Directly from the mom

Having seen other versions of this story and been offended by both the term "tough love"** and the question "did it work,"*** I wasn't planning on blogging about this family's story. It has, however, come up on lots of other blogs and ATDT forum.

This one, however, is written by the mother and tells a very different story.

Emily, her anorexia and me

What strikes me most reading this, is that this family wasn't told key things about the illness until their dear daughter was many years into it. They weren't told that malnourishment and weight loss drive psychological symptoms. They weren't coached in how to separate the illness from the person. They weren't given hope, or tools, or useful information.

I don't understand, still, why people insist eating disorders are so different in older patients than young ones - except that we've failed them for longer. I don't understand why we think older patients have to "want" recovery when we know the longer one is ill the harder that is. Good information, family support, and tools are what ALL families need.

*I consider it love, period, for parents to say I support you but not your eating disorder.
**Parents who make such boundaries have to make them not because it will "work" but because the alternative is to support the eating disorder. Whether those boundaries lead to successful treatment or not is a separate issue - parents should not be helping ED.


  1. Just wanted to say that I'm with you if you want to start the "New Name for Tough Love" committee. I know it's history is in the enabling patterns of loved ones of addicts, and that the tough originally referred to how hard it feels to DO, but man, does it sounds some dog whistles now!


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