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What's the Cause
Love :: Listen :: Communicate
Validate :: Society :: Food & Eating
Relationships :: Abuse

In the words of those who suffer... read and find out what each individual feels could have prevented the onset of their Eating Disorder.

"My parents could have done alot to prevent and help me get the help I needed. I was told repeatedly by my step-mother that I was fat, ugly and stupid. My father said nothing nor did he stop my step-mother's ridicule and put down of me. When I began to lose weight my step-mother told me how much better I looked and that was why I finally had a boyfriend. I was sixteen and far from being overweight.

"There was physical and emotional abuse in my family which also contributed to my eating disorder. When concerned friends went to my school counselor, the counselor called my parents and told them I was starving myself. Their response was to threaten me with shock treatment to control my behavior.

"I moved out when I was 17 and over the years went from starving to binging but I finally recovered - on my own! It was a miracle and when I think back I thank God I was able to recover. I am now 29 and after 2 relapses the demon inside is gone. I no longer believe I need to be stick thin to be beautiful, wanted and accepted!

"If only my parents would have not have placed an emphasis on external beauty as a way of being worthy..What is inside is what matters the most!"

"I was a very unattractive child and was reminded about it all the time. I found much pleasure in eating. It made me feel good. When I became an adolescent, I started gaining weight. I heard the comments and the giggles. I was the one girl who was left standing at dances. I was the one who was bypassed for teams."

"I think what I could have done, was to go to college and get a career before I got married. I had very low self-esteem and married the firs "love" I had. I thought that if I didn't marry him, I would never again find someone who would be interested in me. It seemed like my only chance at a husband. I really feel that if I had gone to college instead, I could have developed the self-esteem I needed. I would have realized that I didn't have to be dependent on a man to make me happy. I would've experienced life."

"For as long as I've known them, they have never gotten along. They've been thinking about divorcing all my life. So I've never actually seen love between them, and so I guess I don't really know what it's like to be in a loving relationship. I think they stayed together all this time because of me. Which was ultimately not beneficial.

"In addition, my dad works a full time job. I only see him a couple of hours in the evening and on the weekends. My mom also works full time. And my sisters have moved out. So I guess I was feeling left out and alone. The only person I'm really close to in my family is my mother. My dad has only recently tried to get close to me. But it just feels too late. My dad is like a stranger to me.

"I've also yet to have been in a long term relationship with guys. I sometimes feel like an innocent lost kid when I'm with a guy. It almost feels wrong and threatening."

"What would have helped me? Maybe if I had been treated like a person, instead of an anorexic. People aren't anorexic or bulimic, they have it. It's sad being referred to as a disorder."

"Maybe if my mother didn't drag me off to weight loss clinics left and right as a child.... and maybe if my daddy didn't tell me how fat or chunky I was... maybe if they made me feel like more of a person and less of a body.

My eating disorder began when my father died. I always wondered if he hadn't killed himself would he have been happy about my anorexia. All I know is that he didn't particularly approve of his fat child. Would it make him happy that I finally got skinny? Would he feel better about himself if he had lived to see me with tubes up my nose and in my veins? Would he be proud that I almost starved myself to death? Or would he say that he loved me no matter my weight? Would he appologize for calling me names and making sounds when I walked by? Would he love me for the great person I was inside? It is too bad his talented daughter has given up her dreams in search of pleasing her dead father through starvation... Too bad he couldn't have stuck around to see how damaging his words were. He will see me soon enough when this disease finally kills me. Will he be happy to see me then?

Dieting is dangerous. And that should be plastered on billboards and on magazine covers instead of these thin women that are airbrushed and starving themselves. This started out as a simple diet... and everyone was so happy that I was losing the weight... but then I couldn't stop.

I remember in 6th grade a boy asked me to go to the valentine's day dance. My teacher found out and made fun of him for asking me because I was overweight. He turned out to be one of the nicest and most popular guys in high school. And I turned out to have anorexia. And we didn't go to the dance because I wanted to spare him the embarrassment. If only more parents raised their children like his parents raised him.... too disregard outside appearances and recognize the goodness that hides on the inside.

My friends in high school all knew that I was throwing up. They never said a word. Maybe if they had spoken up they could have spared me the torture of multiple hospitalizations and near death experiences.

Friends need to recognize that it is worth destroying a friendship to save a life. I think if my friends had it to do over... they would have done more than sit outside the bathroom door and talk about me.

My best friends couldn't take the constant worry. They got sick of running home from college and work to find me in the hospital again. I drove them into therapy. And a therapist said that the best thing they could do for themselves was to distance themselves from me. I have always resented that... because for many years they were all I had left to cling to."

"I think if I hadn't grown up with a father and mother who were so controlling I wouldn't have had to deal with this disorder. I was never sick until I was 21 -- I guess that's when I really began to realize just how much my parents were running my life. They began to tell me I was too immature to handle this or that and that I could never do anything without their help and support. I'm 23 and still dealing with this, although I'm on the road to recovery. I refuse to let myself be controlled by this disease and my parents my entire life. I want to have children, I want to live.

"My father has also called me names like stupid, dumb, asshole and dumb-ass all of my life. I don't think he realizes how much those words have hurt me and affected my self esteem. My mother has also been dealing with a chronic disease for 9 years and I feel guilty about her being sick, like it's my fault. Maybe because she unknowingly lays guilt trips on me, I don't know. I doubt myself, I hate myself.

"I also have friends who have eating disorders -- competition is a big thing. You always have to measure up to them. If you don't you feel worthless, depressed and angry. How did I get this way? I've been an athlete all of my life, never doubting how I felt or looked. I have to find a way out, a way to be healthy, a way to love myself again."

"I am a seventeen-year old girl who is recovering from both anorexia and bulimia. I've been conciously dealing with recovery for almost a year, but the behaviors have been going on for about three years. I've gone almost a month without any behaviors, so I'm excited. I think my whole disorder could have been prevented if I would've had a more supportive and caring family. My sisters are obsessed with weight loss, and my mom does nothing to prevent it. It was Hell growing up in my house, where every other conversation revolves around how horrible fat is and how much better everything could be if we all just lost the pounds. If my family would have been more loving instead of judgemental, it would have helped a lot."

"Maybe if I didn't have such low self-esteem and believe that I was completely worthless.

"Maybe if I didn't feel the need to be thin in order for people to like me. Maybe if I had ever seen some hope, and not expected to be dead before the age of 18.

"Maybe if my mom hadn't told me that "my bones could stand to stick out a little more", or asking me for tips on weight loss. Maybe if my dad didn't sit and drool over all the skinny women he ever sees.

"Maybe if I didn't feel the need to be perfect in every way, and wasn't so hard on myself when I didn't get things right.

"So many maybes..."

"I've been anorexic for five years now, and though I look healthy, it's a daily battle for me to want to feed the pangs of hunger I get. I have my date to thank for this behaviorial pattern I have created for myself. Five years I was date raped on a road in the middle of the night by a boy who told me he was my best friend. I'm not sure what hurted more: him forcing his way into me or the asphalt on my back. Since then, I cannot face dating. I've been in two other emotional wrecking relationship, where I was nothing more than a wind-up toy for someone to play with, and being intimate with people, male or female, gets more confusing everyday.

"There are days when I wish he would have just killed me. The anger I tote within my small frame eats at me as I run through it all, how could I have acted different?; how could I have stopped this?; I should have screamed; I should have fought; so many should have's that I lost count three years ago. Most people I know and who know me, unbeknowst to them, make me feel so incredibly guilty and weak for not fighting for not reporting, for not doing anything. The things they say. It's unbelievable what people can say. But how do you explain to people who have nothing to relate your experience to in their own history?

"Yet, somewhere....out of the blue haze of an eating disorder appears the one thing that makes you want to live and breath. Somewhere there is love. It took me five years to realize that love was the only cure I had, and I had to find within myself, then in others if I was going to recover. Somewhere, I found support from people who loved me for me, not my history, not whether or not I put out, or drank them under the table, or something I wasn't. They love me for the bizarre questions I ask, and the stringy blonde hair, and the way I organize everything in a fashion that only I can follow. They love me for my eating disorder, my rape, my strength for living, my will to want to recover, my devotion to educating others. Though, they still get angry at my date for what he did, no matter what, they don't get angry with me. "I have never asked anyone to understand, just not judge me. But sometimes, when the lights are off and the world is sleeping, and I'm lying there in my bed thinking, I swear I can hear myself dying."

"What would have helped me get better? A change in my doctor's attitude. Instead of telling me how gross I looked, and that I could die, and generally trying to get myself to hate myself enough that I'd want to change, he should have said things like, "You have a lot of positivie qualities to share with the world. If you continue down this path, you won't be able to achieve all of the hopes, goals and dreams that you have for yourself." That, along with referring me for psychological help earlier than 5 months into my bout with anorexia, would have helped a lot. For everyone else, I would tell them to call the bluff of people with EDs. Say, "No, I know you didn't eat before you came over." But most importantly, tell them that you care, that you value their companionship, and that it hurts you to see them hurting themselves. A little bit of love goes a long way."

"In my opinion, the most important thing that we can do in terms of prevention is to make all adults, especially mothers, aware of the prevalence of eating disorders. There are so many mothers who unknowingly cause their daughters to fall prey to ed's. My sister is 12, and her friend's moms are constantly telling their daughters whose bodies are naturally changing, that they are gaining too much weight and they should watch what they eat. It's amazing to see the results--my sister's best friend now eats as a way of rebelling against her overprotective mother's commands. How can this result in anything BUT an eating disorder? Whether she continues to eat compulsively or she begins to starve herself to please her mom, she will definitely suffer from eating problems."

"TO answer the question about what could have prevented my eating disorder... I think the bottom line was that I had very low self esteem. I had always been shy, and once I reached junior high I just wasnt ready to face all the "typical" teenage issues we all go through. I was shy around boys, and uncomfortable with the physical changes in my body. But the main issues were at home. My father was an alcoholic (he passed away last year), and because of this, my parents fought constantly. The fights become more and more violent during when I was in junior high. I remember being ashamed to bring any of my friends home in fear that my father would be there drunk, or they might hear my parents fighting. I used to spend alot of time in my room instead of being with my friends."

"My eating disorder, bulimia, which I have suffered for 33 years, could have been prevented had I not gone to modeling school and have them tell me that my hips were larger than my chest and that I was out of proportion. I knew my chest would not get larger, so I proceeded to become anorexic to loose weight so I could get hips to match my chest. I know now how stupid that was because as my hips diminished, so did my chest. I will always be "disproportionate" as they called it. (Actually that is quite normal)

"The anorexia turned into bulimia. It has since been out of control for all of my life and even when I eat just a small portion of food my stomach is sore from all the abuse I have afflicted on it, so if I throw up, it alleviates the soreness.

"Also, there was an incidence of molestation by a trusted member of the family. I was about 5 years old. I have never forgotten it and never will. I am sure this played a big part in this disorder because it made me feel "bad" and not in control.

"I think that if I had a closer relationship with my Mother when I was very young I would not have kept the molestation "secret" to myself. I would have confided in her, unafraid. It would have been helpful to have her be more of a friend than a critic. There were 6 of us kids and she did the best she could. Sex was not talked about in those days and it should have been.

"I am not blaming this disease on anyone but myself. I feel that little girls should be brought up to be un-shy. They should be more outspoken and less sheltered to the real world. They should be able to approach their parents (especially their mothers) and be able to talk one on one about just about anything. They need to feel 'acceptable.'"

"I have been suffering from anorexia and bulimia for about two years. I believe my eating disorder had a lot to do with the fact that me father was an alcoholic for 16 years of my life, and it disrupted my childhood. I learned that the only way i could have control was through my eating disorder, and this helped me from having to deal with feelings and problems. Society has also had a tremendous impact on me. I've always been into style and looks and grew up reading the teen magazines and fashion catalogs. I think that society conveys a message that in order to be successful, you must be thin and beautiful. All of the models in the magazines, are very thin and perfection is stressed. I also feel taht some of my relationships have had an impact on my e.d. My best friend, who I have known for 8 years, was also into exercising, dieting, and looking great. We used to go out and buy diet pills together, workout every day, and monitor eachother's eating. We would yell at each other if we ate something fattening or "unhealthy". This went on for a few years, and then she got over some of her concerns, yet I decided to continue, and eventually crossed over the line.

"Mainly, society sends a message through television, magazines, radio, etc. that is only concerned with appearance. I think in order for this to ever end, we need to begin to focus on what's on the inside and not give so much attention to thinness and beauty. I see things getting worse and worse, and eating disorders seem to be more common. The only way to prevent others from subjecting themselves to this theory is to focus on life, happiness, and future without the focus on looks."

"What could have been done to prevent my ed? Everything. My parents shouldn't have forced me to sit at the table until I ate everything from the time I could consume solid food on.(I never would, I was to stubborn. This was the only battlefield at my house on which I could win). My athletic director shouldn't have taken our body fat every 3 months, and put us down for it. If I hadn't been such an overachiever and perfectionist. If people acted like shocked smartasses if I decided I didn't want to run for class officer, or join some other club. If my grandmother wouldn't have been so upset when I was on Homecoming court, but didn't win. If I hadn't passed out from drinking when I was 16, and found my boyfriend of 2 years doing things to me I refused to do when I was conscious. If my father hadn't told me in a fit of rage one night I was the cause of his problems with my mother. My boyfriend going around school and telling everyone I was a good f---. Maybe all of these are simplistic, and should just be brushed off. Maybe since I know the roots of my problems I should be able to heal myself, or get help. But I can't do that. So I stick my finger down my throat."

"What could people have done differently for me to have not fallen into the ed trap? Hmmmm....they could have not put such an emphsis on weight - I'm from a larger family, I'll never be thin. My parents could have not forbidden junkfood from our house when I was a kid, that way now it would't have been such a gotta have more treat. My aunts and uncles could not have mentioned the fact that I eat. When I was at the climax of my aneroxia, comments like 'you;ve lost weight, you look so pretty' shouldn't have been allowed. I could have been loved for being me, by friends and family, not for being the me that they wanted me to be. People could have spent less time commenting on appearence and more on personality. Television could not have made fat jokes, about thin people. Size 14 should be what can be considered normal. And I could have been happy.

"Basically I just think that people should have shut their mouths and opened their eyes, and their hearts, just a little bit."

"I came from a "typical" ED family. My mother was (and still is) over involved in my life (enmeshed as it is described in the field of psychology). She was overprotective and too involved in all of my activities. Although I didn't know it at the time, this type of parenting leads the child to feel out of control. As people with EDs know, the struggle for control is central. Parents can help by giving unconditional love - not just showing affection when a child does well is sports, school or lives up to the parents' expectations. The main reason this does not occur is because parents have their own "stuff". It may or may not be related to eating and food but there are unresolved issues that have not been worked through."

"I think if I had grown up with both of my parents in the house, it may have given my life a greater sense of balance. My parents got divorced when I was in first grade, and I spend the majority of my weekends as a youth visiting my father every other weekend. My mom had to work very hard to raise my brother and myself. Sometimes I wish I had the "ALL AMERICAN FAMILY" and that would have made my life "HAPPIER". But now I am 22 years old, I would not trade my youth for any other. I have learned to grow and become stronger through the difficult challenges that I was faced with. Unfortunately my Anorexia is something that has plagued me for the past four years. Hopefully, one day I will be able to get to the heart of the disease. THANK YOU FOR LISTENING."

"I wanted my parents to take care of me while I was bulimic and spiraling downward. If they would not care for me, I wanted somebody to do it. I needed help so badly but it seemed nobody would reach out. I wish my mother would've dragged me out of college and put me in a hospital. Surely I would have protested, but deep down I would've been relieved . My parents told me I was a spoiled white girl. They thought I just wanted some attention. It wasn't until I failed out of college and put myself in therapy did anyone realize that I wasn't just playing games."

"I think that the single most important thing is the way society, and the media portray body image. We are given the message, over and over and over, that if you are not attractive, forget it, you are a loser. And attractive means thin. All of us are not blessed with genetics that support that size, so we suffer untold agonies to try to be what we are not intended to be. The message is reinforced by all around us. My parents never bugged me about my weight, except I liked it when they were concerned that I was too skinny. Maybe I was looking for attention from them. They had their own problems, my dad was an alcoholic, and my mum was trying to cope with that and four kids. Men certainly pay alot more attention to you when you are skinny. I know, I've been from fat to skinny, and back and forth. Right now I am on the heavier side, not really fat, but I sure feel it. I know that people like me for more than how I look, but it's hard to be with people when I feel like this! I feel so gross, and ugly about myself.

"I guess we all need to be gentler with each other."

"All I ever wanted was my Father to say "I love you" or "You did very well". But I never heard those words from him. I received support from my mother but when she died when I was 15, I started seeking approval from others. I desperately wanted love from my father but he only wanted to start a new life without a teenage daughter. My final attempt to win his love was to lose 1/3 of my body weight. I looked terrible, felt terrible and was in a deep depression. I hoped this would get him to reach out and help me, but it did not. It took me 11 years, but I have learned to live without him in my life and to get approval and validation from others. If you care about someone, let them know. It will make both of you stronger."

"We as women have to accept our natural sizes, to celebrate our beauty and our strength. We need to be loving and accepting of others bodies and cease to add fire to this maddness."

"Parents: do not tell your daughter that she is 'filling out nicely,' that she 'has an ample bottom' or that 'you would look perfect if you could just lose XX lbs.'

"My whole family copes inappropriately. My gene pool consists of both grandmothers, one uncle, two aunts, and a cousin who are alcoholics. Two aunts and two cousins are drug abusers. Two grandparents died due to excessive smoking, I watched the results of it kill one uncle, and I currently have two aunts, an uncle, and a cousin who would rather die that give up the nicotine addiction. Religion is my mother's addiction. My mother and her sisters were physically and psychologically abused by my grandmother (who psychologically abused the grandchildren), my mother psychologically abused me and my sister, and my sister physically and psychologically abused me. Rumor has it that my cousin, who lives in Florida, is bulimic. While I don't believe in blame, I certainly understand why I try to kill myself through food."

"It's been three days since I last binged and purged. I'm learning to stand up for myself. My family's not going to be too happy because I refuse to play their sick games anymore. I may lose my job because I'm refusing to put up with verbal abuse and harrassment (sexual, political, and otherwise). While my family, friends, society and I may not have been able to prevent me from bulimic, I can prevent this disease from killing me. Through my lifetime of recovery, I can reach out to others in their recovery and, perhaps, prevent others from following the same path I took."

:: What's the Cause ::
Love :: Listen :: Communicate ::
:: Validate :: Society :: Food & Eating ::
:: Relationships :: Abuse::

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