Weight bullying doesn’t happen only between school children; people of all ages and social backgrounds have been victims of tormentors’ comments about weight. Being bullied can damage your self-esteem, increase your risk of anxiety and depression and actually drive you further away from making healthy choices. There are a number of ways that you or your child can deal with weight bullying.
1. Remember that Bullies Have Issues
It’s easy to see weight bullying as an attack on your worth and your attractiveness–and that’s precisely what the bully wants you to think. What is really driving the bully is his own problems and struggles with self-worth; he makes himself feel better by attacking you. Perhaps he has been bullied himself or perhaps he has poor self-esteem. Making others suffer like he does makes him feel better.
You’re not your bully’s psychologist. Still, understanding that the problem doesn’t really lie with you can help you tackle your response to the problem.
2. Attempting to Control Repeated Tormenting
If your child experiences consistent weight bullying at school, you may speak to your child’s teacher or principal. If you’re tormented by a co-worker, you have the right to explain the harassment to a supervisor or the human resources department. If the bully is your “friend,” it may be time to reevaluate the relationship and limit or end any interactions. If the bully is a family member, you may not be able to cut him out of your life entirely, but you can limit your interactions with him.
3. Don’t Give the Bully the Response He Wants
A bully torments people because he likes feeling that he has the power to make others cry, feel depressed or feel worthless. Don’t give a bully that power, as difficult as it may be. Smile at his comments or simply don’t respond to them. If the bully persists, you can literally walk away from the situation.
Even if you must pretend that the bully has no effect on you, do so in front of him so that he doesn’t feel the satisfaction of tormenting you. With enough repeated displays of confidence, the bully will tire of trying to make you feel bad.
4. Get Counseling
Although the real problem lies with the bully, you can’t force him to get help. You can, however, work on the emotional wounds that weight bullying inflicts on you. A therapist can help you work through the situation and understand how to deflect the comments appropriately. She can also help you evaluate whether or not you’ve achieved the right frame of mind to attempt to reach a healthy weight–if that’s even a real concern of yours and not entirely imagined in the tormentor’s head.
You must be confident, committed and drive yourself to lose weight when you’re ready. Never attempt to lose weight to stop bullying–your bully will just find another perceived flaw with which to use when picking on you.