I need ideas . . . (long & poss. trigs)
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|Sun, 07-20-2003 - 1:48pm|
Well, this time I have lost a lot of weight, and I'm still nervous about it. The problem I have with her is that she is extremely critical--not just of me, of everyone--and is especially so when it comes to weight issues. She is 84 years old and is constantly trying a new diet, so she's even critical of herself. (I will NOT be dieting at age 84, LOL)
She stares at people's bodies and makes comments about specific areas of people's bodies, and when she turns that kind of attention toward me, it makes me feel scrutinized. My father used to scrutinze me in that way. When my mother would take us school clothes shopping, we'd have to come home and try everything on for him, and he'd make us turn around so he could inspect us. He had weird rules about clothing--one thing I remember was that stretch pants were not allowed because they were too easily removed. (He payed for it, after all, so he got to inspect and make weird rules. I got a job as soon as I could and started buying my own clothes.) He also would walk into a room and come up and pinch my arm and say, "Your arms are getting fat." I hated being looked at in that way, as if my body were his property to inspect and comment upon. If dh's grandmother looks at me that closely, and she sometimes does, I freeze inside and feel very panicked.
She is similar to my father in other ways--they even share the same birthday, if you can believe that. She is moody, always wants to be the center of attention, pouts if she loses when you're playing a game with her (but gloats rudely if she wins), is blatantly sexist (even preferring my dh over his sister--my father is like this, too), is really only happy if people around her are kissing her butt and making a huge deal over her--in short, she is not very nice to be around much of the time. These are all of her negative qualities--I have to say that there have been many times when I have enjoyed being with her. She tells wonderful stories about when my dh was young, and she thinks my dh is the most wonderful thing on earth (to a point that almost sickens me, lol), so they are close. She's affectionate, loves to be with her great-grandkids, and is very spry for her age.
Here's what I expect her to be like in response to my weight loss--she'll compliment me, but it will be a left-handed compliment along the lines of, "It's great that you lost so much weight. You were really heavy before." She'll ask me a hundred questions about how I lost the weight--because she'll want to do it for herself. And the entire time we're there she will scrutinize (there's that word again) every bite I put in my mouth. She is also likely to point out specific body parts, comment on clothing I wear, and to be openly bitter that I have lost weight and she has recently gained. She often puts herself in competition with me (not just me--all other women). One time, we were going to a wedding, and I came out dressed in my outfit, and she actually huffed at me because it looked nice. She said something like, "Why can't *I* ever find an outfit like that?" instead of just saying that I looked nice.
So, I need to come up with some strategies for how to handle this behavior, and every time I try to think of something, I freeze inside and draw a blank about what I could say in response to her stares and comments. "Take a picture--it lasts longer" maybe? LOL I feel like this stress and being with her is a threat to my food plan and my abstinence with OA. I don't expect this woman to ever change--but I do need to find a way to deal with her that will help me feel like I can maintain my self-respect and in a way that helps me feel like I'm not submitting to her scrutiny. I feel like I have to defend myself. I never defended myself against my father's scrutiny, and it made me feel awful. I know that she's not out to sexually abuse me, but she is crossing my boundaries with this kind of behavior and I need to shore them up! Any ideas?