Am I responsible for DD's eating disorder?

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Here's some irony for you. I joined SP this past January determined to get healthy. This would entail losing about 60 lbs. to have a normal BMI instead of the obese number I started with. Along the way I started eating healthier, cooking new recipes, working out. My DD & I are extremely close; she knew what I was doing and was very encouraging and proud of my progress. I counted calories on SP. She thought that was kind of cool so she joined SparkTeen and began to do the same. She, unlike me, had never had food issues nor had she ever been anything but slim and toned. She was always active, not one to sit on the couch watching tv like her potato mom.

So here we are, 10 months later. I'm in the normal BMI range finally. I'm about 4 lbs. from goal. Eating healthy & working out have become a regular routine. But I notice that DD is looking a little too thin. She used to have a bust which seems to have disappeared. I ask her to weigh herself & she's 99 lbs. when 2 months before she'd been a healthy 112.

Holy sh**! I've seen her eating but then I realize it's egg whites and plates of vegetables. We'd go to get frozen yogurt & she just gets samples instead of the big cup she used to fill. The next week she's 96.2 lbs. Obviously there's a big problem and we need help. I take DD to an eating disorder facility for an assessment and she is anorexic. Today she started an intensive 3 day a week outpatient program.

I still have some food issues. I grew up with many and wanted to spare my DD that. But has my journey to a healthier me lead to an unhealthier her? I feel very guilty that I could be responsible for DD developing an eating disorder. It's like being in the Twilight Zone. Now I cook 2 versions of foods, a low cal/low fat version for me & my mother and then I sneak ingredients in for a high cal/high fat version for DD.

DD knows and admits that she has a problem which is a big step. Many with eating disorders deny they need and refuse to get help. DD wants to get better but is really struggling because that means she'll have to gain weight.

Prayers and positive thoughts sent our way would be deeply appreciated. DD is such a wonderful, sweet, loving girl and I feel terrible that she's suffering. I know that we'll get through it (and on the bright side I told her she has her college essay topic!) It's just going to be tough for a while. She needs me by her side a lot which is why I haven't been able to Spark as much as I'd like to. And it's breaking my heart that I could have caused this.
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  • NOW4ME2011
    P.S. The 'sneaking in' of calories won't work in the long run. I know it's a good thought, but your daughter will realize it and possibly try to outwit you with heading towards the sister of anorexia...Bulimia. Bulimia is any form or purging calories (vomiting, excessive exercising, laxatives, etc.)

    In the beginning of my recovery, I wanted my parents to believe I was 'over' my anorexia, so I was sure to be the perfect child in front of them. But when you are fighting ED (Eating Disorder), you will find wonderful ways to get back the control and get rid of the calories.

    She needs to feel in control of what she is putting into her body and it be her choice. This is the fine line to walk. I pray that she is released from the grip of ED soon.

    There are also some wonderful books out there to read. I'll look them up and send you a few suggestions of ones I've read.

    Again, I wish you nothing but the best.
    2634 days ago
  • NOW4ME2011
    Hi NEWMAC, I wish the best for you and your daughter. I am a recovered anorexic / bulimic, and I have to monitor myself every single day for the rest of my life. It has nothing to do with food and everything to do with the mind (mostly the obsession over controlling something). There is nothing you did or didn’t do. Some of us are just wired with a predisposition to eating disorders such as anorexia / bulimia. The sooner we recognize it in our lives and learn tools to conquer it the better. I agree with a lot of what people have written here.

    I see you joining SPARK as a blessing. Your daughter was going to have this whether or not you were here. Joining SPARK helped you recognize the symptoms before the disease got a bigger grip on her. Kudos to you for getting the help for your daughter that she needs. Don’t minimize that. Not all parents recognize the problem nor get help for the problem.

    I agree that SPARK TEEN is not the place for her. SPARK and similar website / tools can be actually harder for people with current eating disorders (such as anorexia / bulimia) or recovering from them. An example: in our Winter Challenge, there is a 'no limit' to exercise minutes to be recorded for the 'Over the Mountain' challenge. For people without an eating disorder such as anorexia / bulimia, this is no big deal. For people that have the disorder, it can be a trigger.

    Immediately I went into compete-with-myself mode (over-the-top extreme)...but then recognized the trigger and said 'NO'. It takes years of recovery to recognize the triggers and make the correct choice. I actually used to help with the eating disorder team on SPARK and had to stop because I was rolling back into some of the old ways of thinking. Anyways, in my opinion, SPARK Teen is probably not a good thing for her. I'd be curious to hear what her counselors think of this.

    I look forward to being on the Teddy Bears Winter Team with you and hearing about the success of your daughter’s recovery. Please feel free to private message me if you have any direct questions about her recovery. I am not a therapist but I have walked in your daughter’s shoes.

    2634 days ago

    Comment edited on: 11/30/2011 9:56:30 AM
    Having just become your SP friend, I am just seeing this blog post. I hope you have taken to heart what so many others have told you, that it is not your fault. It is normal for parents to take on the blame when something undesirable happens to our kids--I have this thought whenever something happens in the life of my grown kids; I scroll back in my mind, trying to determine if it was my actions that were the cause. The fact is that we can't control how someone else will interpret our actions--in your case very positive actions. The great thing is you spotted the problem very soon, took her for help, and are helping her to solve the problem. Sounds to me like you're a terrific mom! emoticon emoticon
    2634 days ago
    Just read this today. Hope you took TURTLEBEARs information to heart. The 3 c's . . . didn't cause it, can't control it, can't cure it. I had seen addictive behaviors/problems in my family as well and she's spot on. I used to feel responsible, but am NOT! Neither are you.

    I am sending all good wishes that your DD gets and stays healthy. And I hope you do too!!
    2638 days ago
  • PCOH051610
    I am so sorry I missed this until now! Wow, you do have a lot on your plate. I'm not a professional but I don't think even a professional would say you are to blame for your daughter's condition. I think you are, in fact, setting a good example of what healthy eating entails.

    I'm so glad that your daughter admits she has a problem. While I'm sure it will be a rocky road ahead having your support will give her such an advantage. emoticon
    2641 days ago
  • FREES1
    sending positive thoughts to both you and your daughter... and please do not shoulder the responsibility for her developing this problem - it may well have happened all on its own. however if her losing weight and her getting involved with spark teen happened together I might wonder if she is just taking steps, following programs that she need not! I hope you got or will get a second opinion on the diagnosis...
    2641 days ago
    Melissa.....this is not your fault. I think you are setting a great example by getting fit and eating healthy. In this time of the media generated version of beauty is constantly telling
    young girls and ladies they aren't good enough the way they are.
    It is a positive thing that she realizes she needs help and is willing to get it. I will say a prayer for you and your DD.


    2641 days ago
    Melissa- there are many issues that contribute to eating issues as you well know. I am so thankful that your daughter is getting the help that she needs and able to do this as an outpatient. I will be praying for both of you as you walk this road. For her to get the help that she needs and to return to normal eating patterns and weight level and you to let go of asking why or wasting any energy on blaming or questioning your self. I have only known you for a short time and can see how much you love your daughter and only want what is best for her. This is not your fault and you can best help your daughter by supporting her on her path to healing and continuing to be the loving mom she has come to depend on. Will keep you both in my prayers.
    Hugs Barb
    2641 days ago
    Sending my best wishes to you and your daughter as she begins the process of figuring out the why/what/how/now what.
    2641 days ago
    You are not responsible. You are the perfect role model for how you are making yourself healthy and taking the care your body so deserves. I'm glad you were able to get your DD diagnosed so that finding a way that allows her to want to be healthy is the new goal at hand. I hope she embraces good health in the same spirit you have. Continue to be the exceptional role model you are! May you find strength and comfort during this difficult time through your faith, friends, and family.
    2641 days ago
    First of all, lots of healing energy being sent to Florida, via Maryland. As I mentioned on your status, my experience is with other addictive behaviors, but there is a phrase for loved ones to remember: "You didn't cause it; You can't control it; You can't cure it." Eating disorders aren't about eating, but about something that is going on inside someone's head - so you aren't responsible by your examples...and in addition, your examples weren't about eating but about getting healthy. That's an AWESOME example that you've been setting for Skye. I am sure this has already happened, but she needs to get off of Teen SP, because that can be addictive in its own way and be pushing her in the wrong direction.
    2642 days ago
    You choosing a healthy diet is not what caused your daughter's eating disorder. Anorexia and bulimia usually have an underlying psychological cause - a lack of control somewhere else in the person's life causes her to exert control over her body. During her therapy your daughter will figure out what her underlying issue is and how to deal with it in a healthy way. It is a good thing that you caught this when you did. You are a very good mom!!!
    2642 days ago
  • TERESA159
    I know where you're coming from. You've been on the journey to get healthy by losing weight and have enjoyed great success but along the way, she aligned her eating with yours and your diet and her health just don't match up. I have kind of the same problem, although not to the same extreme, with feeding Randy. We both want to and need to lose weight but i have to make sure he doesn't just eat the same things in the same portions that I do. Which, is what naturally tends to happen. So I do have to be diligent in my cooking and dishing things out so that he gets the calories he needs and I don't get too much. This is what is healthy for both of us. You and Skye will also find that balance. You continuing on your weight loss journey and she finding the way to eat that builds and maintains her health and her soon again to be already healthy weight.
    Will be thinking about you guys.... emoticon
    2642 days ago
    Stop blaming yourself - she did what she did because SHE DID IT, not you! And the chances are that she would have developed this whether you lost weight or didn't, whether you ate healthy or didn't, etc. The very best thing you can do is to educate yourself and your daughter about nutrition and health - it's not about being skinny or fat, it's about being healthy! You are doing the best thing by getting her help now and continue to be a good role model for HEALTH - in the long run, that will help both of you 'recover' from this.

    I do know a little about this because I come from a family where all the females have had some sort of eating disorder [and most of the males have had an alcoholic problem!] so I think there is a genetic component beyond just behavioral modeling.

    But the biggest question to ask yourself is not 'did I cause this' but more 'did I want this to happen - did I TRY to cause this' - if the answer is no, then it you are not at fault. Period. All parents make mistakes because parents are humans - and humans are not perfect. The job is not to try to be perfect but to try to learn from the mistakes and to love everyone in their imperfection. Not 'in spite of it' but 'because' they are simply being human. So forgive yourself for being human and love your daughter and yourself back to health!

    2642 days ago
    No, you are not responsible for this. You are doing the right thing by getting her the help she needs quickly.
    2642 days ago
    I'm so sorry to hear about what your DD is going through. You mentioned it briefly before so she has been in my thoughts and prayers. You have also mentioned "auditions" for her. I"m not quite sure what she does but is the industry she is auditioning for part of the problem? She may have had an underlining issue for a long time that surfaced quicker. Don't blame yourself. Insted, be grateful that she is getting help and that she wants help!
    2642 days ago
    I'm so sorry to hear this. I know as a parent every time my child struggles with anything I question what I did to cause it. I think it's natural for us to feel that way. But you getting healthy and taking care of yourself is something positive that you did for both you and your daughter. This is not your fault. emoticon
    2642 days ago
    Oh, Melissa! You know I'm sending lots of healing thoughts and prayers your way. Don't blame yourself though. This isn't your fault. You were doing what you needed to do to get healthy for you and her. Thankfully you caught her disorder quickly and you are both working towards getting her healty again. That will go a long way towards her success. Don't feel guilty, you're a great mom!
    2642 days ago
    Oh you poor dear! To think that this is possibly your fault is heart wrenching.

    I think that your daughter had a problem way before you started losing the weight.

    I know what it's like to live with someone anorexic. My Mom is to this day. She does eat, but I noticed that she keeps some of her calories up by drinking pop.

    I am so glad that you realized what was going on and that you did something about it! That is a sign of a good Mom. A loving Mom and a person that really cares.

    Please, don't take this as 'your fault'. Be there for her and support her and get her eating.

    I do hope that things turn out for the better.

    2642 days ago
    That's far too simple an explanation to a very complex problem - there are all kinds of factors that go into the creation of an eating disorder. Blaming one's parents is an "easy out" but it's never that simple.

    I know as a mom we feel SO responsible for our kids life choices and wish we could protect them from every bump and bruise. She'll get through this and be stronger for it. And she knows you're there for her every step of the way.
    2642 days ago
  • SHRINK71
    Sending definite positive healthy vibes your way. Good for you for recognizing it so quickly and getting her the help she needs!!! So many Mom's don't notice until the disease has progressed to a point where treatment is that much more difficult! The fact that she knows she has a problem and that you acted on it immediately and in the responsible way bodes very well for her recovery! YOU are a GREAT Mom!!!
    You were actually modeling healthy eating and healthy lifestyle habits for her - which she will still benefit from during her treatment.
    Wishing you both health and happiness always.
    2642 days ago
    She will come out of it really fast with a little help from you. I've been there and believe me Anorexia is no fun. But its not the abyss either. Its really just a deep obsession with counting and numbers , just like any other OCD. With you holding her hand , I'm sure she will come out just fine.
    Take care.
    2642 days ago
    This is an education issue - not a blame issue...

    Share your knowledge and realise you have saved her from years of unhappiness and obesity. The one thing I have learnt to emphasise is the need for ongoing support in most areas of our life and she is blessed to have such a thoughtful caring person such as you in her life.
    2642 days ago
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