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I Will Be Thin

There is an unspoken rule in blogging that you’re never supposed to write about your relatives that are still living.

Let me rephrase. You are never supposed to write negative things about your relatives that are still living.

Especially not about your mother.

I was not an easy child to love. I admit that. Early on I had a gift of seeing through people.  To sense when I was being lied to. And I called bullshit on just about everything that I deemed unjust.

And it could be said that I have carried that trait into adulthood. I have a very low tolerance for bullshit and I am not one for holding back when I think I’ve been treated poorly.

But to be certain, I was treated poorly as a child. Abused without a shadow of a doubt. And if I don’t write this down now, I may never have the guts again to do so…

If you asked me to give you one example of abuse from my childhood, it would be very difficult for me to figure out which one thing was most painful. There’s a lot of choose from.

But if I were to pick the most damning thing. The one thing that distorted me for life. The one punishment that would keep on punishing me forever, it would be this one incident…

I was a chubby child. Not severely obese. Just round.

Round and sensitive which is never a good combination. The kids sensed this and made me the focus of their taunting. There wasn’t a day that went by that I wasn’t the target of their verbal abuse.

At the time I was around nine years old. My mother was on her second husband and without a doubt it wasn’t a happy union. The house was a place of constant tension. And while some bullied kids find solace in their homes and families, that wasn’t the case for me. I didn’t feel safe anywhere.

The only thing that gave me a sense of fulfillment was what I stuffed into my mouth. It was an attempt to fill a black hole of hurt. Spackle for a crack that nearly split me in half. Food was love. Love that I gave to myself. And something, maybe the only thing, I could control.

But I couldn’t really control it. It just made things worse. Because the chubbier I got, the more I angered my mother.

And it all came to a head one day. I can’t remember what I did to deserve the punishment. All I know is that I had angered my mother. Which was a regular occurrence because I was a damn near expert at angering my mother.

Whatever the transgression was, it had something to do with my appearance. Most likely it was because I prematurely outgrew another piece of clothing due to yet another Twinkie bender.

My memories of that day are hazy…

The veins in her neck raised as she yelled

Her narrowed eyes, accusing me

Me sitting at the kitchen table with a piece of paper plunked in front of me

Feeling so very small in that very round body

Nowhere to hide

Wishing I could unzip my fat body and step out as the thin version of me like you see in the cartoons

Hoping she could love me like she would if I was a thin child

A normal child

A lovable child

Tightly gripping that yellow pencil in my sweaty chubby hand as I wrote the words that were required as my punishment:

I will be thin. I will be thin. I will be thin. I will be thin. I will be thin. I will be thin. I will be thin. I will be thin. I will be thin. I will be thin. I will be thin. I will be thin. I will be thin. I will be thin. I will be thin. I will be thin. I will be thin. I will be thin. I will be thin. I will be thin. I will be thin. I will be thin. I will be thin. I will be thin. I will be thin. I will be thin. I will be thin. I will be thin. I will be thin. I will be thin. I will be thin. I will be thin. I will be thin. I will be thin. I will be thin. I will be thin. I will be thin. I will be thin. I will be thin. I will be thin. I will be thin. I will be thin.

I don’t remember how many times I was forced to write those words. It felt like an eternity. And with each stroke of the pencil as my fat hand smudged the pencil lead across the page, a watery mix of black and tears, what I wanted to write was…

Please love me. Please protect me. Please help me. I need you mom. I love you. Please make the pain stop. Please love me. I need you. Help me.

Love me. Love me. Love me. Love me. Love me. Love me. Love me. Love me. Love me. Love me. Love me. Love me. Love me. Love me. Love me. Love me. Love me. Love me. Love me. Love me. Love me. Love me. Love me. Love me. Love me. Love me. Love me. Love me. Love me. As I am.

I won’t say that this incident was the single catalyst of a lifetime of eating issues. It’s much more complex than that. But it certainly was the single most damning incident for my self esteem.

Because if your own mother doesn’t think you are beautiful the way you are, do you even have a chance in this world of anyone finding you attractive?

Do you stand a chance if your own mother doesn’t love you?

I know my mother will see this post. I don’t write this to hurt her although it is inevitable. But I’m not willing to wait until she passes before I voice my thoughts on this. It’s too important.

I write this as a warning for other mothers. A warning that some punishments stick for life. And I hope that if you read this you will think twice before you say something about your child’s physical characteristics.

Or any of their characteristics, really. Because that stuff sticks like Superglue on the psyche until the end of your child’s life.

Once again, I was not an easy child to love. I’m also not an easy adult to love. I am partially responsible for my up and down relationship with my mother over the years.

I want to be very clear that while she was not a good mother to me (although she was an excellent mother to my half sister who came along when my mother was more stable), she tried the best she could with what she had to work with. She had a rough life and unfortunately for me, her most tumultuous years were the ones when I was in her care.

But that nine year old girl who sat at that table and cried as she was forced to declare that she would be thin? She was innocent. Worthy of being protected. And even if she was a difficult child, a lifetime of self esteem issues was not a just punishment.

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Comments

  1. Talk about a cry for help! My eyes are teary just from writing that to you. I hope you did (or do) find someone to talk to. If not, maybe we will do. This cautionary tale should be required reading for all new, incipient, and not-so-new parents.

    You turned out so well. You turned out so well. You turned out so well. You turned out so well. You turned out so well. You turned out so well. You turned out so well. You turned out so well. You turned out so well.You turned out so well.

    Really!

    • Nancy Vining says:

      And all the people say,”AMEN”

      • Thank you so much for that. Please understand that I am not without fault. I have my own issues with my own kids and I’m sure they have gripes to share. That said, there are things I’m extra careful with in my parenting. I will not say bad things about their bodies. My love will never be conditional. And I will never ever leave them until they leave on their own volition. I may screw up in other areas often, but by God I will not do any of those three things to my kids.

        • You’re a good mama.
          I’m dealing with crapola from my own mother. Or maybe NOT dealing with is as she hasn’t spoken to me in 2 years.
          sigh…

  2. Thank you so much for writing this. I am crying so much I can’t write anything but

    You are loved and deserving of love.You are loved and deserving of love.You are loved and deserving of love.
    You are loved and deserving of love.You are loved and deserving of love.You are loved and deserving of love.

  3. a thousand million hugs. xxxxxxxxxxxxxx

  4. Ugh. I remember being in high school and eating chocolate covered peanuts at my mom’s house and as I was reaching for another handful, in a sing-songy voice she said “be careful, you wouldn’t want to be a chunky monkey.” I put the handful back in the bowl and my mind began working furiously. Would this one extra handful push me over to being a chunky monkey. I had recently been hospitalized for an eating disorder and my weight was still in the 90s. Those words cut like a knife and they still do today as I write this. We must remember to be careful with our words as they can either bring a person up or tear them down.

    • Yes. Exactly that. One sing song taunt said out of supposed love can linger for a lifetime. Some things cannot be forgotten.

  5. This was tough to read … so I can only imagine how tough it was to write, and how tough it was to then click “Publish.” I hope writing & publishing it helped you.

    I struggle with writing/publishing stuff that casts my parents in a negative light, too … but I know I ultimately won’t be able to write about my formative years without doing so. Thanks for leading by example.

  6. I just saw a quote the other day and it resonated with me: “We are who we are for a lot of reasons.”

  7. Melanie

    I just want to give you a big hug. You are loved by more than your family. You are loved even by people who don’t love you but that check your blog, who do not know you but that want to read your words because they mean so much to us.

    You are loved, you are loved, you are loved…

  8. None of us are easy to love, that does not mean we are not worthy of love. It is a brave step, to commit the pain to paper, one I was never willing to take.

  9. Anonymous says:

    OMG! I cried as I read this post. Scary and vivid trauma. I am still crying as I read these loving and supportive comments and add my own. As Amy and Marie said repeatedly, you are loved and very deserving of love. You turned out well, fantastic even! I know you will never forget this episode of pain but know that we love you through our knowledge of you through your writing. I pray that sharing it with us helps in some small way Melanie.

  10. This was hard to read, I can only imagine how hard it was to write. I hope it has helped you to put this down and put it out there. All children deserve love and are worthy, thank you for reminding us.

  11. Anonymous says:

    Wow. That’s so sad. I am so sorry you experienced that. This is a very sensitive subject for me.

    My family has been experiencing really tough situations lately. We grew up with a lot of abuse. It was looked down upon to be fat (or chubby, because none of us were fat). My brother has an eating disorder for 10+ years, which he just recently got treatment for after an attempted suicide. People have NO idea how such stupid words can affect children (or adults). To me, it seems so obvious because of what I have experienced. But soo many people do not realize how damaging this is. I am the person who gets upset whenever anyone makes a comment about another person’s weight (especially a child or teenager). They apologize to me “sorry I know you’re not gonna like me saying this but… so and so has gained weight!.. she used to be a toothpick.” GRRR I hate it. Because of things like this! What you have experienced, and what I experienced, and my brother. And I see it every day. Every.single.day. Parents have no idea. I guess it’s human nature??? (why else do so many people do it) but it makes me mad. One thing we learned in eating disorder counseling is you really should never comment on people’s weight at all.. AT ALL. Even if you think you’re complementing them. Things like “you have lost weight” or “gained weight” etc …. NO. None of the “you look good, you lost/gained weight” – because you NEVER know how that person will take your words, or what they’ve been through that will shape the words into something else. You just don’t know! You look good can mean to them = you look fat! You look healthy = you look fat. Seriously. We just don’t know what they may be experiencing. We might tell someone they look good and they could be sticking their finger down their throat every day! Why do people put so much focus on OTHER PEOPLE’S weight? Get a life, worry about yourself (not aimed at anyone in particular). The only person I judge and notice about weight is ME. Because of what I’ve experienced. I don’t care if someone else has gained weight, it doesn’t change how I feel about them. But other people – why do they care so much? It’s sad. Now my brother has to fight an eating disorder for the rest of his life. Because he was chubby.. at 9 years old, and MORE than likely would’ve outgrown it. Do you know what my dad said at therapy one day about his abuse (not how he sees it) with words when my brother was younger? “Well look how healthy he is because of it.” Really? People are crazy, I mean INSANE. We can only work on us, that is how I get through each day, I can’t change them.. I wish I could but I can’t. I can only shape myself to be the best I can.. and hopefully it’ll help someone along the way.

    There’s more to my story but I’ve said enough. Thank you for sharing that.

    • Awful, just awful. I’m sorry that your dad can’t see the pain he inflicted with his words. But you’re totally right, we can’t change people. We can only control ourselves. The rest has to be let go. Which sounds so much easier than it actually is.

  12. TheresaEH says:

    As person who was abused and married to another person who was abused, do not wait until the abuser is dead before you confront these feelings and issues. (IMO only) . After you voice, express, acknowledge these feelings do not NUTURE this pain (spoken from my own experience), but forgiving the abuser FREE’s you from the hold the abuser has over you. (Forgiving them does not give them permission to keep doing it).
    Praying for ya!!!!

    • Thank you Theresa. This post was enough for me to express my feelings. I’m sure my point was received. And even if it wasn’t received, it was noted. And that’s all I care about. I don’t care to crucify my mother but I do want her to know the damage she inflicted before it’s too late for me to express how deeply it cut. And if she or anyone else has a problem with that, too bad.

  13. Jennifer B. says:

    I’d like to thank you for writing this post. For those of us who have not dealt with this, I think we will find it amazing what a lasting impact our words have. I’d also like to echo the above sentiments that you have immeasurable worth and value and are loved.

    But here’s my question (well, in a moment). I am a mother. I am human. I make mistakes. I am certain I’ve said things my children shouldn’t have heard coming from someone in a position of responsibility for them. I hope they know I love them more than words can ever express. If it is true (and I think it might be, as the poster above with the brother who has an eating disorder mentions) that we cannot know how our words are interpreted, we cannot even avoid having something we say with only good intentions be taken incorrectly. So, what’s a mother to do? Would it have made a difference to hear an apology from your mother? Or would those have just been words? Would it have mattered with the timing (that is back when you were 9 versus today)?

    I guess I am trying to figure out how to minimize any damage I may have inadvertently inflicted upon my children. I think abuse that isn’t physical, but like this instead, is a much more difficult issue to deal with. I’m wondering if you’ve learned anything to help other mothers avoid doing this to their children.

    • My mother does not apologize. It’s not her way. And if this was the only incident that had occurred, then I probably would’ve have been ok. But it wasn’t. And if she said that to me today I would’ve either shown her the door or walked out. I was an easily intimidated child. That is no longer the case. Especially now that I have four kids that I would stand in front of a bus for. Now more than ever I can’t relate with her. I just can’t imagine treating my children the way she treated me. It doesn’t even compute.

      • You have already been run over and thrown by a car but I have no doubt you would stare down a bus for your children. Make sure they see this post when they are age appropriate; meaning some can deal with it now and the younger ones in the future. They need to know how much you love them and that you truly would try to stop a bus to save them from harm. You are a very strong woman Melanie and I take inspiration reading all these comments and your replies.

  14. Jennifer B. says:

    Just another thought while my comment is “awaiting moderation.” I think I had the opposite situation growing up, because my mother thought everything about me was just so PERFECT! I joke that I could blow my nose and she’d comment that the snot in the tissue made such an adorable pattern and wasn’t I wonderful for doing that! (She grew up with very difficult circumstances and doesn’t even acknowledge that her mother exists, even though they live in the same town. My mother decided to “write her mother off” a long time ago. There’s no animosity and certainly no hatred from my mother — there’s just nothing — toward my grandmother anymore. It’s my mom’s way of dealing with it. My grandmother isn’t worth her energy or thoughts. Having a daughter myself, this breaks my heart as I cannot imagine such alienation, but my grandmother doesn’t seem to put forth any effort to change things, so I guess they are both content with this arrangement.)

    Anyway, I guess I am writing to say I think one can go overboard in the opposite direction. I not only came to expect that everything I did would be perfect, but I inevitably discovered that it wasn’t and felt like my mother’s comments (compliments) couldn’t be seen as truth. They are true to her — I’m the best thing since sliced bread; no, I’m better than that, even — to her. I think I am far more conscious of doling out compliments and therefore more stingy with them (probably too stingy).

    I guess my takeaway is that words have power, more than we can imagine.

    • Anonymous says:

      I’m the poster from above with the brother. I think there’s a fine line between forcing your child to write 100x “I will be thin” and inadvertently saying something here and there. I am more sensitive to ANY comments because of what I have been through, but not everyone is. It’s not to say that every person with an eating disorder or other issues is directly because of their parents, but in my case (and in Melanie’s obviously) abuse was a clear factor in whatever issues came about. And not answering for her, but to your question about an apology, I think that yes a true SINCERE apology is much needed. Would it fix everything? No. Would it make it easier to move on and forgive? Absolutely. You might be shocked at how my parents reacted to the situation with my brother, they just could not take any responsibility, at all. “I’m sorry you felt that way or saw it that way” was about as far as it went. “I wish you could just remember that it wasn’t ALL bad.” And the next day, after they pondered over their “apology” they would spit abusive words that blamed him (as a child, 3 years old, 5 years old, 9 years old). It was more than just food. The abuse went farther than that. But it’s hard to explain. My parents expected perfection from me too, so I can see your point as well. Everything I did had to be perfect, and I felt like I was never good enough. But it was a little different than in your case because for example, even as well as I did and as hard as I tried, it was never good enough for them.
      I think as far as weight goes, it should never be the number one priority or topic of conversation with your kids. Maybe that’s just me. But I don’t think it’s ever okay to tell your child – don’t eat that, you’re fat, or you’ll gain weight. I don’t know, like I said, my experience has shaped me, but I definitely believe that example is the best way to go about it, to help your kids to be healthy without making THEIR weight (or appearance) YOUR #1 priority. Hope that makes sense. :)

    • The mother child relationship is so complicated. I always envied people who had perfect looking relationships. The older I get the more I’m starting to think that many more relationships are dysfunctional than we realize. I think most people just don’t talk about it.

  15. My daughter’s only 18 months but I try to not even say she’s chubby. My parents never said anything, but I was chubby and I was aware of it. It’s not like you don’t know, when your school friends are athletes and you can’t borrow any of their clothes. Heck, even now I’m about 30 lbs overweight (I’m a stress eater). Is it healthy? No, but it’s much easier to lose weight than to fix psychological damage caused by being told you’re fat.

    Basically, I say all this to say good post. Glad to see you around more. :)

    • Anonymous says:

      Absolutely! I always think it’s so silly of people to point out when someone else is heavy, or if they’ve gained weight. “I think you’ve gained 5 pounds.” OH REALLY? This is MY body and you don’t think I’ve noticed that about myself?

  16. Oh Mel. I haven’t a clue what to say other than it was wrong what you went through. And there is so much wrong with what so many parents do and/or say to their children. I think quite a few of us could relate in one way or another, and I know I relate, just a bit differently.

    All I want to say is I’m sorry you endured that and it was very brave of you to share. Hugs…big ones!

  17. Thank you.
    I knew you were strong and resilient when you fought your way back after the car accident.
    I had no idea you were THIS strong and resilient!
    I recognize some of your pain and hear my own echoes of some of your pain.
    I am humbled by your courage.
    Hugs and love from me to you…
    - Lee

  18. Many hugs and love going out to you. I can relate and empathize with you. I suffered verbal abuse from my mother as well and to this very day our relationship is still broken. I continue to visit with her and listen to her negative rants about one thing or another, but refuse to be the target of her abuse any longer. I have never forgotten the names she called me and how harshly I was treated in comparison to my two sisters. Any small thing can trigger my resentment towards her to flare. Being a person of faith I continue to respect and honor her, but don’t know how to forgive her. I try to leave my anger in God’s hands and allow his will to be done, but it is veryyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy hard. I thank God for my loving and caring father, who is still married to her after 50 years , because of his faith. He has a platinum ticket into Heaven. It is only because of him that I have any type of relationship with her. I do not have the courage you have, which would allow me to confront her about the past. Allow your faith to be your band aid and it will surely carry you through.

    • Yes, thank God for your father. I too have a good relationship with my Dad which I am so thankful for. He and I have had our issues over the years, but we work hard to communicate and give each other some slack. It wasn’t always that way, but it is now. I’m so glad you had a parent on your side.

  19. I love you for writing that post and I can relate on my deepest level to it. But you did find love in your life. God I want to cry because your story is so similar to mine, I know that pain. Melanie,thank you. I had that rejection all my childhood because I was too fat and my parents were not in the country club set.

    My mother had Multiple Sclerosis and I was always told that I must be quiet and never upset her. By that was meant being a normal active child. One day after my mother’s physical therapist came and she walked a few steps I was overjoyed and said ” Mommy,you can do it it,come on Mommy” my mother collapsed onto her bed after walking a few steps and complained to my father that I was making her ‘nervous’. The physical therapist just looked on while I silently pleaded to him with my eyes.

    I was adopted and knew it. At the time of this incident I was about 8 years old. My father grabbed me by the arm and pulled me roughly into the living room. He told me that I should never make Mommy nervous and that they had talked about sending me away and that if I ever made her nervous again they would do it. All because I wanted my mother to get well again and expressed it.

    She couldn’t give me healthy foods all the time so she gave me premade junk which made me fat and then she would ridicule me saying things like “fatty fatty two by four can’t get through the kitchen door”. So I know some of the pain, you are not alone.

    Now I know neither am I.

    love

    • I’m so sorry. That kind of pain runs so deep. I pray that you were able to find love and acceptance elsewhere. No one should ever have to feel that way.

  20. That is horrible. My mom did something equally great. She ran a away from my Dad when I was in 2nd grade and left me and my 3 year old sister. She told my Dad she was going skiing. Only she moved to Israel for a year. Talk about things can suck. And she wonders why we aren’t BFFs now. Duh? I try to do my best and have lunch with her every 2 weeks but that’s all I can muster. Not said she’s moving back to Florida. I won’t mention the 3 husbands after my Dad…that would be a novel. You are not alone. Stay strong!!!!

    • Oh Seana the similarities are startling. I can’t share much more because it wouldn’t benefit anyone, but know that our situations are similar. We could co-write that novel.

      • We should write that novel! Under aliases of course. Share the profits equally :) We could be rich but still have scars unfortunately. Money can’t buy you love. (I was skinny as a kid, still am fortunately…but I have letters my mom wrote my Dad when she was gone noting to not let my lil’ sis get fat-highlighted of course by my Grandfather, of course Dad could read, he was a reporter for a newpaper). Almost funny. Yet not.

        • And I do hold grudges. Which isn’t nice of me. She is in the hospital since yesterday for breathing issues related to COPD/smoking/lung cancer. I can’t get over the fact I went to school with chicken pox with baby powder all over my face when she was gone but the school nurse caught me. Why? Because I didn’t baby powder my chest, not that it would’ve helped. Where was she then? I told her to take an ambulance to the hospital. I couldn’t do it. Funny now (chicken pox) but I do lack sympathy for her now. Sorry to share too much. Just struck a nerve.

  21. Melanie,
    As you know, there’s no manual on being a mother and I wish there was because at least there could be warnings that a mothers words can screw a kid up. I, too, have made a lifelong career out of trying to please and be loved, the way I am, by my mother. An eating disorder is also a characteristic of my past. The only difference between the past and the present for me is that I’ve given up wanting that approval and love. It’s no longer something that I let define me. I realize that I will never be good enough in my mother’s eyes to be her daughter and I’m fine with that. Yes, it hurts but it will only create more hurt and pain if you don’t let it go.

    At 39, this will never be settled for me since my mother still points out a specific physical fault almost every time she talks to me. It bothers her that much. But I try not to let it bother me. And, unlike you, I don’t have the desire to discuss it with her because I know it won’t change a thing. Thanks for the post. It’s nice to know I’m not alone. Hopefully, it helps to know that you’re not alone too.

    • Yes, yes and yes. I too have given up on trying to please my mother. I just can’t do it anymore. After years of trying, it doesn’t work for either of us. I’m sure she feels the same way. Matter of fact, she would probably say that I’m to blame for our issues. We each have our own views on the past and they differ greatly. Letting it go is the best thing for both of us.

      Good for you for having the fortitude to ignoring the abuse. I admire people who can do that. I never could. It just ate at me. You are a stronger person than I.

  22. Now it all makes sense. You are so beautiful the way you are.

  23. You are beautiful….

  24. Thank you for sharing your thoughts, now, before it is too late. Words are so powerful. It take a huge amount of courage to share these feelings, and I’m grateful to have read them. Thank you for putting yourself out there especially with the knowledge that your mother will also read them. Giving your 9 year old self a chance to speak is such a gift. Big, huge hugs to you. Well done, beautifully expressed, and you should be proud of yourself.

  25. Melanie,
    My sister was the chunky one. I was three years older and thin as a rail, as were the other three siblings. My sister needed to wear my handmedowns because we did not have a lot of money. My mother was think-lipped in her disapproval. I could do no wrong. My sister felt like my mother never liked her.

    When I was about 35 and my sister was 32, we were talking about weight. I carried three babies to full term and my sister carried one to 7 months. My sister made the remark that being pregnant made stomach larger and less likely to ever tighten up. I teased her that 7 month pregnant stomachs were not stretched that much. “Try three to nine months.” However, I got back to pre pregnancy weight and size after three months, PLUS I was ten pounds lighter, down to 130 after all three pregnancies. My sister struggled. I never did.

    When my mother died 5 years later, my sister said, “All I ever tried to do my whole life was to get Mama to like me. She loved you, but not me. She didn’t like me to the day she died.” LIKE! She knew she was loved. It was sad.

    After I had my second baby and drove to visit my mother from out of town, she hugged me and said, “Oh, I can feel your ribs and spine. I really like that.” Well, that was a shock! There was never a chance I would gain weight because I was just too vain about my weight.

    Then my minister husband destroyed my children and my life with his molestation. No one believed he did. He got custody of my children, all skinny, and within 6 months, they were fat. He berated them for being fat. THAT did not help.

    My second child/oldest girl was chunky. I gently told her she was being sort of rude by standing at the snack table at church every Sunday night and just eating from the bowls of chips and platters of cookies. I instructed her to take a plate, go to the opposite side of the room where the kids congregated and eat. Go back for seconds and even thirds, just don’t eat out of the containers. She was so relieved she could go back several times.

    At home, they were served food that was very healthy, homemade, and low enough in calories not to lead to weight gain. It had enough calories for lots of energy and growing baby/toddler brains. They got talks about what the stomach likes is not what the muscles, bones, and brain is craving. When she turned 11, one day shortly thereafter, her formerly skin-tight jeans she was outgrowing were baggy in the seat. When she turned around, her cheeks were not longer fat but sunken in the manner of Jaclyn Smith (brunette on Charlie’s Angels). She had survived the plump stage without losing a pound but not gaining a pound. Kids do that. The last thing I wanted to do was make her weight conscious.

    Now, she has a daughter who is roly poly fat and my daughter says she is not. Finally, she went into seventh grade and told her mother that she (g-daughter) needs to lose weight. My daughter is doing nothing to help the child. The child has a huge pregnant stomach!

    However, with all my luck with a great figure, my father, all four of my siblings, my mother, and husband told me how ugly I am–multiple times from when I was about 12 to the time I was 35. My siblings were adult when they flung this at me. That is scarring. I think I would rather have been called fat. At least I could have lost weight. My picture on my blog is the best picture I have ever had taken! No, you cannot see how I need braces.

    My mother talked in abstracts. Her exact words were: “Linda, when girls are not pretty, they have to be really smart and make good grades.’ Those words took all ambition for good grades right out of me. I made good grades, but not what I could have or what I was capable of making. Every time I studied, her words sounded in my brain. Every time she encouraged me to rewrite a paper for a better grade, I could hear her saying “because you are ugly.” She never voiced those words, but they were implied by the statement she did make.

    Melanie, never say you were difficult to love. Your parent had a difficult time loving her own child, making her feel safe and cherished. There is enough bullying in this world without having to deal with it from a parent. I had a difficult child, but I never resorted to name calling and bullying. It can be done. The deficit was in your mother, not you.

    • Linda, Ugh where to begin? There is just so much pain in your comment. I am so sorry that you’ve traveled a difficult road. I’m also sorry that your husband violated you and your children. I pray that you’ve had counseling to deal with that and that your kids received it as well. Even though I went through difficult times, it was nothing like that. I can’t even imagine how one moves on after something like that. My heart breaks for you.

      As far as your mom goes, I hear you. I’ve dealt with a lifetime of rejection with my mom. There were times that we were ok, but far many more times when she withdrew from my life in retaliation from some transgression that I committed. But as an adult I have decided to walk away from that relationship. It’s just too volatile and painful. I no longer have the false hope of reconciliation. I have moved on.

      I pray that you find peace, Linda. I really do.

      • Melanie,
        My ex moved my children and hid them from me. He took them to counseling and told that I was deemed an unfit mother by the judge. No, the judge said the older two could decide, so they were going with him. The younger was sent along. In counseling and from him, they were brainwashed to think things happened that never did, that I never loved them or played with them. From 1000 miles away and very poor by this time, I could do nothing to get them back. Or to even talk to them. He disobeyed the court orders on visitation, denying them the right to see me. He made them afraid of me. I didn’t and don’t need counseling. I needed and need my children.

        My mother was a nurturing mother, but she hurt me for my own good, I suppose. No, not a good excuse, but I learned from her mistakes and hurts how not to mother along with her good attributes. I will never find peace without them. This I know. Thanks.

  26. That would be “tight-lipped.”

  27. Thank you all for your encouraging comments. This post was exhausting to write. And while I can’t respond to all of the comments because it is very difficult for me to stay in that place mentally, there are some comments I will be responding to due to the gravity of what was shared. Please understand if I don’t respond to all of them. Your comments are so appreciated and comforting.

  28. This post has been pressing on my heart since I first read it. I didn’t know how to respond at the time. It was so powerful and honest. What you wrote can be a lesson to so many new and old Mom’s alike. Our words to our children are powerful. I am so happy that you shared your feelings and experience. You, I know, have helped.

  29. That breaks my heart, Melanie. I was the chunky child out of my lot of siblings, and I can totally understand how it feels to know that your parent is unhappy with your appearance. Thankfully, my mom didn’t go to the degree that yours went to, but I spent more nights than I care to recall being forced to eat salad while everyone else enjoyed pizza. I don’t know you personally but from what I read in your blog, it sounds like you bookmarked all the negative events from your childhood and used them as lessons on what kind of mother not to be.

  30. Melanie, thank you so much for making this post. I apologize for being so late in responding. I have followed you for several years. You have been so much inspiration for me. When you were in your accident, I was struggling to live with my husband’s affair with a narcissist friend that manipulated us both. The words you wrote encouraged me in ways you will never know. Weird to me how the pain you were going through was so similar to the pain I was feeling. His affair has exposed wounds from childhood that, at times, have become extremely painful. My parents do not know about the affair. That would only give them fuel for their fire. However, I did share with my parents, after much therapy, my sadness from my childhood. My mom responded “you know, we would like to hear you are proud of us too.”. No apologies except for “we must have been the worst parents in the world”. Is that an apology? Apparently my dad was physically and mentally abusive because, according to her, he cared about us and was worried. Hmmm. Interesting. I’ve never ever thought about hitting my children because I was worried about them. My dad once hit me with a 2×4. He must have been pretty worried. What I wonder is how could my mom let him do that? I think I would go ballistic if my husband ever thought of hitting my kids with a 2×4. He never hit her. My parents raised me with fear and the thought that it was my job to take care of everyone but myself. I resent them for that. All I ever wanted to hear is that they loved me and were proud of me. I believe, and I take personal responsibility, that this is the reason I have struggled with being overweight. Food did not judge me or belittle me or make me fear. I recently graduated from college. My parents attended but did not sit with my family. It took all they had to tell me congratulations. I struggle with disconnecting myself from them. My mother is the great pretender. (narcissist) No one but my husband has seen the way she controls and manipulates me. She does not do this with others so I feel like she knows exactly what she is doing. At some point, for our own sanity, I think we need to acknowledge what has happened and make a choice to move forward. With or without them. I’m sorry you have had this pain, and other pain. As others have pointed out, you are loved and admired by many. Thank you for continuing to be an inspiration. I don’t know you personally, but I am proud of you. Proud for everything you have struggled through and come out still standing. You are a great inspiration to many. Hugs.

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