Child Trying To Save Her Anorexic Mother


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*pix This young girl needs a healthy loving mother's arms around her. Mothers, please, fight for recovery out of love for your children if not yourself. Healing saves more lives than your own.

I just got my heart broken again. A young girl wanted to connect with me on Facebook. When I got the request and saw that young sweet face I wrote, asking her age. I don't accept minors on my Facebook account or my website. 

She told me she was twelve. She is worried about her mother. Her mother has an eating disorder, will not accept help, and cries a lot.

She cut off any recovery conversation on Facebook and doesn't eat.  Her friends love her but have told her they won't see her anymore.  One friend still will e-mail the child to see how she is doing. 

Good grief. The agony, fear and terrible loneliness that came through this girl's brief message was dreadful.

What could I do? She's a cry in the night. I wonder how many children are out there crying. 

She's young, sweet, frightened, desperate, trying to be more responsible than her years will allow and getting terribly wounded. It's frustrating and painful to see and know that she is suffering right now.

I asked her if she has a father she can talk to.  I suggested that she talk to one of her teachers that she trusts or the parent of a friend.  I told her to keep talking to people and asking for help because, while her mother needs help, this child needs help too.

She needs to be cared for yet is in the position of trying to take care of what seems to be a very ill mom.

Eating disorders are life and soul destroying illnesses that affect more than the person with the disorder. In this real life story the mother probably loves her daughter.  The mother has an eating disorder which creates dissociative states.  She uses her eating disorder to shut out feelings and awareness.

She doesn't know that she is shutting out her daughter.  She doesn't see her daughter's pain. She would probably be horrified to know the kind of fear and desperation she was putting her daughter through.  But the mother can only know that once she is well into recovery.

Some of the hardest feelings to bear in recovery work are not the terrible feelings you feel in and around your eating disorder - no matter how bad those feelings are.  The hardest feelings to bear are those that come with the realization of how oblivious you were to the pain of others while you were ill.

Please get on your recovery path. With love, determination and right action, you will find your health and freedom. And by so doing, you will free and protect the people you love.
Joanna Poppink, MFT, Los Angeles eating disorder recovery psychotherapist.

*Pix CC0 Public Domain


0 # That's so sad. Poor girl.PTC 2011-11-11 04:22
That's so sad. Poor girl.
0 # Yes, I'm still sad knowing she's out thepinkjoanna 2011-11-11 09:08
Yes, I'm still sad knowing she's out thee in such trouble. Recovery from eating disorders is vital for the person suffering and everyone who loves her.

Sweet girl. I hope she finds support at home.
0 # Sounds like she's going to have to go ouPTC 2011-11-11 10:12
Sounds like she's going to have to go outside of her house for that.
0 # My heart goes out to her- poor thing - lJanet 2011-11-11 16:46
My heart goes out to her- poor thing - lets pray for her and send her the help she needs
0 # Absolutely heartbreaking JPshh 2011-11-13 13:17
Absolutely heartbreaking JP

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