I need some gentle advice for my adult daughter. I am worried for her health, but unsure how to talk to her about the issue. When my daughter was in high school she had a major eating disorder that lasted about five years. She is now a “healthy” adult with a husband and children. To the untrained eye there seems to be no issues, but as her mother, I am noticing some changes. I have made a few very small comments to try to talk about it, but she shuts me down immediately and tells me I’m crazy. I feel like there is something to keep an eye on here, but don’t want to overstep my boundaries. My big question here is, what to do? Should I just confront her with my worries? Should I talk to her husband? I just hate to see her fall back into the clutches of this horrible illness.
To state the obvious…this is a very sensitive matter. Eating disorders last a lifetime.
As her mother, I am sure you can see the signs… if you are thinking clearly. Are you sure there is cause for alarm? As mothers, sometimes we tend to think the worst in these situations as we have already been down this road, and now fear what will happen should we have to do it again?
If you can communicate in a positive way, then you and your daughter should talk whether she likes it or not. It should be as simple as, “I have noticed such and such changes and I want you to know I am here for you, should you need anything.” I don’t think going to her husband is such a great idea. If she does have a problem, you don’t want her to feel like you are ganging up on her, especially behind her back, even though your intentions are good.
You must remember she is an adult with a family. You will always be her mother, but you cannot control her life. She needs to make her own decision and take care of herself. She has a husband and children counting on her day in and day out. So I’m guessing she is capable of handling anything that may be happening.
I can tell you I have been down this road myself. For many years I fought with an eating disorder and I won the battle, but many don’t. We live in a very vain society where everyone tries to fit into social norms. Over many years of bulimia and anorexia recovery therapy, I learned that this disorder will never go away. I will never see myself how you see me. I will never feel pretty. I will never feel guilt free when I eat, especially in front of people.
I often hear comments about how I am too thin or I need to eat more. I know people will never understand. Today, I am healthy and confident. I will never get worse, but for me, this is as good as it gets. I have a feeling it may be for your daughter too, and that is okay.
Should you find out that your daughter is having a relapse with an eating disorder, she should seek treatment immediately. It’s a long, hard road, but everyone should be involved to help her fight this deadly disorder.