Posted by: Judy | May 19, 2015

A little more follow up…

I debated posting this bit, but my sister and I promised no more secrets.

I overheard NM and EF talking about their children, how all but one is overweight and how troubling they find this. Funnily enough, they mentioned each child and the problem they saw, except me. I am, by far, the most overweight, by 100 lb. My siblings are nowhere near as heavy as I am. My parents were never perfect about their weight. The only time either was a skinny mini was when they were young, as in teens and early twenties. The youngest child is over 45 and the oldest is over 60. At the same ages, NM/EF were both overweight. Spouses were not discussed, at all.

The treats and nibbles provided by NM and EF included nuts, chocolates, chocolate-covered cherries, cranberries, and blueberries, lemon mini cakes, and fruit juices. Several of those visiting didn’t eat any of it, and some of them indulged in the fresh blackberries from the bushes in the backyard.

I’ve chatted with all of them about food. They all recognize they need to eat better and exercise more. Lately, all of them have been under varying degrees of stress, due to job and other life changes. Not one of them believes it doesn’t matter. Like most people, priorities shift from time to time. I know all of them work at doing better. We talk about it.

More troubling to me is that it was Mother’s Day, and this is what NM/EF chose to focus on about their children. All of the children stopped in to visit, except one who doesn’t live close and that one called.

They don’t see how it has been their own behavior that has messed us all up about food. Yes, NM focused on taking care of the brothers, but the brothers were aware of discrepancies, even if they don’t consciously remember. If they weren’t on some level, would they have teased their sisters with it, an unspoken, ‘I can have it and you can’t?’ I’m not sure they’re even aware they did it. It’s simply the way things were in our house. I do think they’re aware now.

Something I need to remember because it startled me as I listened… okay, eavesdropped (they have spoken to me about it to my face, so it wasn’t anything new – it was the timing): NM was on the bandwagon with EF about weight problems and suddenly reversed positions. One of the siblings was doing pretty good. Suddenly, NM is defending one of the children, while EF is being critical.

Consider:

All of them are married, except me.

All of them have amazing children, except me.

All of them are gainfully employed, except me.

All of them are at least 50 lb lighter than I am.

NM/EF didn’t talk about me, the elephant in the room. 😀

I’m not complaining. This is typical. I’m going to try something I’ve read before but saw it again yesterday: I’m going to pray for them and turn them over to God. All the insanity is beyond me.

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Responses

  1. How your NM and EF interact is very similar to how my IL’s interact when it comes to other people’s bodies. This has happened where another says what the other person wants to say (ego protection) and then does the role reversal. The manner in which they talk about it and treat others speaks volumes. Something I’ve wondered when my FiL does this, is why are you talking about someone else’s body? Was there a reason to have a discussion, to understand, help? I asked my FiL why he brought it up and he didn’t understand the question, he repeated what he said instead. In the end, you’re right, it is insane.

    • NM/EF worry about health issues, which is understandable with all the studies about how awful being overweight is. I question it myself when you consider that we’re living longer than ever. The thing is, none of my siblings are horribly overweight. The problem is what the parents consider a healthy weight: Skinny. My skinny grandmother died in her 70s and was very unhealthy. My pleasantly plump grandmother lived to be in her 90s and was remarkably healthy. Why do my parents idolize being skinny? Hmmm… I’ve never thought of that before.

      • Yeah, that is a good point. Imo, weight studies only really show b/c of limitations that weight is one indicator of physical health. There are other factors and I questions it too, when my mother who is 68 (and has been overweight the majority of her life) and in good physical health and my father who is in his normal weight range has not been in good physical health since 20 years ago. My father’s emotional health has not been great (which I realize now) since I’ve known him and his physical health has suffered severely. That’s an interesting question.

        • I wonder if the whole world focuses on weight because it’s visible, while the real indicator of health has little do with weight but isn’t visible and isn’t something a company can make a product for or a group of researchers can quantify…

  2. It took me a lot of years to recognize that my weight had more to do with me trying to be invisible to men than any other thing, but also was my way of self-soothing, and it was no surprise that eventually my exterior body finally matched up to what my subconscious mind believed I looked like. So complicated – weight is often a reflection of serious turmoil inside a person. Now weight has become more about being as healthy as possible, but as someone already more than 100 lbs overweight, finding a good balance is always a challenge. Ironically, as your psychological health improves, that does not necessarily mean your physical body does as well. Still, it’s worth pursuing as an end goal. What is it they say? It’s never too late. 🙂

    • Still working on it, every day. 🙂

  3. My parents focused a lot on my mom’s siblings who are overweight, but my mother is overweight now too — at least as much as her siblings. My parents would be ruthless and cruel about it, calling my aunt a whale behind her back. It infuriates me (I used to be quite close to my aunt). They also would tease my sister about having a “big ole butt” when she most definitely did not have one.

    I guess it’s a way to put people down. It’s really something I find terrible.

    • They actually complain about both their siblings, NM’s and EF’s. Now I think about it, they either complained about how healthy they weren’t and what they ought to do to become healthier, or EF talked about their children, more particularly their boys. Wow. I’m seeing how incredibly unhealthy they both are.

      Interesting you should mention how it’s putting people down. NM/EF would criticize those who belittled others as a way to elicit laughs… they left the laughs out of it. Wow. Never noticed that before. They do the same thing but without the joking. Instead, they cloak the criticism in wanting to help the other person be healthier.

      I think what this boils down to is that neither of them knows how to be a friend to anyone. They’re friendly, the surface kind, but anything deeper is more than they seem to want. They’re either educating or telling you about what interests them. They don’t really listen, except to formulate what they want to say.

      Now my brain is whirling with the new insight. Thanks, Judith.


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