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Old 02-17-2010, 12:07 AM   #1
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Unhappy The fat one in the family (difficult family relationships)

Hi all,

I was wondering if anyone has a difficult/tense relationship with their family members/relatives because of their weight. I've been overweight all my life and have had to deal with the crap that comes from being overweight not just from the outside world but also my family particularly my mom. My mum is thin and so are the rest of my siblings. My dad is also big so he understands the struggle and emphatizes with me.

There was a stage probably in my teens when I truly felt like I hated my mom.The passive aggressive behavior/looks/questions (are you going to eat that, staring at my plate of food and examining the contents, if you lost weight you'd have a boyfriend, be able to buy nice clothes, constant diet/weight loss tips, forcing me to exercise/diet but not doing the same to my siblings, going on about how fat she is and needs to lose weight (she's a size 8), making judgments about overweight people in public, gathering the family to talk about my weight problem has all but ruined my relationship with her. This really wore on my self esteem but I think I also developed some bad habits such as sneaking eating and using food as a way to rebel i.e gaining weight was kind of a way to be like screw you, you can't control. me...and at the end of the day, who did I end up hurting? Myself!

Thankfully I don't live at home but whenever I go back I dread the 'have you gained/lost weight' greeting I receive and my mom glancing over my body to see how i look. I'm not close to my mom and we can only go a couple of days when together without arguing or sniping at each other. Mostly because I just keep it inside and don't tell her to stop commenting on my weight or you know what i know i'm fat and i'll do something about it when i'm ready. It's just frustrating and sad, i mean my mom has always been thin so i know she doesn't get how hard it is to be overweight/lose weight. Also I know she wants the best for me but it sucks that losing weight might be the key to her accepting me. Has anyone experienced or is experiencing this issue? How do you cope?
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Old 02-17-2010, 12:26 AM   #2
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My experience isn't exactly similar to yours, but I was definitely the 'fat' one in my immediate family for the past few years and now that I've been losing weight my relationships have shifted a bit.

I'd been the fat sibling for much of my life, but the past 7 years I was the heaviest in my family (I even outweighed my father and 6'3 brother). Thankfully, my family has been super supportive even when I was at my heaviest weight, and most of my discomfort was solely on my own part. My problem started when I began losing weight. Now that I've shrunk and am nearly in a 'normal' weight range I'm no longer the 'fat' sibling. My super tall, athletic brother has gained a few pounds in the past two years and if we were compared directly he's more 'overweight' than me. This doesn't really matter to me, but since I've lost weight our relationship has definitely been more distant. For the longest time I couldn't figure out why he was giving me the 'silent treatment' then my mom explained that maybe he was feeling insecure because I've been getting healthier while he's been getting a bit chubbier. It's annoying that he's been so distance the past few months, but it's his 'issue' so I try not to take it personally.

I can't imagine what it'd be like to have an unsupportive family so I don't really have much advice other than to stay strong and try not to let anyone bring you down.
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Old 02-17-2010, 12:30 AM   #3
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Your mother sounds exactly like my grandmother, she is like that with all 3 of her daughters (my mom and two aunts)...all of whom are well over 200lbs. My grandma never was larger than a size 14 even after having 6 kids in a relatively short amount of time, so it is clear that she doesn't understand. She constantly comments about the weight of her daughters (even said that her life would be perfect if her daughters were not fat). I guess some of this rubbed off on my mom, bc up until I changed my eating habits she would observe my eating, and tell me when she thought I had enough. (do you really need to eat all that?) I just want to let you know that I can sympathize with all of that, and I believe it is torture. Hang in there!

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Old 02-17-2010, 12:32 AM   #4
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I am so sorry for the ongoing ordeal with your mom. Your story just reminds me to support my own girls 100% and to be their soft place in this world. Thank you for posting it. I cannot offer advice in the mother department. Mine was horrid and after several decades of her abuse, I had to end things with her and get her permanently out of my own life.

"Be who you are, say what you feel. Those who matter, don't mind. Those who mind, don't matter." --Dr. Seuss
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Old 02-17-2010, 01:19 AM   #5
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your mom sounds like my mom, so im definitly sympathizing with you on this one. its just so hard when the person who is supposed to be your support no matter what, is the person tearing you down.
I havent really dealt with this well, but my mother has no idea the effects that her comments have had on me. and hey, ive lost weight so shes prolly feeling pretty darn good about things right now. :/
i know that i cant keep this resentment inside forever. im young, still living at home, but any mention of emotions to my mother makes her go into pity mode where she gets all sentimental and treats me like im being a 5 year old who is upset about a stolen cookie or something.
im planning on writing my mother a letter when i move out a year from now. i think she deserves to know why i have all this resentment toward her. because when it comes down to it, all of my problems with my mother come down to the fact that she has always made me feel worthless.
I also did the gaining weight as fighting back thing. if she was going to make me miserable, i wanted to make her miserable back. And it worked, but at my own expense.
so ya, no advice really, just commiserating here.
I cope by avoiding my mother as much as possible, which is a horrible way to live. I might not even wait the full year before letting her know how much she hurt me. i feel like she really does deserve to know, im just not ready to deal with the consequences of telling her. not ready to deal with her crying and telling me how horrible ive made her feel. her fake kindness that always comes out after a fight. i just cant handle it right now. but one pound at a time, eventually ill be able to tell her.
i would say just try and be patient with your mother. she just wanted what she thought was best for you. sometimes mothers just dont know how to care about their kids.
"Do or do not...There is no try" -Yoda
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Old 02-17-2010, 02:18 AM   #6
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Wow, you guys, lot's of hugs. The closest I have to this is my gma, as she is a size 12 and never stops complaining about how fat she is. I think my mom, several years back, told her how much it hurt to hear "Why are you eating that?" or other various dieting tips CONSTANTLY, so she doesn't do it to me directly, but there are still times I want to strangle her for insensitivity.

Luckily my own mother is very supportive, as she has been struggling with the same issues since her own childhood.
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Old 02-17-2010, 03:47 AM   #7
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I sympathize with you. It is never easy to be in that environment. Have you talked to your mother about how you feel?

From my personal experience my mother meant well when she was making comments to me about weight loss and if I lose weight I'll have a boyfriend, etc. But I told her, enough. While she means well it was only upsetting me. Now she's my biggest supporter. She offers me advice, but not in the condescending way she previously did. Maybe if you talk with her she will realize that she is only pressuring you, not helping?

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Old 02-17-2010, 08:07 AM   #8
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I have been in the same boat. I have always been heavier, and my mom has always been like a size 4-6 she is very tiny. I remember in 6th grade telling her I wanted to lose weight I was probably about 170lbs and she said Good for you, but you're naturally big because it runs in your fathers family, so you will never be as thin as me. THAT HURT! I definitely know where you are coming from, some mom's look at overweight in a very different way. I have a daughter now who is 2, and I would never tell her anything like that. Especially with the issues girls have with body image and eating disorders.

Hopefully you have other people who support you! Good luck!

* Success is not final, failure is not fatal, it is the courage to continue that counts * Winston Churchill

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Old 02-17-2010, 10:57 AM   #9
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I am sorry to hear this since a mom really should be a person's very best cheerleader. I don't know what it feels like to have a mom that acts like that. My mother was always supportive of me and when I wanted to make a weight loss attempt she would get me whatever it was I needed for the particular plan I wanted to go on and encourage me, but she said not word one when I gave up. I do know the feeling of being the fat one though. My mother had 5 children and even after me (the 5th) she was only a size 12, and for her that was huge since she had been a 2-4 her whole life. My father and 3 of my brothers are military and the other brother is a cop, so they have to stay fit even if they don't want to. They mostly stay a lot more fit than is even required of them for their careers, though one of my now retired brothers is working on getting quite fat at this point. My father has made remarks to me about my weight in the past, but I know he never meant anything by it. He simply didn't understand that it would hurt me. I think one of my brothers said something to him after the last time he said something because it very suddenly stopped. He had said something like that I was always going to be a bigger girl, but it was ok because I was still beautiful - he meant to be loving and reassuring. My problem area is my oldest brother. He has said some very cruel things to and about me because of my weight over the years. He frequently got very mad at my mom for allowing me to be so fat and basically called her a bad mom for it (that and the fact that I was allowed minimal make-up at 13, oh no! what a slut). He has flat out said that I was an embarrassment as a sister. However, I can deal with him quite easily. He's an a$$hole in general (he's also racist, sexist, classist, and entirely too full of himself) and I just don't like him, so my way of dealing with him is to just avoid him. I talk to him when my father forces it, and then we pretty much make some small talk for a few minutes, I ask how his children are, and then he gives the phone to someone else. With him there is no telling him that his behavior is hurtful - he knows that, he just doesn't care.

Have you talked to your mom and told her that she hurts you? Maybe your weight needs to be set as an off limits topic with her.

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Old 02-17-2010, 12:31 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by plusminusplus View Post
Hi all,

There was a stage probably in my teens when I truly felt like I hated my mom.The passive aggressive behavior/looks/questions (are you going to eat that, staring at my plate of food and examining the contents, if you lost weight you'd have a boyfriend, be able to buy nice clothes, constant diet/weight loss tips, forcing me to exercise/diet but not doing the same to my siblings, going on about how fat she is and needs to lose weight (she's a size 8), making judgments about overweight people in public, gathering the family to talk about my weight problem has all but ruined my relationship with her. This really wore on my self esteem but I think I also developed some bad habits such as sneaking eating and using food as a way to rebel i.e gaining weight was kind of a way to be like screw you, you can't control. me...and at the end of the day, who did I end up hurting? Myself!

Oh honey, yes, yes, and yes!

My mom looked on approvingly when I went on 900 calorie starvation diets at age 11, and to this DAY she can not refer to plus size clothing by any other moniker besides "your size" as in "they have jackets in YOUR SIZE" as though that is no less than a minor miracle.

My mom, now in her seventies and diabetic STILL cannot eat without saying something like "I don't know why I'm hungry.... oh, because I skipped lunch..." As though eating is a special privilege that has to be earned....

It wasn't until I got older that I realized that my tall skinny fatphobic dad was behind her insecurity, which she then passed on to me.

So you sound a lot like me-- sneaking food, eating as a form of rebellion, the whole nine yards.

I'm in my late forties now, and I wasted twenty years letting that whole situation bring me down. In retrospect, I totally wish I had gotten counseling and learned how to work through those issues and moved on, because in the end, as you said, we only hurt ourselves!

Good luck, and know that we'll support you here.

Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.--Winston Churchill
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Old 02-17-2010, 01:13 PM   #11
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First of all, I'm sorry you're having to deal with less than supportive family. It definitely makes changing your outlook, and your body, 100x more difficult if you don't have supportive people in your corner.

Your mom, unfortunately, sounds a lot like my grandmother. For as long as I can remember, she's made comments about my weight and my mother's weight. She'd offer the diet tips, usually related to some wonder drug that she'd read about or whatever, but mostly it was comments like "you could be so pretty if you'd just lose some weight..." Nothing like a back-handed compliment to knock the breath out of you, right?

Well, around Christmas 2007, I was visiting my parents' house and she was there. We were looking at pictures from my brother's wedding (which was in July 2007) where I was a bridesmaid. I'd done a crazy crash diet leading up to the wedding and I'd lost ~30lbs. We were going through the pictures and one of me came across the screen...

Grandma: "Who was that?"
Me: "Well, that was me!" ::smile::
Grandma: "Oh, I just wish you'd lose some of that weight..."
Me: "Well, I wish you'd learn not to be so damn rude!"
Grandma: "Well, I'm just saying it to you out of love..."
Me: "No, you're not. I've heard all of your comments before, and they're hurtful and I will not hear anymore."

She hasn't said a word to me about my weight since. I realize my grandma is getting old (and losing the filter that normally goes between brain and mouth), but being old is no excuse for being rude and insensitive. This was the only time in my life that anyone has stood up to her regarding this stuff.

Maybe a talk with your mom (or a snarky remark like mine) would get the point across that, while she might think she's helping encourage and motivate you with her comments, your mom is actually hurting you and making it harder for you to believe in yourself enough to make a change. I wish you all the best. I'm really sorry your mom isn't giving you the support you need.

"Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind." - Dr. Seuss

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Old 02-17-2010, 01:40 PM   #12
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yet another post that makes me want to run to my mom's house and give her a great big hug! My mom and parents are awesome, and always have been proud of me no matter what. We chuckle over weight loss at times, like "yah if only brownies were a food group" and they have never ever in a gabillion years would try to belittle me or make me feel bad about myself - never!

I often feel, when I read stories like that, that even if you were thin OP, your mother would STILL find something to harp on? That's just the easiest thing to nag you about. If you were thin, maybe it would be your job choice? your hair? how you raise your kids? Unfortunately, with some people, they just feel entitled to say what they like. I'm glad I learned from my mom and dad to tell those people to shut the f&^& up! lol


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Now: 171 - nope, 165 now!
NOPE -- 162 now! Holy crap i've lost a PERSON!
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Old 02-17-2010, 03:11 PM   #13
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Oh yes. I've been the fattest in my family and circle of friends for 12 years!!!!! My parent's always used to make us all go "on a diet" lol! My mom never really pushed me per say but I always heard the "I'm worried about you dying of a heart attack" crap all the time. I'm glad not to hear it any more.

Now I'm NOT the fattest one. Or the fat friend. Or the fattest wife around. Or the fattest mom... and it feels good. BUT it's very threatening to some members of my family
On my own personal journey I started on September 27, 2008
Starting weight 377, Weight in spring of 2010 198, Weight in August 2011? In the 240's.
Still plugging along on this weight loss highway!
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Old 02-17-2010, 03:38 PM   #14
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My weight is my business. I'm not clueless. I know I'm obese. But my health is my biz, not anyone else's.

My dad used to make comments and I told him the above one day and told him it was not up for discussion. The next time he brought it up, I was just going home.

I wasn't there more than 5 min when I turned around and went home.

My mom was still taking a shower and by the time she got out I was gone and she called me to asked me what happened.... she thought I was coming over to visit.

I told her the same -- I wasn't mad, I wasn't upset, but my health was my business, and I was going to stick to the policy of just up and leaving my parent's house and going back home to my own if all that was going to happen in a "family visit" was spending the time annoying me and not respecting my boundaries.

I see my endoc, I deal with my problems as best I can, NO I don't need the peanut gallery going on.

Eventually, they let it go and we got to where visits were actual pleasant visits rather than dissecting my health folder.

Sometimes I'll give an update, most times I don't.

I don't know what else to tell you other than to draw your line in the sand and stick with it. Either Mom will learn new ways to "bond" with you or she won't. Either way, it will be healthier for you not to be listening to stuff that brings you down.

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Old 02-17-2010, 09:34 PM   #15
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my father is a little like that. I know he means well but he is obsessed with my sister's and my's weight problems. He is always looking for every opportunity to bring it up and tell us what we should be eating and not eating or doing and not doing. sometimes the most supportive thing you can do is not make a big deal out of something so it drives me crazy now as I try to make my healthy habits an everyday/reflexive thing. However, recently he tried to actually give me a compliment about my weight loss and I, without thinking, said "I dont want to hear it. I just dont like talking about this process." and now he has actually backed off!

A more difficult issue in my family, however, is my sister. She is the one person in my family that has always been bigger than me. Recently, she had been losing weight and I had been gaining and we were within about 20 pounds of each other. She seemed happy to have her overweight sister. I think maybe she felt less like a black sheep. But now I'm losing and she is gaining and she is employing all the predictable sabatoge (sp?) strategies. I see her once a week and usually go off plan but still count the calories and dont mind all that much because I dont feel a need to be perfect. What made me sad, though, was that I recently booked 2 weeks at this weight loss spa and I told her and she acted a little strange and said something like "gosh. when you get done you'll waste away to nothing" which is obviously not really a danger for me hahaha. But anyways I can see that this is going to get harder and harder between us as i lose.
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