Parents, husbands, wives, partners, friends, physicians and medical personal caring for anorexics, you must oppose the voice of self-hate that the victims of anorexia are living with every minute of every day or the voice will take control.
It was the summer of 1991 when Meg started hearing the voice of self-hate. At the time, I wasn’t aware Meg was hearing another voice in her mind. But as I look back, the summer after her first year of college her behavior changed. That summer was more like a three month war, and our battlefield was the kitchen table. Joe and I were on one side of the table, and now I realize that it was Meg and the voice on the other side. Our battlefield, the kitchen table, was purchased when Meg was only two. It was a parson’s table with benches that Joe lovingly finished. But that summer every time we sat down to eat our evening meal at this table where our family had shared so many happy times, I could see that Meg was struggling and unhappy. It was worse when she first came home from college. At college, she could have avoided eating at all—and probably did. So now having to sit down to a family meal was very difficult for her.
Yet I’ve always loved cooking so, for most people, eating at our home would have been a joy. But not for Meg. Of course I cooked all of her favorite foods trying to entice her with the aromas of fried chicken, lasagna, beef bourguignon and even her very favorite, brownies sans walnuts, but they all went unappreciated. She had so many excuses for not eating: Oh, Mom I had a late lunch…I’m not feeling well…I’m really not crazy about meat anymore…I have to go out to meet friends. Take your pick.
It was a tradition in our family to watch the national evening news before dinner. My daughters called me a news junkie, but I only admit to being a political-news junkie. So most nights our meal began with tease Mom, the bleeding heart liberal, with Joe and Meg acting as devils’ advocates. Back then Meg had no idea that she’d find herself working for three high-powered Democratic senators after college. But I didn’t mind the teasing because it got Meg’s mind off the job at hand: eating.