National Eating Disorders Association

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The Elaphant in the room

Hi, my younger sister has been battling an eating disorder since the age of 16. She has been managing over the years ( pretending to manager for the most part) she is raising 3 teenagers. Since our Mom passed away 2 years ago she lost a lot of weight. I haven't seen her in a year, however my older sister has and has kept it from me how deteriorated she has become. I saw her a few days ago and was speachless. I called her husband to chat and he just laughted, he said welcome to my life. She is refusing help, I suggested an introvention and my older sister said it wont work. She lives far from me but I said I want to help or shes going to die and no one else seems to want my help? Im extremely frustrated and sad that no one has asked for my help let alone have seeked outside help. I called a therapist in her town who is willing to help but my brother in law is avoinding me. I suggested to him to talk to the therapist himself to better help his wife. They used to go to church every Sunday and have stopped going 9 months ago. I told him also my sister needs fellowship and other women to lift her up, as she is a stay a home mom and has no one in the daytime to talk to.
All I want to do is help, I spoke to my sister directly too and told her I love her and dont want her to die. She is mow avoiding me too.
Im drowning and feel helpless please help me.

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Hi eatinghelp welcome to the forums! I wanted to let you know that numbers pertaining to weight have been reomved from your post as these might be triggering to other forum members. You can find our community guidelines here:  Please keep sharing!

Hey Siennasky. Sorry to hear

Hey Siennasky. Sorry to hear that you're in such dire emotional straights. It sounds to me like you've already done a great deal. Getting in touch with your brother in law and older sister, as well as that therapist. You really do care for your sister, and that really does show. I'm not sure what more you can do at this point. You've been trying to intervene but you've said that its gotten to the point that your family is going out of their way to not engage with you. That's tough, especially when your concerns are valid. I'm not sure what else to say other than maybe try the educational approach? If you study up and then pass on the information about eating disorders to your family, or a proxy that can pass it on, maybe then they'l wake up. There's only so much you can do. Here's a little info from around the NEDA website: (good general info)

I hope that helps a little.
Best of luck

- Adage

Thanks Adage I already sent

Thanks Adage I already sent all those resources to my brother in law. :(

Just spoke again to my sister

Just spoke again to my sister this morning and she yelled at me t8 back off, she said her and her husband don't want my imput.

I'm very sad today.

They don't want your help. :(

Dear Sienna,

EDs can be frustrating for everyone. Your bother-in-law may feel he's on top of it, which means probably not on top of it at all. :(

"If we can't do anything about it, like heck we need someone else butting in." My bet might be that's how they are feeling. If that is ineed how he is feeling. If you talked with your sister, it could be hard to tell. :(

Also, keep in mind that people with EDs can often find themselves in terrifically irritable mood. "Hangry" is what people with EDs will call that : A combination of "hungry" and "angry". Which is probably what you heard from your sister. Why can't people mind their own business and just leave them alone !

The reason, of course, is because we care about them. What caring sister wouldn't, you know ? While I know that her words hurt you, I hope you'll consider the mood that she may find herself in. What I mean is…her words are a lot more about her than they are about you. Like you should be scolded for caring, you know ?

It's hard to say what you can do in the mean time. I suspect her husband could use some support, so he may be the best one to talk to, if you should have the chance to I mean. He probably does not need information about EDs themselves, but sympathy for how he must feel, being stuck in this situation himself.

Which is…pretty helpless, I would think. And in need of some help himself. xx

Yes it did hurt but none of

Yes it did hurt but none of it is about me, which is what I keep having to remind myself. My sisters husband is a bit of a show boat and he wants to appear like he has everything under control. I left it with we love you and I'm hear for you. My sister of course wants me to back off, Will I? absolutely not, but since Im currently treding water I need to keep trying.

Siennasky, you have the right perspective

From your posts it sounds like you are doing everything you can to help your sister, and I think you are right not to back off, even if you don't feel like you are making progress. But I can assure you that both your sister and her husband are hearing what you say to them, but are likely unable to act. You can't force, you can only support, and you are doing the best you can. I commend you for your perseverance. Please let us know how things progress.

Thanks distance makes it hard

Thanks distance makes it hard, but I will do my best to see her as much as I can.

Hugs to all of you going through the same motions.


Hi. I have been reading through your thread and it sounds most upsetting. I am sorry you are going through this and that your sister is so ill. Your situation is so different than mine as my sisters ignored that I was sick and alienated me from them. They have never shown an interest in my recovery, I have four sisters. One of them has but the others.... So I am impressed that you love your sister so much and with so much resistance from her you still want to help. It is painful to watch a loved one suffer and be near death. I have to deal with that with one of my sisters who has different problems but doesn't really take care of herself and we just don't know. She is resistant for the most part as well. I don't even talk to her about it as she will bulldoze me down, as it seems your sister has you. It is painful but as the others have said, it is more the eating disorder speaking at this point than your sister. Fear is so prominent with eating disorders especially when threatened with weight gain.

I just wanted to thank you for your love for your sister and say I am sorry things are so painful. And remember, you are not responsible for her. She is. That is difficult to hear but it is true. Until she gets to the point where she is able to make decisions, because sometimes malnutrition takes that away from someone and they are unable to make decisions or see how bad they are, which is when medical intervention needs to take place, getting that person medically stable and capable of making clear decisions, that is when she becomes responsible again for making choices. Did I just confuse you? I hope not. But you are not responsible for the choices she has made. Painful to watch, yes, same with my sister. Will my sister die? Maybe. But I can not change her anymore than you can change your sister. These are just the hard facts of living with someone who is not making good choices. I hope I have not depressed you. I am wanting to let you know how special you are and how blessed your sister is to have you even if she doesn't know it. The tears, the frustration, the fear. I understand. Just don't give up on her. Make sure you take care of yourself in the meanwhile. You are important and need to be healthy for you and your family. Gosh. I wish I could give you a simple answer of oh, it will all be alright, but right now it isn't and I can't say that, but we are here for you to talk with and process with and to support you through this. Post as much as you need. We are here for you.

Thank you so very much for

Thank you so very much for your words of love and support. I'm sorry for what your going through with your sisters.

I'm happy to hear your on the road to recovery. Sometimes we need to be the ones to stand for love and do our best to move forward for our own health. That's what I have been doing with my older sister who just chooses to ignore me. It isn't easy but with the support of a few amazing friends and a husband it can be possible.

I'm happy I found this forum for support.

Thank you


Hi there, just checking in to see how you are and how your sister is doing? I haven't seen you post in a bit and was just wondering how things are going.

Hi, its been hard as she

Hi, its been hard as she doesn't want my support. She told me to back off and that her and her husband are fine. So Im supporting her the only way I know how and Im putting her at the feet of Gods grace and praying for her veil to be lifted, praying for her to open her heart to discern truth beyond all understanding. I still talk to her 3 times a week and I keep letting her know I love her and if she wants to pray with me Im here. Jesus promises us: where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.

By the stripes of her back she is healed.



Hi. Sometimes even though it doesn't seem like it, handing someone over to God is the BEST thing we can do. He knows her and knows how to reach her. I know it isn't easy. I am having to do the same thing with my sister who lives with me but I never see her because she stays in her room all day and all night suffering from ailments that don't need to be keeping her so isolated. She is choosing for whatever reason to isolate herself and not be part of this home. Being that she is right in the house is sad, frustrating and maddening. So I understand it isn't easy to hand someone over to God but it IS the best choice when the said person isn't responding to any attempts to our encouragement. Be sure to take care of yourself during this time. You need care too. I am sorry she is so ill and not wanting to get help. I was that way for decades. I would ask for prayer and be binging while the person on the phone was praying for me. How sad is that. But that is how eating disorders operate. Until one wants help. Help is difficult to find. You are a kind sister who wants what is best for her sister. She is lucky to have you even if she doesn't realize it yet. Take care,

Tell me there is hope

I’m in a very similar situation. My sister has willingly entered a treatment facility for what my brother in law says are ‘other issues’. She has had an eating disorder for close to 19 years, and has two teenagers. I’m worried that she won’t get the help she truly needs if he won’t recognize that she has an eating disorder. My mother was in denial about her eating for years, but has finally acknowledged that there is a big problem. I feel helpless.