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Old 02-04-2014, 06:55 PM   #1
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Red face Family and Self-Image

Hey all! I'm 17 years old and 5 ft 3/ 135 pounds of bad puns, hugs, and enthusiasm. However.... I've got a lot of self-confidence/ esteem issues that have gotten really bad these past few years and it's getting in the way of my life. I've found myself more and more often avoiding outings with friends because I'm so self conscious about my weight, appearance, and personality. Lately my mom has been really focusing on losing weight and eating healthy, which is great! She seems to be happier too which i'm thrilled to see. However it's also making it hard for me to be around her. She's always commented on my weight ever since I can remember. Clothes shopping has always been emotionally difficult as I've always worried what comment she'd make next. As of late it's gotten really bad. This past year whenever I eat anything she'll tell me I'm going to get fatter or when we've gone jean shopping she'll tell me I should get a size or two bigger than I am so when I gain weight I might still be able to squeeze into it. I know she loves me and she's not trying to be malicious, but it really hurts. I'm already super self concious. I found myself eating late at night or when I know my mom won't be home so I can avoid the comments. Now I almost feel ashamed or scared of eating- regardless of if Mom's in the room. I've tried to talk to Mom about it with little success. When I try to talk to her about my feelings she'll either ignore me and walk off or just not respond. Should I keep trying to talk to her about all of this? How can I work to change my feelings about this? Thank you all in advance!
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Old 02-04-2014, 08:28 PM   #2
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You are 17 years old, your relationship with your mother is transitioning and it sounds to me as though She is the one struggling to make sense of the changes in status. You are not a little girl anymore and your mother is not responsible for your food choices. Eat healthy normal sized meals during the day and if you feel the urge to comfort yourself with food when your mom is away or asleep, try to avoid junk. Go instead for salsa, which is low in calories, mixed with an avocado rolled up in a lettuce or cabbage leaf. These are all relatively inexpensive but you need to pre-plan. IMO don't bother talking to your mom specifically about her weird food issues. She knows she is a little bonkers, so just accept her for her shortcomings but don't measure your self worth by her yard stick. She loves you, she is just going through her own issues.
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Old 02-04-2014, 08:37 PM   #3
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and just to be clear, at 5 ft 3 inches tall 135 pounds means you might have to shop for clothes that are no longer "junior" sized. You are not overweight but clothing manufacturers are warped and they make it difficult for a normal sized woman to feel good about herself when shopping for clothes.
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Old 02-04-2014, 11:48 PM   #4
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I totally understand where you are coming from. I'm 32, and my dad makes similar comments about my weight - telling me that I look horrible, that I'm too short to be so fat. And, yeah, he's right, but I know how I look. I have a mirror! I have never been able to change his behavior, but what I did do was start to stand up for myself. Even if he still made comments, sticking up for myself made me not feel powerless.

You may not be able to change how your mom speaks to you, but you can change how you react. You're about to enter adulthood, and you'll be off to a better start if you can get her to back off of the criticism. If you don't do it now, it will continue - trust me on that! If it's not your weight, someday it could be the person you marry, how you raise your kids, etc.
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Old 02-05-2014, 12:56 AM   #5
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135 is a healthy weight for your height. Try to stay active and eat healthy and you should be OK.....however self image is harder to fix. Its hard not to hear the discouraging words when they come from your mom.

Limit the conversations you allow concerning food or weight. Self affirm yourself with positive self talk.
Good luck to you.
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Old 02-05-2014, 09:21 AM   #6
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You're very young and the teenage years are a breeding ground for low self esteem. I understand all too well what it's like to be criticized. My mother is naturally skinny, she's in her 60's and still looks amazing in a bikini, is really fashion forward and sometimes I feel like a blob standing next to her. To be outshined by your own mother is hard for a girl and it doesn't matter what your age is.

I know you have tried talking to your mother about this but have you tried telling her how you feel? Sometimes when we try to express hurt we blame the other person "you make me feel bad" or "you're mean" just puts the other person in a defensive state, especially if they feel like they're trying to help you. Instead I'd try to ping pong her negative comments as they come. If she says them. For example when she says:

"whenever I eat anything she'll tell me I'm going to get fatter" you say "even if I gain weight I'll still like the way I look."

"she'll tell me I should get a size or two bigger than I am so when I gain weight I might still be able to squeeze into it" - say "well as long as you're buying then sure, but if you're going to invest in my future I'd rather take money for college."

Always have something positive to say back. And daily affirmations are good. don't get caught up in negative self talk. Look in the mirror and point out what you like.

At the end of the day you'll have to stop listening to your mother. And the one catch-all phrase that works in every situation is "Mom, if you don't have anything nice to say then please don't say anything at all."
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Old 02-05-2014, 09:50 AM   #7
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You are such a bright, articulate girl, I'm sorry you are going through this!

Other posters have already given you some great advice. I'll add: Maybe you should write her a letter. Sometimes writing it down, so you can get out all your complete thoughts without the other person already starting to react negatively/defensively can be very helpful -- especially when the topic is an emotional minefield like this one is. Writing the letter gives you chance to get out all that you want to say -- and it gives your mom a chance to read it in its entirety more than once, and hopefully your words will have a chance to really sink in.

If I were you, I would write the letter, then hold onto it for a day (or two), then re-read it and make sure it really says what you want to say.

And also, just for yourself, you can try writing down the things she says to you (or does to you) that really hurt, and then writing down good, positive responses/coping strategies. Reviewing those from time to time will help you remember that her perceptions are NOT your reality.

Hang in there!
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