2 posts

Posted one year ago


We only found out last week that our 16yr old daughter has been suffering from bullemia for the past 3 years.

Since we found out it does actually explain a lot about her behaviour which has been really bad - but which we assumed was 'normal'
teenage behaviour which can be very unpleasant.

Naturally we are devastated at this discovery & are blaming ourselves totally for what has happened to our lovely daughter.

I could go on forever about all the things I think we have done wrong as parents - but we have honestly done our best & have tried to talk to
her but she has just continually put up barriers & I guess the lines of communication become not what they should be. We tell her how loved she is & point out all the things she is good at but she finds it impossible to take any form of compliment - I guess her self esteem is very low.

We have self referred to CAMS & they have acted very quickly - she is having a health check next Tuesday & we are meeting with them the following Monday.

My question is now that she knows we are aware she is no longer hiding it from us - in fact she is being very open about it & is leaving bowls if sick in her room & being very loud & messy in the bathroom - after all this time of hiding it all very successfully she now seems t be going out of her way to show us what she is doing & it feels like we are being punished even more.

The second part of my question is that her general behaviour is still pretty bad but we are tiptoeing around her - but surely there must still be boundaries for general behaviour including bad language & all the usual stuff - leaving bowls of sick around is surely not acceptable?

We are hoping that at the meeting we will learn how to deal with this awful situation & be able to help our daughter in any way we can - but I'm just wondering if anyone can offer any advice as to how we talk to her & not make things worse? I know she is suffering & it breaks our hearts, but we still have to be able to say what is right & wrong without pushing her further away from us.




3 posts

Posted 6 months ago

dear batman,

thank you for posting your story about your daughter. that was about 6 months ago. I related to a lot of what you were saying.

My family member has had bulimia on and off for 10 years. I believe the vomiting has torn something in the esophogas as lately she has had bouts of bleeding in the vomit. She has been in the hospital emergency room at least 4 times this year.

She was lying about the bulimia, keeping it secret and denying it when asked.

Until last week, when she finally became honest, when I president evidence that was irrifutable.

I believe the cause of the purging is a mental obsession combined with uncomfortable feelings of fear, anxiety and stress. The purging is a way to purge her feelings and to feel in control. She doesn't want to feel the discomfort of overwhelmment so the purging is like a drug. A way to numb out. (this is just speculation).

I was wondering how things are going with you after 6 months.

I also am having a very difficult time communicating with her. She seems to go in the fight or flight symdrome which results in a meltdown. and talking like an adult becomes impossible.

I feel very hopeless and helpless. The disease is progressive and dangerous.

As a parent, I would like to keep in touch with other parents for support. I don't want to have to fight this disease alone.



190 posts

Posted 11 months ago

Hi Batman,
I want to start by saying that it is common that parents look for blame and are often very harsh on themselves, I would really like you to understand that eating disorders are not a result of bad or careless parenting - research is on going and perhaps in time there will be a physiological explanation of what happens when a person develops an eating disorder. It is so tough as, as you say teenagers are tough, challenging and often bear little resemblance to the lovely child that you have lived with up until now and cruelly eating disoreder behaviours seem to amplify teenage bad behaviour.A person develops an eating disorder because they feel out of control in some aspect of their life and by controlling their eating they find a comfort, it starts off with the individual controlling the ED behaviours but very soon the eating disorder takes control over the individual and begins to dictate to them and isolate them. Please be assured that your daughter will know that you love her and she is still there but very masked by the eating disorder behaviours.
Every ED is different because every individual is different and every family responds differently however the thing that I realise and wish that I had been better at was the boundary setting. It is very difficult to set boundaries but it is important to let your daughter realise that you have an expectation of her. If it were me I would not allow my daughter to leave bowls of sick around. She will have a set of eating disorder rules that shape her responses and if those rules are not challenged then they will push you still further. It is very difficult and as I say I was hopeless at establishing rules, at times I felt as if the eating disorder was laughing at me. It would be good to talk to your daughter away from mealtimes or points when her anxiety may be high to establish your expectation of her and let her say what she would like you to do as this will encourage conversation so that you can begin to feel like family again, rather than you and your husband versus you daughter.
I hope that your meeting was positive and that she is receiving supportive care



2 posts

Posted 6 months ago

Hello Violet,

I'm really sorry to hear that you are in a similar position to us - its the worst thing ever!

I would like to say that things have improved but in all honesty I can't say they have - in
fact I think things are even worse now.

My daughter is receiving counciling at CAHMS which we have been told in time will help, but unfortunately
she refuses family based therapy & so we are left in the dark as to what is being discussed & agreed - it is
very frustrating as we feel as if we are swimming against he tide.

We too are very concerned about the physical damage she is doing to herself - but we can't stop her purging.

We have locked all the food in the garage so that we can control what she eats - but she is still vomitting after
every meal.

Its really awful & I'm hoping that her therapy sessions will help her, but if I'm honest I'm not convinced they will.

Please keep in touch & do seek help & I really do hope things will improve for both of our families.

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