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Anorexia Nervosa

Five years later  cured?


Early in December 2003 I posted an analysis of the website statistics for Fathers for Life.

Art wrote back and commented on the observation in my analysis that "One thing seems to be clear. Anorexia nervosa ranks far higher in the minds of many people than any other social concern addressed by Fathers for Life," and stated:

Then maybe something about anorexia nervosa should go near the tops of pages on all pro-family sites. From what I saw in one university/organized crime town, a dose of decency might cure many cases, too.

To a great extent, it's a mother-and-daughter disease, caused by lust and greed in corrupt families.

 _Art

When I posted the anorexia pages I knew that anorexia nervosa is a popular concern. The pages served a specific purpose. They contain information for someone who needed it at the time. In addition, I posted the pages on the website of Fathers for Life in the expectation that they would serve as another entry point to the website.

It worked out that way.  The pages are being visited very often. I receive a fair bit of mail on account of the anorexia-nervosa pages. The mail I receive is almost without exception supportive.  For every five page hits of the anorexia-nervosa pages there is an extra page hit for the remaining pages at Fathers for Life. 

The page hits, and the paths taken by visitors, don't give the whole picture. Some of the JPG files I used for the anorexia pages are being directly accessed by a good number of other sites, both pro- and anti-anorexia, although the JPG files are more often used by "pro-ana" sites.

The few messages I receive (about three or four from every 100,000 visitors to the anorexia pages) that are critical of the pages were from women who don't accept that the pages don't treat them like the victims they feel they deserve to be. I just tell them things such as, "Go ahead, kill yourself through starving. You'll make it that much easier for the pall bearers at your funeral."

The interesting thing is that after I told them they can't get any sympathy from me, they unlike feminists that always come back for more don't write back. They must be realists, after all. They keep on seeking for sympathy elsewhere when they can't get it from me.

It almost seems that people don't read any of the information that is contained in the pages, and that they only look for the pictures contained in them. Far more popular are pages that contain personal stories of individual girls suffering from the addictive compulsion to starve themselves "misery seeks company."

A message telling people what they don't want to read doesn't interest them. It takes more than my feeble skills to make the message more attractive; maybe somebody like Edward Bernays can (he is Sigmund Freud's nephew and is regarded by many as the father of modern mass-marketing psychology; Joseph Goebbels, Hitler's minister of education, fashioned his propaganda tactics by adopting Edward Bernays' prescription on how to indoctrinate the masses). After all, it is people like him and those that hire them that cash in on the anorexia-nervosa craze and other base cravings by the masses.

It would be interesting to see whether anyone else does better with developing an effective approach than I did.

Other than that, apparently the best cure for anorexia nervosa is to ignore it. Quite likely, the biggest attraction of the addiction is the concern it generates amongst friends and relatives; and what would attract more sympathy and attract it more often with so little effort than a woman starving amidst plenty? That is a very powerful lure for users.

Mind you, there are a few and rare honest causes for an eating disorder like that, and it is always advisable to seek medical advice first, in the unlikely possibility that there is a serious and honest physical cause other than the wish to attract attention.

Therapy for curing anorexia nervosa is as useless as anything along that line since Freud found out that the sundry afflictions of the people whom he treated for years on his couch didn't get any better. Mind you, to try wasn't all that useless for Freud, and it isn't useless for anyone else that administers therapy. Catering to victimhood is an effective way to become rich, and nobody works up a sweat getting rich by doing it.

The problem is that for every victim there is at least one oppressor (or a whole class of them), and, although we all lose, the "oppressors" are disproportionately made to pay for the artificially hyped-up guilt, more than anyone else, although the burden to the taxpayers is enormous.

I remember that many relatives of the "victim"(in the case that prompted me to post the anorexia pages) came together at the urging of the therapist -- from all over Alberta -- to give the "victim" a chance to express her views: "Mom, how come you never let me date anyone?" (she got pregnant before she was 17) and, "You never let me go to dances," (she got married at 17) and, to her current and second mother-in-law, "I don't like it when you talk to me about food."

Her publicly-funded therapist has been treating her weekly and often more than once per week for more than five years now, and she has been hospitalized on numerous occasions. In all that time she did not find enough time to speak to her children sufficiently often that they did not learn to speak full and comprehensible sentences until two of the four she has were each seven years old and had to receive speech therapy. They don't have a genetic handicap.  Her youngest child has the same problem and will most likely require speech therapy as well, although, given that he is a boy, he is much less likely than his two sisters to be identified as needing it.

Her therapist and her husband both told me, "You can't lay a guilt trip on her. That would be the wrong thing to do and may make her crack. She needs all the help she can get, not criticism." Perhaps she was made to crack already. During one of her stays in the hospital (she can come and go as she pleases during any of those stays), she didn't get enough attention from the nurses. Therefore she promptly began cutting her forearms with the tabs of the pop-cans she had access to, even though all sharp cutlery was being kept away from her.

She now no longer starves herself. What cured her was that she developed frequent seizures, although that was, by her own admission, due to her abusing the mind-altering medication that had been prescribed for her ("We must first address her depression!" the therapist had said). Therefore she brought those seizures on every time she needed one. With everyone of those seizures she would receive renewed and intensified attention, but she must have decided that she was playing things too close to the edge.

She developed a taste for sweets but never eats any meat or other animal proteins, fats or any oil. She is growing like a yeast cake and will without doubt soon be engaged in another long process of therapy to cure her from becoming grossly obese.[*] Her youngest son, a boy with a golden heart, speaks a mile a minute, as he relates the products of his extremely active imagination. Unfortunately, he speaks in a language no-one but members of his immediate family understands, but in the few days I was able to spend with him lately, I was able to teach him to pronounce a few words well enough that they became comprehensible.

*Update 2004 03 21: Her husband reported that she now eats meat and healthy portions of regular meals.  Curiously, she is also again losing weight. I suspect that she purges herself after she eats.

I hope that I will be living long enough to dissuade any young men from coming close to her daughters, so as to keep them from marrying them. Otherwise they'll suffer the same fate as the daughters' fathers. Worse, they would help to perpetuate the history of emotional neglect of children in that family for the fourth generation.

Where is her husband in all of this? He is the primary enabler and feels sorry for his poor wife. He works 12-hour shifts at least six but often seven days a week to pay for it all. They once had a house that was free of debt. They now live in a mobile home that they rent-to-own (in a place that puts them farther away from "interfering" relatives and virtually next door to her other enabler, her therapist), and she still has full access to their joint bank account. The oldest child, a boy, was  at one time engaged in a scam with other kids by which they fraudulently obtained cash refunds from local merchants, and when he goes to soccer practice, he does so on an empty stomach. One of the daughters steals from their neighbours, as does the mother, and the mother brags about it.

Is all of this real? Not according to Phil McGraw:

There is no reality! There are only perceptions!

Phil McGraw, The Dr. Phil Show, 2003 11 20 (quoted and discussed at Catholic Feminism)

Walter

(Update 2006 11 22: Interestingly but not surprisingly, Dr. Phil contradicts himself in another piece of advice he offers to any of his fans who should find themselves to be wrongly accused:

Accept that there is no way you can erase what has happened. Even though the accusations may be unfair and untrue, the situation is real. You need to get out of denial about that in order to deal with it in the here and now. (Full Story)

See also:

Back to Anorexia-Nervosa Index Page

Back to Index of Health Issues

________________
Posted 2003 12 03
Updates:
2006 03 04 (added link to Feminism for Male College Students)