Purging Daughter

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Q & A: Purging Daughter

Q: My daughter is supposed to be in recovery, but I heard her vomiting. What should I say to her?

A: Honesty is usually the best policy. In most cases, you should tell her that you know about the vomiting and are concerned about her. Provide her with a safe environment and let her know that you are available to listen. Be compassionate and nonjudgmental. She may need someone to talk to, and it may or may not be you. If she prefers to talk with someone else, give your daughter some space with the understanding that she is getting good professional support or sufficient help from other loved ones.

Be supportive of her goals, but also be patient. Setbacks are common, so encourage her to use this one as a learning opportunity. However, if she is regularly purging, then you may need to take a different tact. Her recovery efforts may not have been effective and may need to be intensified. If she is insists that everything’s fine and all of the evidence points to the contrary, then some sort of intervention that strongly encourages and assures that she’s getting good professional help would be appropriate.

On the other hand, if your daughter has been sincerely working at recovery and has been making progress, you need not say anything. Let her work through this episode on her own, and silently keep an eye out in case she begins to relapse. Also, remind yourself that, ultimately, recovery is her responsibility, not yours.

Reprinted with permission from Eating Disorders Recovery Today
Fall 2003 Volume 2, Number 1
©2003 Gürze Books

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