We all know the power of having our experience validated. Feeling heard. Belonging. Feeling you matter too. When a sibling has an eating disorder the family focus is directed toward their recovery! Sisters and brothers love their sibling. They want them to be healthy and happy.
Siblings have many questions and complex emotions. They feel frightened about what is happening to their family and need support. As the family is in crisis, the sibling is often unintentionally placed to the side.
The impact varies. Some siblings experience anxiety, depression, and begin to cope in unhealthy ways like isolating or video games. Enmeshment and codependency show up and younger siblings may start taking on parental roles and simply put their full focus on “fixing” their sibling. Some report cutting and having suicidal thoughts.
Most siblings report when their experience is validated, it is an enormous support. It is well understood how overwhelmed and terrified parents are. They need assistance to support everyone in the family. Treatment facilities, communities like schools, places of worship, sports teams, Girl Scouts/Boy Scouts, family and friends can all be a powerful support systems for siblings. Someone just to listen. This is the power of having an experience validated. Being heard. Belonging. Feeling that you matter too.
Siblings also want to hear from other siblings. Someone who can relate. Understands the ups and downs. A place where they can go and not worry about saying the wrong thing and upsetting their parents or sibling. A place they can just be. If you are interested in learning more about sibling groups, check out KymAdvocates.com and contact Kym at Kym@kymadvocates.com for more info!