I am so tired of hearing the people who are supposed to support me say these things to me over and over again. Do they really think that they are helping me? All it makes me do is turn inward and seek food for comfort.
I just wanna say SHUT UP!!!!
I can do this...that is if they support me...and by support I don't mean make snide comments. How about a good job or way to go or you look great.
Please don't take this the wrong way, but I am absolutely dumbfounded--even at my heaviest, which was much, much, much heavier than you are, no one ever said things like that to me. Are they actually saying those phrases, or are they saying other things and that is what you interpret them to mean?
In other words, are they saying "I can't believe you let yourself get like this!" or are they saying "Remember Mary's wedding? Blah blah blah I remember you looked fabulous in that purple dress" and you interpret the whole conversation as a reason to imply you've let yourself go.
This is a genuine question. If people are actually saying these things to you, I don't have any useful advice at all, except perhaps to move and find all new family and friends. If, on the other hand, there's some ambiguity in their statements, it could be you are hearing more than they are saying.
I'm reasonably certain there are people who would say such a thing. They've been said to me, and no I didn't simply misinterpret them.
Example. Several years ago, I bought an inexpensive and not real well-made futon. I had to have something to sleep on, and I didn't have a lot of money...
Well, after about three or four years, it started sagging in the middle. I mentioned to my mother that this was happening, and the first thing out of her mouth was, "Well, it gets an *awful* lot of weight on it."
Hello! I was the only one sleeping on it.
My mother is notorious for blurting out insensitive things like that. "Oh, look here, I found a pair of jeans that I *know* will fit you, 'cause they are BIG." She doesn't even know she's being tactless. As my therapist says, even when she thinks she's building me up, she's tearing me down.
Mini-goal #1: 45 minutes on the bike, cardio pace.
At this point, I'd go one of the following routes.
Route 1: Direct. Say "This is not helpful, if you want to be helpful, here is exactly what I would like you to do" and give specific examples of how they can be supportive.
Route 2: Close it off. Just decide weight talk is off limits to them, and say that, basically on repeat, until they shut up. Just one line, repeated over and over. Mine for almost any situation is "This topic is not up for discussion".
"Should you be eating that??" "My diet is not up for discussion".
"You just need to exercise!" "This is not up for discussion".
A twin of "It's not up for discussion" for unsolicited advice is, interestingly, "Interesting. I'll take it into consideration". You give them nothing to argue with...you said you'd consider it, after all. Since they have nothing to continue arguing with you about, they drop the topic, and you've committed to do no more than consider it (and if it's an awful idea, consider it awful and discard it!)
And for the REALLY rude stuff (about letting yourself go...ack!), I'd very clearly tell them how offensive that was. My way of saying this is "What a terribly inappropriate thing to have said out loud! You must be so embarrassed!" The implication there is that you can't IMAGINE anyone would say such a thing out loud ON PURPOSE, so it must have slipped out without her realizing, the poor dear, how very embarrassing for her! It SHOCKS people, but you generally only have to do it once.
Isn't it sad that my first thought on reading those comments was: "Obviously, such comments could only come from close family members." Because who else would have the gall? Who else would think they have some kind of divinely given dispensation with having to be polite & tactful, and that such comments were actually going to do someone good?
I, too, have family members who have said things like this. My only comfort is, they do this to everyone, not just to me about my weight, and that they are not well-liked by the rest of the family, to say the least. They really have no sense that they are causing pain & anguish. (Some of these remarks, no matter how hard you try, you'll remember for 20 years -- they float to the surface again late at night, when you can't sleep & feel worthless.) They really do believe they are the Bringers of Truth, that they are the one person in the crowd saying the emperor has no clothes, and that those whom they address need to be woken up.
It's taken me years to deal with them. Look, these people are basically so stupid & insensitive that you have to do all the thinking in the relationship, all the work about how to react & how to deal with them. They can't even meet you halfway. Like a professional on "Dancing With the Stars," dealing with their trainees at the first session, you do all the fancy fast psychological & verbal footwork while they stand in place, staring at you, unaware of half the effort you've had to bring to the transaction.
What is this fancy psychological & verbal footwork? Re-read Amanda's post. She is a real ninja at dealing with wildly inappropriate, downright rude & even aggressively combative put-downs.
I asked my Sunday school class (!) for prayer about my diabetes, and right away a debate broke out over what I should be eating. Some of these people are in the nursing profession and think they "know," while others are also diabetic and therefore think *they* are the ones who "know." For several minutes, the heated discussion continued, when all I wanted was to be put on the prayer list.
What would have been a tactful way of handling that?
Mini-goal #1: 45 minutes on the bike, cardio pace.
Oh in that situation it's harder- but I guess in those situations I'd say "I have it under control, I would just like additional prayer, thank you."
Thank you for your effort. The thing is, it wasn't under good control at the time, and that's why I wanted the prayer.
But then the argument broke out, and people were contradicting each other with their advice, and it made me sorry I brought it up.
This happens a lot in general. It seems no matter my food choices, there is always going to be someone who tells me it's the wrong one. I mention I'm doing low-carb, and "Oh, no, that's not healthy. You want to do low-fat instead." And then there are some of my relatives who don't care what the doctor says, *they* know the better way. Etc. I don't mean to hijack the thread, but I'm almost sure the OP can relate.
Mini-goal #1: 45 minutes on the bike, cardio pace.
Last edited by LovebirdsFlying : 05-11-2010 at 10:37 PM.
My dad is like that some times, i've asked him many times, now when he says it i just go "mmm Yahhh" and ignore him. Now he doesnt mention it.
I'm rather negative when it comes to stuff like this, i generally just tell them off.. Or i do what amanda said
"And for the REALLY rude stuff (about letting yourself go...ack!), I'd very clearly tell them how offensive that was. My way of saying this is "What a terribly inappropriate thing to have said out loud! You must be so embarrassed!" The implication there is that you can't IMAGINE anyone would say such a thing out loud ON PURPOSE, so it must have slipped out without her realizing, the poor dear, how very embarrassing for her! It SHOCKS people, but you generally only have to do it once."
Lovebirds - "Thank you. I'm not looking for advice, I get that from my doctor! I am just looking for prayer".
And if they say they know better than your doctor? "Hmm, interesting...I'll bring that up with him/her at our next appointment".
Dealing with difficult people Amanda-style 101...there is a series of escalating steps I take with people who are being inappropriate for whatever reason. Only in the most horrific cases (horrible, mean, inappropriate things being said that you just cannot tolerate) do you jump right to step 4...usually you don't have to get that far and it's more comfortable for everyone.
1. Tell them what you need directly, and what you do not need "I am not looking for advice on what I eat - it isn't helpful to me, since I've worked on my diet plan with my doctor and we are both happy with what I'm doing. What would be really helpful would be if you kept your snack foods in a high cabinet just for you/didn't bring home fast food/let me bring a healthy entree choice to our next BBQ/tell me I'm doing a good job and to keep it up!"
2. If it still continues, one gentle warning..."Hey, remember, we talked about how that kind of advice isn't helpful!", followed by an immediate subject change to something unrelated. This is also where I'll play the "Hmm, I'll take that into consideration" to see if the situation can be diffused.
3. If it goes past that, a stronger rebuke..."<Name>, my diet plan is not up for discussion. Let's talk about something else".
4. The "Atom Bomb" approach that calls them on the carpet for being an ***. I have only had to get past step 3 twice. Both times I never had to go to 4 again (but one of the people avoids talking to me about ANYTHING controversial).
You can mix and match, but I like going 1-4 with someone who has just started crossing these lines. It sends a clear message. It's basically like working with a toddler (State the rule, reminder, warning, time out), but it works remarkably well with adults (especially adults behaving like toddlers!)
I don't know about you, FatChickonaMission, but I am going to PRINT OUT Amanda's posts. Seriously. That was a mini-course in conflict resolution. Thank you for posting your question & eliciting that response. It's good for all kinds of stuff.
Amanda, good Lord, I hate to ask how/why you had to learn to do what you apparently do so well. But that's an admirable skill you've developed.
I'm sorry you've had to put up with this. People can be so rude. I've had my share of rude comments too and stares. The best advice I can give is to remember that these comments that people give are THEIR problem that they have nothing better to say than to be than to be rude.
Oh, I can relate to that, unfortunately. But I find Amandas brilliant strategy only helpful with co-workers, distant relatives, people like that. Not with close family members. Now it might just be my messed-up family, but for example my mum (who is psychologically the big reason why I'm overweight) keeps going on and on about it - but if I would tell her to mind her own business, she would break down in tears because "she is only trying to help".
I actually had the experience at a job interview recently. The lady doing the interview said to me "well, you are quite big, you should do something about it". Can you even imagine someone saying that in a job interview?
And I just did what I learned to do in my job: smile non-commitally and say nothing. And that's what I try to do with my mum, too. Smile, say nothing, go and cry on my husband's shoulder if it was too bad and remind myself that those are her issues, not mine.
For me, that approach helps tremendously - it keeps the peace, and I manage to not let her snide comments touch me anymore most of the time.
With people who are not too close and/or who can take a rebuffal, I'm totally with Amandas suggestion!