National Eating Disorders Association

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cescobar
What went wrong? Blaming yourself...

Hi there. I am really happy that I found this forum. I am a mother of an 12 year old recently diagnosed. I know that the therapist has told me to focus of how to help my daughter, but I can't stop blaming myself. What did I do wrong? I can recognize a lot of my daughter's personality traits in me, but I wish I new what I did wrong. We live in Ecuador and we don't have a lot of resources here. Have you blamed yourself for your child's illness? Your support is greatly appreciated. Have a good evening!

michael26
Hello!!

Hi cescobar,

I am so sorry to hear about your daughter! It is certainly a difficult thing when our child is diagnosed with any illness. Has your daughter been able to see a therapist of some type? Similarly, have you been able to talk with a therapist?

I can understand how you want to blame yourself. Please know that this is not true. You love your daughter and you would never desire this for her!! Eating disorders are true diseases that can be treated. I have recovered from an eating disorder here in America, and I have heard the same beliefs from my mother that she influenced me to have it. Please remember that this is not true! At times, when we are not able to understand or fix something we naturally turn inwards on ourselves and find fault within ourselves. When we are unable to find an answer for our pain, we need to be able to focus our thoughts on what we do know and what we can do. We know that we are able to treat eating disorders and that there are many people already out in the world that have recovered!

Because you are a mother, I can understand that you are feeling pain because your daughter feels pain. This is a true expression of love. However, you do want to be there to help her. How does blaming yourself achieve this? I think that it would be best for each of you to be able to accept that there might not be an explanation of why she has the disease, but you both can still know the love you have for each other.

Have you seen the Stories of Hope? They are testimonials of those who have recovered. You can find them here:

http://www.nationaleatingdisorders.org/stories-of-hope

Also, have you contacted NEDA so that you can speak with a NEDA Navigator? Navigators can help you process information and resources for you and your daughter. Here is the link that can help you!

http://www.nationaleatingdisorders.org/neda-navigators

How are you feeling? Is there anything I can help with? I know you said that you are in Ecuador, and I don't know if you are more comfortable conversing in Spanish. I am fluent in Spanish, so if that would help you, please let me know!

nanzhu
It's not your fault!

Hi cescobar,

It sounds like you're going through a difficult situation, and I'm sorry to hear that. However, you are sound like a very loving and caring mother who wants nothing but the best for your daughter! I want you to know that it's NOT your fault! Eating disorders have complex causes that differ from person to person and are still hard to explain. Blaming yourself may seem like a natural reaction as a mother, but try not to get hung up on these thoughts. Instead, use your love for your daughter to look forward at what you can do to support her. Remaining supportive and loving will make a huge difference and I can tell you are doing just that!

Here is a link to the Parent Toolkit, which contains some more information that you may find helpful: http://www.nationaleatingdisorders.org/parent-toolkit. Page 12 has some tips on how to be supportive and starting on page 17 is some advice from other parents.

I hope this helps!
All the best,
Nan

Droosan
Blame

HI, I know how you feel. Our therapist says the same thing, it's not my fault, but it's hard not to look back and think, "Oh, I shouldn't have food be a focus of family gatherings . . . etc. etc. etc." It's as if looking back I can find the roots for anything, and so does my daughter. But if you read through the traits, you'll see, probably that your daughter has personality characteristics that make her pre-disposed. We aren't as helpful or supportive if we're busy blaming ourselves, at least that is what I keep trying to tell myself. Hope this helped.