"Don't judge"

I find it far more helpful - and pleasant - to praise what is good rather than sit around complaining about what is bad. But, there are exceptions.

"families play role in eating disorder"

Let me make this quite clear:

Parents do not cause eating disorders. Parents do not "play a role" or "contribute" to causing eating disorders. We do not have to wait for Family Week to find out what we did or didn't do wrong as a family. We did not, on the evidence of an eating disorder, fail to validate our kids or give them the right messages. We were not formerly "pretending" and not "honest." We are no more distant or domineering than other parents. An eating disorder does not mean you need to "create your own family." An eating disorder in a family member tells you nothing - NOTHING - about that family.

Parents and families with an eating disordered child do not necessarily - any more than any other family - "need healing" except from the trauma and confusion of having a child become mentally ill.

The healing that needs to go on is from generations of parents estranged from their children based on mistaken assumptions. Generations of patients have lingered in their illnesses - or worse - while loving family has been rejected or excluded when they could have been helping. Our children need healing from being held responsible for an illness that they neither chose nor could choose to stop.

You may believe that this is all very self-serving of me as a parent to say. So don't listen to me. Watch the video of experts to your right, take a look at the science, or read what the leading researchers say. It is time to stop the parent-blaming, stop the patient-blaming and rise up from a benighted era of helplessness and hopelessness about this illness.

"Don't judge," they tell us. Indeed.


  1. Thanks for reminding us that these bogus ideas are still out there, especially at places like Remuda. Kind of like saying that many of the parents of Remuda patients have brown hair and brown eyes, so those factors appear to cause or contribute to eating disorders. There's no scientific evidence for these assertions about parents causing EDs. And consider the source on the clips you attach: Ward Keller, CEO of Remuda, a self-described businessman, not scientist or doctor, who two years ago sold Remuda to Haven Behavioral Healthcare, Inc. with the goal of "aggressive growth." www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1G1-151592003.html
    What better business strategy for aggressive growth, if you are a residential treatment center, than convincing parents they are the problem and therefore should send their kids away for treatment?

  2. I thought the part of "creating your own family" is interesting. I've found that doing so has been part of my recovery. NOT excluding my parents, but creating a "family" of friends and other loved ones who can provide support. I don't want to replace my family (okay, well there are a few I might be better off without), but supplement them.

  3. What is rather interesting is to watch the video by Jena Savage (Ward's daughter). She talks about her anorexia in terms of it having started as a control issue in relation to some very upsetting events in her 10 year old life (adoption of a brother, death of a friend)--maybe true. She then refers to it as a 'choice' that she didn't eat once the ED was in full swing and that pride held her back from restarting eating. While I agree that there are environmental
    triggers, I don't believe that one can make an easily conscious choice to change direction, especially a 10 year old. I do think it says a lot about Remuda's philosophy.

  4. this is a rough debate for me. While I do not believe my family caused my problem, I don't believe living in a chaotic family with dieting parents and siblings getting disowned helped my depression or anxiety. I'd say the ED ingredients were already there in my genes, but I was in the right environment for them to be triggered.

  5. KC, I think we'd all agree that a bad home environment makes everything harder. And would make any mental illness worse and recovery that much harder. The problem comes when all treatment for a mental condition is predicated on the idea that the illness came from the environment. I contend that you needed healing and support FOR HAVING HAD THAT ENVIRONMENT. This is separate from the ED - which you also needed treatment for.

    It shouldn't take an eating disorder for us to care about your bad, unfair childhood. I care!

  6. thanks Laura, that helps to clarify - you're right, the ED is a separate issue

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