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Old 02-20-2009, 10:44 AM   #1  
Mens sana in corpore sano
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Default Feeling aggressed

I was pondering that thought recently, and figured I might as well ask people here their opinion about it. It's just musings, I guess, nothing too important, but still, I'm curious to see if I'm thinking in weird ways or not.

I suppose we all know 'food pushers', people who insist on making us eat, etc. Whether for a 'good' reason (after all, "food = love" is as old as the world) or for a bad one (jealousy...).

What I've pondered is the way this food-pushing seems 'threatening' to me, but not exactly in the sense of it being a threat to my food habits. I mean, sure, okay, it breaks the balance in our dieting/eating clean/whatever we want to call it. But I mean more in a sense of 'threat to my self-assertion', or something like that.

Simple example: "No, thanks, I'm not hungry anymore, so I won't get seconds." If someone then insists on pushing food on me, I immediately translate it as "Nevermind what you said: I don't care about your opinion, *I* know you better than yourself, and I say you're still hungry, and therefore I consider you have to eat."


I find it quite infuriating. I don't like having to repeat "No, thanks" three times. When I say I'm not hungry, it means I'm not hungry, period.

It's probably very silly, but then, I wonder if it's some sort of psychological anomaly on my part (e.g. my father's family push food on people, but they're also the first one to openly criticize those very same people if they're overweight...), or if I'm far from being the only one who feels that way?

(I don't know if it's really related to losing weight per se, but the closest thing I could link it to was the matter of food-pushers, so I guess it may fit the topic?)
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Old 02-20-2009, 11:06 AM   #2  
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Hey Kery!

In my experience, most of the time it is just said as a gesture of caring, and that's all. I have also thought of it as food pushing, but most of the time I decided that's not what it is. The offer may be made more than once, but every time it's that same gesture--a way of being generous, kindly, etc. It used to bother me until I learned that smiling and saying No Thank You every single time was all I had to do. Or if it's seconds, I might add some praise like "Wow, it sure was good! I really love that sauce (or spice or texture etc.). But I'm done for now."

It's easy to feel aggressed against, though. I used to feel that way when I had just stopped drinking and people would offer me a drink. It was all I could do not to shout NO! WHAT ARE YOU THINKING?? But that was my problem, not theirs. It doesn't bother me at all now.

So--maybe think of it that way and you'll get past it at some point.

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Old 02-20-2009, 02:58 PM   #3  
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I think there ARE problems with what is commonly accepted behavior. But I also think you have to look at yourself when you have a really emotional reaction to statements like that. I totally know what you mean. I unfortunately have to remind myself A LOT that I'm over-reacting and taking something too personally. I'm all for standing up for respectful and polite behavior in a way this is in itself respectful and calm - I have a real bug about the ridiculously poor manners that are so prevalent. I'm just talking about dealing with the ways I react inside - dealing with emotions that instead of helping you deal effectively with situation, twist *you* up and make you unhappy. Then again, sometimes it's just the newness of things. Like JayEll mentioned, when you've recently made a change, you're hyperaware of when others push you on it. Eventually, you feel more secure, and while someone else may still be rude or even mean, it doesn't *get* to you personally as much.
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Old 02-20-2009, 03:26 PM   #4  
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Whether I see it as aggression depends a great deal on my relationship with the person who's doing the food pushing.

With my mother, it used to be particularly fraught when I was still living at home. (I was one of those "boomerang kids" who comes home after college because employment opportunities at the time & in that particular region were dismal -- and because I was not as adventurous in nature or autonomous as many of my peers.) It definitely felt to me as though she were exerting control. A former cheerleader & baton twirler who had always been complimented on her looks & who had struggled with her weight for many years, she was always urging me to "cut back." But when I did so, methodically & unwaveringly enough to drop from a 22 to a 4, she became very alarmed by my rigidity regarding food & we had screaming fights over the dinner table as she tried to get me to eat. And was upset when I realized I had acquired an eating disorder & began seeing a therapist. She had the old idea about seeking counseling: It was shameful, it must be kept quiet. She was suspicious of the therapist: "What is that woman telling you?" She never gave up the fight with food & took it personally when I started avoiding family meals & doing all my own cooking. She didn't mellow out till I left the family house & went out on my own.

Now, about 13 years later, it's also fraught with my mother, but for completely different reasons. I realized recently that I have always understimated the role that frugality & fear of "not having enough" have played in her family's life, in her life & also, inevitably, in mine. When my mother pushes food on me now, it's usually because she's afraid of wasting it. She can't bear to throw it away. Also, there's another weirder reason: She doesn't like saving it if there isn't much. Lots of little storage containers in the fridge look like clutter & disorder to her. It's unaesthetic. So she pushes food in order to make sure the serving dish is clean, that she hasn't got to get out any Tupperware. I said to her, "No, I won't eat anything just so you can have a clean dish. I am NOT a garbage disposal." She then makes a threatening gesture: "I'm going to THROW IT OUT, then." Remember, to her, that's very fraught. When I say "Okay," and take her up on her dare, half the time, she'll end up saving it anyway.

With anyone else who pushes food on me, there is nowhere near this aggression or any such buried issues. That is why I say, ask yourself: "Who is pushing this food? What is their relationship with me at this moment?"

That may help clarify your thinking & your reaction. Anyway, it has helped me over time.
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Old 02-20-2009, 05:55 PM   #5  
Mens sana in corpore sano
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Hmm. What's weird is that I didn't have this reaction when the changes were only recent. It's now that they are ingrained that I'm getting touchy about it. o_O

Or maybe it's like saef mentioned -- I don't have that reaction with everyone, actually. It really depends on people, and also on whether they're being insistent about it. If someone just asks once, it's okay. If they ask four times "but won't you take some again?", then it's getting old.

I said there was a problem like that with my father's family. I haven't suffered from it as much as my mother, actually, but my grandparents are such food-pushers, and I think it's not for "love" reasons. For instance, they blamed her (my mother) for years for being overweight, making nasty remarks about it every time they saw her, and then they'd just do the food-pushing thing and act almost insulted if you didn't eat seconds. Go figure.

On the other hand... Come to think of it, given that being too ****-bent on losing weight at first had almost thrown me into an eating disorder, it might also be linked to that. There are days when I indeed kind of feel like an alcoholic in front of whom people keep on placing beer bottles. uhm, here's to hope I'll get over that soon, then?
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Old 02-21-2009, 10:13 AM   #6  
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I completely relate to the food pushing attitude of family members. My mum constantly remarks on how big she thinks family members are or how much weight they had lost and yet prepare massive meals and yet feels 'put out' if we don't eat platefuls. Sometimes I think it is the main topic of conversation at family gatherings!

My mum is lovely however, and was horrified when I spoke to her about it, particularly about how she commented on my weight as soon as she would see me when I was visiting. ('Your face looks thinner' or 'you look like you've put a bit of weight on' 'you suit those trousers, they make you look slimmer etc.) I felt scrutinised, including at meal times. My Mum was a big child and teenager and she is constantly on a diet despite being slim; She also wants to spoil me and look after me and when I visit sends me home with all sorts of food packages etc. I guess she has the same uncomfortable relationship with food I have.
It is frustrating however!! I guess we just have to be firm and stick to what we know is right for us.
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