On the Around the Dinner Table Forum, there are stories of anorexic children turning into the child in the Exorcist under the influence of an eating order demon. Food is thrown, parents are subject to violence and abuse and hell is unleashed on the whole family. In our house, there is nothing like this. L’s compliance with her eating disorder also means she is unable to rebel against it or us. What Ed seems to want to retain is control. Like a terrorist constantly changing plans last minute to escape detection, as my hand hovers over a cereal jar, L asks for another. I put whole meal toast in the toaster and she asks for fruit bread. I pour juice and she asks for milk. I suspect that Ed tells hear as long as she chooses, she is in charge and can restrict and control in a way that assuages him as much as restricting does.
I find this exhausting and infuriating at the same time. We are currently sitting at a breakfast table, her with her head in her hands over a slice and a half of toast and me tapping away at this blog post. It is snack time already. In the tense silence I can hear the clock ticking away on another day lost to anorexia. Tonight we were supposed to have dinner with friends. I think that perhaps this isn’t going to happen. Life stops until you eat – but in reality, life passes you by while you don’t eat. Friends grow up, some losing patience with the constant obsession with food, relationships will always come second to the relationship with Ed. I am so, so sad for her.