“Just Tell Her to Eat a Cheeseburger!”
“Well, you know you’re just enabling them right?”
“I wish I could become anorexic. I could stand to lose a few pounds.”
“She is just seeking attention.”
“Your child doesn’t look like they have an eating disorder.”
“It’s not like your child has cancer! He just wants to be super buff.”
Parents and other family caregivers hear these hurtful statements regularly.
The commenters range from; friends, family, neighbors, social workers in hospitals, doctors, nurses, therapists, dietitians, coaches, cashiers, insurance company employees…and on and on. Most were trying to be helpful, but their uneducated comments did harm on many levels. Some I couldn’t write due to how utterly racist they were.
This is why the Eating Disorder Caregiver (EDC) Coaches that we have trained are prepared to help family caregivers to be ready with some “Pat Replies” in their back pockets.
“Pat Replies” are responses prepared ahead of time so when the hurtful and unhelpful statements show up, they don’t have to think about a reply. All of these folks usually want to help but the massive myths about eating disorders are so commonplace, they’re often taught in universities.
Family caregivers are relieved to have some of these Pat Replies in their back pockets; “Thank you for your concern, this is a really hard time and what we could use is your support.” or “Thank you for your thoughts and concern, if you charted his progress, you’d see improvement.”
Have you seen parents who are struggling with fear and/or isolation? Or are you a family caregiver struggling to cope with the comments that leave you feeling alone and even more hopeless? That is why my partners at Recovery Roadmaps and I created the “Going from Panic to Plan” webinar series for family caregivers to view either in the privacy of their home or with a clinical team in a group setting during family education time.
You can purchase the series containing the expertise of Wendy Wright, LMFT, Ibbits Newhall, Treatment Consultant and myself right here https://www.recoveryroadmaps.com/ and clinics can get a monthly rate to use with family groups.
You can share this with centers that are looking for family support that is already created so they don’t have to reinvent the wheel.