View Full Version : In a family that doesn't understand about eating issues and is dysfunctional

11-22-2011, 10:34 PM
I don't know where to start, wait, yes I do :igotit

Tonight, I was in a lot of ankle pain and a relative called. I was talking with her, explaining that I was in a lot of pain, when she said "well then maybe you should go on a DIET!" As if we hadn't discussed this before :ohboy and I explained that I had tried numerous diets in the past. She said that I ought to try them again and I said that diets don't work for people who have emotional issues, therapy does. She said so you're saying "oh poor me, I'm giving up, helpless" :mad I said "no, I have to work through these issues, not go through another diet" We ended the phone call on a nasty note and I am seeing her tomorrow, spending five nights at her apartment because of the :gobble holiday and I have to see an ankle specialist in her city on Monday. I love her very much and care deeply about her but she can be very callous at times and I feel, insensitive when all I want is an :ear. I wrote her a respectful email stating I won't let her hurt my feelings anymore. I will TRY to do that but it isn't that simple because I am very sensitive emotionally and while other family members put up walls emotionally, I let my guard down and wear my heart on my sleeve at times.

My parents are divorced and my parents still say nasty things about each other, though they deny that they do. My brother and I get caught I in the middle STILL. I love everyone in my family, but issues with my family have led me to hospitalizations, even overdoses :trigger that landed me in the hospital. I am in bi-weekly therapy and am on psych meds but it seems that I am the scapegoat of the family - always tarred as the guilty one of emotional problems, partially because of my anger :mad which has improved.

I :cry ed on the phone tonight to my brother and he feels :sad ly that about the whole situation and I think we are both nervous as to what is to come with the upcoming holiday. Every holiday is unpredictable in our family :ohboy

I think I will still go home, take my anti-anxiety meds with me, I have a journal :drawpink with me, and good music on my iphone and mp three player :notes to bring with me as coping skills. I plan on attempting a calm, civilized conversation with this family member tomorrow.

I could use some support, suggestions and I really needed to vent. Thanks!

Happy Thanksgiving :gobble

11-23-2011, 06:31 PM
Dysfunctional families are sooo hard. One thing I've learned is boundaries, boundaries, boundaries. You don't have to engage in conversations that are unhealthy for you. This was a huge surprise for me. I can politely but firmly end the conversation, by stating I do not care to discuss the matter further. Then change the subject, or if necessary, leave the room. I try very hard to not get sucked into old patterns, mainly by telling myself I do not have to explain myself or defend myself to anyone. It IS unfair to be the scapegoat, the one picked at and pulled on and criticized. VERY unfair. But I am not going to convince my family to stop doing these things by arguing, defending, explaining. That just plays into the pattern. Politely but firmly ending any such conversations. People don't like it, but that is just too bad. You can't please all the people all the time, and you and your recovery need to come first.

Will you be independent, transportation-wise? If you can be, that's a good idea. You can leave if things get too hairy.

How much of a support is your brother? Can you think of ways he can help you?

Making plans to deal with unpleasant situations that are bound to come up is a good idea. For example... if one parent begins bad-mouthing the other... how can you end the conversation politely but firmly? Or if talk of dieting comes up? Can you role play to work out exactly how you want to say things?

Keeping a cool head is hard but necessary. Showing anger just plays into the pattern. It is TOTALLY unfair, but their agenda with you is their problem, not yours. It might feel cool and distant at first, but unmeshing yourself from the old patterns is healthy.

I hope things go well, and that you can enjoy yourself.

:gimmehug :gimmehug :gimmehug

11-23-2011, 07:01 PM
Sunshinepoppy basically said all I was going to say.
I found its best to be realistic about what one can expect and from whom. If it is someone who has not got the capacity to hear you or understand or is likely to take out their issues on you then it is best to avoid a converstaion or end one if it starts.

Remember the difference between assertivness and aggression and if you do put boundaries in place early you are less likely to have an angry outburst.

You dont need to listen to either of your parents if they start complaining about each other and can even leave the room.

Good luck!

11-23-2011, 09:33 PM
I agree with Poppy. You can end the conversation by saying you don't want to discuss it. You don't owe them explanations. You have every right to be who you are.

11-24-2011, 09:14 PM
Thanks so much for the replies everyone.

It hurt me when she crossed that boundary because I know she loves me and wants the best for me. We had a candid conversation where we both were able to remain relatively calm but get our points across. Her point to me was that I should do something about my weight since it affects my health, in this case my ankles. I was saying my weight is not her business and have insisted on her not bringing it up but sometimes I want to talk to her about it, so I have to be clear, either bring it up or don't instead of confusing her. I have a very close relationship with her, maybe too close.

Besides the argument before the trip, everything is going smoothly and it is nice to have some time off.

Take care, thanks again.

11-24-2011, 09:54 PM
I am glad the two of you were able to clear the air and that you have had a good holiday.

11-24-2011, 11:24 PM
Wow, that's great you guys got that ironed out. It must have been confusing for her. It sounds like you guys worked together to resolve the issue. :yay

I'm glad things are going well. :happy

11-25-2011, 05:16 AM
I think maybe I spoke too soon. This individual and I got into an argument last night and I got a bit angry, angrier than I realized I was becoming. I ended up sobbing by myself, trying to not let her hurt my feelings but she did again. We called a truce.

11-25-2011, 10:12 AM
my weight is not her business and have insisted on her not bringing it up but sometimes I want to talk to her about it, so I have to be clear, either bring it up or don't instead of confusing her
I definately think we can leave the door open and be inviting people in without realising it or thinking it through.

I have found it helpful to be realistic and accept when I know people are unable to consistently respond in a helpful way.
It was very sad do so as it meant giving up the fantasy of what I wanted the relationship to be. But it is much healthier.

Maybe it would help to think of where you and s=your sister can be there for each other and where you need to stay away from. ?

11-25-2011, 10:39 AM
trying to not let her hurt my feelings but she did again.

I'm sorry your feelings are hurt. :sad

I don't think it is possible to not let someone hurt your feelings... if your feeling are hurt, they are hurt. I think it is possible to set boundaries and adjust expectations, which makes it less likely you will be hurt, but once hurt, it is not your fault you feel the way you do. We feel what we feel, and feeling a certain way is not wrong, or a failing.

What exactly did you guys argue about? Can you think of boundaries you can put up to prevent similar arguments? The goal is to not re-engage in the old patterns,and you seem to have a lot of patterns with this person. Is there a common thread among the arguments you have? :challenge

11-26-2011, 10:36 PM
Thanks for the replies, dermaline and sunshinepoppy.

When I most recently posted, we had an argument about something stupid. I had intruded into a room where she wanted space twice, after she had asked me to wait for her to come into the other room. I don't know why I did that, sometimes I feel anxious and antsy, and I had wanted to be in her company, I was being impatient. I said she was being defensive when she really wasn't being that defensive, I just was being very sensitive and I think, still sore from the argument about her telling me to go on a diet. I felt still very raw and upset. She finally said, lets call a truce, I said "truce" and I went to my room, sobbing. I think I was upset about the argument about the weight issue, possibly needing surgery and just felt a mix of emotions. I took a prescription anti anxiety medicine and went to bed.

I feel that the rest of the visit has gone very well. I have yet to hear of a perfect relationship in life; I think everyone has arguments and disagreements from time to time but it seems I have had my fair share in my family.

Dermaline, I think you have a good point about realizing what topics are okay to talk about, what not to. Sunshinepoppy, I think boundaries is definitely a wise idea, and I have tried to set them before but they sometimes get blurred. I think sometimes I am too sensitive and let my feelings get easily hurt, not protecting myself. I feel that when others don't show emotion, to some degree, they put 'a wall up' and I don't want to do that or be 'cold as stone' like that. On the other hand, I need to find a happy medium between being very vulnerable/heart on the sleeve and no emotions.