Bella, 15, says she is obsessed with food, and she binges and purges up to 40 times a day. “I blame my mom 100 percent for my eating disorder," she says. “Since she suffered from body image issues, she tried to make me always eat healthy foods so I wouldn’t ‘get fat.’” The teen recalls an incident when she was a child and refused to eat her vegetables, so she was forced to remain at the table and eventually fell asleep there.
Bella’s mom, Wanda, says she was hospitalized three times for bulimia when she was 15. “I told Isabella about my eating disorder, because I didn’t want her to experience the same problems that I had, and I was trying to protect her,” she says. “My emphasis on food, diet, exercise has contributed to her eating disorder. She hates exercise in any form. Bella doesn’t want to be anything like me.”
Dr. Phil asks Wanda, “You had multiple hospitalizations for bulimia and anorexia at age 15, and at age 15 your daughter is struggling with bulimia and wishing she was anorexic, and you see no connection?”
“I see a connection because I know there’s a genetic background, and I put a lot of emphasis on health and fitness,” she says. “I don’t really remember putting so much emphasis on food.”
Dr. Phil tells Wanda that she can’t change what she doesn’t acknowledge. “You’re saying, ‘I see the parallels,’ and then you move to explain it away,” he points out. “This isn’t about fault … What I’m talking about is responsibility for change.”
Dr. Phil offers Wanda and Bella help for changing their behavior. Click here to see where you can watch.