Vocabulary words for parents

These are my favorite vocabulary words for parents with eating disordered children:
  • Alexithymia: an inability to describe or understand one's own emotions
  • Anosognosic: unaware of and lacking insight into one's own illness
  • Egosyntonic: symptoms of the illness are in harmony with or acceptable to the ill person
One of the hardest lessons for parents when a child becomes eating disordered is learning that they simply experience the world differently during the illness. They can't describe their own feelings, no matter how many times you ask "how do you feel." They think they are not ill, or not as ill as we know they are. And even the symptoms they have, they are not distressed by. They are not being silly, immature, recalcitrant, or stubborn: they really do feel - and not feel - this way.

Until they are well - and that takes nutrition, love, and time - we have to do the thinking for them.


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