Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Hypersensitivity

I'm feeling really good and positive today. The scale is not budging even though I am not going off plan, but that's just the way it goes sometimes. Part of life. It'll move eventually.

When I was in my very early 20's, I had an experience that affected me. I was probably 7 or 8 months pregnant with my second child, walking through the parking lot into a store with my then-husband. I must have weighed about 180 pounds... by far the most I had ever weighed in my life... and wearing maternity jeans and a bulky sweater. I remember it like it was yesterday... the roughness of that sweater, which was light pink and teal with kitties on it, the cool chill of the early March air there surrounded by mountains where I used to live. As we walked, hand in hand, I was happy. My miracle baby was on the way soon, after having lost an unborn child a year prior and having lost the twin to this pregnancy. I was feeling good, until a truck drove by with some young men inside. They rolled down their windows, and they MOOED at me. In an instant, I was shattered. They drove away laughing, and tears welled up in my eyes. Suddenly, I was not cute or beautiful or 'glowing' anymore. The baby ceased to exist for a moment and I was just a fat cow. And what did I do in response? After we shopped, I got in the car and scorned my husband for not "doing something." I cried and cried, telling him he should have "defended my honor." Why didn't he DO something? I was so angry, so hurt, felt betrayed by him. He looked at me and said, "What did you want me to do?? Chase them in their truck? Get in a fight? End up beaten or in jail?" I said, "No! But you should have stood up for your WIFE!"

Looking back, I see the extreme sensitivity to fatness I had in those early years. My mother was morbidly obese, and I simply could not tolerate ANY teasing or implication that I'd ever end up "fat like her." Any teasing I endured as a child in those few years when I was ever-so-slightly chubby but probably not even overweight made my hypersensitive to the issue. My father-in-law had called me a fatass when I weighed in the 160's right after losing my baby. And now my OWN HUSBAND thought I was a cow.

Or did he?

No, of course he didn't. But I made that leap because he did not "do something" about those idiots who mooed at me when I was 7 months pregnant. In reality there was nothing he could have done. He tried to soothe my feelings but I wasn't having any of it. And I felt fat from that point forth, until now.

Not sure where I am going with this story, except to say that a lot of us *are* hypersensitive to looks, comments, dialogue, attitudes about weight. Even when someone means no harm or has no control over an issue that's bothering us, we get hurt, offended, angry.

Being hurt or sad or angry are valid feelings, certainly. But maybe it is best to give *most* people the benefit of the doubt when it comes to this stuff. Instead of projecting my insecurity onto my husband and making him the "issue," I could have just acknowledged that those guys were being jerks, and let it go. Part of the big change in my attitude after losing 100 pounds has come from NOT hanging onto every little thing and making it a big issue. Let it go, feel it, don't blame, don't stuff it down with food. Peace feels better than anger.

I may post again later today. Hope you all are enjoying the holiday season!

16 comments:

Ex Yo-Yo Dieter Debbie said...

I'm working on being hypersensitive...the smallest thing can eat away at me some days. And then other days, even big things don't get to me.

I'm just reminded of a weight-loss book called "it's Not What You're Eating, It's What's Eating You". In my case, I think it was both...what I was eating because of what was eating me!

Anyway, I am trying not to be so thin-skinned about many things, and to let things drop and move on. Easier said than done, but the stronger I feel inside, the thicker my skin gets on the outside.

Renea said...

I feel this way every single day of my life it is the reason I finally got fed up and started on this journey 14 plus weeks ago. I got so tired of asking my husband"does this make me look fat' When I knew I would get the same reply as always "NO"..I was the one that thought I looked fat and it did not matter what outfit I put on I would feel the same way. I got sick of feeling that way and for once in my life I want to wake up and look in the mirror at whatever weight I am at and be happy with what I see.. I am getting there.

Mom to the Fourth Power said...

Letting go of things like this is HUGE. It is the only way we heal. I remember walking into a Best Buy store just a few short years ago, and some guys yelled out from a truck.. "get some Slim Fast!!" I felt humiliated and awful and it fueled my self-loathing all the more. It's easy to rip on strangers. But I bet one of those guys had a heavy grandma, mother, sister or someone... that THEY wouldn't want someone mocking.

Self worth has to come from INSIDE and not from what is said to us. This has been so hard for me and is still my challenge. When we have self-worth, it's easier to let snide comments go... let them bounce off of us.

Letting go.... I love it. Need to do it more.
Thanks for sharing Lyn. I always enjoy reading your blog!

In fact, even your post yesterday on healing prompted me to make a phone call to someone and clear the air on something that has been causing me so much pain. Now, I feel I can heal and move on. Your post inspired me to do that. :)

~Margene

Leslie said...

I'm definitely hypersensitive, but better after all these years. I've never heard anything from outside that rivaled the hatred I could hurl towards myself, and as I've stopped that, my sensitivity has gotten less. Though I think being sensitive is a good quality when not taken to extreme.

Anonymous said...

This really hit home for me, Lyn! I remember when I was heavier, anytime anyone mentioned anything about weight, I felt like it was directed at me. If anyone gave me any advice or agreed with me when I said I should lose weight, I felt hurt. But that was because, for me, I felt like I couldn't lose it, and food was very tied to my emotions.
Now it is much easier for me to view my weight as separate from my worth, and to have it not affect my emotional well-being, but that is because I know I can control it. Before, when I felt I couldn't, it was extremely degrading to have someone say anything.
My point is, I think many people who are normal weight who offer advice just don't understand. They're not malicious, they just don't see why people can't just cut back on food and up exercise...because it's that simple for them.
Marie

Anonymous said...

You are so gracious...you always find something good in every relationship or situation..I love it. Susan

Georgia said...

I've worked on overcoming such sensitivity over time. For me, the biggest help was realising that everything others say or do is a refection of themselves. It has NOTHING to do with you. Instead it's a projection of their reality.

http://fabulousfoodandalittlefrolicking.blogspot.com/

beerab said...

Gosh some men are such jerks. I actually met a guy in college that said women used getting pregnant as an excuse to be fat. I wasn't surprised that he was single and made that opinion known to him! Screw them- you were pregnant!

Thank you for sharing :)

twiggy said...

I always feel like everyone is looking at me and thinking about how fat I am. In fact I have a blog post in my head about that waiting for a day when I don't have any other ideas lol.

amy_joy81 said...

I definitely know what you mean... and I can relate to your story. Several times in my life I've had people ask me when I was 'due'... and I've never been pregnant. And last year I had some guys drive by me while I walked my dog not once, but circle the block and drive by twice and say some aweful things. It sucks!

I hate that society in general takes such a negative attitude toward obesity... and the worst part is I no longer 'trust' my friends and family when it comes to my weight. I judge myself for them - I'm convinced my friends and family find me disgusting to look at, and if they tell me they don't care how I look I acuse them of lying so I won't be hurt. But the person who's really hurting my feelings is me.

Anonymous said...

I remember way back in the 70s, I was about to go into a Weight Watchers building and a group of young boys moo'd at me. I weighed a whole 146 lbs. LOL Some people are idiots, what can you say? The beauty of getting older is you truly don't care what others think about you, YOU know your worth.

PaulaM

Vee and the Kid said...

I am super sensitive to the word fat. When I load up my grocery cart with lots of discounted bread, I always make sure to tell people it's for the chickens. Just because I'm big. (It's not a lie: it really is for the chickens.). But when I buy the candy bars, I have to bite my tongue to not ascribe it to my kid or Hubby or a pretend friend. Words really can hurt as much as a sticks and stones.Vee at http://veegettinghealthy.blogspot.com

Dinahsoar said...

Yes Lyn...we must have a tough hide and a tender heart. Those guys were jerks..and you vented your anger and hurt onto your husband because he was an easy target.

And you probably beat yourself up too--with a little self hate and loathing.

Learning to discount/reject the message when the messenger is not credible is important to a healthy emotional life.

And when the messenger is credible, it is just as important to overcome being defensive--as most of us are--and use the message to our benefit.

We know we have developed these abilities when there is no emotional rise in our feelings, no intense reaction of hurt or anger.

X said...

The hypersensitivity is awful. I also feel like whenever the conversation turns to dieting, healthy living, etc it is directed at ME. If I am especially down/depressed, the littlest thing will set me off. If my boyfriend says he is not hungry or doesn't want dinner, i see it as an attack on me, I hear him saying "YOU don't need to eat dinner, you fat cow!" even though he means nothing of the sort! One's own mind can be so hurtful...

The Captain's Daughter said...

You are not alone. When I was pregnant with our first (of two) sons, my husband I were walking across the parking lot to a restaurant where we planned to enjoy dinner to celebrate our anniversary. As we got closer to the door, a couple of young men (not teenagers or kids) yelled over to my husband and said, "Is your woman big enough for you!?"

I never looked pregnant during my two pregnancies, I just looked more (extremely) round. I don't blame them for thinking I was just huge, versus big and 6 months pregnant, but I do blame them for their ignorance and insensitivity.

Our son was born shortly after that, roughly 7 weeks premature after I was involved in a 9-car pile up (rear-ended by an uninsured 17-year old) so there were certainly bigger things to worry about...

Now our son is about to be 23 in a couple of months, (and he will deploy to Afghanistan for the 2nd time at the end of January) but that incident is still something I think about.

It's funny to me, (not really) how something so humiliating was still not enough to motivate me to change my habits so that it wouldn't happen again. While the same thing never did happen again (thankfully) I didn't get truly fit again until our son was 6 years old and going off to first grade. I regained 100 pounds a few years later and didn't drop them again until our son was headed into the 9th grade. Then I regained the same 100 pounds over four years and didn't drop weight again until this past June when I finally got another grip on this!

I am now down 84 pounds since 6/1 and I have to tell you, the one thing I am focused on the most this time is making this the LAST TIME I need to drop 140 pounds (to get to goal)!!

I don't care how great people think I look right now, I'm going ALL the way this time!

Sorry this comment turned into something about me... Just want you to know you are not (never) alone, I can relate, and that I sincerely appreciate your honesty!

The Captain's Daughter said...

And, PS... I don't believe feeling as we did about the comments makes us hypersensitive!