They say that addiction is a family disease, and food addiction is no exception. Addiction and recovery both happen in the context of a family system. Changing that dynamic requires delving into each person’s family of origin.
This is not about blame, but it is about recognizing each person’s part in contributing to the eating disorder, and helping them do things differently from this point forward.
When clients are admitted to The Recovery Village with eating disorders, I get to facilitate each family orientation session. No one is given a manual for how to handle this difficult situation when they are raising children. Parents often feel sideswiped at finding themselves in this position of having to learn how to help their adult child find and “do” recovery.
At White Picket Fence we offer free support groups for friends and family of people with eating disorders. There aren’t a lot of resources for them. Instead of acting as therapists, we coach them about how to be most helpful to a loved one who struggles with eating issues.
We also recommend books such as:
- Talking to Eating Disorders: Simple Ways to Support Someone With Anorexia, Bulimia, Binge Eating, Or Body Image Issues
- Surviving an Eating Disorder: Strategies for Family and Friends
- Why She Feels Fat: Understanding Your Loved One’s Eating Disorder and How You Can Help
- The New Co-Dependency: Help and Guidance for Today’s Generation
While it’s not healthy or accurate to blame your eating disorder on your family, it can be comforting to know that they – and the systems they inherited from their own family – definitely had a role. They can also be part of the solution.