My next IC appointment isn’t till late next week but I need to get this out now. I’m not sure what I need, but I sure wouldn’t mind a couple of hugs.
I am very overweight. It’s been a lifelong thing, an issue my doctor and I are dealing with and not something I wish to discuss with anyone. Instead of it being a sore spot, it’s more of a big bloody wound…and one my father chooses to poke at whenever he sees fit. In the past, I’ve tried to deal with this in various ways; I’ve either (a) ignored his comments (b) changed the subject, (c) looked at him blankly, feigned ignorance and asked him what he meant, (d) told him that I am glad he loves me no matter what I look like, e) walked out of the room. It’s been quiet for about a month.
So, this morning, I’m doing a run to Costco with my folks. Pa is driving. The comments begin, and I say as gently as possible (and this is verbatim, because it’s been stuck in my mind since): “Dad, when you continue to make comments like that, it really hurts me. Please stop. My weight is a private battle I’m waging and the topic is not up for discussion.”
Well, what followed sent me right back emotionally to age 10, and so help me, if the vehicle wasn’t moving, I would have got out and walked home. He started yelling about something or other completely unrelated, but somehow connected (in his mind) and I clammed up, second-guessing my choice of words, my right to stand up for myself, you name it. Those old feelings came bubbling back to the surface – the hot face, the cold sweat, the sick feeling in the pit of my stomach. Ugh. Of course, Mother was doing her ample best to smooth things out and “fix” everything between us. Once we got to Costco and out of earshot of Dad, she quickly told me that I should not have said anything, after all, they are paying for my education…and that we both could have dealt with that better. “Both” of us, insinuating me.
I swear, I wish I was kidding.
Man oh man, did the dawning light of revelation hit me like a ton of bricks. No wonder my X (and many, many other people for that matter) were able to walk all over me for years. No wonder it’s taken me so goddamned long to stand up for myself. I used to think how messed up and dysfunctional XH’s family was – all the time not seeing how fucked up my own was. Now I see…oh, now I really see.
You know something? I’m glad I said what I did. For a minute there, I actually felt proud of myself for standing up. It felt good. I have never really been successful at that before, particularly with my parents. I will likely never get an apology from Dad but knowing that he might actually think twice about saying something to me about my weight again satisfies me. And Mom? Her own fear of conflict has crippled her to such a point that she’s a mess if there’s any tension in the room (and Friends, that’s why I was having so much difficulty claiming Christmas Eve for myself). Heaven knows she means well – likely they both do - but she’s about as broken as my dad is. No wonder I'm such a mess.
Thanks for listening. I do feel better now.
Enjoying this chapter in my life.
Learning that being alone does not mean being lonely.
Discovering that where I've been is not as important as where I'm going.
For a minute there, I actually felt proud of myself for standing up.
You should feel very proud Niblet. That was a very brave thing you did.
I'm sorry you had to go through that, but think where it can help you go... :) Well done.
I actually felt proud of myself for standing up. It felt good.
Great work standing up for yourself. Great revelation. Go you!
There's always failure. And there's always disappointment. And there's always loss.
But the secret is learning from the loss, and realizing that none of those holes are vacuums.
- Michael J. Fox
“Dad, when you continue to make comments like that, it really hurts me. Please stop. My weight is a private battle I’m waging and the topic is not up for discussion.”
^^ Perfect. Don't apologize or doubt that statement. You claimed your rights, owned your emotions, and set boundaries. I am so proud of you!!!!
Maybe, maybe the reaction from your dad was based in shame or guilt. Sometimes people attack to deflect the way they feel when something feels bad.
But regardless of what was going on with your dad, what was going on with YOU was powerful and positive.
Yay Yay!!! Empowering!
I know I did the right thing.
Ah, that moment when you realize your own parents were never actually grown-ups.
That realization was a long time coming, for me. But when I started to be able to identify their negative patterns, things began to make sense.