National Eating Disorders Association

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How to talk to my sister

Hi! I hope you don't mind me coming to this forum as I'm actually the sibling with the ED. I need to talk to my family, but need some advice so I was hoping y'all could help give me some perspective. My ED started about 7 years ago, but I've been in recovery for almost two years with a few rough patches here and there. It started towards the end of high school and I did everything I could to hide it from my parents-I think they suspected something, but we just don't communicate in our family so nothing was said to me. My sister was away at school so I definitely don't think she knew anything was going on. I left for college and that's where my friends took over. When I had breakdowns or had to go to the hospital or anything they were the ones I let be there for me. I hate that I lied to my family about so much and hid everything, but I didn't want them to know because I was ashamed. Now that I truly feel I'm doing better I have to get this burden off my chest and tell them, but I'm still scared. Do you, as siblings, have any advice for me? I'm going to try to talk to my older sister first because she's actually a therapist so maybe she can give me some advice on how to handle my family as well, especially knowing their personalities. (Though I'm kind of scared she'll go all 'therapist' on me which has driven a wedge between us before just in normal situations so I really don't want her to do it now. So if there's someone that can relate and has any advice, I'm listening.) One other thing is she and I live a few hours away so I don't know how to meet with her because I really want to do it somewhere private, not at a restaurant or anything. Any suggestions there? Any advice really and I would be appreciative!! Thank you!!

Talking to family.


Sorry your post sat here for a while. I hope that you get to see this.

You mentioned shame as the reason that you didn't want them to know when things were bad, and shame is' a pretty powerful emotion. The idea that you could tell them now…that's really something I think. This may sound like a dumb question, but do you know why you want to tell them ? You mentioned that you guys don't communicate very well in your family, so might that have something to do with it ? That you want to see some changes in that area ?

Talking with your sister sounds like a good idea. She probably has a pretty good idea of what you'd be up against with them. With lot's of families "no one wants there to be a problem" so it still might be hard to get through to them.

Also, parents are often defensive, and worry that they are somehow to blame for whatever issues their children might have, so that's something you might find yourself up against too.

But yes, it would be reassuring if they could actually hear you. That's something we always long for from our parents I think.

When it comes to meeting your sister, perhaps you could ask her where she thinks would be good ?

Even if none of them end up understanding what you've been through, or if they never fully appreciate the effort and progress you've made, you'll always be the one who knows it, and in the end that will always be the most important thing. xx