The question comes up about how to we can recover from the abuse hurled at fat people. I don’t have the answers but I do know some things that have helped me at times. Although I try to stop my mother’s voice in my head, whenever I have a failure or things don’t go as I think they should the messages come back loud and clear. She also knows when I am vulnerable and seems to pick those times to say something cruel.
Before I go on about some things that have helped me, I want to address another issue that I want to address. Many fat abusers seem to think that fat people are stupid or liars. They seem to feel it is ok to give us advice on how to lose weight like we wouldn’t know. I would say that most fat people I know are more knowledgeable about diet and exercise than most other people. Yet whenever the topic comes up, my mother for example, tells me that I need to exercise. Duh. Who doesn’t know that!
The other theme that emerges with fat abusers is they think that fat people lie. All of my life I have said to doctors, parents, anyone who dared say anything to my weight that I do not eat enough to be the size I am. When my mother informed that at age 12 I became a glutton and they had to lock up the chocolate chips, that it was actually my sister who ate the chocolate chips not me. I actually don’t eat much chocolate. She basically told me that she didn’t believe me which really pissed me off.
One thing that have helped me is medical professionals who actually know the score. When I saw the gynecologist who diagnosed me with PCOS he said to me: “I bet you don’t very much?” When he said that to me, it completely validated what I knew to be true. My GP has been great as well. She has never nagged me about my weight or tried to make me lose weight. When I went to her and told her my concerns about my metabolism she totally took it seriously.
Speaking of doctors, most fat people dread going to the doctor. If you are fat, it is automatically assumed that you have diabetes, hypertension, high cholesterol etc. Every time my doctor orders though tests I get anxious and nervous. Yet every time those tests are done they are all fine.
Counselling has been quite effective in helping me to overcome some of the damage. One thing that was very helpful was recognizing the tapes and trying to stop them from playing in my head. I have also tried to look at things rationally. Clearly my mother was wrong. I am not a failure.
Probably the best thing for me has been Deb. Deb loves me unconditionally. She is very good at giving me lots of positive feedback. She makes me question the things my mother says and the reactions those things cause in me. Her love over the past almost 13 years has made a huge difference in my self-esteem. It is sad though that however many times she tells me I am beautiful, I cannot reconcile it with what I see in the mirror. I honestly don’t know where I would be if I had not had her love.