I feel constantly unheard.
A conversation I had yesterday:
I say, ‘So I’m not sure what the correct way of bringing this up with [ insert person] is…and I don’t even think it’s because of my poor communication skills…I think it would probably be a difficult one for any person to bring up with another person without offending them…’
…’So I’ve been reading another ‘Boundaries’ book and I think when [ insert person ] brought up my weight the other day, even though I know she meant it in a positive way…yeah, I think it’s crossing a boundary for me and I need to work out a way to communicate that I’d rather my weight not be a topic that’s talked about even when it’s in a positive light and they mean well‘…
…’I want to be a person separate to my weight and because of my struggles, someone bringing up my weight sends me into an unhealthy loop of self doubt and unhealthy thoughts‘…
…’like for example, the fact that [ insert person ] mentioned I had lost weight in theory that’s a nice thing to say…but now a week on I feel like I’ve gained a ridiculous amount of weight since then…even though I probably haven’t…and now I feel a pressure that if I see her again she’ll notice I’ve gained weight back and will be too polite to say anything but will be equally thinking about that as she did about me having lost weight‘…
…’I think my weight is my business and not anyone else’s and I’d rather people compliment me on other aspects of who I am, not my weight‘…
The person I was talking to’s response, ‘is this one of those things where you don’t want feedback on what you’ve said?‘
Me: ‘what, do you mean feedback on my feelings? because you can’t have feedback on my feelings…they’re my feelings…they can’t be right or wrong…‘
Response, ‘it’s important to hear the other side of things though, right? for personal growth?‘
Me: ‘I guess…but there’s no point disagreeing with this because it’s how I feel and it’s my weight and it’s my business not anyone else’s business…you can’t change my mind on that‘…
Response: ‘when [ insert person ] comments on your weight aren’t they communicating that they hold you in higher regard because they hold people who can control their own weight in higher regard than people who can’t control their own weight?‘
Me: ‘I don’t want to be held in ‘higher regard’ based on my weight, it makes me uncomfortable and it’s my body so their opinion on my weight is irrelevant. MY weight is none of their business‘
Response: ‘They’re part of your family, so you as a person ARE their business and their opinion of you should matter to you‘…
Me: ‘They can voice an opinion of me about other aspects of who I am, they don’t need to comment about my weight…I don’t want to hear it and it’s none of their business. It doesn’t help me because of my history with food, weight and body image‘
Response: ‘Do you not think that a person being able to control their weight is a positive attribute?‘
Me: ‘I don’t care if they think it’s a positive attribute about me, I don’t want to hear it‘
Response: ‘So when you see someone who has lost weight you don’t hold them in higher regard‘
Me: ‘Look I don’t even think [ insert person ] was communicating that they hold me in ‘higher regard’ because of my supposed weight loss, you’re adding that‘
So at this point I’ll admit…I’m a bad listener when I get emotional…I don’t remember how this conversation continued but somehow I raised a point about someone we know that is in my opinion borderline underweight and it worries me and yes I do judge them on that attribute whenever I see them….and that to me I’d rather see someone larger than ‘ideal’ than smaller than ‘ideal’ weight…
…and now thinking back I’m annoyed with myself that I got dragged into commenting on someone else’s weight because then I got a response from them, ‘yes exactly…you hold them in lower regard because they are underweight‘….’so it goes both ways‘…
My response, ‘I think there is a healthy range for a human body and it’s much higher than that person’s‘….’I also think if someone you care about may be harming themselves then telling them you’re worried about them can be coming from a place of love and a completely different thing. You’re worried about their health and safety…it’s different to just commenting on their weight as being a positive or negative thing aesthetically speaking‘
Then somehow it came to them saying directly to me, ‘do you think your weight is fine then?‘
at this point my thinking completely shuts down because all I’m hearing is that I’m fat…and unhealthy and people should be ‘telling me straight’ so that I can pull myself back into line…
Several times during this conversation I said, ‘if ‘telling it to me straight’ about being fat and using ‘tough love’ worked then I’d be a size 8‘…
again…not sure how that kept coming up because I was very offended and emotional…
Apparently, I’m just impossible to have a conversation with.
That may be the case. I honestly believe that there was an agenda in the other person’s side of the conversation. That agenda being that they think I am heavily overweight and should be having people comment on my weight to pull me back into line. They honestly believe that if people stop commenting on my weight and let me only keep my weight to myself then I’ll end up ‘letting myself go’ and be unhealthy and unhappy.
I felt this person was trying to sway my opinion away from asking people not to comment on my weight because having people comment on my weight is for my own good.
This person does feel I’ve been indoctrinated by the body-positivity movement. Of which I think is an unfair brush to paint me with, putting me under the umbrella of an external ‘movement’ rather than this just being my feelings on MY own weight and lifestyle choices. I believe in health in terms of my food and lifestyle choices for myself. That’s what I am trying to strive towards, I enjoy walking so I try and keep my body healthy to facilitate taking the long walks I enjoy. The long walks aid my mental health struggles (fresh air, physical exercise and getting out of the house), if I can’t take the walks then aspects of my life OTHER than my physical weight will be effected. By viewing my health this way, I’ve taken the focus off my ‘weight’ and appearance and onto my quality of life. It’s still a work in progress…but again…if that other kind of mindset worked then I wouldn’t have been struggling on and off for the past 22 years with disordered eating and body dysmorphia!
Apparently according to them in this conversation there was no hidden agenda or intent…they were simply playing devil’s advocate and taking the opposing view.
To me, I don’t give a damn about the opposing view…I was sharing my own feelings. Yes I was probably awkwardly and ineffectively trying to share a piece of myself I’ve been working through (because goodness knows most things remain solely in my own head, never to see the light of day). I just wanted to talk through whether or not I would bring this up with [ insert person ] and if so, how? I guess I was wanting to talk through if I was being unreasonable to make an issue of this. I guess I was using them as a sounding board and they just responded in the wrong way in my opinion. So maybe they’re right? I want them to be someone they’re not?
I just feel like I wasn’t heard, at all. That my feelings and thoughts on the topic that were VERY personal were reduced immediately to a right/wrong high level, ‘should loved ones comment on your weight for your own good‘ discussion.
No acknowledgment of my self-growth journey. No acknowledgment that it was hard for me to talk about. My feelings and opinions were just immediately up for debate, even after I point blank stated that my feelings and opinions on this topic aren’t debatable because they’re MY feelings and opinions…
Heck, if they couldn’t have this conversation with me then they could have diverted the conversation to asking me about the book I’m reading. Why did it have to be about ‘weight critique’ being for my own good??
When I voiced that this is how I felt about the conversation I was told that this person feels they have to hide who they are when we talk. That I choose to take offense at nothing, that I’m asking them to be someone they’re not to have a conversation with me.
All I really wanted was to be heard.
All I really wanted was to toy with the idea that a person can be a person to someone separate from their physical weight.
I get that logically that is probably a stupid fancy of an INFP. Isn’t it okay to dream sometimes though?
On one hand I see the value in Thinking types speaking reason to a heavy Feeling type like myself…but on the other hand…when am I allowed to just feel what I feel?