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How do I tell my family living with them is making my eating disorder a lot worse?

Trigger warning for topic of eating disorders 



ok so so I have had to be living with my family because of the covid situation and living with them is making my eating disorder 100 times worse than when I was on my own. I will likely have to be living with them for a while longer and I honestly am losing it because this is getting so bad. Problem is my family is super ignorant when it comes to eating disorders and thinks it is only about people being skinny and thinks everything is simply down to your amount of will power. They have also completely ignored my eating disorder for 15 years now even though even a random stranger could have told you there was a problem. My mum especially makes it so much worse she is always commenting on my weight and has told me to stop eating and starve myself before she asked if I “made myself fat” when I told her I was asexual, she is always talking about food weight loss and calories around me even if I tell her to stop. She criticizes my dad who I am pretty sure also has an eating disorder and says he is lazy and need to try harder to lose weight. She has also told me I am unattractive because of my weight on more than one occasion. I have TRIED on many occasions to tell her that this stuff makes me uncomfortable but as soon as I bring up any of her past behavior she will instantly go into victim mode and say she was just trying to help and complain that I am being I ungreatful  and then say that because she meant well I shouldn’t be upset by what she has said. 


This is getting to to the point where I am not able to cope anymore my mum even goes on about how I need to diet and then brings home cakes and bad food and says look what I got you like it is some big freaking game. I cannot take this but I don’t currently have the option to move out. How can I try and get my mum and family to stop doing what they are doing? 


Re: How do I tell my family living with them is making my eating disorder a lot worse?

Wow @Eden1717, that sounds really awful...


A family member sort of does something similar re. the weight stuff, so I know how you feel. Although it's probably not as bad...


It must be so hard to hear that you're unattractive from your mum. How does she not realise that is offensive...


I'm wondering if she's projecting her own issues onto you and your dad.


In terms of getting them to listen, it's a bit tricky as it seems you have tried this in the past. I find it usually helps to say things like "I know you don't mean to upset me, but when you say x, it really makes me feel [describe how it makes you feel]. Do you think you refrain from saying those things in front of me?" I recommend saying it in person if you can as things can get misinterpreted over text. Also, remaining calm is always good idea, especially if you're mum tends to get defensive. So you might want to approach the subject when you're feeling better than usual I guess, or after you've done some deep breathing or something to calm yourself. I also reccommend to avoid attacking one another. Like if it's starts to become a bit argumentative just say "mum I really don't want to argue with you. I know you mean well, but I'm just telling you how I feel."


What do you think?


Re: How do I tell my family living with them is making my eating disorder a lot worse?

@Eden1717 That sounds really hard...

And honestly a bit abusive..


One option is to try to educate her. Literally make a PowerPoint if you think that'd help.

Teach her about what eating disorders are.

Idk how responsive she'd be but thought I'd suggest it anyway.


Another option is to write down a list of things that trigger your ED.

Show her the list. Just for the sake of it and so she doesn't feel targeted, show the rest of your family the list. 

Now if she says she was trying to help, you're able to say that she knows that harms you, yet she's still doing it. Ask her to stop.


Those are all the ideas that I have that are practical I'm sorry....

I know things are incredibly hard right now.

One thing that might help is remembering that the whole covid situation won't last forever.


I'm sorry I couldn't be more helpful..


Re: How do I tell my family living with them is making my eating disorder a lot worse?

@Maddy-RO  I have tried the “I feel” statements over and over again and it al end up with the guilt tripping “but I was just trying to help” responses. She goes on and on about how all she has ever done has been for me but that isn’t even true tbh if that was true she wouldn’t have done what she has she wouldn’t have felt the need to tell me how much of a burden I am and how much stress I cause her when I was in the hospital a week ago and how my being mentally ill is making her life difficult she literally didn’t even ask how I was she just showed up with clothes and started telling me how much I was, and how difficult it was to be around me. 


@Tiny_leaf  I have tried educating her putting on documentaries to watch I have tried explaining it but she just says “well all girls are like that” or “I don’t have the energy for that it is such a waste of time besides I like chocolate too much” I have begged and asked her to not bring me food or to not make me dinner but she always will and then I am being wasteful if I don’t eat it. 


I really don’t know what to do this is literally making me very suicidal and I am getting to the point where I actually cannot take this anymore and would rather be gone than have to deal with this for another day. 


Re: How do I tell my family living with them is making my eating disorder a lot worse?

Hey @Eden1717, I am sorry to hear that you are going through this with your Mum. It can be so frustrating when people don't actually hear you or acknowledge the impact that their behaviour has had. It is such a tricky spot to be in and I can only imagine how much this must impact you Smiley Sad

You really have tried so many ways to get the message across to your Mum. Sometimes we can overestimate how capable people are of receiving our message. People who may not be capable may try to change the topic, avoid the topic or blame others. It is not always conscious but regardless, it is still hurtful for those on the receiving end. All I would add to the below responses is to bring the conversation back to your point. When the topic starts changing to 'I was trying to help' or 'Everything I do is for you', you can respond to their statement but bring it back to your original point. It can definitely be easier said than done at times because the experience can be so frustrating and upsetting Heart

We also can't force people to listen or understand. Sometimes no matter how much explaining we do, some people just do not get it. When the situation is out of our control, all we can do is control our own behaviours, thoughts and feelings. The focus gets shifted onto what you need to get through this if nothing else were to change. I can tell this is really difficult for you at the moment due to COVID and being unable to move out. One thing that can help is setting boundaries which it sounds like you have already done. All you can do is keep firm and consistent to protect your well-being, e.g letting your Mum know that if she makes dinner for you when you have asked her not to, you will not be eating it regardless of it being a waste. You can't stop your Mum from making you food but you can control whether you will eat it.

It sounds like all of this is quite overwhelming and making you not want to be around anymore. Are you still feeling this way at the moment? What are your plans for the rest of the night?


Re: How do I tell my family living with them is making my eating disorder a lot worse?

@Eden1717  Your mum's comments sound so hurtful. Smiley Sad I remember reading some research that suggested people who have critical family members have more issues with eating and body image, so this is definitely a valid concern of yours.
Here is an article from ReachOut about how to have difficult conversations, but if you've tried all those things and there's just no getting through to her, are there any things that can do for self-care after she makes the comments?