National Eating Disorders Association

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FIRSTPOSt need some advice please


My 18 yo daughter developed some shyness around eating in public as a 14 yo. At 17 she was restricting severely and lost significant weight in a few weeks and was purging some too. She seemed to get better after that and then developed excessive exercising. Now she is restricting and calorie counting and weighs less than her ideal body weight. most of this happened after she had moved out and gone to college so we did not get to see much of it until recently. She holds a grudge against me for not getting her help when she was 17 and now refuses to talk to us or get any help for herself and maintains that she is fine and not as bad. She literally hates me for not "catching on" and getting her help then. I so badly want to help and agree that I messed up and did not realize the extent of her suffering because she used to take lunch to school and tell me she had eaten it when in fact she was distributing it to friends. I want some advice on how to reach out to her now and let her know I love her and even though I messed up I want so desperately to help. Thank you so much

Post Edited

Hi salmag, welcome to the forums and thank you for sharing. Your post has been edited to take out any weight related numbers as they might be triggering to other forum members. You can find our forum guidelines here: Please keep posting!


Hello and welcome to the forum. I am sorry for what you are going through with your daughter. What happens a lot of times is that people with eating disorders want to blame others. If you did something when she was seventeen, do you think she would have admitted she had a problem? I am not so sure she would have. Her basically hating you and not taking responsibility for the issue now is the part of her that is the eating disorder speaking. I can't say for sure but it may be. When I was so ill, my parent's told me I was not so nice to them. This I do not remember but somehow our personalities change, we become fearful someone is going to "take away" the eating disorder from us. It must be very painful to hear what your daughter is saying to you. Try not to take it on. She may say she is fine, most of us do when we are in fact quite ill, but that is a protective voice because if she admitted otherwise she would need to acknowledge that she needs help and help will often be hard work and gaining weigh, quite fearful for one with anorexia. I don't really think she hates you. She is probably scared. And how would you have known if most of this happened after she moved out? You are not responsible for her behavior or actions. You can let her know you are there for her and want to be, if you indeed want to be, but then the ball is in her court. You could only have known if she told you and she was not honest. The blame is not on you.. Eating disorders are ugly, and hurt families. Have you heard the phrase, hurting people hurt people? Sounds like this is happening with you. Have you considered getting professional help. It may help you a lot. Try to put a buffer up when your daughter accuses you. Set a boundary by saying that she can not treat you or speak to you as she is. It is very complicated and painful.

You say you want to be there for her. Possibly writing her a letter telling her how you feel, how you want to help, that you love her. Ask her what she needs from you. But be aware that it may take a while. She is blaming you and I pray you don't take on the accusations. Something similar happened in my family, my sister was assaulted by three other people, two of them family. She didn't tell my parent's for two years and expected them to just know. They did notice her not being herself and tried to help some, but she actually blames me more than them because I was seriously ill with the eating disorder and depression. So yes they were a bit distracted but they don't take on the blame for not being there for her because they were, she wasn't ready to get help at the time.

I hope some of this helps and I encourage you to post again and let us know how things are going.

With care,


Hi Salmag, it sounds like you really care about your daughter. She is lucky to have a parent who loves her and cares about her as you do. Have you expressed what you wrote here to her yet? I hope you're taking care of yourself as well. Best, Carol1234

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