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anxiety over visiting family again, verbal abuse


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Hello there everybody.


I'm new here, this is my first post. I was compelled to join after doing a bit of research on verbal abuse. I decided that, no matter how helpful and supportive my boyfriend is, I needed to address others who may have gone through the same thing closer than what my boyfriend did.


I'm sorry if this is going to get long...I apologize beforehand. I feel like it's necessary to express as much as I can so my situation makes sense.


The issue is, basically, my dad has been verbally abusive to me since probably my late high school years. That I'm aware of. I'm sure it was always there but I don't remember a lot of it.


I was never a big girl, maybe a bit heftier than others, but I was never overweight really until I was in high school and especially when I went to college. Well, my dad began to give me complete hell about my weight and my looks. I couldn't be in the same room with him without getting some sort of disapproving, disgusted look or rude, callous comment. Sometimes totally out of the blue and usually very unwarranted.I began to feel, in those very important developmental years, that I was less than everybody else because I was bigger than I should be. I began to feel like my entire self worth was wrapped around what I wore, what I could fit into, and how I presented myself to my family. My dad even went as far as to, on two occasions, embarrass me in front of a dinner party at our house when I went to get some food. He told someone who was serving me mashed potatoes, "she doesn't want that, she's on a diet". I don't think anything has hurt me as much as that in my WHOLE 26 years of life. My mom, though less often, also encouraged these feelings. Not only that, but my dad attacked the very things that I LOVED. He constantly put down my artistic talent, telling me it was ultimately useless and a waste of time, and that on top of that it was making me more sedentary. He is convinced I could have been a tennis pro (LOL. I've always hated tennis with a passion. so where this came from is beyond me, yet very very amusing.).


About 3 or 4 years ago, I had enough. I stayed in my room all the time because I couldn't bear to see my dad or make myself exposed to him. Sometimes I would use any excuse to get out of the house. I would spend all night wandering around the aisles of WalMart or Barnes and Noble, delaying coming home for as long as I could.


Anyhow, I decided that the only way I could be "normal" and to get them to stop hurting me was if I lost the weight. So, I did what any desperate girl would do- I went to extreme measures, and became anorexic and bulimic. I lost about 70lbs by overexercising (I would exercise for so long I would get covered in blisters, sometimes 3 or more hours a day) and eating very, very little. To speed this up a bit, I met my current boyfriend a year ago, felt comfortable about myself, and quickly regained all the weight back (that's what happens when you don't eat for so long...your body takes every single calorie and packs it right back on you).


The last time I visited my family last year, I was big. My mom visited me a few months ago, and I was a bit bigger (of course she even approached my boyfriend about getting me to stop eating). I'm a bit bigger now, and scared to death about visiting them. I'm scared of my dad's looks, I'm scared of what he'll say, and most of all I am just sick to tears of them constantly pointing out my weight to me, as if I'm not aware of it. I've spoken with them SO many times, that they were only hurting my feelings,but they just don't seem to get that I want to work on accepting MYSELF before I can take steps to improve my health in a healthy way for LIFE.


I'm so sorry again that this was so long. If anyone can share any advice, it would be SO much appreciated.I leave to visit my family in less than a week and I feel a total mess.

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That's terrible and nobody, especially family, has any right to treat someone so cruelly or callously. This entire blurb actually strikes a personal chord with me too; I was a bigger person growing up and, somehow, my entire family thought follow my father's example and to subject me to abuse because of my weight.


Interestingly, I too was creative and it's unsettling to think that more and more people stifle ones imagination - or worse their self-esteem - because of issues that aren't even their own. Have heart: you're not the one with the problem, they are.


Your father was probably just like mine; he saw every one of our personal flaws - which could or could not be a common case between us - to mean 'failure' because his life was one where a person should live without any individual oversight - well, in his eyes. He drove me to believe that obesity was wrongful and studies in the Arts is meaningless for a 'profitable' future. In the case with both our dads, they probably were the subjects of a strict home environment where freedom of expression and the ability to truly be oneself is unheard of or, in the worst cases, severely punished.


I say you have to either stand up for yourself and give them hell for what they're doing right now - your mother and father included - or ignore them and live your life. By taking thier hurtful words seriously, you're give them your power (in saying 'power' I mean: that quality that sums up your self-worth,personal drive and initiative and the ability to develope a positive self-image of yourself). Don't let them determine who you are; you need to affirm, in any way possible, what kind of person you are and makes you happy.


So, aside from flipping your family the bird and demanding some respect , you should do other things that make you happy. Try to become engrossed in a hobby or spend more time with your bf or do something creative. Remember, the power you have is yours - not theirs - and your life, thereforee, is you hands.

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Oh, my gosh, it's funny how similar our situations are! Even right down to the artistic issues.


You are definitely correct about our fathers who feel the need to point out every small problem with everyone they may encounter. One of his favourite sayings to me, when pointing out my weight, was "you'd be perfect if only you could lose some weight". Did it ever feel to you at any given point that he would NEVER be happy.? even if you manage to lose the weight, then he would just focus more on your artistic skills, or maybe the way you dress, or really anything else that he could possibly comment on.


Also, right on about their own environments as children. My dad always felt lesser than others thanks to his dad's treatment of him. Even in knowing this, it doesn't excuse their behaviour with us. I feel like it makes their behaviour towards their own children even more awful, as they are simply repeating the pain rather than stopping it with them.


I see a lot of the similar patterns, sadly, being repeated by my brother onto his own children. Working in a slightly different direction though, the outcome is the same. He is making his own children, especially his VERY sensitive little 8 year old boy, feel completely inept and hesitant about everything.


Yes, you are right about the options.In the past, I felt like I've tried both methods so many times though, that it's gotten to the point that if they make any single comment about my weight, I might have to jump out the window otherwise risk going completely insane.But yes, the power still never was mine, because I always BELIEVED them, no matter how much I thought I didn't. I have matured a lot in the last year, though, and I finally feel like, as shaky as my ground may be, I am finally establishing a love and respect for myself, as I am, all my faults and all my pluses. So I guess I'm not entirely worried about what they are going to think, cause I already know what it'll be, but I'm worried for myself and my own very fragile self-image that I only recently started to cultivate and improve.


Thank you for the advice! It's funny, because I've only recently started to get some recognition for things that I'm making, and it makes me very proud and motivated to keep going. I finally feel more optomistic.


Thanks again

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You might consider telling them you'd love to visit but will leave early if anyone turns disrespectful about your weight--or anything else.


Raising parents isn't easy.


In your corner.



Ohhh I quite like that....! And you are so true about raising parents


Thank you so much for your adivce.

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You're welcome, philomela. BTW, if it comes down to leaving early, do so as calmly and sweetly as possible with a simple promise to return when they can be kind. The idea is to train them--not create a train wreck.


Fingers crossed, and I hope you enjOy!

Happy new year.


Oh yes, I see what you mean. It wouldn't be a good move to turn everything into a huge drama. I definitely want to be mature about the entire situation. I just have such a bad temper I'm worried I won't be able to control it. Something tells me I'll be doing a lot of deep breathing exercises!


Thanks again! and a happy new year to you too

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Not a problem. Just remember that YOU DO have that power and it is innate; just because someone you care about (I'm assuming) says you're not good enough - for any reason - you don't have to believe them. I've disbelieved my father, both my brothers and mother through a lot of self-motivation and preseverance. You have to realize that you are special in your own way (I know it's cheesy, but it works). You have to believe that you are in fact a good person who is above the reproach of others.


Trust me, you can feel better.

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  • 1 year later...

dont visit your fam .you are a punching bag and scapegoat .eating disorders affect your heart and shorten your life . did they consider you might develop one due to their abuse they do not car about your health just appearance . go chose a better family. blood relatives arent always the best team to be on.

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