The reason? Every woman or girl I know who has lived through an eating disorder feels like she is “too much.” Sadly, sometimes that feeling of being “too much” plays out in anorexic patterns where she becomes “too little” to compensate for that feeling, but either way, the important thing is for you as her parents to have tools to help her combat those feelings and beliefs.
Speaking of the “too much” feeling, perhaps your daughter feels she is too needy or too emotional or too fat or too loud….or too something. Yet regardless of her interpretation of the “too much” thing, that lie about being “too much” sadly gets reinforced a lot in homes or out in the world. Many girls live trying to push down the beautiful passion inside them because it’s not well received and is said to be “too much.”
The key is that home needs to be a place of life-giving healing and truth. As parents I would ask if you are reflecting back to your daughter that she is okay and wonderful just the way she is. Of course I am not endorsing a paradigm in which confrontation and loving discipline and boundaries are null and void. I am, however, encouraging you as her parent to be God’s voice of truth into her life to counter the negative, critical voice in her head and around her.
If you want to open up a beautiful dialogue that matches the intensity of what your eating disordered daughter lives with on a daily basis, ask her these questions:
- What do you hear in your head about being “too much”?
- Do you more often feel “too much” or not enough? Tell me about that.
- On a scale of 1 to 10, how intense is this voice inside you?
- How do I help or hinder those negative messages you hear in your head?
- How can we work together to walk in healing and truth?
And once that conversation has started, here are a few points of information to serve as a road map for you to guide her through the recovery bumps:
- Let her know that you aren’t afraid to hear about her internal intense battle.
- Let her know you are willing to fight with her against her eating disorder.
- Help her distinguish the difference between her thoughts and “Ed,” which is the eating disorder (Hint: Ed’s voice is always critical while communicating that she’s too this or too that, not enough of this or not enough of that).
- Meet her in her intensity so she knows she’s not alone.
- Affirm her worth and value on a consistent basis, letting her know truth about who she is not just what she does.
- And finally, let her know that your love for her is “too much” to ever stop!