- Bulima problem in the family == I need some ADVICE

  1. Hello

    I don't know who to turn or what to do. Worst case senario - my mother has bulimia. It all started when she was gaining alot of weight and my dad had pushed her into 'losing weight' so much that she's always losing weight by vomiting. The thing is that i'm only 19 -- and my mom thinks that no one in the family suspects anything of her doing. when any of us tell her about it she always shrugs it off like its nothing. I know this is a real problem, but as a daughter, she doesn't want to listen to me. When my older sister tried to address my mom about it....she was like 'okay okay I'll stop, I know it's wrong." But lately I can tell that my mom is still routinely vomiting up the food; and she eats very little everyday.

    How can we get it out of her head that this can affect her? Please help....I don't know where to turn!

    What should I do as a daughter??

    Last edit by jewelsvu82 on Jun 23, '02
  2. 14 Comments

  3. by   Ted
    Wow, jewelsvu82:

    I can relate to your frustration!!! My sister, in her youth, had a horrible problem with anorexia and bulemia.

    I used to try and try and try to reason with her to eat better. Didn't work. A few times, I even screamed at her to eat better. Only made her vomit more.

    It's scary and extremely frustrating. My sister, in my eyes, was slowly killing herself. . . . . . and there was NOTHING I could do to prevent her from doing the things she was doing (or not doing, like eating!) to herself.

    At one point in my life, I went to counseling. I don't recommend this to everyone. It is not for everyone. Finally, not every counselor is good. However, I did manage to find one who was very good for me.

    I basically had to learn that I couldn't control how my sister eats or doesn't eat. Trust me, it was a hard lesson for me to learn!

    I now enjoy a better relationship with my sister. She's in her 30's and I believe she still has an "eating problem". But she's alive. . . and she seems happy. We now enjoy eachother's company and slowly but surely we're becoming more involved in eachother's life in a "positive" way.

    One suggestion. I believe that there are support groups out there for family members who have loved ones with eating problems. I don't know the name of the support group. However, if you contact O.A. (Overeater's Anonymous), they might be able to help you. At the very least, you'll find out that you are not alone. . . . and that you don't have to survive an experience like this by yourself. There is some wonderful support out there to be found. . . .

    Hope this helps.

    Last edit by Ted on Jun 25, '02
  4. by   jewelsvu82
    Thanks for your reply, Ted

    I'm glad I'm not the only one in this situation. I always tell her that she needs to be eating healthier and hint to her that she looks too thin. I just hope my mom stops....

    I don't know if counseling will work in my case. My family is a traditional Asian family who hates to go to the hospital unless we are actually bleeding alot..etc etc... Ironically, I want to be a nurse!

    About your sister, how did she ever get over her eating problem? Is she still doing it? Best of luck with you and your sister, Ted.

  5. by   Ted

    Sad to say, I don't know if my sister ever got entirely over her eating problem. (She still looks quite thin to me). I know that she has also gone to counceling and support groups and hospitalization, etc. Sadly, not everyone gets better. . . .

    I do know that statistically, the older the person with bulemia/anorexia, the harder for that person to regain some kind of "healthy" eating.

    I'm not an eating expert. (You should see my pot belly!!!)

    However, I do recommend that you educate yourself on this matter. The more knowledge the better. Counseling and or support groups wouldn't hurt, either. Your local school, college, hospital might have literature to read. If I come across something in the internet, I'll post it here for you.

    Again, my thoughts are with you. . .

  6. by   jewelsvu82
    Thanks! Again, Ted

    Your humor has made the best out of the situation! And I plan to educate myself and my family better.

  7. by   jayna
    You need to talk to your father not to pressure your mother into lossing weight, but to accept her as she is.
    It seems like she is trying to do what he thinks and inorder to do that, she has to lose weight by vomiting. Does he said losing weight because of medical condition or just to look trim.

    Counselling on both parents is a good thing.

    I am on Asian land and here wives follow what their husband wants them to do. Talk to dad and trying telling him to accept mom even though she'll look rounder.

    Hope everything turns out well.
  8. by   jewelsvu82

    That really does seem like a good idea. If I tell my dad, would it make him feel as though he is to blame? I don't want my dad to feel as though it's entirely his fault. The sad part is that my mom wasn't even fat. Traditionally, with a Vietnamese woman, anyone that is over a size 9 is considered fat. Sad but true. My mom is now a 4.

    My dad noticed that she has been losing alot of weight and he tries to tell her that she is getting very thin. But she still doesn't listen; she always changes the subject. Also, I do believe that she has started this due to my dad's negative remarks before, but now she doesn't even need to lose any more weight.

  9. by   jayna
    I am in Hanoi, and am size 8 with big butt makes me fat here arrghhh!!.
    Tell him that in Vietnam, women are now size 9 and above.

    Anyway, Now in Vietnam, even though the culture says to listen to parents. The children here can say what is good even to the parents. Children have the rights to say things they aren't happy about to their parents.
    For the sake of mom's health you have to stress the fact and talk to your parents. You're in the state and vietnamese children here know their rights.
    Hi Julie!

    I also suffer from an eating disorder. I say "suffer" instead of "suffered" because one will never "get over" an eating disorder.

    I have food issues. I have to learn to intake food in a sensible manner. I still have to eat. Alcoholics have alcohol issues. They still don't have to drink 3 square drinks a day.

    An eating disorder is an addiction of sorts, a sickness. She will never get better without help, probably both inpatient and long term out patient. Sadly, nothing you say will ever fix her. You'll need some help processing that. According to my mother, it's very difficult to watch someone you love slowly kill themselves, and you are defenseless againt it. In fact, the more you harp on her, the further she will delve into it.

    It's not about food Julie, not at all. Food is just what she controls in an absence of anything else to control. There's an underlying issue that causes her to hurt herself.

    You can't "make her see" what she's doing to herself. I knew what I was doing. My mom is a nurse also, and I knew very well the risks associated with my behavior. My hair fell out, my muscles atrophied to a point that I was rendered incapable of almost all movement, my depleted potassium along with too many doses of cardio toxic ippecac caused me some cardiac repercussions. I simply didn't care. I hated myself so much at that point, I wasn't worthy of being a healthy human being.

    Unfortuantely, eating disorder statistics aren't pretty to look at.

    I really hope that you and your family all get the help you need. Feel free to PM me anytime Julie.

  11. by   jewelsvu82
    Thanks Heather and Jayna for your input!

    What happens when someone were to prolong this habit? What are the effects? I want to at least tell my mom what would happen to her.

    If it continues Julie, she will die.

    A person can only lose so much weight before it becomes incompatible with life.

  13. by   oramar
    Didn't I read somewhere that these diseases have such a high death rate so medical attention is very important? Also, I heard and read that prosac was a big help?
    I don't recall the statistic, but for most people with eating disorders, depression is, or will be in the future, a major factor. So it stands to reason that antidepressants would serve to aid these people.