Thursday, February 21, 2008


Last night after N's visit with his therapist, I took him shopping. We went to Old Navy, which seems to be where he usually finds clothes that he likes. I was trying to take advantage of it being just the two of us (and having a few hours to spend).

N had identified several shirts on their website that he liked. He has been begging me for several weeks now to go buy them. So, we immediately found those shirts (all available in his size) and headed to the dressing room. There he tried on each of the shirts and then tossed them away as he became more upset, physical and agitated. He ranted about being too fat, the shirts don't look good on me, this is the worst time of the day to go shopping, etc. At one point, he slumped down to the corner of the dressing room with tears in his eyes. He was so angry and sad and so anorexic!

My mother's instinct had already told me that clothes weren't the answer to his morning problems. I've seen it happen over and over. He latches onto a shirt and then the anorexia eventually convinces him that he looks fat in it. So that shirt is then thrown into the growing pile in his closet and he begins the search for another.

He was desperate, though, to find some new shirts. He combed the store a second and a third time. He didn't like anything and everything made him look fat. Then he asked about pants. We found a pair in the style he wears in his size, but it wasn't what he wanted. [He wants the new style of skin-tight pegged pants that some guys are wearing now. He wants to look as skinny as possible. I'm so glad that they didn't offer that style in boy's sizes.] At this point, I could tell it was time to leave. As N became more desperate, he also became more physical. He'll get right in my face, put his hands on my shoulders and all but shout in my face. He was being disrespectful and things were just spiralling fast. I let him know that we were leaving and headed to the parking lot. He ultimately followed me, but wouldn't talk all the way home.

While we were in the store, he continued to say that I wasn't going to bring him shopping again. So, he HAD to find clothes. I think this fueled his desperation. But he was right. I'll think twice before I take him shopping for clothes again.


Erica said...

You are so brave to take your son shopping! We are not buying clothes or doing any shopping for our d at all right now. I just think it is too triggering. Would your s let you buy the shirts and just have them "appear" in his closet?

Also I find sometimes if my d has had a really intense therapy session, she just wants to go home and be mellow.


Wendy said...


I'm not sure that I'm brave. I've been reading, "Help Your Teenager Beat an Eating Disorder," by Lock and Grange. Wouldn't you know that Wednesday night (after going shopping) I read the section about not shopping with your child. I can absolutely see the argument they make (especially after my experience). I'll also think twice about doing something after a therapy session again. Thanks for the suggestion.

I'm wondering how you make clothes appear in your daughter's closet. I bought some shirts about a month ago and gave them to my son. They've sat in his closet without being touched for a month until this morning. I'm not a very good judge of what he likes.

Erica said...

Since my d has lost so much weight we haven't bought any new clothes. If I had to make clothes appear I would probably tell her "there are some new things in your closet" and leave it at that. Maybe you could give your son a choice like, "do you like these kind of shirts or those kinds" and then tell him you will buy them.
I told my d I would not buy smaller sizes -- she was a size 10, and is an 6/8 now, but she still wears her old clothes. I don't want to go backwards and I have told her this.

I don't know what we are going to do when the weather gets warmer and she really does need new clothes, but I will probably buy them, tell her and just put them in her closet.