I Finally Told my Daughter About my Eating Disorder

Over the weekend, I did something that I had been hoping to put off for another few years – my husband and I told our 10-year old daughter about my eating disorder, that I was a compulsive (over)eater. My sincere thanks go out to MamaV for unknowingly giving me the kick in the pants I needed to take off my rose-colored glasses, get out of the denial I was in, and have this conversation with my child.

The talk went well. I read her a letter I had written (as I’m better at writing down my thoughts) and used that as a springboard for further conversation.

She did have a few questions, but nothing major. I’m sure it was a lot for her to digest and she may not have even understood everything I said. She didn’t seem shocked, dismayed or have any major reaction one way or the other.

I feel good that we spoke about my problem. I feel like it opened the door to further conversations about eating disorders, and our relationship in general, which is SO important.

I’m sure as she gets older, she will see and hear more about disordered eating, and I hope that she will feel comfortable talking to us about it. I PRAY that she does not have to struggle with what I have been going through for over three decades.

I like also that she got to hear me admit that I was “flawed” but that I was working hard hard at improving myself for my health and well being.

If you have kids, have you told them about your eating disorder? How did they react? Any regrets?

One Day at a Time... Nurture myself... Awareness... Letting Go... Listen to my Body

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Comments

28 Responses, Leave a Reply
  1. Diana
    16 February 2010, 8:58 pm

    Wow. That is impressive. Great that you decided to open the conversational door now! They learn so much without being told..and pressures are starting to young. I hope your prayer is answered. It’s one thing thats made me reluctant to have kids…fears that I’ll pass on my issues (not only eating, but that’s one of them).
    You made a great step 🙂
    .-= Diana´s last blog ..Tricks =-.

    [Reply]

    love2eatinpa Reply:

    i was really in denial for a while, diana. i always tried to weigh/measure discreetly, but who was i kidding, kids don’t miss a trick. it is freeing that she knows now, even though i’m sure she doesn’t fully “get it”. now i don’t have to fold down my laptop whenever i’m working on my blog. =)

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  2. Michelle@Eatingjourney
    17 February 2010, 2:00 am

    Congrats on being so brave. I am really proud of you.

    [Reply]

    love2eatinpa Reply:

    thanks. it felt odd to be speaking to her about it, but on the other hand it was freeing. it felt like the right thing to do, though like i said, i needed to be hit over the head to realize that now was the right time.

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  3. Patsy
    17 February 2010, 4:29 am

    I pray your daughter doesn’t have to go through the same struggles you have, and I pray my daughter doesn’t either… We can only do our best as parents….
    .-= Patsy´s last blog ..Making Changes! =-.

    [Reply]

    love2eatinpa Reply:

    i pray for both our daughters too, patsy. we can only do our best, but it’s in the genes and society is brutal. tough to parent against those odds.

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  4. Melissa
    17 February 2010, 12:26 pm

    You did such a great thing telling your daughter the truth about your personal eating disorder. To open the door for her was a courageous act. It is so good to let our kids know that life isn’t always perfect!! Sometimes love and support are all we need. By saying “Mommy has a problem and this is how I am dealing with it” you are showing her how to handle problems head-on…that is priceless!!!

    [Reply]

    love2eatinpa Reply:

    thanks so much, melissa! i hope that she did get something out of it and knows she can come to me/us if she and can tell us anything that is bothering her.

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  5. […] I Finally Told my Daughter About my Eating Disorder | Confessions … Share and […]

  6. Jess
    17 February 2010, 5:40 pm

    First of all, I really love the page’s new look. It’s so sporty and upbeat, and I kinda want to go exercise just looking at it.

    Second of all, I am so proud of you for finally speaking about it to your daughter. That was something you’ve struggled with since I first started reading your blog. It’s a big milestone, to share something like this.

    In my case, my 11-year-old son knew I was going. My family knew I was sick to death of being unable to “find the willpower” to lose the weight. As I changed, he’s changed, too. The marks of a future binge overeater aren’t entirely gone on him, but they are fading. I don’t hoard food, I share when I can, and I will choose abstinence over apple strudel. I used to lie about eating others’ food in the house (leftovers, Halloween candy, anything but their leftover salad!), and now people know I don’t eat it because it’s there in the refrigerator still waiting on them when they want it!

    That sense of trust and empathy and awareness by being up front has made things better–right when my kid is on the threshold of what I consider to be one of the hardest times in a person’s life: adolescence.

    [Reply]

    love2eatinpa Reply:

    thanks for the kind words about the new look of the site. more importantly, thanks for the support about telling my daughter. i had to finally get out of denial and i’m glad that i did, especially, as you said, with our kids being on the verge of dun dun dun dun – adolescence.

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  7. Sagan
    17 February 2010, 5:49 pm

    Congratulations- that’s incredibly brave of you! She’s lucky to know that she can go to you about those kinds of issues.
    .-= Sagan´s last blog ..The Living Healthy in the Real World Guide to Grocery Shopping, Part Two: Building the Basics =-.

    [Reply]

    love2eatinpa Reply:

    thanks, sagan! i really hope that it opened the door so she feels comfortable talking to me/my husband about these issues in the future.

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  8. Anonymous Fat Girl
    17 February 2010, 6:13 pm

    I’m so proud of you for doing this, it had to be really tough, but I bet you feel so much better getting it out. I have a nine year old son and there have been times that I wanted to sit and have a talk with him about my eating problems but I’ve not yet had the courage to do it. If you can do it, why can’t I, right? 🙂
    .-= Anonymous Fat Girl´s last blog ..Thoughts on gastric bypass =-.

    [Reply]

    love2eatinpa Reply:

    thanks! it was definitely bizarre telling my daughter, especially when there are very few people who i have told about my eating disorder (my blog is anonymous). but in hindsight, i’m so glad my head isn’t buried in the sand anymore and telling her was very freeing. if i can give you a piece of advice, as obviously cuz you blog you like to write, write him a letter first. i got to have more than just the moment of speaking to really gather my thoughts and get down what i wanted to say. then i used that as my springboard for the official talk. good luck! just remember, as i was finally able to realize, as discreet as you may try to be, these kids are sponges and he already knows that something is going on.

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  9. Jess
    17 February 2010, 6:16 pm

    Oh dear HP . . . the Girl Scout cookies my husband ordered just arrived. They’re in the freezer and I guess this is my chance to model more positive behavior by not eating a whole box by myself this year.

    Then again, the idea of eating them at all is making me a little queasy . . . could this be the first year I eat none?

    [Reply]

    love2eatinpa Reply:

    deep breath!!!!! you don’t have to decide this moment what to do. you can always wait until just a few are left and then eat them to finish the box. you use them as your discretionary calories and then you don’t have to worry about them anymore.

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  10. Jody - Fit at 52
    18 February 2010, 1:52 pm

    You are so brave! Congrats! Now with the openness, maybe she will feel like she can always talk to you about anything as well. Many of our kids do not…
    .-= Jody – Fit at 52´s last blog ..Past Catching Up With the Present =-.

    [Reply]

    love2eatinpa Reply:

    aw, thanks, jody! i don’t think i was brave, i think there was no option – i had to do it. i truly hope that she does feel like she can talk to me (and/or) my husband about anything. i did not have that relationship with my mom and want cycle to end.

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  11. jackie callahan
    18 February 2010, 2:43 pm

    I think you definitely did the right thing. I think the phrase, “we are only as sick as the secrets we keep” is really true. Also, when we are hiding this huge part of the truth of who we are from our children, how can we be truly intimate about anything else?
    As for me, I have told my adult daughter, and she has known since she was about sixteen. But I haven’t had the courage to tell my boys, 13 and 18, and I guess it’s shame that keeps me from being honest. I have talked to my younger son, a lot, about sugar addiction and owned up to wearing that nametag, mostly because he’s definitely got a unhealthy relationship with sugar too, but I haven’t really labeled myself as a ‘compulsive eater’ with them. It seems scary, though I know it is for the best, for all of us, for me to overcome these fears. Thanks for the food for thought!
    .-= jackie callahan´s last blog .. =-.

    [Reply]

    love2eatinpa Reply:

    you bring up a good point, jackie, questioning how can we really have an open relationship with our kids if we can’t be honest about ourselves witht them. Trust me, i hear ya about the shame. i think that is why i don’t even have my name on my blog. i’m glad i was able to give you food for thought. when you are ready, i’m sure you will tell your boys, because trust me, they already know something is up.

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  12. Holly
    19 February 2010, 10:38 am

    Wow….I can’t imagine how hard that must have been for you. I truly commend you for doing it. My mom has been overweight her whole life, and she really never talked to my sisters and I about her eating issues until we had eating disorders ourselves. I think EDs are like elephants in the room, and I wish they wouldn’t be. I know when I tell people of mine, I feel more free…like I don’t have to hide anything anymore. It also makes me feel like I don’t have to explain why I have some weird eating habits, and why I’m so sensitive to certain comments re: food and exercise.

    If I have kids, I really want to talk to them about my ED. I wish my parents hadn’t hid their issues (though few) from my sisters and I, because it made me really think they were up on a pedastal and I was never good enough. I hope I am as brave as you were to have the same talk with my kids one day!
    .-= Holly´s last blog ..Two Slow Cookers, Two Meals =-.

    [Reply]

    love2eatinpa Reply:

    thanks, holly! you bring a great point – it is like having an elephant in the room. everyone knows it’s there, but no one talks about it. i find writing this blog to be freeing as well as talking to the few people i’ve told, but my blog is still anonymous and i have many family and friends who i’m sure have their suspicions that i’m weird with food for one way or another, but i’m still ‘closeted’. i’m sure it would be freeing to tell everyone, but i just can’t yet.
    it’s a shame your parents made you feel bad about yourself, which i’m sure kicked off your eating issues. it’s a vicious circle. i truly hope that the cycle will stop with me.

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  13. Jill
    28 February 2010, 8:21 pm

    I applaud you for telling your daughter. Congratulations! 🙂

    [Reply]

    love2eatinpa Reply:

    thanks, jill!

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  14. Jill
    28 February 2010, 8:33 pm

    You’re welcome!

    [Reply]

  15. Heather
    06 June 2011, 5:13 pm

    I finally worked up enough courage to tell my husband about my ed, I cannot even imagine telling my 16 yr old daughter or 10 yr old twin daughters. I have had this eating disorder for over 20 yrs and it has complete control over my life. I cannot stop. I want to stop. I weigh only 115 lbs at 5’5″… Up until recently I have been able to keep my weight normal but I started losing weight within the past few months and people are starting to notice and ask questions. I see a psychologist once a week and we are trying to come uo with a way for me to end this battle. So far I am losing 🙁

    [Reply]

    love2eatinpa Reply:

    hi heather and thanks for writing!
    good for you for telling your husband, i bet it was a huge relief and definitely a step in the right direction. as it was told to me in no uncertain terms, your kids are sponges and they totally see/hear/feel what you are doing, no matter how hard you try to hide it. tell them. trust them. empower them so that they don’t go through what you did. get that dialogue going.
    be kind to yourself, recovery is a process, a journey, not something that happens overnight, just as your ED didn’t happen overnight. you are taking big steps in the right direction, give it time, you will get there!!

    [Reply]

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