Parent Apologies: Choosing Relationship Over Being Right with Adult Child


This question builds off of a prior one answered by Gretchen Slover. Last summer, my 18-year-old daughter lost about 15-20 pounds. She was at about 130 at her peak and in good shape. My ex-wife and I were concerned that she was developing an eating disorder, we shared our concerns with her, she denied it, we told her that she needed to gain some weight back and that if she continued to lose weight, we might need to keep her home from college for treatment. She did gain a few pounds back, we sent her off to college and had her consult with an eating disorder therapist, who she still sees. The therapist told her that she did not have an eating disorder and that the way I handled it was inappropriate and extreme. My daughter added that it’s her body and I shouldn’t tell her what it should look like. So now she is demanding an apology for putting her through all that stress for no reason, she says. I’m not willing to apologize for stepping in when I saw a potential eating disorder in the works, even if it turned to be a false alarm (by the way, she is still quite thin). We’re at an impasse and this has put a cloud over our relationship. Per Gretchen’s previous advice, perhaps I should reconsider my devotion to her, which has contributed to her rejection of me, but I’m not exactly clear on how I might carry that out in practice.

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