Make your daughter anorexic.




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70 Responses to Make your daughter anorexic.

  1. Debie says:

    This is so true… i believe that my eating disorder stemmed from my parents unhealthy take on food. They were always on a diet or complaining how fat they were. I remember the actual minute i started dieting myself.. i had just got done with ballet practice and was eating some cookie dough. My dad took it from me and told me i was getting fat. I freaked. Parents defitanly need to watch how they act and what they say around their children.. we hear and see everything.

  2. Jane says:

    I think that most parents do play a role where eating disorders are concerned. There is no doubt that if someone behaves in a certain way, a child will follow in their footsteps… there is a poem:

    If a child lives with criticism, he learns to condemn.
    If a child lives with hostility, he learns to fight.
    If a child lives with ridicule, he learns to be shy.

    If a child learns to feel shame, he learns to feel guilty.
    If a child lives with tolerance, he learns to be patient.
    If a child lives with encouragement, he learns confidence.
    If a child lives with praise, he learns to appreciate.

    If a child lives with fairness, he learns justice.
    If a child lives with security, he learns to have faith.
    If a child lives with approval, he learns to like himself.
    Is a child lives with acceptance and frienship,
    he learns to find love in the world.

    I think that sums up my feelings about parents behaviours and how they affect kids.

    Jane x

  3. Parents don’t cause eating disorders. Eating disorders are genetic biologically based illnesses.

    Parents CAN help a great deal (or harm) during recovery, however, if they are coached and trained to understand the illness and how it can be treated.

    This kind of parent-blaming thinking is a serious detriment to real improvement in diagnosis and treatment of eating disorders. It is antiquated thinking and serves to alienate the best allies the patient has: her family.

    Good parents have eating disordered kids. Bad parents have eating disordered kids. Let’s strengthen all families to fight these truly disabling mental illnesses.

  4. Karen says:

    Laura is right! My daughter has recovered from anorexia and neither her father or I had ever been on a diet or limited what we eat. We think inheriting our efficient metabolisms played a key role in her anorexia because only successful dieters become anorexic. As a matter of fact, we are strong believers in giving kids sweets and fats in addition to regular meals because they have the metabolism to handle them. We have always felt this way. Anorexia is a medical condition that affects the brain and it is set in motion by dieting — it is not a contagious state of mind gathered from ignorant friends and relatives.

  5. Marcella Brown says:

    Laura is so right.
    Eating Disorders are complex biologically based mental illnesses which can happen in ANY family with the biological disposition to them.
    Parents have a duty to be on the look out for them, and to do everything in their power to help their children avoid unhelpful and dangerous eating habits (including the misguided attempts at putting children on diets encouraged by goverment backed anti-obesity campaigns) which don’t do ANYONE any good and will spark eating disorders in the genetically vulnerable.
    They have the right to be involved in their child’s treatment and to be fully supported while caring for a sick child.
    They DO NOT need the promotion of guilt inducing stereotypes that can only make it more difficult for them to care for their children when they are at their most vulnerable.

  6. sam says:

    Good grief people! Parents cause eating disorders?

    Even after all these years and the mountains of evidence demonstrating the genetic/biological component of eating disorders, parent still have to be subjected to nonsense like this.

    For any parents reading this, please take a look at the research being done at the National Institute for Mental Health, the University of Chicago and Stanford for more recent understandings of the causes of ED’s. There’s much more out there, but this should get you started.

    Also, please remember that you did not cause your child’s illness any more than you could have caused cancer, diabetes or asthma. You are, however, the most important part of the solution.

  7. Jane says:

    Parents don’t CAUSE eating disorders…. BUT in a lot of cases parents do influence their children… that’s all thats being said

  8. anne says:

    I nor my husband ever dieted in our family. We never, ever ‘praised our daughter when she didn’t eat’ (good grief! Do you think we dumb?) And, I’ve never had a ‘thing’ about disliking my body or been a clothes horse sort of parent. Furthermore, we all eat meals together in the evening (another theory), my husband and I have a close marriage (no divorce), we do express our feelings quite openly (my opinion of course) and basically I think we are darn decent parents. Furthermore, we never denied or ignored a problem with our daughter’s eating (although we had trouble for quite awhile finding professional help that took our concerns seriously and we had A LOT of trouble finding good professional help quickly when we needed it in a crisis. Do I have an answer as to why my daughter got sick? No. But it wasn’t us-except maybe our genetics. Do you know why anyone gets cancer? or diabetes?

  9. Hillary says:

    I think you guys are all missing the point. Of course parents aren’t the cause of the disorder, but no one argued about barbie being the cause of eating disorders in the the other posts. It’s simply a statement that parents are a large factor. Parents are role models. Whether we like our parents or not, we look to them to see how we should, or shouldnt be.

  10. anne says:

    If that were the case, then it just doesn’t follow that my daughter should have become anorexic. I tried incredibly hard, from fifth grade on when she first started worrying about ‘being fat’, to help her see that she was healthy, beautiful and perfectly fine. I did all the recommended ‘preventative’ measures one can think of doing including counseling for self esteem, seeing a nutritionist to help her understand healthy food requirements for a child her age, and a talk with her wonderful pediatrician about her own personal growth profile, etc. I did everything I could think of to do including loved her very much. She still became very ill 2 years later. In my heart of hearts, I feel I was a great role model, if anything.
    I don’t think you can, in one breath, say “parents aren’t the cause the disorder” but simultaneously believe they are a large factor (except genetically). I believe parents do influence their childrens opinions on things, but most children, even when upset with a parent, do not starve themselves to death over it. Its just not something most of us can do. Parents are also a large factor in many other very positive ways including getting their kids well again.

    I am sorry, but your implication sounds negative to me. Parents are being lumped in together–“Daughter has an ED? Must be a family problem.” I, for one, am angry about it. In almost no other illness that I can think of is blame (or the subtle implications of it) tossed around like this and allowed to do such collateral damage to family members who are also victims of the illness.
    Would you say “Of course parents aren’t the cause of (fill in the blank…cancer, schizophrenia, autism, birth defects, etc)….it’s simply a statement that they are a large factor.” I don’t think in this day and age you would say or believe that. Blame for the ’cause’ of ED’s needs to go the same route.

  11. anne says:

    Jane, Hillary, Debbie,
    I want to add to all three of you that I am not trying to discount your own personal experiences. All families are unique and different. All children perceive their family from their own vantage point. What I am saying is that, until very recently, there has been a presumption that there is something seriously wrong in a sufferer’s environment…and the family is generally where the young girl (boy) grows up. I think this over generalizing does an incredible disservice to all involved. It is devastating to parents and family members (I speak from experience), at worst it can alienate and take away the strongest ally and support a young woman (and sometimes man) has in her/his fight against a killer illness and it can damage the strongest trust and love bond a daughter/son has. I think the traditional theories and treatment for ED’s and anorexia in particular have encouraged this viewpoint. It is still prevalent out there is society at large, although slowly the tide is turning. It does no one any good, least of all sufferers of this illness whom I believe are caught up in a vicious cycle they cannot get out of by themselves in most instances. If your family cannot be supportive of recovery, it may be that they believe these negative stereotypes themselves or that they are just truly bewildered and do not understand the illness as an illness or how to help. If your family cannot support you through recovery, there are other ways to get help for yourselves. The important thing is to make that first step toward seeking help.

  12. Harriet says:

    Tell me what’s the difference between saying that parents cause eating disorders and saying that parents influence their kids who have eating disorders? This strikes me as perhaps a more gentle way of laying blame, but it’s still blame, no matter how you cut it.

    Parents used to be blamed for all kinds of things: autism, homosexuality, schizophrenia. We now know better on all these scores. We know that genes are a huge part of the picture, that these are biologically based or determined conditions or illnesses.

    I’d like you to walk in my shoes for a minute. I grew up with a constantly dieting mother and have always been on the plump side. So I was very focused on presenting my daughters with a healthy positive role model when it came to bodies, food, eating, etc. We like eating in our house, eating good food, salads and chocolate cake and jambalaya and just about everything. My daughter always had a wonderful appetite; she was eating mussels at age 4. She ate everything with relish and pleasure. Yet she still became anorexic at 14. After a year of being weight restored she eats once more with appetite and hunger and pleasure . . . yet she is still at risk, and will be for some time.

    Yes, our culture is eating disordered. So how come only only 1-2% of girls become anorexic? If this was a case of culture or parents, we’d have rates closer to 60 or 75%.

    You really ought to know what you’re talking about before you make blanket statements like this. I think you owe parents a huge apology.

  13. Jane says:

    I am not blaming parents for eating disorders. BUT I am saying that parents have AN EFFECT on their kids. This can be positive, and just as easily can be negative.

    HARRIET – I think you are being a little harsh, and I most certainly wont be apologising to anyone for my opinion. You make valid points, not everyone who has an eating disordered parent will have an eating disorder themselves, you are quite right, but look more closely at the statistics and you will find that they are more prevalent amongst people who have a family member with the disorder. I believe that this is because kids who witness parents struggling with self-image issues will also have these problems to some extent. Then, you said that you haven’t got self-image problems yourself, and yet your daughter suffered from anorexia. This is where you should recognise that I’m not blaming parents, media, chemical imbalances, peers, bullying… these can also lead to the start of an ED… but you cannot deny that parents do not influence their children.

    AND, “only 1-2%” — think about that. That means that in the world, ONLY 66022241 (1%) – 132044483 (2%) people in the world have anorexia -this of course isn’t including those with bulimia, compulsive overeating, EDNOS – very small amount of people, right? And as for culture having an influence in the development of ED’s, maybe you aught to do a little research too. Check this article for more information…

    So, in conclusion, you have just as many false ideas as you think we have. You really aught to know what you’re talking about before you make ANY statement. I think you owe us a huge apology.

    ANNE – I understand what you’re saying, and it is true, there has been too much blame placed on parents, and it isn’t always the fault of the parents. There are many other factors that can cause the onset of an ED, but it seems that in a lot of cases parents put to much emphasis on perfection… again, not always the case. I also don’t think that parents are often a “large factor” as you said, but I do believe that in many cases, the parents of the sufferer have aggrivated the situation.

    If you look at what I said to Harriet, you will maybe understand what I’m trying to say.


  14. anne says:

    Actually, I was quoting Hillary when I commented on the “large factor”. The main way in which I feel they are a large factor is by passing on their genetics. So, if you have a tendency to be sensitive, or anxious, or a worrier or a perfectionist….well, maybe you’ll pass that on to your child. One thing I do strongly believe is that when someone is suffereing from an ED it is important to take as much of the stress off in their life as possible.

    I have an article to share with you too that you might find interesting as well:

    And all I am saying is that the ‘blame’ all around should stop. The blame of sufferers. This illness is not a choice. It takes on a life of it’s own and most people need help to regain their health. And, the people that are most available and most likely to want to help are too often sidelined by the feeling that they are somehow inexplicably guilty of having caused this terrible illness. Families need support and information about how to help their loved ones recover. They can do this best if they are not feeling blamed. That just compounds an already difficult situation.

  15. Sandy says:

    Parents don’t cause eating disorders. It is completely insulting to read a title that says ‘How to Make Your Daughter Anorexic’. What if I posted something that says ‘Give your Son Cancer’. It is no different. As Laura says, eating disorders are geneticlly and biologically based. Do children with eating disorders have a good chance of having a dieting parent at home? Statistics say, probably, due to the high number of people on a diet at any given time in America. It is not true of my household. I’ve never been on a diet in my life. Never needed one. And I have never disliked my body–in fact, I think I’ve been pretty hot all my life, especially with the few extra pounds I’ve added getting my daughter healthy again. According to your treatise above, my daughter should never have gotten an ed.

    Completely agree that parents need to be aware of the signs of eating disorders. We also have to help people understand that eating disorders are not caused by parents. They are not the parent’s fault or the child’s fault. They are not choices that we can talk children out of. Can we model healthy eating attitudes and body-love? Certainly. But we need to be aware that none of the above may prevent an ed in those who are susceptible.

  16. Carrie says:

    Okay, I’m going to tentatively wade into the fray here.

    As someone who is in recovery from anorexia, I think I have a fair knowledge of the topic. I was a biochem major in college. I can probably still tell you all of the enzymes involved in DNA replication, etc.

    It’s probably not all that surprising that I strongly believe in the biological basis for eating disorders. For me, it was anxiety and mood disorders that were my main triggers, not a family focused on dieting.

    However, no illness, genetic or otherwise, occurs in a vacuum. There is always- *always*- some sort of environmental trigger involved. For one of my friends, it was some dental work that caused a week or two of mouth discomfort and WHAM! An eating disorder. Sometimes it is a weight loss diet.

    Then again, some of the other ED sufferers I know did grow up in households where the parents were always dieting. And I don’t know why I didn’t put two ad two together before but: what if the parents had a sub-clinical eating disorder? What if the whole family needed help?

    No one needs shame and blame. Not the sufferer (I was told by a nurse on a psych unit that I was manipulative and selfish), not the family. Not even, to some extent society. It’s the models. It’s the media. And so on. We do live in a culture that fosters eating disorders, but rather than bemoaning that fact, we can do something about it. Make malnutrition-through-dieting unacceptable (see MamaV’s latest post on fainting NYC subway riders).

    ::steps off soapbox::

  17. Riv says:

    I have never been on a diet
    I have never praised my daughter for not eating
    We don’t buy fashion magazines
    We have always promoted acceptance of all differences
    My daughter has been consistently encouraged and given positive feedback and lots and lots of love

    …she got Anorexia Nervosa…this doesn’t fit the above suggested theory as to why…

    Why blame parents, the very latest research suggests there is a genetic pre-disposition
    Why blame parents when they have the ability to provide and facilitate support and love in recovery
    Parents of all types and families of all structures can have a child with an eating disorder

  18. mamavision says:

    Hi Riv and all: Thank you for sharing your stories. I have been running this blog for about a year now, and my views and understanding of ED’s has run through the whole spectrum of your above discussions – mental illness, environment, genetic predisposition, combination of all.

    I posted this ad for feedback, glad to see I got it!! You ladies have a lot to say and I hope you all keep voicing your views, we need to talk about this, fight about this and get damn mad about it.

    At this point, I don’t care what the stem of the disease is, I care about helping. Helping each individual girl, or boy who finds themselves in the depths of an ED. It doesn’t really matter to me how they got there, I just want to get them out.

    With that said, I do believe mothers play a large and significant role when their daughters sucumb to eating disorders. The recent Dove world study seems to validate this view. Riv above is the exception, not the rule.

    I also hear from a great deal of women who were sexually abused, this seems to be a trigger.

    Mental illness? No doubt. Particularly anxiety disorders play a part.

    Other? Sure, I don’t think we really understand ED’s fully, they are deep and intertwined.

    Bottomline is we need to be careful about taking our own personal experience and believing our experience is reflective of the whole- it is not. Listen to others to learn, stay open so we don’t miss cues.

    Our youth needs passionate parents that will teach them that life is not about what you look like. We can talk this all we want, but we need to reflect this in our actions each and every day.

    Thank you all for your comments,

  19. anne says:

    I read the Dove report on Beauty and, honestly, I don’t see where it validates a relationship between mothers causing and daughters developing ED’s. I really think that is quite an unfounded leap. I do think it says how women currently view beauty and how they would LIKE to beauty to be viewed. But, I think it is exceedingly hurtful and just plain wrong to make any further assumptions.

  20. anne says:

    And, beyond the issue of mothers/daughters and the Dove report, WHY poll women on their appearance in the first place? Why doesn’t someone someone ask women if they think they are funny or courageous or wise or smart or caring or brave? I’m sorry, but even though I appreciate Dove’s approach more than most, Dove is still a BRAND and is still trying to sell us something. I want my daughter to know that all women, all shapes and sizes with big hearts count even if they don’t appear on soap ads. Or anywhere.

  21. Joey says:

    Going to tentatively stick my chip in….

    my perception is that parents do NOT cause EDs. However, their behaviour and views can lead to dieting behaviour in their children, and that can trigger anorexia, especially if the child has the genetic, physical and psychological predisposition to anorexia.

    My parents never did any of the things mentioned that could potentially trigger an eating disorder. My mother never dieted, and tried her best to bring me up healthily. There were emotional problems in my family, and i had psychiatric issues since a young age so maybe that played a part.

    On the other side of the coin, i’m in contact with hundreds of eating disordered girls, and a large number are in an environment in which EDs are encouraged. Girls told they’re fat (often when they’re skeletal), excessively slim dieting mothers, girls taught how to diet and told to watch what they eat. A friends mother is so high on drugs that she has no recollection of her daughters anorexia, and is pushing her to become a model and to “get skinny like you were last year” (when the girl was hospitalised).

  22. mamavision says:

    Hi Anne: I see your point about Dove being a brand and ultimately they are about making money, but as I see it, at least they are doing something. You have to give them some credit for spending the money to even do such a broad international study and for their proage campaigns as well. I can’t name one other brand that is doing the same, can you? I would rather spend my $ on their lotion than on some beauty brand that is looking to charge me 80 bucks for some silly potion to get rid of my wrinkles.

    In regards to the question “why not ask women if they feel courageous, smart, caring, or brave,” I feel that’s a different topic. The topic is beauty, and how it is correlated to self esteem. This is just a fact for women, we are the prettier of the sexes and I think it is natural and ingrained that we want to feel beautiful.

    The issue is how beauty is defined in the media. What would we think is beautiful if we didn’t have magazines and TV shoving their view of beauty in our face every day?

    The reality is that society influences our perception of beauty a great deal and if we are going to dig out of this hole, we need to recognize just how much we are influenced day in and day out by the beauty ideals we see. Mothers and grown women need to see our own beauty issues, accept ourselves so we can then be proper role models for our young girls and teens. What do you think?

    One thing I have come to realize through this blog is that somewhere deep inside, at least for me, wanting to feel beautiful ingrained thing. For example, the most basic thing for woman is putting lotion on your hands and legs, it just feels good before you go to bed. I laugh when I look at my husbands chapped hands and ask him “doesn’t that bug you?” and he is not even cognicent of it.

    This also comes into play with my 7 year old daughter. I have to be careful and aware that I am not putting my views of the world and beauty into her head, I want her to learn for herself, its not going to help if I try to sway her or keep her safe…that would probably create pressure for her. We have so much fun painting nails for example. I didn’t do this for the longest time, until I had a daughter and she made it fun again. I look at my hands when they are all primped up, and it just feels good. I don’t want this to be a bad thing, ever. I believe its just natural, and fun for women to primp themselves. I am glad I have this emotion back in my life because for so many years after the modeling days I tried to erase it and realized I couldn’t and shouldn’t.

  23. mamavision says:

    I see alot of new names posting here, so for those of you who do not know Joey she is involved with a proanorexia site and has played a crucial role in helping girls who are deep in their eating disorders. She spends tireless nights talking girls out of suicide attempts, and she has seen alot….more than I.

    I think it’s important to read her post above and really absorb what she is saying. We can not simply say “ED is caused by X” because as both Joey and I have come to accept “ED’s are caused by X, Y, Z and sometimes XYZ put together.”

    Therefore, we must accept there is a very real segment of the population of mothers that are not healthy in their own body image and therfore are projecting their views and issues on their daughters. This will purpetuate the cycle of ED’s and therefore the ad posted above is not only necessary but very, very relevant in this day and age.


  24. anne says:

    Well, I think there are a lot of assumptions in your point of view and I don’t even know where to start:
    • I don’t believe that men are the “less beautiful” of the two sexes; and can you imagine a Dove research article aimed at “men and how they feel about handsomeness”? But, then again, men aren’t Dove’s market.
    •Why is being funny, courageous, wise, smart, caring or brave a different topic? They are all INNER attributes. But, I suppose it’s much harder to sell us things around inner attributes. And aren’t those the very things we SHOULD be talking about and that might help PROTECT us against the development of ED’s? They are a gauge of good inner mental health and self esteem, if only we can learn to help our children truly develop them. Granted, some children seem to arrive on this planet with an abundance of these feelings naturally, while others need more nuturing toward seeing their own power. The fact is, these are attributes that we HAVE SOME CONTROL OVER AND CAN NOURISH AND CHANGE. Our physical appearance is a much more defined thing–and one we are given at birth. It is much harder to change your height, natural weight tendency, face shape, etc, although God knows people do try. Sometimes to the point of plastic surgery. I, for one, feel that as long as we focus on the physical we will never be truly happy.
    • I would agree that society puts out a “beauty image ideal” message. Some of us seem able to ignore it much better than others (maybe it’s those inner attributes that help some of us do that). I feel I fall into that camp. I have never, ever been a clothes horse; never once in my life dieted (and I am not slender–I’m much more the shape of one of those hefty Dove models and I am not bothered by it–I am much more bothered by insinuations that I somehow contributed to my daughter’s illness–I am ESPECIALLY bothered by HER believing that), I eat healthy family meals together, I breastfed all my children on demand (I think I added up for a total of 6 years for 3 kids), I am not divorced, I love my husband, we have never had teen magazines in the house (only New Moon for Girls which is a great magazine), I don’t use nail polish, lotion, dye my hair or anything else for that matter. Basically, one by one, I can pretty much knock down all the theories of ‘why’ my daughter ‘got’ anorexia. When I look at what I think the environmental triggers were for her in our situation, they were: 1) a family history (my sister had it–and darn if she wasn’t ALWAYS the skinny one in our family even pre-anorexia; our mother never dieted either and she was a very gentle, kind, loving, totally ‘fashion unconsious’ woman) 2) my AN daughter having an older sister who was very social, very good academically and naturally small boned, and 3) my AN daughter being very socially anxious with her peers. My anorexic daughter so wanted to be like her older sister that I believe she tried to basically ‘force’ herself to be who she wasn’t. Then she got into a downward spiral that she couldn’t climb out of–and I never saw a fashion mag kicking around our house, she was never involved in the “high risk” sports, I was never even aware that she intentionally was ‘going on a diet’ because she never said so. But I was extremely aware of what she was doing, as you might imagine having lived through this once with my sister.

    You know what? I not only think I didn’t cause this, I was desperate to stop it fromt the get go. I didn’t know how to do that, I didn’t get very specific or consistent advice from professionals, but God knows I tried. And, basically, even when no one else does, I give myself a good chunk of credit for having contributed mightly toward saving her life. I love her now just the way she is, I loved her from birth just the way she was, and someday I hope she understands why I did what I did. If I “took control” and became “over enmeshed” with her during the period of her illness, it was only because it would have been totally neglectful to have done otherwise.

    So, my bottom line to all out there is, don’t make sweeping generalizations. Don’t alienate families and children (and that DOES happen). Such generalizations have caused my daughter to believe their is something ‘wrong with her family’ when she never felt that prior to her illness (that I know for a fact). This needs to be viewed AS AN ILLNESS that has a set of environmental triggers (yes, likely different for everyone). Once snared, a person usually needs help to regain wellness. But please, everyone out there, contribute to the well being of families by recognizing that often families are allies instead of the other way around. And someone in the grips of anorexia or any ED needs all the allies they can get on their side.

  25. mamavision says:

    Hi Anne: Thank you for sharing the details of your daughter’s story and your own. It is clear that in your particular case you have not played a part in her disease. I am not debating you on this fact.

    However, because you have not been a factor in your daughters disease, there are mothers out there who have, and therefore placing this message out to the public is appropriate in my view.

    For you, you can simply view it, express your view of it, but I urge you not to put blinders on. Do you really believe that mothers are not playing a role in ED’s? As parents we mold our kids like clay. Browse around this blog to find women speaking for themselves, they post day in and day out about how comments and suggestions from parents played a role in their ED. We can’t just ignore this.

    Yes, the base of an ED can be based in perfection, or something else totally unrealated to body image. But this is not to say that for some, namely models and admirers of these walks of life are caught up in being “perfect” and therefore are triggered in to ED’s

  26. anne says:

    However there is such damage done when ads, or therapists, or online sites, post as above with such as “How to Make Your Daughter Anorexic”. It stops parents cold. It creates or adds to depression (or can–I am sensitive too). The very nature of ‘separating’ parents from their child when inpatient speaks volumes for ‘implicit’ guilt. We were kept separate from our 13 year old for 5+ weeks. Would that have happened if my child had had cancer? I can’t ever imagine that it would have. She stopped talking to us totally during that time. At the time, of course, staff thought it was because their was something really ‘wrong’ going on in our family and that she was really angry with us. I think she was just really angry because we were forcing her to get help and had taken her to the hospital and left her there (abandoned her in her mind). It was the only way she had to let us know it. It was the only control she had left.

    To my mind, this whole approach created problems and was simply wrong. There is still too much of a “one size fits all” response. Ads like the above are guilt inducing and I don’t believe are helpful.

    And, even if I had been on a diet, I still believe that most girls–the majority–would not have been triggered into anorexia. It is a very extreme response.

  27. anne says:

    One last thing: My daughter grew to view her family with more distrust and suspicion, something that had never occurred before in our family. Some of this was simply because we needed to take action and intervene. But some, I strongly feel, was due to the approach taken by some (not all) professionals we worked with in order to get her better.

    I am slowly winning back her trust these several years later and visa versa. I really and honestly feel this could have been avoided to a large degree if a different tact had been taken, if we had been better supported by a good number of professionals out there (again there were some who were excellent and I am certainly not discounting them).

    I feel the traditional therapy approach has some real things wrong with it. And I feel MOST mothers (or fathers) DO NOT cause their daughters ED’S. I obviously can’t give a percentage. But neither can you the other way around. And perhaps the girls that feel their mothers (or fathers) did contribute were encouraged to believe this by traditional therapy approaches. After all, that’s what Hilda Bruch believed when she wrote the Golden Cage. And, for those in tough family situations–and there are such–it still does not mean they will necessarily end up anorexic. What makes one child resilient and another not in a difficult situation?

    Here is a letter you might find of interest. I tried to cut and paste it but could not. Please see the link:

    Also, from some of the leading researchers in the world.

    Public release date: 22-Jan-2007
    [ Print Article | E-mail Article | Close Window ]

    Contact: Jocelyn Uhl Duffy
    University of Pittsburgh Medical Center
    Families do not cause anorexia nervosa

    Eating disorders researchers counter Bundchen’s blunder

    PITTSBURGH, Jan. 22 — Misstatements and ignorance claiming that families “cause” eating disorders is like blaming parents for diabetes or asthma or cancer says an international group of eating disorders researchers. Recent damaging statements by fashion model Gisele Bundchen stating that unsupportive families cause anorexia nervosa only perpetuate misconceptions and further stigmatize eating disorders. Contrary to her claim, there is no scientific evidence that families cause anorexia nervosa. In fact, the researchers are finding that anorexia nervosa is far more complex than simply wanting to be slim to achieve some fashionable slender ideal. The data show that anorexia nervosa has a strong genetic component that may be the root cause of this illness.

    “An uninformed opinion such as Bundchen’s causes harm on a number of levels. By contributing to the stigma, it drives sufferers underground and creates obstacles to seeking help. It damages attempts at advocacy and hurts parents who are desperately fighting for their child’s recovery,” said Allan S. Kaplan, M.D., Loretta Anne Rogers Chair in Eating Disorders at the University of Toronto. “Such thinking also misinforms third party payors who may not want to pay for the treatment of these biologically-based illnesses if they think its primary cause is family dysfunction.”

    Dr. Kaplan is a member of the international group of researchers attempting to find which genes contribute to anorexia nervosa through a National Institute of Mental Health-funded study of families with a history of anorexia nervosa. The current study, which is being conducted at 10 sites across the world, hopes to further clarify which genes play a role in anorexia nervosa. The study builds on data from ten years of groundbreaking research on the genetics of eating disorders sponsored by the Price Foundation.

    “We often hear that societal pressures to be thin cause many young women and men to develop an eating disorder. Many individuals in our culture, for a number of reasons, are concerned with their weight and diet. Yet less than half of 1 percent of all women develop anorexia nervosa, which indicates to us that societal pressure alone isn’t enough to cause someone to develop this disease,” said Walter H. Kaye, M.D., professor of psychiatry, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. “Our research has found that genes seem to play a substantial role in determining who is vulnerable to developing an eating disorder. However, the societal pressure isn’t irrelevant; it may be the environmental trigger that releases a person’s genetic risk.” Families should not be blamed for causing anorexia. In fact, they are often devastated and suffer from the consequences of this illness.”

    Anorexia nervosa is a serious and potentially lethal illness, with a mortality rate greater than 10 percent. It is characterized by the relentless pursuit of thinness, emaciation and the obsessive fear of gaining weight. Anorexia nervosa commonly begins during adolescence, but strikes throughout the lifespan–it is nine times more common in females than in males. Personality traits, such as perfectionism, anxiety and obsessionality, are often present in childhood before the eating disorder develops and may contribute to the risk of developing this disorder.

    “We need to understand all the factors that influence eating disorders, both genetic and environmental, and find ways to address them in order to prevent people from developing these potentially deadly conditions,” said Cynthia Bulik, Ph.D., William and Jeanne Jordan Distinguished Professor of Eating Disorders, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. “Understanding how genes and environment interact both to increase risk for eating disorders and to protect those who are genetically vulnerable from developing the disorder will require the cooperation of professionals in the eating disorders field, the media, and the fashion and entertainment industries. Only cooperatively, will we be able to move the field forward toward the elimination of this disease.”

    “Anorexia nervosa has the highest death rate of any mental illness, yet so few dollars are dedicated to the cure,” stated Lynn Grefe, CEO of the National Eating Disorders Association. “These scientific advances demonstrating a genetic component are significant and so meaningful to our families, wiping away the myths and emphasizing the need for even more research to help the next generation.”

    CONTACT: Kelli McElhinny, PHONE: (412) 647-3555
    FAX: (412) 624-3184

    The team of researchers involved in the Genetics of Anorexia Nervosa collaboration invites families to help them unravel the genetic underpinnings of this disorder. Families in which two or more relatives have had anorexia nervosa (this includes siblings, cousins, aunts, uncles or grandparents) are encouraged to contact them for more information about participation. The study involves phone interviews, questionnaires and a blood draw. Participants are compensated for their time. For more information, call 1-888-895-3886, e-mail or visit the study’s Web site at

    Study sites are located in seven US cities (Pittsburgh, New York, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Los Angeles, Fargo, N.D., and Tulsa, Okla.); and in Toronto, Canada; Munich, Germany; and London, England.

    Note to editors: Investigators from the study sites are available to speak to the media about eating disorders. To arrange an interview contact Jocelyn Uhl Duffy at (412) 647-3555.

    [ Print Article | E-mail Article | Close Window ]

  28. anne says:

    Actually, what I’d really like is for you to take this ad off your site. And for all of us to write to the generators of the ad and ask them to remove it everywhere.

  29. Jane says:

    Anne, I feel like you are angry with us for having a different opinion. If you are, that’s not really fair.

    Anyway, the letter and article you posted were interesting, so thank you for sharing.

    I know you are angry about the way medical staff approached your situation with your daughter, and I totally understand why. I’d be angry if I was in your situation. I think that people should start looking at individual cases before jumping on and making an intervention to seperate what could be the only real support from a sufferer. So, I am not criticising your anger.

    However, one of your comments did make me really angry, and made me wonder whether this is a pointless debate. Where you stated that those of us who feel that our mothers (or fathers) did play a role should reexamine, since it could be that traditional therapy made us think like that. EXCUSE ME! It’s one thing to say that not all ED sufferers have been led down that road by influencial parents, but you are basically saying thatw noone is! You went through the hell of having to cope while someone you love suffers, and you were treated unfairly,but your comment was just as unfair as those you are criticising! I believe you were out of order and unfair in your comment.

    Finally, as to taking the article down, it would be just as pointless as removing pro-ED forums, more of the same will continue to appear. Also, who are we to get in the way of peoples freedom of speech? NOONE has the right to remove that right, God gave us the chance to have freedom of thought and speech and subhanallah (praise to God) for giving us that. Everyone is entitled to their own opinions, and there are always going to be people who disagree with what we think, but what you propose is equal to preventing someone giving evidence in court just because you don’t think they are innocent.

    I apologise if you are offended, but I think your suggestion is somewhat rediculous and just as unfair as the way you were treated by medical “proffessionals”.

    Jane x

  30. mamavision says:

    Hi Anne: First thank you for all the wisdom you passed along here. I have read through your posts a few times, and I need to digest it all. You make some valid points and your personal story really hits home.

    With that said, can you tell me why it would make you feel better if I remove this from the site? Why does it matter since you obviously know your stuff, just be confident in that, do you know what I am getting at here?

    I think it is important to recognize that although your personal situation and many, many others did not have any influence whatsoever on your daughters eating disorder, you MUST recognize that there are many girls suffering right now due to the behaviors and influence of their mothers.

    Actually, this point gets to the core of my blog. All of you that are fired up about this topic, let’s do a little exercise.

    1 Please go to Google and type in “Pro Ana”, please spend about 15 minutes reading through the posts from girls all over the world talking about their issues and why they have them.

    2 Please go to YouTube and type in “Pro Ana”, please spend another 15 minutes viewing the myriad of “thinspiration videos” at your disposal.

    3 After this 30 minute exercise, come back here and post your feelings and thoughts.

    I will tell you mine since I have done more surfing of proana stuff then I would ever care to.

    This display of proana lust is a sad, pathetic commentary on our society. Are our girls so taken up with models, hollywood stars, and beauty that they one and only goal in life is to be like Nicole Richie.

    Do not kid yourself about this, they are serious and they are starving themselves. This is a deliberate and conscience act. They hide it from their parents and their teachers and their boyfriends and even their girlfriends. And at some point along the line, I have come to believe, that this planned act turns into a mental disorder that they completely lose control of. Their self esteem is lost and no where to be found, and there they sit wishing, praying and hoping that they can get through the day without eating.

    Now, back to the topic- Do mothers cause eating disorders?

    They can contribute to the likelyhood that their daughters will start disordered eating. Its a fact whether we like it or not.


    Education of parents and those who influence children.

    Taking this educational material off the blog?

    Not a chance. Its like sticking your head in the stand like a damn ostrich. I will continue to put the word out there, and really you can just ignore it because you are not contributing to the cause…..however I ask that you keep your eyes and ears open to others who are not doing the great job you are and do you best to gently show them where they can improve their parenting skills.


  31. mamavision says:

    Hi All: Please check out the post called BE A TROLL. Need your input!
    Thank you!

  32. anne says:

    When my daughter became ill, I started at square one trying to learn about the illness and how to best help her regain her health as quickly as possible. I asked everyone, “What does evidence-based practice say about eating disorders?” I did not feel I got consistent or straightforward answers to my question. I didn’t get timely advice from local doctors about how to help her or where to go. Frankly, in hindsight, I don’t think people really knew what to tell me or where to send me. And I didn’t have much time. My daughter lost weight rapidly, was very depressed, was giving things away and hurting herself. In essence this was a crisis.

    I am not personally angry with any person on this site. I am angry at how difficult it was for me to find help, to learn about choices in ED treatment and about being sidelined from my daughter’s treatment team, that I was not a more active or valued part of her recovery. I was there 24/7 for her and I will be here for her emotionally the rest of my life. To me, that was wrong. And, ads like the above don’t discriminate between parents or situations. They are just heart killers. When you are starting out on this long, lonely journey, you need support, information and most of all hope. This ad does not give it to you. It is sensational. It is frightening. It is guilt inducing. I don’t wish another parent, just starting out on this long journey, to have this ad be one of the first things they see.

    I believe there are all sorts of families and all sorts of individual situations. As Laura said, some are good and some are less so. I also believe that it is a relatively small percentage of people that are triggered into anorexia by environmental situations (otherwise, why not just become anxious or depressed in a difficult situation? Why add in starvation?). There has to be something more going on here and that something is very likely genetic and biochemical in nature.

    The real harm in an ad like this is that it can damage a love bond and trust between parents and children. It does such harm. It alienates. What child or teen HASN’T been mad at their parents at one time or another? Parents are the source of much good and also of limits for adolescents and teens too. All teens test their wings against their parents. This is normal and natural. Granted, some parents do a better job than others. The rare parent is abusive. But ads such as the above create guilt, fear, self-recrimination, confusion, potential withdrawal of parental support just when an adolescent or teen needs it most and bewilderment when seen from the vantage point of being a parent. The mental health community and parent groups have an obligation to both support families and to be careful not to CREATE mental illness in extended family members in an attempt to prevent ED’s. Stress, anxiety and depression can be catching. I am simply asking for reasonable, responsible, supportive advertising. I am not asking for no advertising. By all means, the public should know the signs and symptoms of eating disorders. But guilt tripping families is not going to make people want to go for help or speak up. It may drive people underground. It makes it hard to feel an equal part of a wellness team for your daughter/son if you feel somehow responsible for their illness.

    I would agree that the education of parents is an excellent idea. But, I’d recommend doing it through parent support sites such as The last thing I would want from this continued conversation is to rncourage young girls to visit proana web sites. All this is likely to do is cause potential harm (there are enough research studies out there to that effect). If a girl feels her mother or father is to blame, she can have that feeling and say so without doing a google search of a proana web site. I really online if adolescents and teels are being encouraged to go to these sites.

    I will also be out of the country for the next 3 weeks and away from easy computer access.

    My daughter was angry with me a lot during her recovery, I believe because I and my husband were committed to her wellness, health and refeeding her to a healthy weight. We confronted the anorexia, but loved her. We never, ever forgot who we were fighting for or why. This was understandably very stressful for her. I had to accept it. But you know what? I’d rather have her furious with me the rest of my life and have her here and alive. And, she is on her way back…to us, and herself…

  33. anne says:

    One of my sentences got partially deleted. I wanted to say that ” I really can’t really continue to have an online coversation if adolescents and teens are being encouraged to go to these (proana) web sites.”

  34. Pingback: Be a Troll « mamaVISION

  35. Shannon Wilson says:

    Hi, My name is Shannon. I am a mother of 4 ( 2girls and 2 boys). I think this site is wonderful. But believe it or not there is a lot more to why these kids and parents fall to this evil. I have been doing some research on our government. All info that I relay to you is government documented. There are too many to list so I will tell you about two that are bothering me the most at this time. First, fluoride is a toxic waste substance that causes brain damage, hyperactivity, cancers, and so much more all specialist that have made these discoveries have been fired. fluoride was use as a base for the atomic bomb and other nuclear weapons, yet 66% of America still have fluoride in the water supplies and tooth paste . Please look into this by going to and take a look in my bulletins, it is posted under DON’T DRINK THE WATER. Second, vaccines are know to have hormones that cause disorders and have found to cause women to be unable to carries a child to term. This is what the gov calls long term population control. You may ask what this has to do with anorexia. Well if your body and brain have been altered it has a negative affect on how you think. Not to mention that most parents are so consumed by “experts” that the will allow any doctor to medicate, vaccinate, and diagnose them and their family WITHOUT researching what is in it for themselves. Please don’t be offended by what I have said, instead Please for you and your family do your research. We can make it so our grandchildren and great grandchildren do NOT have to fight with these elements.

  36. Mandy says:

    well thats funny that some people feel that parents have NOTHING to do with eating disorders…just because they dont have anything to do with schizzophrenia,cancer,asthma,etc.

    well sorry to destroy your opinions but parents have to do with all of those too. people can get borderline personality disorder from abuse, neglect, things that they’re parents did to them, or someone else could have done it. cancer…is biological but if you drink only pepsi,live in a house made of led, or are surrounded by aspestos..what do you expect? asthma can be caused from the mom smoking while pregnant (not always the case)..but you get my point.

    an eating disorder is a biological illness, often triggered from the parent or guardian. maybe its not that you abused them or told them they’re fat, or even discussed weight at all. it could be anything that you did. disrespect of other people teaches a child to do the same thing. many times boys will act out violently to other kids, and girls will hurt themselves THAT IS WHY PARENTS CAN MAKE THEIR DAUGHTERS ANOREXIC. now calm down everyone. if you know that you didnt enflict this pain on your child dont go on websites posting about it defending yourself. what is understood does not need to be discussed. also sorry if i mis spelled any words.

  37. Jen says:

    Anne – I feel as those you’re simply posting here to get symphathy for your story. I personally suffer with anorexia nervosa, and it has greatly affected my parents, and I don’t seem them telling people about our situation to have people feel sorry for them. What you need to realize is that (while you might not be one of them) a good number of parents of eating disordered individuals either encouraged or simply had slightly to severe disordered eating habits, which more than likely played a factor in their child’s eating habits. MamaV certainly isn’t saying all parents do this, she’s just listing precautions to parents to help them help their child develop healthy eating habits.
    MamaV – keep doing what you’re doing. I hope to privately hear from you soon.

  38. anne says:

    MamaV does no parent, no family and no eating disorder sufferer a favor when she posts sensational pictures of parents with their heads, ostrich-like, in the sand. How would your parents feel, Jen, seeing that photo? It says dumb, stupid, avoiding, incompetent, eyes shut. This is simply a myth and NOT true of most parents. And most parents do not praise their children when they diet. I can’t think of anyone I know who has done that. Most parents love their children and will do anything they can to help them get and stay well.
    I want no one’s sympathy. I do want my “story” heard as it is not pretty and I and my family have suffered–not only because of anorexia, but at the assumptions made by people treating our daughter’s biologically based illness. Yes, things in our environment do have an influence on us. But, we don’t willingly starve ourselves to the brink of death unless we are genetically susceptible to the illness in the first place. No fashion model and no sport can do that to you unless you are have the genetics already in place. You can talk all you like here on this site, but there is good, solid evidence-based research emerging on all of this–and, if you ignore it, you are ignoring the facts.

  39. Jen says:

    What you keep failing to understand is that she’s not talking about all parents, she’s just talking about people who negatively influence their child’s eating habits. My parents would have no problem with that picture because they’re intelligent enough to realize that mamaV isn’t talking about them. And I don’t think that you have to have certain genes to have the predisposition for an eating disorder. I’ve done a lot of reading myself, and there’s a lot of different factors that play into that. But you really have no basis for any kind of argument because you yourself have never experienced an eating disorder and just because you do research doesn’t make you an expert. I’m sorry, but somebody needs to tell you the truth.

  40. anne says:

    Then we disagree. I do think you have to have the ‘genetic susceptibility’ factor in order to develop anorexia. No, I have not had an ED myself. But I have lived it twice in my family over 40 years. And I had to work incredibly hard to help my daughter heal. Saying I’ve no basis for an argument because I haven’t personally experienced an ED is a little like saying I’ve no basis for understanding cancer because I haven’t personally experienced it. That simply isn’t true. And I have experienced it pretty close up through my sister and my daughter. And, the fact is, there is more and more research out there about the contribution of genetics as well as professionals willing to state that this is a biologically based illness. Can there be an “environmental trigger”? Yes. Going on a diet is a big one and highly dangerous in the ‘genetically susceptible’ young person. You must be willing to look at research when it comes to understanding the causes of any illness. And likewise, you must be willing to use research and evidence to understand the best ways back to health and wellness. Only hard research speaks truth. All else is only opinion.

    Genes, More than Fashion, Induce Anorexia

    By Michael Smith, MedPage Today Staff Writer
    Reviewed by Zalman S. Agus, MD; Emeritus Professor at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine.
    March 06, 2006

    CHAPEL HILL, N.C., March 6 – Anorexia nervosa — presumed to be a pathologic response to images of slim fashion models — is actually largely controlled by genetic factors, according to data from the Swedish Twin Registry.
    Action Points
    Explain to patients who ask that this large twin study shows a strong biological basis for anorexia nervosa, contrary to the common notion that it is mainly a pathologic response to fashion.

    Note that parents who themselves had experienced an eating disorder should be alert for early signs of such problems in their children, including complaints about body shape or weight.
    The calculation that the disorder has a strong genetic basis comes from a study of 31,406 participants in the Swedish Twin Registry, according to Cynthia Bulik, Ph.D., director of the University of North Carolina’s eating disorders program and a professor of psychiatry.

    Dr. Bulik said “this is the best estimate so far” of the heritability of anorexia nervosa, mainly because the sample population was so large.

    Her study, reported in the March issue of Archives of General Psychiatry, also found that the only significant predictor of the development of anorexia was neuroticism, which Dr. Bulik defined as an “innate tendency to be depressed, anxious and emotionally reactive.”

    Other possible predictors — including body mass index, excessive exercise, gastric problems early in life, and perceived life stress — were not significantly associated with the risk of anorexia, Dr. Bulik and colleagues found.

    The findings — especially the genetic link — are “good news for patients and good news for their parents,” Dr. Bulik said in a telephone press conference.

    “We have gone through far too much time when parents are blamed for causing this disorder,” she said. Patients with anorexia — mainly young and adolescent females — are “fighting their biology,” she said.

    Dr. Bulik and colleagues studied two cohorts of Swedish twins, those born between 1938 and 1944 and those born between 1944 and 1958. The cohorts were chosen because their members would have been teenagers or young adults in 1972 and 1973, when a prospective study — the Screening Across the Lifetime of Twins (SALT) study — was begun.

    Between 1998 and 2002, the researchers conducted interviews with 31,406 members of the twin registry who had taken part in the SALT study; twins who already had anorexia in 1972-1973 were excluded, to allow investigators to study prospective predictors of the disorder.

    The study found:

    The overall prevalence of anorexia was 1.29% in females and 0.29% in males, roughly comparable with earlier research.
    In females, the prevalence increased, from 0.65% among the older twins to 1.56% in those born between 1945 and 1958. There was no change for men.
    The heritability of the disorder, assessed by comparing concordance between monozygotic and dizygotic twins, was 0.56, although the 95% confidence interval was wide — from 0 to 0.87.
    The contributions of shared environment and unique environment were 0.05 and 0.38, respectively.
    Neuroticism in the early 1970s – about three decades before the 1998-2002 interviews – was significantly associated with the later development of anorexia. The odds ratio was 1.62, with a 95% confidence interval of 1.27 to 2.05.
    The heritability finding places anorexia “well within the more heritable psychiatric disorders,” Dr. Bulik said, and shows “clearly that genes play a substantial role in liability to this illness.”

    The increase in prevalence among females, she and colleagues noted, might be an artifact, because many of the participants in the older cohort were born before there was widespread awareness of eating disorders.

    That could cut both ways — some people might have had the disorder but never been labeled or detected, while more awareness later might have led to increased detection, the researchers said.

    The researchers also noted that the point estimate for heritability is similar to those found in earlier, smaller studies, but the wide confidence intervals mean the “estimates remain imprecise.

    Dr. Bulik said the finding should lead to more study of the genetic basis for anorexia, with the goal of developing medications. The finding that anorexia runs in families should also help parents be more aware of the issue.

    Primary source: Archives of General Psychiatry
    Source reference:
    Bulik CM et al. Prevalence, Heritability, and Prospective Risk Factors for Anorexia Nervosa. Arch Gen Psychiatry. 2006;63:305-312

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  41. Jen says:

    Ok, so listing a few studies proves your point? I’m not saying genetics aren’t a huge factor, what I am saying is that not every single eating disordered person has the genetic predisposition. I’ll admit that I probably do, because I have a cousin that has suffered with bulimia and I have a cousin who (more than likely) suffers with anorexia nervosa. But certainly not every single person with an ED has the genetic predisposition.
    And also, no one really understands an illness or disease or anything unless they’ve personally experienced it. Of course you can become knowledgable on the subject (ex. doctors and a lot of people in the psychology field), but you would never truly completely understand unless you’ve been through it.

  42. anne says:

    This was only one study, but the most recent and the largest ever done. There are more. And, yes, good, quality research does matter. Jen, you yourself may be a textbook case. You appear to have more than one eating disordered relative. Your parents ARE kind, intelligent and concerned. You need to take the stress off yourself. This illness is not their fault or your’s. It is not a choice. You are likely fighting your biology. But, having said this, “biology is not destiny”. My sister (who was anorexic) said that she also finally had to make a conscious effort to get better. Even then, it was very difficult for her to do and took time. The best and bravest thing you can do is ask for help from your parents or another responsible adult you love and is close to you. You
    can lead a healthy life without an eating disorder. And, no, I’ve not personally experienced the hell of an eating disorder. I do not think anyone who has is vain or selfish or “choosing it” to control others. I think it controls them. I can’t know what it feels like inside. But I saw my daughter’s intense pain. I know it really hurt. And I saw how brave she was and how hard she worked to get better. You can too. Ask your parents for help. I don’t know how old you are, but even if you are older, you can likely still lean on them.

  43. anne says:

    I would add that seeking help from an adult you do not know online (mamavision) is not likely to get you better. I think the only adults who should be trying to help are the ones close to you and who love you in YOUR life. Your parents are the most likely candidates.

  44. Jen says:

    Well, I don’t feel it’s necessary for me to get help right now. I’m not seeking help from mamaV or anyone else online. I have a therapist, I’m on medication, and I have the support of my family. When I choose to get better then I’m sure I’ll be happier, but I’m not ready yet.

  45. Jen says:

    Also, I don’t appreciate your condescending attitude. I’m legally an adult, I’m eighteen, and though you’re probably a lot older than me, that doesn’t give you any right to talk down to me. You have your opinions on where people should seek help from, but you have to realize that it doesn’t fit everyone. Who are you to judge if my parents care or not? What if they didn’t? Am I still supposed to seek help from them? They do care and they are supportive, but they’re definitely not the authority on eating disorders. You’re not one either. Please don’t tell me where I should seek help from because I’ve done plenty of research, I’ve read lots of books, and I know what I need to do to recover. I’m making a choice, and it’s my decision, no one else’s.

  46. anne says:


    Yes, I am a lot older than you. I am sure your feelings are much the same as my own daughter’s might be. She fought tooth and nail much through much of her recovery. It was very hard for me and her father, but we constantly had to remind ourselves that it was the eating disorder fighting to maintain itself, not her. From my experience, I believe that an eating disorder will try very hard to do this. That’s why it’s so critical that you surround yourself with the people that know you best and care about you the most. You tell me your parents do love and support you very much. That’s wonderful. Then I would say trust them with all your heart. They have your best interest at heart. Your parents may need education on eating disorders. I know I did. There is a lot of contradictory and misinformation out there too. People (doctors and scientists included) are still learning a lot about them. Your parents will undoubtedly need support for themselves in order for them to support you through this–but I am willing to bet they want a healthy, happy daughter more than anything. And, if you were my daughter, I would not want you talking to anonymous adults for help online because they cannot love, care for or help you in the way your family can. I say this because I DO care, not because I don’t or because am being condescending. I am glad to hear you have a counselor. Good for you. It may be that someday your desire to recover will help you do this. It does happen. My take on this is that waiting, saying you can choose it anytime but you’re not ready is the ED’s way of keeping you in it’s grip. Don’t wait. It often only gets harder. I will tell you that my daughter screamed, threw food, was NG tubed, stormed out of our house, etc. Even when she was finally weight restored, it took awhile for her brain to heal. Now she hugs me and tells me thank you, she knows it was the right thing and what we did was good for her, she has her life back again. You can too. I believe this 100%. It’s not easy, you need support, but it is possible. Trust your family.

  47. Jen says:

    Ok, again, you’re talking to me like a parent and not like an adult. I know that my eating disorder is bad, and I need to seek recovery, etc. But I don’t want to just yet. And I don’t think anyone should be forcing me into recovery when I don’t want to get better, that’s so unproductive. I do listen to my parents about a multitude of things, but I know that I’m making a choice to listen to myself when it comes to my eating disorder. Just because you’re daughter recovered and you say she hugs you and thanks you, doesn’t mean that everyone will recover. Most eating disordered individuals don’t recover for a number of years, and even when they do, they still have eating disordered thoughts. It never goes away. But please don’t tell me that I need to go into recovery, because it’s my decision. I’m young, but I’m not a child, and it’s frustrating that you can’t accept that I’m an adult and I deserve to be talked to as such.

  48. anne says:

    You’re right about getting better not being an overnight thing. But I think you are wrong about it never going away. It did for my sister. It’s gone. Totally. My daughter still has bumps in the road, but they are relatively minor. Life is not perfect, but there is no such thing. Life IS better, lot, lots better. It is fun for her and she is doing well. I am not going to try and give any advice to you either, for the same reason I don’t think you should be getting it here from Mamavision. I hope I’ve given you hope, and maybe some knowledge based on solid research–not my opinion. What I’ve learned is that this is an illness, different things start it for everyone (and a diet is the most common), food is the medicine to heal your body and brain and any other issues in your life can be helped through a combination of counseling and medicine that is individualized for your needs. But food is nonoptional as scary as it is. I also have learned through my own experience that this is a hard illness to fight and people with ED’s need support to do it, most of the time. It is not a choice. It is a real illness. I can’t say anymore.

  49. anne says:

    The only other observation I have is that it seems to me that listening to yourself at the moment means continuing on with an eating disorder. Listening to and putting your trust in those that love you might, just might, be a way out. I actually think that would be a huge, brave, very mature thing to do. I think it would take a big weight off of you to trust in your loved ones and to let them fight this illness for and with you.

  50. anne says:

    This is an article that was just printed yesterday. I thought it appropriate to the whole discussion of families, of this being an illness, of ending the secrecy and shame, of families being able to obtain effective and timely help and of being given treatment information and choices.

    Stigma of anorexia keeps many from help

    By Harriet Brown
    November 9, 2007

    A young woman I didn’t know died last week. She was bright and talented and had many interests — acting, writing, music. She wanted to teach and have a family when she grew up. Only she’s never going to grow up.

    I didn’t know this young woman, but I know the disease that killed her, because it nearly killed my daughter. We don’t talk about it much. We don’t talk about the fact that it’s the deadliest psychiatric disease, or that it kills 20 percent of its victims and makes life hell for the other 80 percent — for a year, for five years, forever.

    We don’t talk about it because so many people still think that people with this disease are spoiled rich kids acting out, looking for attention, or trying to punish their parents. They think this disease is a lifestyle choice, and they can’t imagine why anyone would choose it.

    The disease is anorexia. The reality is that people don’t choose it and can no more choose to recover from it than you can choose to cure yourself of cancer.

    I don’t know this young woman’s family, but I know something of what they’ve gone through, because our family went through it, too. Lots of families in this community have gone through it, but few will talk about it. They don’t talk about how anorexia steals a teenager’s life, or how insidious it is, and they sure don’t talk about how deeply ashamed and guilty they are about their child’s illness.

    There are doctors and nurses in this community who still blame families when a child has an eating disorder. Who will tell you, with a look of disdain, that you did this to your child. You’re the reason your child weighs 70 pounds and is too weak to sit up in bed. You’re the reason your bright, charming, funny child can do nothing but shake and cry and still, even though she’s starving to death, cannot eat. It’s because of you that your child has died, because you’re too smothering, too cold, too enmeshed, too anxious, too controlling, too permissive.

    The latest research on eating disorders clearly shows that genetics and biology are the biggest risk factor for an eating disorder. But we as a society haven’t caught up to scientific reality yet. We still blame families, the way we used to blame them for autism and schizophrenia and homosexuality. We still brand them with a devastating stigma.

    And as long as this shame and stigma prevail, other young women and men will suffer and die. We can do better than this. As a community, we can come together around a family struggling with an eating disorder the way we come together for families struggling with cancer or other terrible illnesses. Our children need compassion and empathy. They need us to understand that they don’t choose to have an eating disorder and they can’t unchoose it. They need and deserve better treatments and more understanding.

    I cried when I read this young woman’s obituary. My tears won’t change a thing. But I’m hoping my words will change the way you think about anorexia and bulimia. And the next time you hear about a child who’s been diagnosed with anorexia or bulimia, instead of wondering what went wrong in that family, you’ll wonder instead what you can do to support them through the most terrible and difficult time of their lives.

    Brown, of Madison, is editor of Wisconsin Trails magazine.

    Return to story is operated by Capital Newspapers, publishers of the Wisconsin State Journal, The Capital Times, Agri-View and Apartment Showcase. All contents Copyright ©2007, Capital Newspapers. All rights reserved.

  51. Jen says:

    I didn’t even bother reading your last posts in their entirety. I read something about you wanting to give me hope, well you haven’t. I really hope you don’t believe that your story is inspiring (I don’t mean that to be rude, I mean that honestly). And I know for a fact you really don’t know anything about eating disorders because you made a comment along the lines of my family can fight this for me? That is the most rediculous statement I have ever heard in my life. Literally. The only person who can attempt to improve their eating disordered behaviors is themselves. Sure family and therapy and hospitals, and whatever, can help, but essentially it’s up to the person. For someone who has done so much “research” and has so much insight, that was the most uneducated comment about eating disorders that I think I have ever heard.

    And I think you said something about your sister or someone being completely recovered, well you’re not in their head, and neither am I, but I can assure as someone who has an eating disorder, it never goes away. Maybe the physical habits, but certainly not the mental part of it. With all the research I have personally done, I have never known a case that says they are completely recovered with no physical habits or thoughts that are disordered. It is lifelong. Anyone who says it isn’t is lying.

    Just skimmed that article you posted. Sounds like it was written so parents could think they had nothing to do with it. Sounds like it was written so parents and the eating disordered individuals could play the victim. Well I hate that whole victimization bull, it’s not true.

    The following is Phase Two from CFC’s (a women’s eating disorder inpatient facility) four phase treatment plan:

    Phase two: The patient takes responsibility and ownership for her eating
    disorder and other difficulties; learns to take responsibility for her
    recovery; and regains a sense of choice, power, control, and hope.

    A theistic inpatient treatment approach for eating-disorder patients: A case report. Hardman, Randy K.; Berrett, Michael E.; Richards, P. Scott; In: Casebook for a spiritual strategy in counseling and psychotherapy. Richards, P. Scott; Bergin, Allen E.; Washington, DC, US: American Psychological Association, 2004. pp. 55-73

    So, part of treatment is taking responsibility and ownership for your eating disorder. In order to get better, you can’t play the victim. I’m pretty sure the above proves my point.

  52. anne says:

    Well, we simply don’t entirely agree, but maybe I’ve presented a different perspective for you and others to consider.
    It is true that there are different theories as to ’cause’ out there. Hospitals and therapists will likely base the way they treat on what they believe to be true.
    I am speaking from what I have found to be true as well. If you believe that an eating disorder is a learned behavior and a choice, then it follows that it would take personal responsibility to choose to get well again. If you believe that this is an illness who’s cause is unknown and is perhaps multifaceted in it’s beginnings, then it allows everyone to work together as a team supporting the sufferer back to health. It stops the blame game–blame the parents or society for causing it, blame the sufferer for ‘choosing’ and ‘keeping’ it. It makes the family a valuable, active resource and ally in healing. That’s the approach that makes logical sense to me.

    I hope all the best for you.

  53. anne says:

    Found this quote in a recent article. It speaks to the “Dove” issue (and its being a brand and trying to sell us something) and the parents can’t control everything issue as well. I didn’t agree with the whole article, but I cut and pasted this quote as it was timely to this discussion”

    …Mary Sheahan Krainin, a Florence-based medical social worker and licensed counselor, treats people who have eating disorders. She said she thinks the Dove Campaign for Real Beauty is a way to get the truth out about seemingly thin, toned and tanned perfection. But Krainin and Kilbourne (a renown author and documentary film maker) agreed that the campaign only brushes the surface of the problem. Kilbourne said, while Dove products emphasis natural or “real” beauty, another company owned by Unilever implies in an advertisement that wearing their brand of cologne will make men highly attractive to the opposite sex. “Dove is owned by Unilever, and one of its many brands is Axe,” she said. “Their commercials are demeaning to women, but it’s ironic that on one hand, Unilever is creating the problem and, on the other hand, trying to solve it.” She said another problem with the Dove ad campaign and others like it is the focus on parents being responsible for keeping their children from developing these body issues in the first place. “I love the ‘Onslaught’ film (by Dove),” she said. “But it ends as a message to parents saying, ‘Talk to your daughter before the media does.’ It’s like the tobacco industry saying, If you don’t want your kids to smoke, don’t let them.’ It’s like saying, ‘If the air is poisoned don’t let your kids breathe.’”

    Something else to thing about.

  54. anne says:

    Its not clear from just this quote, but Dove is also owned by Unilever. What’s the message here?

  55. aUTUM says:


  56. aUTUM says:

    you can stay slim but be healty you should kno that to look at Paris hilton Marykate olson! there the laughing stalk now!!

  57. Katie says:

    I think kids get eating disorders from TV and from School. Its because when they wach TV they see that the cute boys like skinny girls, they also see this from school too. They see that the popular poeple are skinny, so they want to be skinny to get into the popular group. One thing kids probly want the most is to be popular at school.

    I know this because I am a kid.

  58. aUTUM says:


  59. Molly says:

    I have belimia..can parents cause that too?
    If so I will tell the malnutritionist that its my parents fault

    Love Molly,
    Age 9

  60. Bekki says:

    When I first was diagnosed with anorexia and was forced into therapy, everyone seemed to ask me the same question; “What initially made you feel/think/act in this way?” I was clueless. After some thinking I was able to ‘blame’ my state of mind/being on my mother. As I was growing up she always complained about her weight (although she was underweight). Before long I was skipping meals, purging, over-exercising…everything. I lost 15 kilos before my parents even picked up on it and lost 10 more before they decided to talk to me about it. Their attitude – especially my mother’s – towards eating and the unhappiness it brings definitely was a major influence on my choices and ambitions.

  61. Karri says:

    I am not anorexic, I never have been, and I am a fairly healthy 19 year old. However I feel like I should comment to all of the previous people with posts saying “don’t blame the parents.”
    Obviously a big part of the problem is genetics/biology/other outside forces, but it is not the only reason.
    I have always worried about my moms weight. She is reletively short and weighs under 90 lbs. Being small runs in her family, and unfortunatly I take after my dads side who are not quite as lucky, not fat by any means, but not 90 lbs either. I have always been active in soccer, volleyball and swimming, but around age ten my mom started commenting about my weight. It has not stopped since then. The media, the fashion industry, celebrities have never come close to making me feel as terrible about myself and my body as my own family has.
    For one summer in middle school I started to not eat and run obsesively. I lost a lot of weight really quickly and my friends, who knew the comments made by my mom, got worried and did everything they could to reign me back in before I got out of control. Thank God that they did that. Years later however, the temptation to try it again, and get further this time are still in my mind. Every time I hear my mom or dad mention my weight, which is close to every day when I am home, I think about it.
    It kills me that my mom tells me dating my boyfriend of almost 5 years is a bad thing because “he has accepted me as I have gotten bigger and bigger, and if I wasn’t dating him I would have been forced to lose weight because nobody else would like me,” or when she walks over when I am with friends to poke me in the stomache and comment on the work my mid-section needs. That just scratches the surface of it.
    I tell with the hopes that parents will read it and understand that your words and actions really do hurt. I am a very strong willed person with very supportive and caring friends, but if I didn’t have that I do not know where I would be at the hands of her comments. Please just think about what you are saying and the affects that it can have not only on their body but on their self esteem and general happiness as well. Teach them how to eat well, encourage working out and set a good example; just please be positive. Encourage health not weight.
    5’4, 130 lbs.

  62. Chelsea says:

    You don’t have to be a size two to be beautiful, and if your over 130, that doesn’t mean your fat. A lot of the problems we have today is the media, they show skinny, size two women who are most likely naturally skinny..because of their bone structure. SOME PEOPLE weren’t made to be a size two, and is physically impossible. I’m 5’10 & 140 lbs. I’m not a size two, but I’m not fat. Work out & eat healthy. Be like the slimfast commercial ” find YOUR slim ” I think that parents do have a big impact on what their children think later in life, about their bodies, friends, and just living in general!
    I’m only 16years old. Never been anorexic, don’t plan to be, never had a friend who WAS anorexic. But I can understand the parents not wanting to take responsibility, its your child and you can’t imagine doing this ( not in all cases but some ) to your own child. MOMS: you know you judge yoursleves, just stop. (some dads to!) If your not happy say something positive about your look, make a note to eat healthy & exercise as a family :) Be sure your kids know that what they see on tv isn’t always whats in real life.

  63. shannon age 13 says:

    ok this is sort of true i feel like some one who is about to turn anorexic after all i see all these anorexic models and famouse people i skip meals loads every day and dont have many snacks
    ive heard you get headaches and stomache pains and you are very pale , dry skin and thin hair and not much sleep i have all of these douse this mean i could be turning anorexic or am ?
    and what your saying that parents dont realy help there kids by complaning there fat or something like that well no i reckon it,s because you see famouse people who are mega skinny it gets young teens down and even in depression but not only that at school some teens get called fat or overweight and it makes them determined to loose it me personally i dont know whats making me skip meals but i just dont like seeing all comercialss with skinny stick people it makes me want to be them maybe in some cases it is th parents fault but i also have a dream to be a model and the only way i feel i could possibly do it is to be anorexic or somesort of size 0 but im not sure if im anorexic or not

  64. lol trev. says:


  65. kerry says:


  66. Lynne says:

    I struggled with stress related eating disorders for several years, but I did not once blame my parents. My mothers own weight has fluctuated significantly over the years and it certainly increased my awareness but by no means do I think it was the root cause of my issues. There are so many pressures, from school, the media, its hitting kids from every direction they look so who can blame them for being aware. I was bullied as a child and I found it very hard to deal with stress at school. I had a severe gastric bug at 10 which influenced a lifestyle change and i became vegetarian as i could not physically or mentally accept meat in my diet. I think that as the years have gone on my attitude towards food has been quite unstable and irrational and I still go through periods of over-eating or under-eating to date but since I had councelling a couple of years ago I have the ability within myself to rationalise my thoughts and so far have prevented myself from returning to my bad habits. I like to enjoy foods that some people frown upon but it has to be in peace and quiet, I cant stand people telling me what to eat. I am always aware subconsciencously of what im eating but try not to make a point of it.

    I cannot emphasis enough the importance of seeking advice and the best advice my councellor ever gave me was that its not a bad thing to have a good cry. It’s a fantastic way of relieving tension and making irrational thoughts seem more, well irrational so you can choose to ignore them and take a more sensible and well planned route.

    I’ve been fairly well for a while and last summer I managed to lose some weight and get myself into my preferred physical condition purely through consistent exercise and eating what I wanted. I tend to find when im exercising i try to eat better as i know im working towards a goal. The thing is its only now looking through my photos that I realise how good I actually felt yet at the time I was still so busy comparing myself with other people who are naturally built taller and thinner than myself.

    An eating disorded is psychological and a symptom of underlying issues, it is rarely as simple as someone wanting to be slim. But the best thing to do if you think you need help is to get it. I realised I needed help when I started looking it up and it took a long time for that first step to occur. Even then it was another year until I actually saw someone. It is hard and it’s a long journey but there is an amazing amount of support and it’s often surprising to find out how many people you know have actually found themselves in similar circumstances. If you cant actively seek help in the form of a councellor, try a book. I found one my mum had bought (and hidden so as not to upset me further), it was such a relief to read it and see I was not alone.

    Eating disorders in their many forms are sadly a sign of our times i’m afraid. All we can do is support one another.

  67. Natalie says:

    I disagree with all of you who said that parents do not cause eating disorders in children. My mother always told me, you need to lose some weight, you are too fat, you need to eat less. I am 13, and I have anorexia and I am also bulimic. I don’t eat at all, but I still binge and purge every day. I believe it is my mother’s fault. She was always pressuring me into eating less and becoming thin, that I developed those diseases. I am only 89 lbs. I am 5’3. I can see my bones underneath my skin. I hurt allot. I take nutrition pills everyday so I wont get too sick. My mother buys them for me, and she makes me go on a 3 KM walk with her every morning before school. I have worked with some doctors, and they said that I should stay in the hospital for a little while. I wanted to. I want to get better. But my mother refused. She told them she will take care of me. Every night, before I go to bed, I cut my wrists. I feel the pain.
    It is all my mother’s fault.

  68. Judi says:

    I don’t for a minute disagree that eating disorders are genetic and biological ect ect, but I do agree that teenagers growing up, like myself, can be massivly influenced by their parents, as people have said, if kids see that their parents are unhappy with their bodies, then they start to question their own bodies, whether it’s to feel closer to their parents or just because it’s what they think is normal.

    My mum has never dieted, but she’s got a really fast metabolism so she’s always been slim, whereas I have my dad’s genes, a large structure and slow metabolism, so I find myself calorie counting and all the rest of it. My dad is overweight and he’s always ‘on a diet’, which never seems to have any effect, and sometimes I think well if I lost weight, maybe it would encourage my dad to lose some, or whatever.

    I think it’s the media, despite what people say, that influence people. To me, Amy Winehouse is incredibly beautiful, not nessacarily because she’s skinny, but she hass admitted having eating disorders and drug problems, which does make me and a lot of other teenagers that maybe we should eat less, or whatever, to look like her and the rest of the celebrities we are told are beautiful, seemingly because they’re skinny. Not that it’s the celebrities fault, they’re under constant pressure to stay skinny, it’s got to get on top of you at some point.

    Sorry if I rambled a bit there.

  69. Melanie says:

    I currently am struggling with anorexia. I’m 15 years old, 5’7”, and weigh in at a healthy (haha) 85 lbs . I used to weigh a nice 124, but not any more. Anyway, I agree and disagree with all the above posts. I think that it really depends on the family and the anorexic in question. You see, my parents are very repected lawyers in our city, both are very family-oriented, and I basically have a wholesome upper/middle class family life. However, my parents and older brother would occasionally make little teasing comments like, “Better not eat that, Mel!” or “Getting a little tubby, aren’t we now?” They were just kidding, but those little teasings were what really started me down this dark path.

    Thankfully, I’m not and have never been bulimic, don’t throw up to get rid of the calories, so that’s one hurtle I don’t have to cover. And I’ve never had any real suicidal thoughts, so I’m confident in that respect. But I’m scared that I’m going to starve myself, and yet I can’t force myself to eat. My self-will was strong enough to resist temptation, but it’s not strong enough to let my body get what it wants. And more than anything, I want to live! I love life, and I don’t want to starve. But I can’t make myeslf stop or go to my parents or a doctor or anyone. I just can’t.

    So for me, my family did have a strong influence on my eating disorder. And they also haven’t noticed I’ve got one.

    For anyone reading this forum who WANTS to be anorexic or who surfs the web for those pro-ana sites, it sucks to be you, if you’ll pardon the language. And I feel seriously bad for you. Saying you want anorexia nervosa is like saying you want cancer. It’s not fun. You can die from it. And more than anything, I want to live! I’d give anything to be healthy and normal like you.

  70. Alicia says:

    I know it’s been a few years, but I noticed this wasn’t really mentioned and wanted to add my own two cents from over 15 years personal experience: no parent is perfect. Society isn’t perfect. Our genes aren’t perfect. And it takes all THREE to ’cause’ an eating disorder.

    My therapists used to say that genes were like an unloaded gun, parental/familial comments/pressures/habits were the bullet, and society/peers pulled the trigger.

    I started restricting at age 8. Purging at 9. My mom never directly called me fat, but always encouraged dieting because, as she would say later, she didn’t want me to struggle with my weight like she did as a teen. We’d go on crash diets together. She thought she was being supportive – I saw it as though I was unworthy if I couldn’t keep up.

    Parent’s here need to read the book ‘Perfect Girls, Starving Daughters’. In it, she makes an excellent point – even ‘perfect’ parents can set up the framework for mental illness (not just ED’s) by being just that – seemingly perfect. Because while our parents watched their mothers do everything around the house, we grew up with ‘supermothers’, who excelled both inside and outside the house. It sets up an invisible netting of pressure for the daughters (and sons), who feel like the must live up to the pressure (even if it’s not explicitly implied) parents and society set. We must excel in grades (college is very expensive, so we must achieve to earn scholarships), activities (looks good on resumes and gives something for parents to brag about), and socially (which brings it’s own pressures).

    Even if my mom hadn’t been so extreme in her own dieting and encouraging me to be destructive (which she thought of as just being helpful), just by her being so great at everything she did, it felt like there was a great amount of pressure to also be effortlessly great. And when it turns out that it is NOT effortless? Well, it often triggerd feelings of low self-worth and ability.

    Dieting is a way for many young people to gain some self-worth back – if they can be ‘successful’ at dieting, maybe they’re worth something? Because, as we all know, our society SCREAMS at us that we are only worthy and successful if we are thin (or, at least, not *shudder* fat). The government in many countries have stuck their hand in the ring and are influencing children younger and younger about the importance of your worth being equal to how little you weigh on the scale.

    Those of us who are genetically predispositioned to have an ED are the ones who had the diets and found, after awhile, we could not stop it. It’s like an alcoholic or drug addict – there are reward circuits in the brain that get tripped when we lose weight or starve for periods of time. Problem is – unlike other addicts, we cannot withhold our ‘drug’ and be cured, but instead have to learn how to have a theraputical and healthy relationship with it, something almost impossible to do in this society where each day brings 5-10 new articles on what to eat, what not to eat, what’s going to make us fat if we even smell it, and what will kill us tomorrow.

    Also – for those parents screaming *it’s only genetic, we had no influence on it*, do you know what genetics mean? That means you or your husband are ALSO predisposed to it. Maybe you don’t have food issues (although you might want to take a really good look inside yourself), but another person in your family probably does. Is there someone at holidays that refuses to eat bread? Or extoles the virtue of 2+ hour workouts? Because if you believe it is entirely genetic, they had to get it biologically from somewhere in your family (which then brings in the environment aspect that some of you are saying does not exsist at all).

    ED’s are EXTREMELY complex. There is not just one factor. And parents (and doctors, friends, media) do have some influence on it. Some stray comment (‘So and so has really packed on the pounds,’ you might say to a friend, as your child overhears) really can cause a lifetime of issues. I started dieting when my mother and aunt told me I looked like Marylin Monroe. I was 8 and all I knew is the entertainment mags my mother very sporadically and occassionaly picked up had an article about how ‘big’ she was compared to today’s stars. I assumed they meant I was fat.

    Society is a big trigger. Pressure to be everything and do so perfectly is a trigger. Media/television is a trigger. Like others have said, EDs do not develop in a vaccuum. There was a great study by Anne Becker that found that after Western television was introduced to a Fiji village, there was a sharp increase in ED behavior.

    So for all those out there that believe parents have NO influence (and funny how most of these people are parents whose children suffered, not stories from children claiming their parents had NO influence), please open your mind a little bit. None of us are saying that parents are the ONLY, or even necessarily a big influence on the development of EDs, just that they are in fact at least a factor in the development. And those parents who put their head in the sand and believe they’re totally unresponsible or unaccountable, they’re the ones whose children have the potential to become even more enmeshed because their parents refuse to validate ALL causes/triggers.

    P.S. Sorry for typos/spelling errors. I just had two teeth pulled after years of bulimia (and this is the third round), and no amount of pain killers is making it easier to sleep, so I’m tired and a little on edge.

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