Siblings have unique relationships with each other and when a sibling becomes ill with an eating disorder, it can be quite a confusing time. You may experience a range of feelings and thoughts, but remember that you are not alone.
When a young person develops an eating disorder, it can severely impact on their whole family. Siblings are especially affected, as the dynamic they have with both their ill sibling and their parents can rapidly change.
Some common feelings may include:
Grief and sadness
- Feeling you have lost your ‘old’ sibling and your relationship with them
- Feeling you have lost your former family life
- Sadness at seeing your sibling and family in such distress
- Not understanding why this has happened
- Feeling like your sibling is taking priority
- Feeling that your sibling is the cause of pain and hurt in the family — i.e. “It’s her fault that Mum is so stressed at the moment”
- At the disruption of family routines and home environment
Neglect and isolation
- So much time and energy is devoted to the needs of your ill sibling
- People often talk to you about your sick sibling and not about your everyday life or how you’re coping with it all
- Not wanting to talk about feelings with your parents in case of further burden