One of the easiest ways to identify your child’s eating disorder behavior and thinking is she will be very argumentative about food related issues. She will sound defensive and angry.
Your child most likely has always been pretty compliant. She probably did what you asked of her. There may have been times when she questioned you about a decision but she still followed through. This is partly why it is so difficult for you to handle her oppositional behavior regarding food.
I learned something today on a coaching call with a family. I think I knew it already; but I have never heard it so clearly. The conflict and oppositional behavior is hard for your child too. She is not used to herself behaving in these ways. She is not accustomed to “causing trouble” in the family.
Other siblings may or may not have been this way in the past; but not her. She was typically the “good kid.” It is part of her identity to be the good kid or at least one of the good kids. Now everything is different. She has lost her identity as the “good kid” and she doesn’t know how to handle it either.
It’s almost like she is on the outside looking in at this girl she doesn’t know; but it’s her. She doesn’t know this argumentative person and she doesn’t know how to get her real self back. She is lost and scared.
She sees your frustration and anger and it appears to you that she feels the same. The reality is she feels guilty and helpless to act any different in that moment.
She is going against who she truly is on the inside because the eating disorder is so strong. It is telling her what she can and cannot do; what she can and cannot eat and more.
She wants to comply but she can’t because she is no longer hearing her own voice. She is only able to hear the ED voice. Your voice and hers are being drowned out by ED.
You know a lot of examples of this ED behavior. You see it every day so I won’t give specific examples here. Just remember it is not your child talking; it is the anorexia.