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A Mother Wanting To Help Her Daughters Bulimia Recovery

by Pamela

My daughter just told me she is in therapy to battle bulimia...

As a Mom, I feel like I should have known.

Looking back from jr. high through her high school years, I can now see it. Why didn't I then?

How, as a mom that lives over three hours away, can I help my daughter? What do I say and how can I be of best support to her her now that she has opened up to me. Her and I are good friends but this is something she has kept hidden from everyone, until now.

I have told her how proud I am of her for seeking help and admitting she has a problem, that I love her and am here for her no matter what she may need.

Is there more I can do?

Shaye Says

Hi Pamela!

Firstly I want to say - please don't feel bad that you didn't realize your daughter had bulimia... It is such a secret illness - we are so ashamed of it that the people we hide it from the most are the ones we love the most...

I had bulimia for over a decade and my mom never knew. She knew I had eating issues but always though it was more a problem with not wanting to eat - rather than not being able to stop (when people weren't looking) Bulimia sufferers are often perfectionists and quite intelligent - so we easily mater hiding this illness...

The fact that your daughter has opened up to you after all this time is a massive positive step in her recovery... For me, it was only after I began opening up about my bulimia and talking about it - that I finally began to recover.

My advice to a parent who wants to play an active part in their adult childs recovery would be to give them tones of positive reinforcement...

Remind them what a great thing they're doing for their future by going to therapy

Express your love to them in subtle but meaningful ways

Be a happy and positive role model.

Also, when you do catch up with your daughter don't insist to talk about it - allow her to make the first move. If she doesn't - just kindly ask how she is doing... But don't push the subject if she doesn't feel up to talking about it. I remember being so worried about telling people of my bulimia - I thought every get-together would be awkward as they'de be watching my every move. Just try make your daughter feel at ease... Have fun with her :)

Another thing you could do which I think would help is direct her to my 'bulimia stories' page - I personally found that reading other peoples experiences made me realise that I wasn't alone - and I wasn't such a freak after all. Just drop her a friendly email with a link to the page... Just say you were doing a little research on how you could help and found these stories...

You can see my bulimia stories page by clicking here. I've shared my personal bulimia story and then at the bottom about 40 other bulimia sufferers have shared theirs too. Who knows - your daughter might even feel confident enough to tell her story - which is a great outlet of emotions.

I hope this little snippet of advice helps... But sleep well tonight knowing that your daughter has taken a brave step towards recovery by opening up - and often that is the hardest part of all.

All the Best,

P.S. Also gently tell her to try and eat a banana or two each day and hold it down... They are a great source of potassium which many bulimics are dangerously low in. Or you can send her this link:

Return to Bulimia questions.



Article by Shaye Boddington
Author of
and creator of The Bulimia Recovery Program and Community

The Bulimia Recovery Program