Living Maintenance - SIL nasty when I was thinner, jealous...




GlamourGirl827
01-05-2013, 04:03 PM
I wasn't sure what board to post this on, but I figured maintenance was the best choice.

Have you noticed that you are treated differently since your weightloss, namely by people that knew you before you lost weight?

Nearly a year ago I was down to 145 lbs, and a size 6-8, but I had always been over weight before then. (And I've regained as my ticker shows)

About a year and a half ago my husband, the kids and I went to visit his family and his sis and I got along (she's a *****, but was cool with me) she and I were both size 14, about the same height and overweight. She was very insecure with her weight, and she expressed this to me. But treated me like we were partners in fat crime. As in lets stay fat together, which is silly because we live many states away and basically never see each other.

Fast forward about 8 months, and we went back to visit. Between the first and second visit, her and I talked on the phone and told her I was try ing to get in shape, but its like she wanted a "complain about my weight but don't ever actually do anything about it" buddy. She jokes about blowing off workouts and how we as moms are too busy. But I wasn't. I was making time for them (by getting up at 4am):dz: I told her that I was losing weight and tried to encourage her to do the same. I don't think she ever thought I would actually lose the weight I lost.

So we go back out there, and I told my husband that his sis would be uncomfortable with my weightloss if she had not lost any herself. He thought I was being silly...

Ended up she gained a little, and she was such a nasty ***** to me that we ended up cutting the visit short and going home early. My husband agreed 100% that she was jealous (I received a ton of compliments from his family, who are in shape).
And her husband, who she claims was unfaithful earlier in their marriage was quite friendly too.
I'm not a flirty person either. Just the opposite. And I'm not super girly either, but I did where fitted clothes (and its not like I have an awsome bod, I've had two kids, things are loose in places). But you can't go from a size 14 to a size 6-8 without people noticing. But I was staying active there, and I went for a run one morning and that just sent her over the edge. She was so mad that I went for a run.
I just knew by the way she talked about other girls the first time we saw his family, that if visited them thinner, that she would be pissed. What was I supposed to do? Regain weight to make her happy? Wear a garbage bag with arm holes to make her feel better?


I have been the "fatter one" my whole life, so I know how it feels but I would never actually treat a thinner person, or someone that lost weight like such a piece of crap! Sorry this was partly a vent:mad:

Anyway, DH and I were talking about this the other day an I told him that when I was thinner that I noticed I was treated differently by men and women, and both in good ways and bad, but it really sucks to be treated differently by someone who was happier with the fatter me!

Have you been treated differently since your weightloss??


RedPanda
01-06-2013, 03:44 AM
I've lost as many dress sizes as you, many people who knew me when I was obese no longer recognise me and, yes, I am now treated very differently.

Some women have become downright hostile, several of my (male) superiors, who used to be dismissive of me, now think I'm a total genius and so on...

I'm sure that all the maintainers here have similar stories to tell.

Your SIL is a bitter biatch. But it's good that your hubby recognises this and is supportive. :)

The people who like and respect you will treat you much the same, and the haters will have to deal with it. :devil:

Learning to negotiate new relationships is part of the maintenance journey.

saef
01-06-2013, 07:05 AM
Oh, yes indeed, I am treated differently by pretty much everybody, and no, it's not just because I have higher self-esteem (I could debate that for an hour or two) or carry myself with more confidence.

When you are tempted to use the word "thinner" or "prettier" or "more attractive," swap out a more interesting word: "more powerful."

You've got "thin privilege" now, girl. You know how people talk about "white privilege," the tacit one-up advantage that caucasians or those assumed to be caucasian have in social interactions in the U.S. and other countries with a "white" majority? Well, there is "thin privilege" too. People see someone who's not obese and automatically give them some kind of credit.

You became more powerful. And when you gain power, other people who are insecure about their status feel like they lose power --- and their place is lower, and yours is higher, that you are winning and they are losing.

Your sister-in-law is not just looking at you alone in the world, she's picturing the two of you within the wider grouping of the family, like you are in a peg board where everyone's trying to gain points and move up a few pegs. They do this by earning more money or piling up some kind of achievement or whatever. You know families. There is often a competition, sometimes friendly, sometimes overtly hostile. You threaten her position. To her, your weight loss is an achievement that she's now under pressure to equal or exceed. Or that she has to diminish by tearing you down in some way.

If I like the person who's upset, I try to show that I am non-threatening and still care for them. (But never show that you are non-threatening by tearing yourself down or diminishing what you've accomplished. Do it in other ways, by showing your empathy and showing you care.)

If I don't -- and it sounds like you don't like your sister-in-law much, really -- then I just take a deep breath and carry on. What is that wise saying? "Haters gonna hate."

They ought to take the energy that they put into projecting anger on you and use it productively. Like: "What positive actions can I take that would make me feel better about myself? That would contribute to my own enrichment and add to my strengths? Like signing up for a class, taking a walk, trying to get better at something?" And yeah, the smarter people who are really better people deep down react in that way. Better than just sitting there stewing impotently in hatred.


GlamourGirl827
01-06-2013, 09:20 AM
I've lost as many dress sizes as you, many people who knew me when I was obese no longer recognise me and, yes, I am now treated very differently.

Some women have become downright hostile, several of my (male) superiors, who used to be dismissive of me, now think I'm a total genius and so on...

I'm sure that all the maintainers here have similar stories to tell.

Your SIL is a bitter biatch. But it's good that your hubby recognises this and is supportive. :)

The people who like and respect you will treat you much the same, and the haters will have to deal with it. :devil:

Learning to negotiate new relationships is part of the maintenance journey.

I too had noticed men were more attentive. I didn't like it. I've always been kind of invisible, so it was uncomfortable. Since putting some weight back on and being pregnant, that has stopped. I plan on losing the weight again after the baby, because I felt so good. This probably sounds crazy, but I find the male attention as a negative side effect. My husband really is an amazing husband, who honestly would love me no matter what I weighed. The thought of getting attention from all those men who wouldn't give me a glance all my over weight years annoys me. :p

GlamourGirl827
01-06-2013, 09:53 AM
Your sister-in-law is not just looking at you alone in the world, she's picturing the two of you within the wider grouping of the family, like you are in a peg board where everyone's trying to gain points and move up a few pegs. They do this by earning more money or piling up some kind of achievement or whatever. You know families. There is often a competition, sometimes friendly, sometimes overtly hostile. You threaten her position. To her, your weight loss is an achievement that she's now under pressure to equal or exceed. Or that she has to diminish by tearing you down in some way.



saef, your whole post really rang true, and this paragraph, I must have read it 10 times. And if its ok, I want to tell this to my husband. I hadn't gone into much detail about the family dynamics in my husband's family, but my SIL has, since they were kids, held the queen bee position. She is rude, and dominant over her mother. She is demanding towards her siblings (my husband and two brothers). She is the oldest, and has always bossed them around. She guilts her one brother into giving her money (in the thousands) when ever she needs it, and she does not pay it back. This borther told my husband about it while we were there.

She is controlling of her husband, and has accused him of cheating. She fights with him constantly about talking to his mom. She wants her husband to not talk to his mom, who lives out of the country. She expressed this to my husband and fought with her husband in front of us how he is married now and his mom should have no place in his life.

Over the years, my husband has gone to make a very good life for himself and our family. And we both felt SIL was annoyed that he was better off than her. (They struggle financially and have kids as well)

Also the brother that lends her money is doing well.

My husband has verbalized that she was always sure to be the best and in charge. And the be the most important one in the family. Even above her own mother, who is quiet and has always allowed this bratty behavior.

But I didn't really put two and two together. I saw it more as she was just mad at me, but I hadn't looked at the bigger picture of me threatening her place in the family. Her family not only gave me a lot of compliments (in front of her) but I had gotten into running (did a 5k :) ) and both her brothers are runners so we talked about this, and again in front of her, really because we were all together hanging out. Also her husband is very fit. He's not a runner though.

This paragraph made me say "why didn't I see this before?" Why didn't I realize it wasn't just about jealousy, but the fact that she needed to make sure I was no longer a threat. And she did.

It would take me forever to go into details but she was telling lies about me to her brothers. At one point she threw a temper tantrum because I went for a run (its a long story), and everyone said "that's just SIL" And the last day we were there, I was supposed to make dinner for the family. She knew, but I hadn't had the chance to tell everyone else, since it was discussed when she and I were alone. I think she purposely encouraged me to cook dinner. I ran out for an hour or so and told her I'd start dinner when I got back. While I was out the rest of the family met at the house for what I thought was for me to cook dinner. Turns out she had suggested to everyone that we all go out to dinner, even though I had already bought everything. Her mom even said that SIL called her earlier that day and suggested going out to dinner that evening, and SIL KNEW I was planning on cooking dinner. It worked out that I looked like I was not on board with going out. Plus I was up against a family that has spent their whole life bowing down to this women. So no one dared challenge her.

Only my husband was like, that is the final straw, and we left. He has lived states about from his sister for like 10 years and he has grown into an independant man, but the rest of his family, still living together, is frozen in the a place they were in as kids. He tried to talk sense into them, but it didn't work.

Thank you for this insightful view.

saef
01-06-2013, 12:08 PM
Hey Glam, yeah, go ahead, talk with your husband about the power dynamics in his family.

I have done a lot of serious thinking about "thin privilege" and how it shows up every day in my life, and how much more power I have than when I was fat. And how terrible an indictment of our society that this weight loss is what it took for me to gain this power. Not college degrees, not hard work at the office, not any inherent intelligence, emotional or rational. It's because I got a body. Because I am better-looking. Because people judge one another by appearance.

At work, they use euphemisms to talk about this. They say that someone has "presence." They mean a combination of a good, professional appearance and being forthright and coming across as a leader.

But if you are a fat, dumpy woman who dresses poorly, any forthrightness you display is received completely differently than it is after you have lost over 100 pounds, spend a lot of money getting your hair done, invest in some nice-fitting clothes (because, once you are a normal weight, you have so many options) and stride into a room wearing your good shoes. Or when you wear a sleeveless cashmere turtleneck & people see you've been working your arms & attempting that Michelle Obama look.

I could cry over this. But I didn't make this world. All I can do is call it as I see it. And not delude myself that it's all about my inner beauty. And work very hard myself at not giving into that prejudice, and to always, always remember what it was like to be 100 pounds heavier. Sometimes I am in danger of forgetting. It would be so easy to forget & just "pass" as if I'd never, ever been fat in my life. I have decided that if I did that, I would be morally compromised. I never let snotty remarks about peoples' weight pass by unremarked on. I look straight in peoples' faces & I try to see who's in there, inside the body. And I speak the truth here: Anyone who says that personal appearance has nothing at all to do with one's personal power is an idealist, and I want to live in their world, but that's not what my world has proved to be.

freelancemomma
01-06-2013, 08:29 PM
Do we have the same SIL? Mine always tries to pile food on my plate and has accused me of being anorexic, which is laughable considering I eat 2,000 cals per day. She has never liked me, and my weight loss just added to her irritation. Oh well.

F.

Vex
01-06-2013, 08:33 PM
I agree with just about everything you've said. It's one of the reasons I started losing weight.

I have a master's degree and over 15 years experience in my work, but it has been extremely difficult to be taken seriously as a fat blonde woman. I'm in a male dominated field (software), and I've noticed things starting to change already. More men are saying hello to me and smiling. I've NOT become more outgoing, as I've always been outgoing. I've seen these same people in the same building for over 15 years and just NOW they're saying hello?

It's not right, agreed, but it's the way the world is, and we'd be silly to ignore it.

It's a shame the SIL has to be so bitter about life. There's not much you can do with those types of people. I'm glad your husband agrees with you though as that's half the battle. I'd never agree to make dinner though again, unless it was at MY house.

SeeMyFeet
01-06-2013, 09:23 PM
Evenin' Ladies,

I really have no business in this thread, but somehow stumbled on this post (one can get lost in this forum!). I don't want to interfere with the SIL discussion (...I have a few tales myself...); I just wanted to chime in regarding saef's comment on "thin privilege". THAT has been my main motivator. ( I've thought of it as a thin "advantage".) I cannot allow the shelving of all my hard work, talent, education, ideas, etc. for the rest of my life just because of my appearance; therefore, I am changing it. And I really have no other choice, barring a career change. Seeing this issue discussed openly for the first time has really hit a nerve, because I'm not there yet. I'm still dumpy...and invisible...amusing at best. I have tried improving my status in other ways, but the reality is that none of those strategies will be effective until I am thin.

Oh...I see Vex has posted as I'm typing...well, good to know that weight loss success has improved your "status". I, too, am in a male dominated field, but I am also judged by some females in the field. Perhaps GlamourGirl's current SIL problem will be our future female colleague problem? Interesting....A thin me is sure to be a threat to a few of my younger female colleagues...what fun I will have contemplating this possibility!

RedPanda
01-12-2013, 05:25 PM
Oh...I see Vex has posted as I'm typing...well, good to know that weight loss success has improved your "status". I, too, am in a male dominated field, but I am also judged by some females in the field. Perhaps GlamourGirl's current SIL problem will be our future female colleague problem? Interesting....A thin me is sure to be a threat to a few of my younger female colleagues...what fun I will have contemplating this possibility!

Ouch - I just had an insight.

When I was in my early 20s, I copped a lot of snide remarks, and out-and-out rudeness about my weight from other women in my workplace. (This was back when sexual harassment was considered "funny" so people could get away with acting like that.)

I knew, even back then, that this behaviour was fuelled by jealousy. I was very pretty and married, while my co-workers were either single or divorced. At 5'3", I weighed 116 pounds, which put my BMI at 20.5, so there wasn't much to snark about weight-wise, but snark they did.

Fast-forward 10 years or so, and I was in the obese-to-morbidly obese range and running a small business. I've often wondered whether I would have been more successful if I were thin back then, but my major clients were women, many of them obese themselves. Perhaps my weight made me non-threatening and hence gave me an advantage?

Interesting to contemplate...

But now that I'm back in a more "traditional" workplace (even gender split with more men in senior positions) I'm definitely benefitting from thin privilege.

betsy2013
01-12-2013, 05:33 PM
Oh, things are definitely different when you're thinner. You'll work twice as hard to get ahead. Being fat is the last "acceptable" discrimination. And, unfortunately, there are a lot of people out there who need someone to look down on. I've been a lot thinner, and was definitely treated better, more courteously, and respected more. Not everyone, but enough that you do notice the difference.