Dear Rex,

I remember when she brought you home all those years ago.  Although we’d suspected you long before we met you – the sudden changes, the ways she was so worried about little things, the way she slowly started to withdraw from us.  I guess because we didn’t understand what was really happening, we pretended you didn’t exist.  We pretended for a long time that you were just a temporary fling in her life, a phase. But you stayed.  She never asked you to leave, and we loved her, even though she was different after she met you.

I remember her round, perfect cherub face.  She was the happiest child, a little Angel.  Fun and easy to be around with bright sparkling eyes. She radiated the kind of innocence that comes from peanut butter smeared kisses and sticky hands.  We all adored her. She was the only child I’d ever met who couldn’t bear to go outside the lines of her coloring books.  She always wanted things to be perfect.  Then when we all met you, we realized you wanted her to be perfect too.

From the day she was born we had a connection beyond just being sisters.  I could sense when she was hurting even if we were far away.  When she had an emergency appendectomy at five years old, I had my boyfriend (now my husband) pull over on the freeway so I could use a payphone to find out what was wrong. I could sense something was wrong with her.  We have always sensed when the other needed something and called “out of the blue” only to know it never really is.

From the minute You met me, You hated me.  And I hated you.

Sometimes she was so busy that she didn’t see you as much, and we would see the old her again.  Off and on those first years she broke it off with you…But then you were there again, you grew bigger in our eyes as she became smaller.  Each time you came back, was worse than before. She would swear you hadn’t changed her, but you had, and became skittish when we mentioned your influence.  Nobody knew what she saw in you.

We saw how depression came in and stayed when she was with you.  How when you were broken up she could participate and love sports, but when you were there you consumed too much, so she chose you.  And she’d lose every time.  She became cruel and cutting to herself, her voice would take a tone only you used with her. You ruined her State Cross Country race, defeating all possibilities of her doing well under your control.  She was devastated. You were elated.  She invited you to dinner and we pretended not to see the way you folded your hands over hers.  Our hearts ached at how you would make her “fake” happiness…with every word, every bite, and each breath.

Her eyes weren’t bright anymore.  She was tired all the time, but she couldn’t sleep.  It wasn’t the first time we’d seen this sort of abusive relationship, my Mom had been in one during my childhood.  I had briefly flirted with one.  I started trying to understand what she saw in you.  I read books after she brought you home, stories of women in these exact same relationships trying to help other break up with this dark abuse. I’d show them to her, and she’d look at me with a blank stare.   Our society is filled with people promoting these obsessive relationships.  So all it did was reaffirm to her that you were perfect for each other. And once you knew she was staying, you just got meaner.

You filled her with constant shame.  We begged her to break up with you, to get away, to run.  She tried. For six months, she ignored your calls, but somehow you always found her at work, at lunch.  You kept waiting for her to take you back.  When she moved away from town to get away from you, we were elated.  She was three states away from you. She was running again. She was surrounded by new people. But after a couple months, she stopped returning our calls…

Then one day she did call, her words not making sense, but between her cries, I discovered you’d followed her there.  You were living together. You had isolated her.  Her codependence and hysteria tumbled out in broken sentences and I knew it was much worse than before. So much worse.

She told me she was losing her hair. “Stress,” she said. She said she was tired, but antsy.  “I can’t think straight.” She said. Anxiously she talked and talked, not making sense as alarm bells went off in my heart. But what she didn’t say was what we both knew.  It was you…All you.  You were abusive and cruel.  So cruel she’d began to have chest pains, and we knew you were a part of that too.

So we took extreme measures.  We took her away.  We hid her from you. For months and months we hid her away. You found her a couple times, and after you’d make a brief damaging visit, she’d sleep for two days.  You were toxic, and she still loved you. On the hard days she would plead to us in a foreign paralyzed voice, “You DON’T understand.” She was caught in this web of your lies and poison, your darkness, and control. She couldn’t move on without your permission.  So she’d sleep. And while she slept, we cried.  Hurt because she’d chosen you, Rex, the darkest son of a bitch I’d ever known, over us.

But then we hid her again, at my home, for longer this time.  And things changed.  Shifted. She began to enjoy life again, she made friends, and she had an identity that didn’t include you.  We hid her where she could become whole without you.  Her voice became clearer, her hair shinier, and she began to laugh. A real laugh, a whole laugh.  It was beautiful.

But then one day, out of the blue, she was very tired again. I thought maybe it was just the weather.  Then three weeks later she was cold all the time.  And then I blinked, and there you were. You were back.  You had found her…again.  She loves you.  But you will kill her.

So that night I called the reinforcements.   All the people who knew about you, who had fought with us to keep her away from you. And although we live in a world who romanticizes versions of your sick tainted love, we know who you really are.

So I sat with her, and I held her, and I told her.  I said “We will never stop fighting to get you away from this.” I told her how much I loved her.  And that we’d been scared for years to lose her to you, but we would keep fighting.  I told her I hated you more than I had ever hated anything.  And that I hated everything you’d done to her.  You’d stolen years. And you were no longer welcome in my home, on my doorstep.  That I couldn’t enable the pain you brought to her life.

And so we packed her up, and sobbed in each other’s arms.  She didn’t want to leave me. But she had to leave you, so we found what we hoped to be the final “safe” place for her to go.  Across the country. Before she boarded the plane I sent you a text.  The text went to her phone, because I knew you’d see it.

She is beautiful.  When she was born it was an answer to prayer for all of us.  She has an amazing personality, a heart for service, and a love for God. She is worth more than any jewel or amount of gold – and is the truest gem I know.  She is worthy of great love and great blessings.  She is worthy of healing, and of feeling and knowing worthiness. 

You, Rex, have NO place in her life.  You are mean and shallow.  You steal joy and make her feel small and insignificant. You have twisted her thoughts and controlled her for too long.  I have changed the locks.  I am leaving you no forwarding address for her.  You can’t have her.  She was OURS first.  And we are here to keep her safe and bring her home eventually healthy and FREE. She is a child of God.

You, Rex, are only darkness and I’m exposing you for the piece of shit you are. So Fuck You!

I pushed send.  And waited. Four hours later I received a reply.  “I love you. Thank you.” And then we waited…Eight years is a long time to be with someone. But I believe she can break free from you. I believe that light, so bright will someday shine through and you will fade away.  And until the day I die I will fight you. I will watch for you whenever I’m in public. I will remain vigilant when I’m with her and when I’m with my four beautifully whole children, because I am terrified they will meet someone like you.

And I will speak the truth, and not hide from the fact that you are there.  You are a stealer of lives. You are a murderer.  You are anoREXia.


I wrote this letter two years ago.  I wrote this for my Sister, my beautiful brave courageous sister, and I am proud to say after a lot of hard hard work, work that will continue for years – She broke up with Rex. She graciously gave me permission to share this. She is a living miracle.   She has rebuilt her life.  She fights for her life.  Recently a dear friend from treatment of hers passed away, and I was stuck in a traffic jam in my City states away.  I began to cry uncontrollably even though I hadn’t even heard the news yet.  Still to this day we are connected.  Eating disorders are a disease and affect every person who loves the person who is suffering.  Two years ago I held my sisters brittle body as we sobbed and she left for treatment again.  As a caregiver I felt I had failed her, but after a year of fighting with Rex for her I was spent.  A year ago we wept into each other’s hair as I held her healthy body against mine, praising God for his miraculous healing – for her life. Her life is a testament of healing and hard work, and a fight that she will fight to win. To live. She will save lives. She already saved hers. 

To God be the Glory.