How My Daughter Beat an Eating Disorder and Learned About Love…Fast

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It was Spring 2012, the citrus trees hung heavy with fruit and one of my 16-year old twin daughters was falling for a 19-year old boy. She was a good student who loved to play soccer and hang out with her friends and family.

She “met” the boy online and after a few weeks he asked to meet her at a local park. She rode her bike to the park without me knowing that she, her sister and a friend were meeting the young man.

Shortly thereafter she asked if it would bother me if she dated a 19-year old. I told her that it depended on his character. I knew exactly where this was heading and sure enough, a week later “G.” came over to our house to meet me.

The first couple weeks of dating seemed to go smoothly, but for some reason my husband and I had a feeling that it was just too good to be true. Furthermore, we noticed that she began to eat less food than normal.

I dismissed my uneasy feelings as first, thinking she was behaving like a typical teenager having a crush on a boy but then things got progressively worse. She began eating less and less.

One evening, instead of sitting down with the family at the dinner table, she was napping in her room. Another time after I complained, she prepared an egg for her dinner. Within a few short weeks of meeting G. her clothes started to hang on her and she began to look very gaunt.

This is when I started to worry. I knew I had to do something, so I phoned her pediatrician and explained what was going on. She advised me to take her out of school and bring her in immediately.

What’s interesting is that G. was into nutrition and bodybuilding in a big way. When he was over at our house he discussed food all the time. “I wonder if this meal is healthy?” and “I prefer this type of protein,” were a couple of his typical comments.

I believe that my daughter became convinced that she needed to look a certain way to be accepted by G. Besides being controlling regarding food, he turned out to be manipulative and controlling in other ways as well. He became obsessed with her; spending an hour or two every day with her wasn’t enough for him. And of course my daughter loved the attention she got from him. She fell for it all. She was head over heels for this boy.

During this time, my daughter continued to eat very little, even while being seen by her pediatrician, a therapist, and then a nutritionist on a by-weekly basis. On two occasions she was almost hospitalized because her vital signs were failing and she had a poor EKG reading.

One day, my husband and I discovered that G. had called her school, pretending to be her father in order to get her out of class so he could see her. Fortunately, his plan failed as the attendance clerk was onto his trick. Even though G. apologized to us about this incident, we began to realize that we needed to intervene in this relationship.

However, her therapist (as well as other parents) advised us not to try to end the relationship. It would just make her want to see him more; they’d find a way to be together, everyone said.

We tried to follow this advice for a while. But then after discovering that G. had been to the school to visit her during lunch hour and after seeing several e-mail and text messages between them that were manipulative (“I just have to see you,” “I can’t wait until you’re 18 years old”…) my husband and I decided enough was enough. Regardless of the short-term consequences we knew it was in our daughter’s best interest to end the relationship. We took her phone away and cut off all communication contact within our control.

My husband and I were prepared to deal with the consequences of our actions, but we weren’t quite prepared for the phone calls we then received from G. and his mother. She tried to convince us that we should allow our daughter to see her son.

I explained that their relationship was not healthy and that my daughter was dealing with an eating disorder. But she didn’t seem to care. She simply said her son was the kind of boy who went after whatever he wanted and nothing would stop him. This scared me!

We decided it was time to take further action and began proceedings to file a restraining order on G.  We knew our daughter would only get worse if she continued her relationship with him.

We told her to break up with him. She tried, but he made her feel that he couldn’t live without her. She had never been in a relationship before and to her, this was a symbol of true, ultimate love.

This is when I finally decided to call the police. The police took it very seriously and dispatched two officers to our house. I showed the officers a few text and e-mail messages G. had sent after she tried to end the relationship. They advised that a judge would most likely grant the restraining order based on the harassment and my daughter’s health buy ventolin issues.

When the officers asked my daughter how she felt about the situation I waited with bated breath for what would come next. She said she didn’t want to see G. again.

Finally! After 10 weeks of my husband and me explaining our viewpoint, she finally got that the relationship with G. wasn’t good for her at all.

Next the police officers visited G.’s house. They spoke to him, telling him about the restraining order and advising him to stay away from our daughter.

Shortly after that our daughter began eating normally again and exercising on a regular basis. We knew we had our daughter back! We never regretted following our intuition and taking charge of the situation. It’s now been over a year and our daughter is happy and healthy. She has even expressed an interest in becoming a pediatric nurse or a nutritionist.

Teenage girls around the world are experiencing pressures and being manipulated not only by their peers and the media, but also by boyfriends who say they love them. We can’t be perfect parents, but we can get involved when we see things that just don’t look right.

Here are some points that I feel made the most difference in turning our daughter’s situation around:

1.    Immediate parental involvement is crucial. Don’t be afraid to get involved when things don’t feel right. Trust your intuition and get professional help when needed.

2.    Remember that your child is unique and the advice you receive from therapists and/or other parents are general guidelines and not the rules of the Universe. So don’t be afraid to let your intuition override them.

3.    Take charge of the situation when things get out of hand, even if that means getting the police involved.

About the Author: The guest author is a Silicon Valley Mom who prefers to remain anonymous. Her daughters are attending college in the Fall.

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Comments

  1. Bravo! this G was a kind of psychic parasite, your daughter was suffering from his attempts to ‘possess’ her. Her ‘gut’ knew something was wrong, you can help her train her intuition too!….. Good parents are true friends indeed!

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  1. […] and very shortly afterward, her daughter began to be herself again, and to eat normally again. Read Silicon Valley Mom’s story here if you haven’t […]

  2. […] and very shortly afterward, her daughter began to be herself again, and to eat normally again. Read Silicon Valley Mom’s story here if you haven’t already done […]

  3. […] very shortly afterward, her daughter began to be herself again, and to eat normally again. Read Silicon Valley Mom’s story here if you haven’t already done […]

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