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Old 01-04-2009, 08:31 PM   #1
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Default Mom...

Why why why are they so difficult?

I love mine a lot, and most of the time we get along well, but why does she a) blame my lack of anything, especially relationships, on my weight, and b) blame my weight on herself?

It's frustrating, especially since she's blaming herself for not making me be more active (I remember a childhood of swimming, wrestling, biking, nature hiking, camping, sledding, and generally being sent outdoors every day to run around and play) or allowing me to eat too much junk food (never mind that when the dietician told her I could only have McDonald's once a week, my 7-year-old eyes lit up with rapture that I was supposed to go get a happy meal toy that often instead of once every few months, and our house scarcely ever had potato chips until after I graduated from high school). Not to mention that neither of my siblings are remotely close to overweight (though a good deal of my extended family is).

I tell her right up front that she's being ridiculous when she says stuff like this, but she just sighs and goes on believing it's her fault, and that my life is ruined because of it.
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Old 01-04-2009, 09:03 PM   #2
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There are a lot of people in the world who believe that they have the power to control all that is within their sight, or that the little things they do somehow influence the workings of the world around them. I don't think it's egomaniacal, just a smaller world view or way of seeing the way people work through their lives on their own.

Sometimes you just have to accept that they may never change that way of thinking and you do your best to ignore and go about your life. I feel bad for them though, they take on a lot of guilt, worry, anxiety that really isn't theirs at all. I think when it's your mom it's got to be even harder, but I think you're doing all you can to make it clear to her that your life is your path, not determined by faults of hers.... and that your life isn't a "fault" at all.
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Old 01-04-2009, 09:30 PM   #3
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I can understand why your mom blames herself for what she sees as a failing in you. I'm not saying your size is a failing, not by any means, only that I can see her point of view. When you raise a kid you have an idea of what you think their lives should be like and sometimes you have to remind yourself that your kid is their own person with their own ideas and their own lives and insterests. I think all parents/guardians have an idea of what kinds of lives they want their kids to lead whether those ideas play out or not. I know I wish my niece did some things and not others, but I know she's got to be her own person. I only butt in when I think she's doing something that she would regret, but even then I can only influence her so much...

Your mom is just going to think she failed you until she thinks that you are happy, read: until *her* vision for your life plays out. Just continue to remind her that you are your own person and that she can only control so much. You can't change her mind for her, just remind her from time to time that you are okay as is.

I know too that in the south a woman who isn't married by a certain age is considered an anomoly. I've watched my own female cousins my age go thru this and then when my sister and I are down there we get the barrages of "why aren't you married yet?" questions and it's soooo annoying. Nothing to do but deal.
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Old 01-05-2009, 08:21 AM   #4
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With my family it's not my mom, it's my dad. I'm over 40 and have several mirrors in my home. I know exactly what I weigh and how I look. Dad's a smart man -- why does he think he needs to inform me if I've put on weight (or if our 14 y.o. son is chubby)? Guess what, Dad ... it's not news. Believe me, I'm far more intimately aware of [I]my[I] body than anyone else is.

The only thing that keeps me sane in this arena is that it actually tickles me that I think it's aesthetics that drives Dad's comments. Two weeks (!) after my sister had her second child, he said casually, "Still a little pooch there" (referring to her belly). Yeah, thanks.
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Old 01-05-2009, 08:35 AM   #5
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god Keb, i dont even know where to begin, so i shant! Maby You could tell your mum that she is really hurting your feelings by suggesting that its abnormal a. not to be married by certain age and b. to be over a certain weight by her crap about it being her "fault". I would suggest if she continues to behave in a way that you find unacceptable then perhaps you could see her less often and tell her why thats happening. Once she begins to behave in a way that doesnt hurt you then you see her more!
It worked for me.
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Old 01-05-2009, 06:01 PM   #6
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hey at least your mom cares enough to think its her fault.
My mom thinks im a failure cause im fat. And NEVER misses a chance to tell me.
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Old 01-05-2009, 06:23 PM   #7
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Last week I wrote my mother a long email, with sincere love and kisses on both ends, telling her about a particular behavior of hers that was driving me away from her, and that if she continued, there would be fewer visits and phone calls. The last sentence was "I hope I am not hurting your feelings."

She sent me back an immediate email saying that, yes, her feelings were hurt, and that she was angry, and that she was too old to change her ways. (She'll be 85 in March.)

For two days I felt like absolute garbage. Guilty. Bad son. What if she dies today? I will have this on my head the rest of my life.

Then, yesterday, I called to say hello. She completely dropped the thing she was doing that bothered me, and we had a wonderful conversation.

Last thing we said, as it always is, is "I love you." "I love you, too."

Obviously, she'd lashed out at me in her embarassment, then thought about what I'd said, and miraculously transformed, whether on purpose or not.

You have to tell people with hard heads the direct truth. Sometimes more than once. Sometimes more than twice. And be willing to walk away, even for a little while, to make your point.

Weight, anyone's weight, as far as I'm concerned, isn't a topic of conversation.
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Old 01-07-2009, 11:25 AM   #8
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You have to tell people with hard heads the direct truth. Sometimes more than once. Sometimes more than twice. And be willing to walk away, even for a little while, to make your point.
When you get right down to it, it's often a control issue with mothers, plain and simple. My brother and I know that no matter how old we become, we'll always be "the kids."

The funny thing is, even though I have a good strong marriage, a rewarding career and financial stability, my 76-year-old mother still finds fault with me because I'm fat. For some strange reason my mother also criticizes good things. For ages, whenever my mother asked me how things are going, and I answered her, she used to tell me "don't break your arm patting yourself on the back." Well, after she said to me that once too often, I walked out. She was stunned and after going on a crying binge about how she only wants what's best for me, she has never said that to me again.

Now if only I can make her stop commenting about my weight. Nothing I've tried seems to work. It's almost as if she can't stop herself from criticizing my weight, or else she'll blow a gasket holding it in. So we've reached a compromise, and I let her criticize my weight once and only once whenever we talk or see each other. Sometimes she uses her one allotted criticism, and sometimes she doesn't, but if she tries to criticize my weight more than once per visit, I stop her. Then she criticizes my hair or my clothes or whatever instead.

My father? Well, as long as I'm happy and healthy and stay out of jail, I'm still "Daddy's Little Girl", which is funny considering I'm 6ft tall, over 450lb and 51 years old. But that's perfectly fine with me! He copes with my hyper-critical mother by deliberately giving her something to criticize, like putting on a wrinkled shirt. Then my mother can fix it, and peace and tranquility reign. My father is a genius!

My brother says I should consider myself lucky. He's average size, so our mother finds other ways to needle him. Whenever he tells her what he's been doing lately, she shifts the conversation to something like "I remember when you first learned to walk. You used to fall on your face all the time." My brother endures that with a good grace. Then one fine day my mother actually complimented her successful son, but then for some bizarre reason she began to reminisce about changing his guano-filled diapers when he was a baby. That was his turn to go ballistic. Gee, maybe mom's well-worn criticism to me "doesn't it bother you to have that belly of yours hanging out for all the world to see?" isn't so bad after all.

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Old 01-07-2009, 09:22 PM   #9
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Well let me give a small example of my mommy:
One day I was talking to my dad and he told me how my grandmother died of Alzheimer's Disease. So i got to thinking about it, and started feeling very sad. I started thinking of myself getting older, and the "what if's". So I made the mistake of calling my mom and "sharing". After I told her how I felt, and even cried a bit, she replies with "I don't know what your crying about, your going to die of a heart attack before you would lose your mind".

I love this woman, God knows I do, but she is NOT the most sensitive person in the world, lol. The funny thing is she's fat herself, just not as big as me, so she feels that gives her the right to say whatever she wants whenever. We live in 2 different states (the only reason why we get along at all, lol) so I don't want to waste my time on the phone with her defending my weight. So I try to be upbeat and happy. No matter what I say she always has to work into the converstaion a new diet she heard of, or how she lost a pound or whatever (same with my other siblings). I get real tired of it, and I have mentioned it, but there is no point.
When she visits me its pure torture. She stays at a near by hotel because i have 2 cats and she is allergic (yay) but she stays for a week and she makes me feel like a dying slug on the sidewalk with salt sprinkled on me for good measure!
Ahhh families! Gotta love them! lol
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Old 01-09-2009, 07:02 AM   #10
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Mom...

Why why why are they so difficult?
Although the friction between you and your mother is about weight, believe me it's only on the surface. It's really just the mother/daughter dynamic playing itself out from time immemorial, and weight is the most convenient target.

I knew I'd find this link eventually. I heard this on the radio a few years ago and it's verrrry relevant to this topic, even though it doesn't specifically relate to fat. The audio portion is inactive, but the written transcript is still there.

National Public Radio, Morning Edition, January 25, 2006:
Solving the Mystery of Mother-Daughter Speak
http://www.npr.org/templates/story/s...toryId=5170927

Does this sound familiar? "Sometimes I'll be talking on the phone to my mom, and everything's going fine, then all of a sudden she'll say something that makes me so mad, I just hang up. Later I can't believe I did that. I would never hang up on anyone else."

And there's the ever-popular "You're not going to wear that, are you?" As a confirmed wise ass, I've responded more than a few times, "No, Mom, I just put on these clothes because I wanted to see how stupid I'd look."

But I know that even if by some miracle I were a supermodel and a Nobel prize winner, she'd find something else to criticize, just so she can always be "the mom" and wield some control. (Of course I'm just vain enough to consider myself a supermodel of a sort, and my husband affectionately calls me his "trophy wife", but that's a whole 'nother story )

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Old 07-24-2009, 12:32 PM   #11
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Oh, my gosh, are you SURE we don't have the same mother & grandmother? lol.

My mother has always berated me cruelly for my size. My achievements in high school didn't matter. I would come home & constantly be harassed about my weight. It also escalated when she married the ASSHOLE & allowed him to heap emotional abuse me on top of hers. My self-esteem was in the gutter. And this caused me to make foolish choices that I am still paying for today. When Nick came into my life, we got married by Justice of the Peace & kept it a secret because of the fallout that would happen. Nick (stand up guy that he is) finally told my mother in a heart-to-heart conversation about a few months after we were married. To this day, I don't know what was sad between them (don't want to know), but I do know that he vowed to take care of me & that he loved me for me & not just to obtain a green card. TO THIS DAY, she still will come out with comments on my weight, that my husband will leave me should I get fatter (Nick is the opposite - he says he is fine with my weight & wants me to flaunt it in short-shorts, shorter dresses & skirts & bare arms) that the kids are too young to lose their mom to obesity-related death, and that she worries that she will have to bury me too soon & cries about it every night - whatever She didn't seem to worry about us when she had abusiive relationships with a few men who lived with us as young girls.

Yes, I still harbor anger at her, but there is no use to talking to her about it, as she is totally unsympathetic. I have learned to try to rise above her snide comments & put-downs to live my life as I please. I want the kids to spend time with the family, but I don't want them growing up intolerant and fat-phobic. Thank goodness we live out of state Excuse me, this has made me upset. Time to get the sugar-free protein bar with chocolate & peanut butter



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Originally Posted by Tyna View Post
Well let me give a small example of my mommy:
One day I was talking to my dad and he told me how my grandmother died of Alzheimer's Disease. So i got to thinking about it, and started feeling very sad. I started thinking of myself getting older, and the "what if's". So I made the mistake of calling my mom and "sharing". After I told her how I felt, and even cried a bit, she replies with "I don't know what your crying about, your going to die of a heart attack before you would lose your mind".

I love this woman, God knows I do, but she is NOT the most sensitive person in the world, lol. The funny thing is she's fat herself, just not as big as me, so she feels that gives her the right to say whatever she wants whenever. We live in 2 different states (the only reason why we get along at all, lol) so I don't want to waste my time on the phone with her defending my weight. So I try to be upbeat and happy. No matter what I say she always has to work into the converstaion a new diet she heard of, or how she lost a pound or whatever (same with my other siblings). I get real tired of it, and I have mentioned it, but there is no point.
When she visits me its pure torture. She stays at a near by hotel because i have 2 cats and she is allergic (yay) but she stays for a week and she makes me feel like a dying slug on the sidewalk with salt sprinkled on me for good measure!
Ahhh families! Gotta love them! lol
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Old 07-24-2009, 01:19 PM   #12
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Oddly enough, my parents don't harp anymore. They're actually really proud of me right now - who I am, what I look like, the work I do, my educational accomplishments, even my hobbies. This is a big deal considering how judgemental they tend to be, how perfect their lives have been, and how absolutely fucked up my life was from the end of 2001 through the end of 2004.

Very occasionally I'll get the "twenty more pounds and you'd be perfect" comment, but it's not really meant as a criticism. It's the only thing they can think of that might need work. Further, I'm okay enough with myself that it doesn't bother me all that much anyway (when I was 18, tiny, and ana-bulemic, it would have, MAJORLY.).

Everything's not exactly roses, but I've slayed most of my demons and overcome quite a bit of self-doubt. I'm ready for the next round of good things.
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Old 07-24-2009, 05:56 PM   #13
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Old 07-26-2009, 06:29 AM   #14
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My mom is more passive aggressive. She rarely says anything to me anymore about MY weight, but she always comments about other peoples weight. My personal favorite (not) was when she once said about family friends who had divorced...."Since they split up, she's lost so much weight. Maybe if she had done that BEFORE, they wouldn't have divorced." I just about blew a gasket on that one.

But then, one day, I was hanging out at their house, and I saw something that changed my attitude completely. The way the house was, with angles and mirrors and such, I was able to observe my Mother checking herself out in the full length mirror in the foyer, unbeknowst to her. (she wears a size 8, maybe). She turned this way and that, patting down her nonexistent stomach, checking out all the views, all the while frowning and looking slightly disgusted. And it dawned on me....she is not happy with the way SHE looks. It's about HER, not me. That realization has helped me to deal ever since.
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Old 07-26-2009, 10:44 AM   #15
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And it dawned on me....she is not happy with the way SHE looks. It's about HER, not me. That realization has helped me to deal ever since.
I think that's true in a lot of cases. My mom is a person of size (although she's a pear, the lucky so-and-so ) and has always struggled with her size. She would criticize me when I was younger for not eating healthier or getting enough exercise, and while it really hurt at the time, I now realize that she was doing it out of a sense of remembering how she felt when she was my age, and not wanting me to go through the same struggles.

My family also eased off on me in general after the fact that I have an ED surfaced, but there are still times...

Last month, I went shopping with my mother and her sister. I was in the dressing room with my aunt, who is roughly the same size as me, showing her the various things I was trying on.

I tried on a blouse that I thought was very cute and fit me well, stepped out of the stall to show it to her, and-- she winced.

"It's too tight."
"What? No it's not." I looked at myself in the mirror again. It hugged my body, but certainly wasn't sausage-casing tight.
"Try the next size up."
"It's a XXL, there is no next size up."

My aunt proceeded to gently explain to me that my clothing should "skim" my body, i.e. make me look formless. Because my form is unacceptable for human eyes, I guess.

She and my mom found a similar top in the plus-size line that was acceptably baggy-- and made me look about as frumpy and awkward as I was feeling by this point-- and bought me that. I can only hope it shrinks in the dryer.

What really surprised me about this episode was how much my aunt was projecting her own insecurities onto me. (And how much I absorbed them, considering that now I'm paranoid that my clothing doesn't fit me properly.) She's never told me that my clothing was too tight before-- generally, she only comments on my outfits if she likes them, and needles me for having worn black all the time when I was a teenager-- but suddenly we go shopping together, and that all changes.
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Old 07-26-2009, 12:35 PM   #16
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Star, my mother tells me my clothes are either too tight (fitted), too short (my legs are showing), I need a sweater (my arms are showing), I should be wearing vertical stripes (I hate stripes), yadda yadda. I don't listen to her so I don't know why she still bothers knowing that I don't listen to her. I've even had to explain to her that fat chicks look best in clothes that aren't too tight or too loose. Baggy can = sloppy on anybody in general, but on a fat chick people will automatically think "fat slob." I'd rather have a hint of a roll show than to look like a barrell under a tarp. My mother cringes a lot when she sees what I'm wearing since she thinks everything I own should be black and baggy. Occassionally she compliments my clothes if she likes the pattern or the color or if she thinks my rolls aren't showing, like with a trapeeze dress.

I just don't let her go shopping with me, don't let her buy clothes for me, and I don't listen to anything she says about fat fashion since she doesn't get it. I say, try the slob clothing argument on your aunt and see what she says.
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Old 07-28-2009, 07:31 AM   #17
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Sometimes parents just have to feel that they have control. Maybe she is telling herself that she had control of your weight (it's kinda like anorexics controlling what goes into their mouths).

This old world is so much chaos that feeling you have or have had a modicum of control over anything sometimes helps keep you sane.
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Old 07-28-2009, 04:54 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by olwen View Post
I say, try the slob clothing argument on your aunt and see what she says.
Well, the thing is she wants me to dress exactly the same way she does. And, if she wants to wear really baggy clothing, I'm not going to try and change her mind... I just don't understand why she thinks I'd want to dress like someone 40 years my senior. Although considering most of the clothes you find at Lane Bryant, she's apparently in good company.
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Old 07-28-2009, 06:21 PM   #19
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Star, maybe she just thinks fat should be hidden at all times, and maybe she doesn't like her body and doesn't think any other fat person should like their bodies either.

Maybe take the crappy clothes she gives you and take em to a taylor to have em fixed the way you would want them. Or if you have some sewing skills alter them yourself. I've found that to be empowering. Makes me not hate shopping so much.
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Old 08-01-2009, 01:42 AM   #20
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Well let me give a small example of my mommy:
One day I was talking to my dad and he told me how my grandmother died of Alzheimer's Disease. So i got to thinking about it, and started feeling very sad. I started thinking of myself getting older, and the "what if's". So I made the mistake of calling my mom and "sharing". After I told her how I felt, and even cried a bit, she replies with "I don't know what your crying about, your going to die of a heart attack before you would lose your mind".
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I know that this probably really hurt/stunned you when it happened, and I really to empathize...but I am laughing so hard there are literally tears running down my face. ( I hope that this was far enough in the past that you can laugh at the ridiculousness of it too). The thing is that I can totally see my mother saying the very same thing!!

My mom truly believes that I CANNOT be fat and happy simultaneously. Even in the face of clear and convincing evidence to the contrary like my strong marriage, 4 good kids, and rewarding career. I mean, what more could I possibly want? Size 6 jeans?? For what? (Although thanks to The Avenue's new vanity sizing, I actually do wear a size six) Mom always says that all she's ever wanted was for her children to grow up to be happy. And that is probably true, if we use HER definition of happiness instead of our own.

The dynamic between mothers and daughters is so complex. Its like I serve as my mother's mirror. She looks at me and sees her own shortcomings and failings. My mother is miserable being overweight, and therefore I must be too (she's 5'4" and about 230lbs - not svelte by any means!). Her marriage sucks, so mine must too, and on and on. I love my mom. I really do. But too much time with her is too much. I find that limiting my exposure to her works best. I keep phone calls short and visits as short as possible. When I stay at her house (as I often have to for work) I come home late and go to bed early. I wish I could have a better relationship with her than that, but its simply not to be.
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Old 08-05-2009, 01:33 PM   #21
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is fat too, but she's always trying to get in shape cuz she used to be hekka thin before she had kids. she doesn't give me gruff, thankfully, and seems pretty souped that she gets all my old clothes that i've grown out of. lol
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Old 08-06-2009, 06:35 PM   #22
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My mom is fat too, and rarely makes comments about my own weight but considering the things she says about herself, I can just imagine what she is thinking of me. She has lost about 65 pounds recently which is kinda sweet cause I get all her old clothes that I want.. I totally got like 15 new shirts yesterday when I went over to her house and a ton of other shit that I brought to a consignment shop so I can make a little cash. Anyway, she was telling me about how when she was going to her nutrition appointments a few months ago her highest weight was *gasp* THREE HUNDRED AND ONE POUND and going on about how disgusting it was that she was over 300 blah blah. She said she just wants to get down to 180 "so she doesn't look like a freak anymore." My mother is seriously beautiful, and weighs about 230 pounds right now and is about as far as one can be from looking like a freak if you ask me. The thing is, she was thin until she got married (as was my father) and she can't stand being fat now. Her ex-boyfriend and her current boyfriend were both fat and with both she was always dieting, just like she did with my dad (dieting was family bonding in my childhood.) I was really disgusted when I was over there yesterday and her boyfriend called and told her that she shouldn't have eaten dinner (which consisted of a half of a tuna sandwhich and plain green beans) because she's been plateauing in her weight loss recently (probably because she just had cosmetic surgery and thus has been on bed rest/out of work for the last month.. give her a break!) I'm glad she shrugged it off and didn't listen to him, but still. The thing is, I never get mad at my mom even when she does say something offensive re: my weight because I know that she is so incredibly unhappy with herself, especially her weight. I mean, the fact that she just had plastic surgery and is now crash dieting is signs enough that she isn't happy when she looks in the mirror. I feel sympathetic more than anything.
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Old 08-08-2009, 02:02 PM   #23
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Ah mothers. Most of the time, my mum is my friend but she does enjoy harping on about my weight. I'm 5'8" and until last year I weighed just over 300lbs, whereas my mum is 5'4 and is around 120lbs. My mum is never happy with her own body so I have always tried to let most of her comments wash over me, although it gets quite draining trying to ignore phrases like "well i just cant imagine anything worse than looking like you", "you've got a lovely face under all that, you could be really nice", "you'll never get a job while you're fat" etc. I remember when I was about 18, she (who smokes like a trooper & drinks like a fish) told me that she couldnt really encourage me to smoke, but she did find smoking a good substitute for eating so she'd understand my motives if i started. When I said I'd rather have a healthy pair of lungs, my mum's genuinely baffled response was "but no-one knows what the inside of you looks like".

For various reasons, i have chosen to lose around 100lbs over the past year. I am now a UK size 14 top and 16/18 bottom which suits me fine (and is still considered fat over here, at least my bottom half is). My mother was delighted while i was dieting, but since i told her i wanted to stop losing and focus on trying to maintain my current weight for a while, i have been met with a barrage of confused "but you're not thin yet" etc etc. I usually reply with a "i'd never be thin enough for you", which she says is nonsense, but it isn't.

It's a shame my mum & i have these battles around my weight, because when it comes to everything else, she is supportive, and we get on really well when food/size/weight arent being mentioned. *sigh* It's interesting (if not a bit sad) that both me and my sister have grown up with "i'm not good enough for my mum" complexes. I feel like whatever i do, i'll never be good enough while I'm not thin, and my sister (who is also slim & petite) feels like i'm the brainy one and she'll never be clever enough/have a good enough job etc.
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