I would like to ask if anybody, but especially any ISJFs around here, has any insight on how best to speak with my ISFJ mother, who I'm concerned may possibly be an anorexic.
Her weight is down to 75 lbs., and her immune system is weak, so she is sick a lot and takes a long time to get over it. She needs to take several naps a day due to becoming severely sleep deprived over several months of taking care of my grandmother.
She believes that she suffers from food allergies. She believes that she cannot eat most foods. This belief is based upon a lifetime of digestive pains and discomforts, plus kinesiology. She has a degree in Oriental medicine and is a practicing acupuncturist and kinesiologist. She is also her own health provider and feels failed by the medical establishment. At one time she saw a round of doctors who could find nothing wrong with her, other than the last, who finally diagnosed her with irritable bowel syndrome and suggested she see a psychiatrist for possible anorexia. She then began seeing an acupuncturist.
The acupuncturist she saw used kinesiology to diagnose her problems. Kinesiology works by making the thumb and forefinger into a circuit and then asking questions of the body. The answer to the question is yes or now depending on if the circuit can be broken by pulling apart the thumb and forefinger.
Ever since seeing this acupuncturist, she is always on the verge of finally "clearing". Clearing food allergies and "cellular memories", that is. But then her symptoms return, and she realizes she is not really "cleared" yet. Then she goes on a more restrictive diet. For a while she has only been eating fish, turkey, rice, wild rice, squash, oatmeal, flax seed and sunflower seeds. She keeps saying that soon she will be able to go on a rotating diet once she builds up her system enough.
In the nineties, she got down to 75 lbs, and everybody in the family freaked out. Both my father and mother got very defensive in the face of several of my mother's sisters, plus my younger brother, trying (in their view) to force my mother to submit to the treatment and advice of a conventional doctor. My mother's beliefs in her health concepts and practices seem as entrenched as my parents' religious beliefs.
I can't even call my father up and tell him that I'm worried about my mother and ask for his help, because he'll get defensive and make it all about him. Not only that, but he's an alcoholic. I can't ask my parents to go into therapy. They don't respect or trust anything establishment or conventional.
To top it all off, to have a debate with my mother about anything is to be worn down by hours of detailed tangents. And she doesn't even have the energy to debate, anyway.
My husband believes the only way to help my mother is to get through to her by shocking her with something that she will have to pay attention to, such as yelling at her. He thinks the problem is that nobody has ever told her she is crazy, and that's the problem with everybody in my whole family, ha ha.
I've been trying to help her the gentle way, and it hasn't been working so far. I've tried to buy her food she can eat, such as brown rice protein powder and ground flax seed. I've encouraged her to rest. I've encouraged her to go on the rotating diet that she keeps saying she'll be able to go on soon. She thinks she's almost cleared and that, when she's cleared, she'll be able to eat anything as long is it is no more often than once every four days. But I've been hearing things like this for so long.
So, any insights on the best way to have an intervention with an ISFJ who appears to be a prisoner of her own self-harming beliefs? Any communication tips?