Last week, Jennifer Aydin’s painful past took center stage for much of The Real Housewives of New Jersey.
On Tuesday night’s new episode, it was Jackie Goldschneider’s turn to give a tearful confession.
Sitting at an early meal with her husband, she spoke very frankly about her history of disordered eating.
When her husband mentioned that their children had begun to notice, Jackie broke down crying.
On Season 12, Episode 3 of The Real Housewives of New Jersey, Jackie Goldschneider was dining with her husband, Evan.
While Evan ate, Jackie very conspicuously had no food of her own.
This was not a coincidence, she confessed — she had chosen this time to meet so that she would have an "excuse" to not eat.
"I was at death’s doorstep," Jackie described of her past, when her body was practically skeletal.
She noted how her recovery had felt like being "cured," but admitted that this was not the case.
Jackie added that she had lost weight due to a slight relapse, in part brought on by how hard of a time she’d had on Season 11.
"I did shut down a little and I lost a few pounds," Jackie admitted.
"And," she acknowledged, "it shouldn’t make me happy to be underweight."
Evan strongly agreed, his voice showing obvious concern for his wife’s health.
When Jackie explained that she had brought them out early so that she would have an excuse to not eat, Evan spoke up.
"That’s not good," he said, shaking his head. "That’s not living."
"I know, but my eating is so ritualized," Jackie said. "I eat the same s–t over and over."
"Salad after salad after salad," Jackie characterized her ritualized meals.
Many groups of people may have ritualized ways of eating — preparing food the same ways at the same times, including those with ADHD or the autistic spectrum.
This is also common in those with disordered eating. Whether they’re eating or not eating, it’s about control.
Even then revealed to Jackie that their kids, 13-year-old twins Jonas and Adin and 11-year-old twins Alexis and Hudson, "have noticed."
"No they haven’t!" a visibly and audibly upset Jackie responded.
"Within the last year, they’ve mentioned it several times,” Evan countered. “They said, ‘Why is Mom eating the same dinner every night?’"
Evan shared how he had responded: "I said, ‘Just let her be.’”
Jackie’s voice almost immediately began to crack as she realized that her kids were old enough to pick up on this.
Many people inherit disordered eating from parents — some from abuse, others simply from observing a parent’s private habits.
Jackie made it clear that her greatest fear is for this to impact her children.
“It’s one thing if I do it to myself, but it’s another thing if I make my kids think that it’s normal behavior,” Jackie lamented.
She expressed how afraid she is of food and of gaining weight while holding Evan’s hand.
"I’m afraid that I’m going to relapse and kill myself," Jackie tearfully confessed. "I just don’t want to do this anymore."
Evan pleaded with her to see a professional, and after apologizing for having shut him down in the past, she agreed.
He was overjoyed that she was "opening up," vowing to help her every step of the way. "You’re my partner; if you hurt, I hurt."