My Daughter Has Bulimia, Have I Failed As a Parent? Here Is the Truth

Have I Failed As a Parent? Here Is the Truth

You are at the school gate.  Someone asks:  How are your children doing? You hesitate; not sure how to answer.

You have a 5 second dilemma whether to share exactly how tough, exhausting  and distressing it is to look after your daughter with bulimia.

You don’t want to take a risk.  If you were to open up to the wrong person, you wonder how long  before the person makes their mind up about your parenting.

Some people might already be feeling smug about their parenting and you wouldn’t want to feed that by telling them just what difficult situation you are in right now.

You could be judged and that’s the last thing you need right now. You’ve only just managed to convince yourself that you didn’t cause your daughter’s bulimia.

If you are going to be made to feel that you’ve not been a good parent, you could well do without it.

You decide against sharing. You force a smile and answer:  My children are fine, thank you.

Sounds familiar?

What my clients have in common is that they all deeply care for their children and teenagers. That is their biggest priority but life happens.

Today you are asking yourself:

Why am I being judged?

This is very common particularly when your love one is struggling  with an eating disorder like bulimia. Many parents struggle to feel confident. They share and talk about their child’s condition with great difficulty. Despite the fact that they know they are not the cause, they find that there are assumption being made by others.

And being judged CAN be very dis-empowering if you let it.

Remember, it says more about the person who judges that the one being judged.

It is easier said than done but the most helpful thing is not to take it personally and excuse the other person’s ignorance.

So what do you do?

  1. Share with other parents who have similar experience.

Looking for a support group in your area could be your first step. You will find it reassuring and will be able to get support and some helpful tips. You can also join Facebook groups and talk to other parents.

  1. Surround yourself with quality rather than quantity.

This is VITAL! Finding those few friends that will listen, support and make you feel good is more important than having many friends. Even if they doesn’t understand (and they most probably don’t) as long as they listen and are there for you is what matters.

  1. Find an adult who’s been through similar experience in their childhood.

They are ideal to talk to .They will be able to reflect on what it felt like then and what would have made the biggest difference to them. This could have a big impact on your loved one’s recovery.


Sadly, the perception of someone suffering with physical condition like diabetes is still different to someone suffering with a mental health condition like bulimia or other forms of eating disorders. Yet both conditions are serious and patients don’t want to have them.

So why do so many parents experience unnecessary guilt and a sense of failure? Could it be the judgment of others due to lack of knowledge and information?

By now you will have learned and gathered a lot of information and facts from research and talking to therapist, psychologists and other experts ; others haven’t. You know the inns and outs of eating disorders, in particular bulimia; others don’t. You have the knowledge and experience; others don’t.

You know you are doing a great job:

  • You provide an excellent care for your loved one.
  • You take them to therapy.
  • You stay up all night if necessary.
  • You give up your time for them.
  • You make yourself totally flexible.
  • You keep researching how else to help them.
  • You always put them before you.
  • You keep calm when they let their anger out on you.

Does this sound like a failing parent?

This is a parent who deeply cares and should be praised, supported and empowered.


How do you deal with being judged? Do you let other people’s attitudes affect you?

Let me know you thoughts.


Found this post useful? Forward it or share with a specific friend.

If you have any questions, need support or would like to find out about “Your next step to supporting your loved one” complimentary sessions, I would love to hear from you.

You can also sign up for “What parents need to know” to receive helpful tips.

Photo credit: h.koppdelaney / Foter / CC BY-ND