Why the phrase "it's about control" is so wrong, and so right

"My D (10) was the "perfect patient" in the hospital. She ate eerything in front of her without argument. She was singing to the nurses. Everyone thought she was "so cute". When we got home on day 2 my H had to carry her into the house kicking and scremaing because she would not stop sunning through waste deep snow to exercise. She punched him in the face. I am not trying to scare you- just telling you my reality of what I experienced. These kids will truly test the ones who love them the most. The disease wants to mess with every emotion we have. Last week my D (now WR and doing great!) said "What has helped me the most is feeling safe mommy. You and daddy have not left me alone and then my ED could not make me do things. It helped me the most." So there you have it- stay strong and do not give in ever. We have gotten our daughter back- have faith and be patient. I was not very patient as times- feeling like things should move faster. One day at a time."


  1. That's horrible to have to go through that at such a young age, but that's really amazing what she said after going through all that. I can't imagine how hard that would be on her, as well as her family.

  2. I personally think that we need more definitions of what 'control' means to people with EDs. Many people with AN say that their ED is 'about' control. I certainly said that and I meant it. But with hindsight I can see that (unfortunately) what I meant by 'control' was (and has been) misinterpreted by others.

    By 'control' I meant that I desperately needed my environment and my existence to be predictable. This was something I felt from being a small child, long before AN. I thrived on routine; struggled without it. Change caused me to feel terribly anxious.

    When I was deeply immersed in AN my existence was tightly controlled by (restrictive) eating and exercise rituals. When people 'interfered' with those rituals I felt desperately out of control - of my anxiety. But I had no desire to control other people, even if that is how my behaviours appeared, and were (mis)interpreted (because I resisted change and became angry at others who intervened for my own wellbeing).

    I still believe that for some people, of which I was one, ED behaviours ARE 'about' control - but that control is of anxiety associated with change; NOT a wish to exert control over other people.

  3. yes, Cathy, my daughter has AN and I can agree with what you are saying. Controlling anxiety but not controlling in the sense that lay people think about it-not trying to control others' thoughts and opinions. Just finding a way to manage anxiety by creating a sense of order. My daughter also has ADHD and order and structure are very big for her-she really can't handle not knowing what will happen in a day, strange foods, etc., it's about controlling her anxiety not wanting to be in charge of everything in life....


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