(Closed) Sister's eating disorder…should we wait?

posted 6 years ago in Family
Post # 2
Member
2165 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: NJ

I don’t know anything much about this kind of treatment. If your sister is that close to the edge, then anything could push her over. Better a happy thing like your engagement, than God forbid something bad, like an accident or a death. I don’t know if that makes any sense. Something no one can control could happen, what about your sister then? Life does go on no matter what else is happening.

The thing is, your life has to go on. You are doing nothing wrong by moving on to get engaged and married. That is no slight to your sister, simply living your life normally.

The best thing is that she is getting treatment. Your mother should not be thinking of anything else except her health right now.

EDITED TO ADD: What makes me say that getting on with things is better is, there is no time frame to go by. Your sister could be this way for who knows how long? You aren’t going to want to wait years. If it were a matter of 3-6 months, answers might be different.

Post # 3
Member
30393 posts
Honey Beekeeper
  • Wedding: November 1999

I don’t think that family members of the mentally ill have to put their lives on hold and live  their whole life on someone else’s schedule.

I suggest that you talk with your sister’s doctor about the best way to handle your engagement.

Post # 4
Member
1517 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: October 2014

You do not have to adjust your life to her disease.  Unfortunately, she just may never get better. Eating disorders are such a hard reality for a lot of us. Are you going to wait forever? Although, I REALLY hope this treatment works, and that she becomes healthy, her situation should have no bearing on your engagement.

Post # 5
Member
30 posts
Newbee

I feel for you so much because I am in a similar situation and really everything you do makes you feel bad. But the truth is, it is your life and you 100% cannot put it on hold to appease family drama or to accommodate her mental illness. I know that sounds rough and I completely feel for her current situation and would not belittle the circumstances nor wish it on anyone, but there comes a time when delaying your own life to feed her illness makes you resentful and actually enables her to seek attention through her illness. Her life is her responsibility, recovery doesn’t mean you’re OK as long as everyone is deferring to you. Sometimes mentally ill siblings need to know that the universe does not revolve around their illness and life will go on whether they commit to recovery or not. Please, please, please focus on yourself. Just as your sister should be focusing on herself. Do what’s right for you. Be selfish. I’m pretty sure if your family dynamic is anything like mine, you’ve never allowed yourself to be. So much love to you, and prayers for recovery for your sister. 

Post # 6
Member
2430 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: July 2012 - The Gables Inn, Santa Rosa, CA

View original reply
anonbee624:  Have your SO talk to her boyfriend.  Man to man, and simply ask him if/when he wants to propose.  Explain the situation that you’re concerned about her emotional state and you don’t want to do anything to set her back. Then set a date for yourselves some time after his intended, like say… valentine’s 2016?  

If things don’t happen for your sister, stick to this timeline, don’t keep pushing it back, but that way you’re looking out for her emotions, giving her boyfriend a chance to do things on his own timeline (and not your mother’s, which is a recipe for resentment right there!) and still aren’t postponing your future plans indefinitely.  

Post # 7
Member
625 posts
Busy bee

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anonbee624:  I guess I feel differently than the other bees on here, but the guilt if something were to happen to my sister as a result of her hearing about my engagement…I would hold off, even if it meant for another year. You have a lifetime together and you are already spending it together now. You are not waiting to get started on anything other than planning a wedding. If you guys are committed, you are committed. I would probably even consider the idea of doing a courthouse thing to make it official between you and him, but keep it quiet from family. This won’t be a popular opinion on here, but you are in a very unusual and difficult family situation.

Maybe I am more sensitive because I have seen a family member give another family member news that literally caused a stroke and subsequent death. I have also had family members attempt suicide over news they couldn’t cope with. Sad but I wouldn’t take these chances just to have a wedding (not saying you are doing this, just saying how I would feel if I were in your shoes). You are already in the relationship. 

Sorry 🙁

  • This reply was modified 6 years, 3 months ago by cucumberroll.
Post # 8
Member
336 posts
Helper bee

 

View original reply
anonbee624: 

I’ll be frank… Your sister should not be getting engaged, let alone married.

Eating disorders very often stem from a need to “control” everything, or from a feeling that one has no control over anything, therefore, the very last thing she needs to be doing is trying to plan a wedding; it’s trigger central, basically.

Your mother (although I’m sure she is a very, very nice woman and perfectly capable and intelligent is many ways) is completely clueless if she thinks getting engaged is the solution to your sister’s disorder. Eating disorders are very much like addiction in that it’s not like you reach 100 Days sober and BOOM you’re magically cured of it. She is probably going to be struggling with this the rest of her life, and it’s VERY important that she get a handle on it and maintain said handle for some time before making any big changes like engagement or marriage.

Personally, if I were you, I would tackle this head-on. I’d sit down with my S/O, my mother, my sister’s boyfriend and her care team and be honest with them about your plans and how to best break to news to her and even incorporate this into a part of her treatment, because 1) You can’t put your plans on hold for her, and 2) If she’s going to relapse every time someone in her life hits a milestone she feels she should have been allowed to hit first, their marriage and her health are doomed. It sets a bad and even dangerous precedent.

(Like, seriously, what’s gonna happen if you or someone else gets pregnant before her?)

I’m very sorry you feel you have to tiptoe around your sister’s health and state of mind when this should be a happy time for you and those you love to celebrate with you, but as I’ve already said, eating orders are an illness right up there with addiction, and the WORSE thing you can do is be part of the problem by placating her. It’s the same as enabling, really, and all it’ll do is stall her recovering by glossing over personal hang-ups that she needs to be working out NOW while she’s in a place to get the treatment for them.

Good luck, OP, and I hope my perspective helps.

(And, just for the sake of context, I struggled with an eating order in high school. At 5”8 I was 116 pounds, I’m ashamed to say, so trust me when I say I wish someone had helped me help myself sooner instead of walking on eggshells.)

Post # 9
Member
699 posts
Busy bee

I agree with the poster that stated your sister should not be getting engaged- she needs support of family and friends and she needs to focus on herself and her recovery not planning a wedding.

As for you getting engaged- you need to live your life- you can’t control what your sister does and how she responds- hopefully she’s in a place that can teach her deal with her feelings in a healthy way. You cannot put your life on hold. You can still support her and her there for her all while still living your life to the fullest.

Post # 10
Member
6331 posts
Bee Keeper

I have limited experience with ED treatment, but you can’t shelter your sister from the realities of life in hopes that she’ll get better. If she’s that bad off, any little stress could set her back; it’s only a matter of time. I’m sorry it’s such a hard situation for everyone.

Post # 11
Member
336 posts
Helper bee

View original reply
anonbee624:  

Also, can I just say how completely unfair it is of your mother to be pressuring your sister’s boyfriend with this? You shouldn’t propose to someone as a reward for “getting better”… You should propose to someone because BOTH of you want to be married and and ready to be married.

I think him wanting to graduate and lock down a job is completely fair, and frankly, I’d want to wait and see how capable your sister is of managing her problem in the real world post-treatment before making such a big commitment. There’s a difference between signing up “for better or for worse” and signing up to be someone’s emotional babysitter/lifeline for the rest of your foreseeable life.

Post # 12
Member
29 posts
Newbee

It is really sweet of you to factor your sister’s feelings into this one.. although I don’t think marriage should be a race or competition between siblings (as your sister thinks). I’m also worried a bit by how your mother is putting pressure on your sister’s bf to get married and also reinforcing the idea that marriage will make her better… doesn’t seem the healthiest motivation for a long term recovery. I’m not a professional though.

I would also talk to the doctor about what impact your engagement could have on your sister’s recovery. If there is a risk of her getting worse then I 100% agree with 

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cucumberroll:  

Congrats on your almost engagement, and I am sorry that your current situation is making things harder for you both when it should all just be happy! 

Post # 13
Member
281 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: April 2016

You have to live your life and do what’s right for you. Your sister sounds like she still has a long way to go toward recovery, and her getting engaged is not the answer to that. Eating disorders are about control, and she needs to learn how to have control in her own life (i.e. she and her boyfriend should be deciding if/when to get engaged, not your mother and her boyfriend).

Post # 14
Member
298 posts
Helper bee

View original reply
Mal_Adjusted:  

^this is exactly what I thought when I read it also. This isn’t some small thing, its something she’s going to be struggling with for a long time. I wouldn’t suggest an engagement after this anymore than for someone just coming out of an alcohol/drug abuse program. This not only affects her but will also deeply effect her soon to be fiance. If she’s this close to being on the edge with hearing about someone else’s happiness, she’s nowhere near ready for marriage herself.

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