I like to say that my Mom and I strengthened our relationship through dealing with the anorexia together. She was always the one who was there for me, the one who took me to appointments, who supported me and believed in me when times got tough.
But there were other times when she was the least helpful person. There were days where she would be the food "police", always checking up with me to see what I'd eaten that day and if it was enough. There were other days where it felt as though she didn't know what to do with me, which left me feeling lonely and worthless.
But I tried my hardest to understand where she was coming from just she did the same for me. No matter what, we always ended up on the same page at some point. Either she convinced me or I convinced her.
With my Dad it was another story. I won't go into details as I did write a couple posts about our relationship, but to say the least, we didn't get along. He just didn't "get" my eating disorder and thought that if I could just eat a hot dog or two, I'd be fine.
We didn't talk for a long time, but as I started to recover I realized that just as I was trying my best, he was too. Even if his best wasn't what I wanted, it was okay and I had to accept that.
I would say I got pretty lucky with my parents. Yes, my Dad was a problem, but overall, they always supported me and helped me in any way they could. But I know that sometimes parents can be the last person to helpful during recovery, so I want to give you some strategies to deal with difficult parents!
1. Talk it out. If this is an option, it should be the first thing you do. Sometimes parents just don't know what to do because you aren't telling them what you need. There were days when I had to tell my Mom straight out that I didn't want her help or that I really just needed her to support me. I can't speak for all parents out there but I'm pretty sure they would rather know exactly what YOU need rather than try to guess and get it wrong.
2. Stay calm. Getting upset and yelling has never helped anything. When my Mom did something wrong or said something that hurt my feelings, I used to yell and spill my anger out at her, but nothing good ever came from that, besides more anger and hurt. Staying calm when dealing with your parents is the key to getting them to help you rather than resent you.
3. Be patient. Parents are humans too. They don't always know what to do, when to do it. It might take them a little while to accept your disorder and be able to help you. My Dad never "got" it and my Mom had to process what I was dealing with for a long time. Be patient as they are being patient with you. They will come around.
4. Enjoy things together. One of the best things that helped me in both recovery and relationships with my parents was to do things that didn't have to do with my anorexia. My Mom and I loved to take walks and explore places we hadn't been before and we enjoyed these things without any discussion of my disorder. My Dad liked to play golf, so occasionally I would go with him and forget about my issues and just have fun. Doing things like this helped both me and my parents take out minds off the disorder and onto things we enjoyed.
Those ideas are just some tips to help deal with parents.
What has helped you? Were there any things that really helped you and your parents deal with your disorder?