Questions for Parents and Relatives

Beginning Questions to ask about anorexia/bulimia

  • Has the problem of anorexia/bulimia in any way taken things from your life that you value?
  • In what ways has the problem of anorexia/bulimia affected your relationship with yourself; friends; family; etc.
  • Who or what persuaded you into thinking that an anorexic/bulimic lifestyle is the best life possible?
  • Who or what do you think persuades other young women’s minds into this harsh way of living?
  • If you could wager a prediction, what kind of a future does this life with anorexia/bulimia hold for you?
  • What advice do you have for my many colleagues who find themselves befuddled on how to best help people go free of anorexia/bulimia?
  • Has your come-back to your own life been inspiring for other women?

Family Questions to Consider

  • Has the problem of anorexia/bulimia made attempts to divide and conquer your entire family?
  • As a parent how has anorexia/bulimia turned you against yourself?
  • Are there ever times when you are able to see your daughter/sister free from the grip of anorexia/bulimia?
  • What was is it that you notice about your daughter/sister during these times of freedom?
  • What are your feelings now that your daughter/sister is a member of your family fighting side by side with you?

Questions for Parents and Relatives

Family members have found that asking themselves certain questions, is often helpful. Here is a sample of questions taken from successful therapy sessions:

Q: What have you been led to believe about the causes of anorexia/bulimia?

This question is asked to:

  • investigate the family’s theories of anorexia/bulimia.
  • locate them in a particular body of understanding to see what they have been told.
  • widen their point of view.
  • open up broader conversations and possibilities about what ideas support anorexia/bulimia that live outside the family system. (i.e. How anorexia/bulimia is helped along from inside the family and from outside the family.)

Q: Why is it that professionals seem to blame parents (particularly mothers) as the cause of anorexia/bulimia?

This question opens up the possibility for families:

  • to discuss how badly they feel.
  • to discuss the history of their involvement with professionals.
  • to open space for more hopeful and broader discussions.
  • to open space for the possibility of what they might do differently.
  • to stand against mother-blaming.

Q: What sorts of worry and worst case scenarios do you get captured by when you consider this struggle with anorexia/bulimia?

This question allows families:

  • to speak openly about their worst fears.
  • to break the silence about these fears.
  • to re-discover the ways that they currently rally as a family to overcome their fears.

Q: What have you noticed, that you do, to promote health and undermine anorexia/bulimia’s grip on your lifestyle?

This question allows families to begin recognizing that they do have family strengths and wisdom they can count on. If anorexia/bulimia could think and talk, could you think of any reasons why anorexia/bulimia would not want a family to work together against this problem?

This question:

  • puts everyone on the same team.
  • separates the person and family from the anorexia/bulimia.
  • builds family strength and unity among all members against the problem.

Q: Do you have any reason to believe that someday a person can go free of anorexia/bulimia?

This question publicly investigates the families stories of hope as a way of battling despair.

More family questions to consider:

  • Has the problem of anorexia/bulimia made attempts to divide and conquer your entire family?
  • As a parent how has anorexia/bulimia turned you against yourself?Are there ever times when you are able to see your daughter/sister free from the grip of anorexia/bulimia?
  • What was is it that you notice about your daughter/sister during these times of freedom?
  • What are your feelings now that your daughter/sister is a member of your family fighting side by side with you?

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