Parents are usually trying to do right by their children.
If you saw your daughter potentially developing an eating disorder, how would you react?
Reddit user u/ferretforlife was just a parent doing when she thought was right in an impossible situation.
In the popular subReddit, "Am I The A**hole?" or "AITA," she posed her impossible situation.
"AITA for secretly giving my daughter fattening smoothies? I'm a single mother of two identical twin girls (15), the daughter I'll be talking about is Kylie and my other is Amber (fake names obviously)."
Suddenly, Kylie was eating less at dinner:
"It started a few months ago when I noticed Kylie would eat less at diner, I began to get worried when she was completely skipping diner, always making excuses like 'I feel sick' or 'I don't like it,' eventually I would sit her down so she wasn't allowed to leave until she finished everything on her plate. Surprisingly she obliged easily and this was the routine for a couple weeks. I thought her phase was over as she would eat everything without a hassle."
Though it seemed easy at first, new problems quickly arose:
"One day Amber told me that Kylie hasn't been eating at school and throwing up after diner. I was VERY worried of course and immediately got a therapist and a doctors appointment to check her health. The doctor said that she had lost a bit of weight but it wasn't threatening at the moment but she would need it managed and check regularly. She had a therapist appointment 2-3 times a week. Not much came of it and after about a month she was thinner and weaker. It was horrible, I just wanted to help her."
And then things went downhill fast, so our Original Poster, or "OP," felt like she had to do something quickly:
"She fainted at cheer practice and hurt her hip and this was my breaking point, I had to do something. Every morning she would make a smoothie, like with stuff like berries and vegetables in an attempted to be 'healthy' So I decided to order 5 kg of weight gain formula that's used for muscle growth. Every morning I would make her these 'healthy smoothies', and she never questioned it."
And things seemed to be okay:
"The doctor was pleased by her weight gain, I had told him about the formula he said it was fine as it was helping and keeping her from a risk bmi. Everything was going great. Thankfully she was making process with the therapist and each day she was improving more, during this time she was rarely able to do cheer which motivated her get healthy."
But then when Kylie found out, suddenly OP was in the hotseat:
"One morning I was careless and left the bag on the bench before rushing to work, I thought it would be fine as Kylie rarely ever goes in the kitchen and she had to leave to go to school so anyways. I was wrong and she found the bag. She refused to talk to me for two days, and I was scared she would get sick again. Her therapist asked to speak to me after their session and she practically told me I was an a**hole, not in those words obviously. That I had betrayed her trust and set back months of process because of my actions."
But did OP do the wrong thing?
"I don't feel bad though, I did what I needed to help her and she's in a better place now than she would be without it. She's doing better now and showing much better improvement this past month but she doesn't speak to me much and I miss talking to her. I think what I did was necessary but AITA?"
Folks began to chime in their opinions about whether or not OP was the a**hole using the following language:
- NTA - Not The A**hole
- YTA - You're The A**hole
- ESH - Everyone Sucks Here
- NAH - No A**holes Here
Unfortunately for our OP, most people were less than sympathetic.
"YTA. I understand you're worried as a mother, but all you can do is refer her to treatment (which you did) and show her love, try to understand her behaviour and help her along the way. I suffered from an ed throughout my teenage years and my mother reacted similarly. It took ages to rebuild our relationship because I completely lost trust in her. You wouldn't want this to happen"-sar_i_i
"Your intentions were good but the way you handled it makes YTA. You should have discussed this with her therapists before you did this. You've now jeopardised all of her progress. Hope she gets better soon."-kit235
"YTA unfortunately. I get why you did this and it cannot be easy raising a child with an eating disorder. But you really went about this the entirely wrong way. Your daughter has an eating disorder. Going behind her back and making her gain weight is in no way going to help her in the long run."
"You did a good thing by getting her therapy, and that's the route you need to continue going down. Perhaps she needs more intensive treatment specifically geared to her eating disorder."-extraterrestrial23
"YTA. DO NOT. I repeat, DO. NOT. lie to someone with a mental disorder. Get her into therapy, talk to her like an adult with compassion, and show her you care. Keep her in therapy. Find out why this is happening. I didn't read all of this, but DO NOT DAMAGE TRUST."-doc_strange82
"YTA. I'm in recovery from an eating disorder. I had "safe foods." Foods that I would allow myself to consume during restricting because I never wanted to die. I just wanted to be small. It's very possible that her morning smoothie was one of her "safe foods". Eating disorders are complex. If someone messed with my safe food, or altered the portion of something I was allowing myself to consume, I'd go ballistic. You really did do long term damage to her recovery by slipping her weight gainers. She will no longer trust you to provide her "safe foods" thus making her restricting worse. With an eating disorder also comes an aspect of control. My therapist was able to turn my need to control into controlling my recovery. In one fell swoop you took over control of her ED and her recovery. I'm not saying I don't understand why you did what you did. I was 13 when I started restricting. By 15 my parents were calling the school to make sure I ate lunch. By 17 I was fainting in the shower. I understand the heart ache and terror. I know you want to help your daughter get better, but you need to do it properly or you're risking losing your daughter to her disordered thinking and eating."-PorchCat1234
uh oh oops GIFGiphy
As everybody agreed OP's intentions were good, but that her methods were...questionable.
"YTA. I used to have an eating disorder and I can tell you, if I had found out something like that was happening and my calories were wrong I would have restricted more. You did it from a good place, its scary seeing that happen, but what you did ended up most likely being a huge trigger. I would try to do group therapy with her and work in building up a relationship again after she has some time to think about what you did. Also, don't monitor her internet TOO closely, but I recommend blocking access to the site myproana. Its not why people get eating disorders but if she likes social media it can encourage her to get a lot worse."-yippykayee123
"YTA, and I'm hoping you're just extremely clueless as opposed to genuinely terrible. You noticed your child wasn't eating, so you decided to make mealtime a zillion times more fraught and stressful by forcing her to clean her plate? And then you Mean Girlsed her into gaining weight instead of supporting and talking openly with her like a fucking normal person? Or helping her learn to cook? Or coming up with a healthy meal plan together? Or literally anything else? Horrific. I hope this is a troll, because if it isn't you've done more than enough here to wreck your daughter's relationship with food for a long time."
"I would honestly be shocked if your daughter's doctor actually told you it was okay for you to slip things into your daughter's smoothies to increase her weight. Anyone with the most rudimentary understanding of mental health knows you can't trick or bully someone out of disordered eating patterns. Either you weren't truthful with the doctor or that doctor needs to have their license revoked. Unbelievable."-ironfronthungary
"Well it was grave betrayal of her trust in you. This getting out now puts her therapy progress at risk. I don't think it matters whether you are the a**hole or not. What matters now is not losing your daughter"-Rikuri
"I don't feel bad though, I did what I needed to help her and she's in a better place now than she would be without it." If this is how you feel, YTA.
"She doesn't speak to me much and I miss talking to her." Yeah, go ahead and rule out a healthy relationship with her from here on out. You've destroyed all trust and violated her privacy on a level that can't be taken back now. If you want a relationship with your daughter, apologize for your actions and start listening. Probably wouldn't be a bad idea to get a therapist yourself while you're at it.-modestlymousie
"YTA so you didn't talk to the therapist before you put your plan in motion? Coming up with the plan doesn't make you an a**hole even being desperate enough to actually do it doesn't make you an asshole. not talking to the ED therapist she sees 2-3 times a week makes it sound like you wanted control back more then you wanted to help your daughter in a safe way, it was right there she already has a therapist."-shhh_its_me
The road to hell is paved with good intentions.
Though a mom may go into survival mode and do everything she can to make her daughter healthier and keep her alive, it may end up hurting them in the long run.
Mental health and physical health go hand in hand.