comments are welcome re: how family members have suffered from/coped with your e.d. Also, please note if you would not want your comment (even w/identity disguised) used in my presentation!

azusmom said...

My parents freaked out, which is natural, and I think my dad got very angry. At me, at himself, and at the circumstances. He was pretty sensitive towards me once I admitted my bulimia. My parents paid for my therapy and didn't ask a lot of questions. My brother, who is 3 years older, was living out of state and, to this day, I don't know whether they ever told him. I didn't.

Alison said...

Eating disorders are often unspoken problems that are difficult to address, but many people have a private struggle with eating. As friends and family members, it can be difficult to know what to do when someone you love doesn’t love their body.

We recently interviewed Michelle Lelwica, author of The Religion of Thinness and Starving for Salvation. She gives valuable insight into the causes of eating problems and provides ways to combat this growing problem.

H. said...

My family was already messed up when I got mine at 17. My family was very dysfunctional and I became the symptomatic one. An Enmeshed family + perfectionistic daughter +mother with history of an ED (though she's my adoptive mother)+ teased as a fat kid in grade school+ and abused in high school= anorexia (for me). My family was only part of the problem, but a part none the less. The family was "better" for a time, but no changes positive or negative result. I moved out to college( again after I left to recover) at 18 and never went back, I'm 24 now.
I would argue that, yes, ED's significantly affect marriages/family, but it's likely (especially in the cases of family of origin) that there are issues contributing to the ED. It's a tough circle and cause and effect would be hard to tease out.

I'd vote in the poll, but it's showing up as a blank white box.

drstaceyny said...

Thanks for your helpful comments so far! Is anyone else having H's problem--not being able to vote? If so, I'll create a separate online poll. Sometimes, if you have an older browser, particularly I.E., it's helpful to go under "Tools" and check "Compatibility View" to access parts of sites. Does that work?

Flushed said...

My mom just gets sad and knows that nothing she can say or do can change me, I have to want to change myself and get help for myself. I am very strong willed and stubborn and she is afraid of causing friction between us and me pulling away.

Aside from her creased brow and sad eyes when I eat with a little too much gusto and empty eyes our relationship has been unchanged.

She doesn't know what to say so she says nothing, sweeping it under the rug.