Telling your parents about your eating disorder is a very scary thought for so many reasons. The fear of not being believed, the fear of not being “ill enough” for help, the fear of being judged and even the feeling of guilt for hiding it for so long. I am going to start of by addressing those fears. 1. Somebody will believe you, even if your parents are finding it hard to understand you will find somebody who will believe you. believe you 2.YOU ARE ILL ENOUGH TO DESERVE HELP! It does not matter what the size of your body is and I can not express that enough! If you are making yourself sick you deserve help.If you are restricting yourself to the point it is making you miserable and is stopping your daily life YOU DESERVE HELP! 3. Most people will be considerate of you and your experiences, those that judge you do not matter and they are not the type of people you want in your life anyway 4. I hid my eating disorder for 10 years and I still feel guilty for hiding it for so long, but the most important thing is for you to get help, don’t avoid taking those steps because you feel guilty the longer you live in secret the harder it can be to recover.
Building the courage to tell them
Now lets move onto how to instigate the conversation with your parents. It is obviously a very sensitive subject to address and your eating disorder will probably try to talk you out of it something you could do for yourself that will push you towards telling you parents is to write down all the reasons that you want to recover. Read it back. It will help to remind yourself why you need to tell your parents. Read it to gain the courage to go and start the conversation. Remember that confiding in them is the first step into your recovery journey and the first step towards an eating disorder free life.
Ways to tell them
If you feel like you are ready to have the conversation but you’re too scared to just come out and say it or you’re worried that you will forget everything that you want to say. If you think it will make it easier to explain everything without getting overwhelmed, you could write down some things that you know you want to say, that way you are able to remember everything you wanted to discuss. Arrange a time where you know you will all be available as it is likely going to become a very emotional conversation so maybe don’t bring it up right before school/work. Choose somewhere that you feel safe in and ask that your parents can come and have a conversation with you.
If you know that you are going to get too overwhelmed to be able to speak, you could write them a letter. As with the tips for having a conversation, make sure that you are in a safe place, and that there is plenty of time for a chat afterwards. Ask your parents to sit down and give them the letter. In the letter write down everything that you would say to them in a conversation if you were able to. Tell them why you are anxious for the conversation, tell them the behaviours that you have been using and why you want help.
If you have a trusted friend or another family member that you have already told about your eating disorder ask them if they can be present when you tell your parents. This is good as you will have somebody there to support you and they can also take over and do the communicating for you if you get too overwhelmed.
I will be doing a post on this website soon for parents and what they should do when their child confides in them about their eating disorder and also will do a post on what to do next if you’re parent gives a bad reaction when you tell them (rare in most cases).
I want to end this post by saying that if you have found this blog post you are probably questioning if you should tell your parents. Please tell them or somebody close to you who will be able to support you to get the help that you deserve. If you need somebody to talk to who can encourage you to take the steps to tell your parents send me a message on instagram and I will be happy to talk to you about why you should do it and how you could do it. I believe in you. Be brave and take those first steps into living a life free from your eating disorder!