so before I tell you about my relationship with my parents I want to start off by telling you a bit of my background. I have been struggling with body image for as long as I can remember (I went on my first diet and restrictive eating when I was only 8 years old). When I was 16 I started restrictive eating again and because of some things that were going on in my personal life and also my body image I lost weight, was underweight and stopped eating in the end. With 17 I was admitted to a eating disorder treatment clinic. I have been in recovery for more than 2 years now.
My relationship with my parents was pretty standard - at least that is what I thought. I am very close with my mother.
Around the time of my ED my mum and me got closer and closer and my father distanced himself from me completely. After I was released from the clinic my relationship with both of them was better again (meaning I was still really close with my mum but also had a relationship with my father and we talked again).
After a few weeks at home though I noticed that my father was really unhelpful recovery wise. In the clinic we were given a structure of how much you should eat at every meal and before I was released my parents and me hat a family-session with my therapist in which she told us that my parents should support me at home and set a good example (e.g. no diets, eat regularly).
My father did not though. He would eat less than half of what I was required to eat and that triggered me really badly. Looking back I think I ignored that problem for to long but I tried and pretended to be okay and healthy. But I wasn't! So after a month or two my ED got worse again, my mother noticed and confronted me and I told her what my problem was. She told me I should talk to my father.
Don't get me wrong: my father absolutely loves me! I am 100% certain. He just does not understand me and is jealous both of me and my mum because we are so close.
So I talked to my father and that conversation went worse than you can imagine.
I asked him if he had time to talk. He did so we set down and I told him that I was struggling with eating again and explained how him not eating very much at family meals made it harder for me to stick to my meal plan. His response is probably the wirst thing you can say to anyone trying to recover: he said he needed to loose weight because he was not feeling well in his body and he wanted to change that.
Okay, I know, everyone can do with their bodies what they want to do, but telling your daughter you need to diet (and he has/had a normal BMI, he was not overweight!) and restrict eating is not helpful.
I asked him if he could maybe then at least not restrict at family meals and instead eat less candy in-between. He told me that it was really hard for him not eating candy when we have so much in our house because it is such a bad temptation for him and if I wanted him to eat less candy then there should be no candy in the house. I was in recovery, I needed to eat candy to stop fearing candy and my father tells me to get rid of candy so HE is not tempted.
I don't remember how that conversation ended, it went in a completely different direction than I intended but every since then I pretty much don't have a good relationship with him anymore. That was 2 years ago.
1 year ago I moved out of my parents house. I had one hear of school left and I wanted to be closer to my school so I didn't have to take the train for one hour every morning. But I also immediately realized how much easier meals were!
I don't really visit my family very often anymore. My mum visits me once a week but I only see my father once a month at the most.
Pretty recently we were visiting my brother who lives in Berlin. And my father again talks about dieting and not being hungry and not wanting to eat much all the time. I have come very far in recovery and normally I have no problem eating at restaurants etc. but when he is around I fall back into bad thoughts and fighting against old habits.
He also does not respect me (another topic I am not going to go into more detail here). He talks over me and if I call him out on it he pretends he didn't notice and I should not be so whiny. He never believes anything I say and needs to be better than me in everything.
It has been so long now that I do not feel any connection with my father and that I get angry every time we go somewhere together that I don't know if it will ever get better. He wants to visit me all the time and I always find excuses why its not a good time.
I don't want to regret this bad relationship with him after he is gone but I also can not change that I am hurt and he is not a good influence on me. He never apologized, he never acknowledged he did me wrong. He is a great person, just not with me or my mum for that matter.
He makes fun of my mum all the time, snaps at her for everything she says and is really insecure because my mum is very intelligent and organized compared to him. He always puts her down. He ignores all her advice and gets mad at her when something goes wrong and she didn't help.
Do any of you have a bad relationship with your mum/dad? How do you handle it? Should I try to fix it so I don't regret it in the end?
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