How to Help the Man You Love Help Your Daughter to Eat

Dear C

Yes, you, the man I love. Life is so tough at the moment isn’t it. You are so important in my daughters’ and son’s life, it is hard to tell you what to do, because most of the time, you just look after them and do that so well.
But mental illness is a huge challenge. And what I’m about to say will seem sexist and typical of the arguments we have around the dinner table, usually good tempered, but occasionally less so. Because what I’m about to say is about men and the way they try to fix things.

in my experience, most men tackle domestic problems in a dual pronged way:

1. It’s a ‘fixing’ job and therefore down to them.

2. Logic always wins.

It’s the latter approach that does the most harm. The thing is, mental illnesses don’t come with a manual. L isn’t missing a fuse, there isn’t a faulty wire you can put back in place with a screwdriver and when you do the right thing, you are not rewarded by flashing lights or the sound of an engine. Getting an anorexic teenager to eat is like recharging a battery in a car and finding it still doesn’t work. Nothing you do will have an effect, even though you know it is The Right Thing. You cannot compute in your own logical brain how a clever, beautiful young woman could throw away a life for the sake of gaining a few pounds. This takes all the truths in your head and makes them false. And worst of all, you need to make things better for the woman you love, for her daughters, whom you love as your own. Because that’s what men do, right? They fix things. And if you can’t fix things for the people you love, well then, what use are you at all.

So you, get angry, because you feel powerless. You so want to make things right and instead,I keep telling you that you’ve got it wrong. You see or hear me cry and you feel rage at whatever made me cry. Except, it isn’t L, it’s Ed. But you can’t see him or rail against him, so you take it out on us.

You want to help? Ok, listen up:

1.Trust me. Let me be right about this. I know I am, but I still struggle. Reassure me by believing in me.

2. Nope, you can’t change L’s behaviour. But you can change or control yours.

3. Sit down with me and let’s make a plan. Stick to it, no matter how tired you are.

4. If its too hard, then do all the other stuff to let me focus on this.

Anorexia came to visit and is wreaking havoc with our lives. We need each other like never before. Please let’s work through this together. I really need you.

All my love

OMM

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