Discussing an Eating Disorder with Your Family

Admitting to your family that you’re struggling with an eating disorder is difficult, but opening up to your closest loved ones can make the recovery process much easier. If you’re unsure of how you should start this conversation with your relatives, use these suggestions to navigate through any potential difficulties.

Practice beforehand

While you can’t predict how the entire conversation may go, you can rehearse how you want to introduce the subject. When the time actually comes, it’s likely that you’ll be nervous, and practicing can be a way to overcome those nerves. When planning ahead, think about some of the many variables of the conversation—do you want to bring it up immediately or ease into the conversation? Where and when should you bring up the subject? Knowing the answers to these questions before you actually sit down with your family can relieve a great deal of your anxiety over the conversation.

Accept their reactions

Hopefully after you disclose such a personal secret, your family will respond with love and compassion, but if certain people are unfamiliar with eating disorders they may react negatively. However, if this occurs, don’t allow yourself to get sucked in. You can’t control how others feel—you can only control your own reactions. Many times people are less-than-supportive in situations like these because of fear or ignorance, so do what you can to educate and show love, even when family members are acting unlovable.

Turn things into a team effort

You’re much more likely to recover from an eating disorder if you have a strong team of supporters behind you, and make sure your family knows this. Even though the condition is yours to deal with, it affects friends and family members as well, so let them know that there are ways they can help you on your road to recovery. For example, if you’re considering an eating disorder treatment center, educate them about the programs you’ve researched. Let them know that this is a big life decision for you, and ask for their opinions. They’ll probably have lots of things to say in terms of where the eating disorder treatment center is located, how much it costs, and who will be treating you. Getting the whole family involved in choices like this is a great way to ensure that your decision benefits all of you as much as possible.


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Posted on May 5, 2023