DEAR AMY: I am a 20-year-old recovering bulimic. In trying to find a way to eat normally, I gained quite a bit of weight. I'm not obese by any means; nor am I skinny. My parents know that I have had an eating disorder, but this does not stop them (and other members of my family) from commenting on my weight every chance they get. They constantly ask what I'm going to do to get back to the weight I was before (unhealthy and purging all my food), and they scoff at whatever I choose to eat. I have asked them over and over to leave my weight alone. They aren't listening, and seem to be pretending that my eating disorder never happened. My mother has even claimed that she didn't see me purging so she doesn't know if I made it all up or not. I don't want to have to cut ties with them after I graduate college, but they don't hear me when I tell them how hurtful their comments are and they ignore me when I ask them nicely to leave the subject alone. I don't know what other options I have because I'm afraid if I'm around their influence I will relapse. Please help me, Amy.
DEAR WORRIED: Your family members are undermining your recovery. I agree that you are at risk for relapse if they bully you. I shared your query with Portia Lowndes, referred by the National Eating Disorders Association (nationaleatingdisorders .org). Lowndes is also a mom whose daughter is in recovery from anorexia. She and I agree that you seem in charge of your life and recovery. Good for you! She responds: "Your parents should respect your statements. They need to do some research about what you are going through."
Your folks are very much in need of education and counseling to understand this disease.
The most important person in this process is you. You are showing an admirable command of your own health. If your family can't support this, then yes -- you should distance yourself from them until your recovery is secure.