Feeling Judged -- Coping tips?

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Cynthia

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How do you cope when you get together with smaller acquaintances, and they see you struggle with steps or long distances? Do you use humor, frankness, or some other approach? I can feel their sympathy – and quiet judgement, too -- as they watch me slowly navigate a flight of stairs or grow fatigued during a long walk. It sometimes feels as though I lose my footing as an equal simply because my body works differently.

And, while I know that kidney failure and a bad knee contribute to this midlife challenge, all that they see is my fatness – not as a neutral part of who I am but as the manifestation of “tsk, tsk, poor self-care.” (In all fairness, that may be partially true because I never managed to make peace with lifelong compulsive eating.) But, in any case, here I am. I’m searching for grace and dignity in this round body that’s slow, broken, and still very much worthy of respect.

My posts these days are rarely this personal, but I really need your wisdom.
 

BigElectricKat

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I see that no one has imparted any wisdom thus far. I'm just now back, so it may take me a few hours for the Wonderfully Wild and Woefully Whacky Wisdom Machine (i.e. my brain) to get working on this. But rest assured, wisdom (of a sort) will be forthcoming.
 

AuntHen

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Disclaimer: I can be very matter of fact with my advice or thoughts but I have also been where you are and empathize.

That being said... I would basically figure I have two choices... ignore them or get new friends. I'm very observant of looks of judgement, etc but also I know I would actually be judging that they might be judging me. That would be an insecurity issue on my part. How I react to something or feel about something (especially something unsaid) ultimately is my issue, not theirs. If I feel insecure, I know I need to work on my own inner issues with it.

When I was younger, I would've blamed other people but now I am just like "I don't really care what they think and I'm not going to waste precious energy or time dwelling on it". I also try not to engage people who do not address me directly (for example, if someone seems angry but isn't talking about it, I just assume it's not about me until they communicate it to me). Don't get me wrong, I still struggle but I try not to hang around people that make me feel that way (and not just in regards to being fat).
 
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Cynthia

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I would basically figure I have two choices... ignore them or get new friends.... I still struggle but I try not to hang around people that make me feel that way (and not just in regards to being fat).
Good points. Thank you! But, then again, life is messy. Those people are often unavoidable, as they may be co-workers, in-laws, or fellow volunteers.
 

DazzlingAnna

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I try to ignore these people. Or reduce contact to an absolute minimum. If a comment or look is too obvious to express displeasure or regret about my appearance, it sometimes helps to address people directly about it. (Some people are not even aware of how hurtful or judgmental their comments or looks can be.) I have to be in the mood for this though.
Most of the time, it's better for my own peace of mind to just ignore them.
 

BigElectricKat

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First, we all judge each other, whether secretly or covertly. It’s what we do as human beings; we observe others and judge them, making mental notes and gaging whether they are worth our time, attention, or friendship. It’s just a fact of life. And please! The line about “I’m not judgmental” doesn’t really hold water. As I’ve said, we’re all judgmental. It’s what we do with our judgment and how we do/do not communicate that judgment, that sets us apart. How many times have any of us said, “Her boobs are definitely fake” or “Those clothes make them look frumpy” without actually letting the object of these comments know what we’re thinking?

Conversely, we as the judged, have a choice to make in this regard: we can either ignore it and move forward in life, we can confront it and perhaps educate the judger, or we can remove ourselves from that person or persons entirely. No matter which way you go, there will be a certain amount of angst that follows, that’s a given. You just have to take whichever stance you are comfortable with and go with it.

Wishing everyone the best,

BEK
 
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littlefairywren

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I find it extremely hard to ignore what I see as judgement for my being fat, and all that goes with it. Not only from smaller acquaintances, but also people whom I would consider friends, and even family.
I've never found a way to really cope with it, other than just trying to ignore it, because it's going to happen whether I like it or not, and they've made up their mind about me anyway.

I've switched people out of my life for their intolerance, because I refuse to spend anymore time fretting over what they think, and have spent too much of my life doing that.

As I've gotten older, I've also gotten a little braver (sometimes), so have called people out on their remarks, eye rolls or their direct fat hate.
I move slowly, have issues with my knees (so stairs), and have used both humour and the direct approach to basically "apologise" for myself, but I don't like that I feel the need to do so.
I've noticed that being up front about my body's needs with some people actually helps, because most don't even realise my limitations until I point them out.
 

Cynthia

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First, we all judge each other, whether secretly or covertly. It’s what we do as human beings; we observe others and judge them, making mental notes and gaging whether they are worth our time, attention, or friendship.
That perspective is very true. I don't believe that judgement is always commingled with unkindness. In some ways, it can be a form of defense, a way of protecting oneself from the randomness of disability or disease. People may judge as a way of buffering themselves from that which is scary and unknown. "Poor dear, that won't happen to me because I take care of MY body." Assigning blame makes people feel less vulnerable. But it can be like a knife to those of us on the other end.
 

Cynthia

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As I've gotten older, I've also gotten a little braver (sometimes), so have called people out on their remarks, eye rolls or their direct fat hate.
I move slowly, have issues with my knees (so stairs), and have used both humour and the direct approach to basically "apologise" for myself, but I don't like that I feel the need to do so.
I've noticed that being up front about my body's needs with some people actually helps, because most don't even realise my limitations until I point them out.
That's what I hope to develop -- some brave, self-loving, humorous way to push the elephant out of the room during those awkward moments so that we can all get on with matters that don't involve my body.
 

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