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ubersiren's avatar

Should I be taking my mom's comments this hard?

Asked by ubersiren (15046 points ) November 15th, 2009

I’ve never gotten along with my mother. She is not kind, considerate, nurturing, or selfless. Most who know her would agree. She’s also very negative.

For the last two years or so, my mother has insisted on making comments about my weight. I’m the first to admit that I absolutely am overweight. I would not, however call myself obese, and certainly not morbidly obese, and neither do my doctors.

I do see a doctor regularly for a thyroid problem that has contributed some to my recent weight gain. Thyroid is now under control with meds. I get regular blood work from there and now, from my midwives to check for sugar levels- all are normal. I’ve had cholesterol screenings which have been normal. Blood pressure- fantastic. And my mother knows all of this.

Yet, every time I talk to her, she insists on squeezing in these grating criticizing comments disguised as concern.

Examples-
“You know your great-great-grandfather had diabetes.”
“Are you still thirsty? You know that’s a sign of diabetes.” -after drinking one glass of water
“Have you considered lap band surgery?”
“How do you get housework done with your weight, and now your pregnancy on top of that?”

The last two were asked of me yesterday over the phone and I just broke down. I cried for nearly two hours.

My question exactly is, are these comments really bugging me because of our relationship, or are they really as harsh as I think they are?

I don’t know that talking to her about this is part of the solution. Talking to her is like standing in front of a firing squad. She resorts to unbearable Gish Gallop and there’s no reasoning with her. I’d just like some reassurance that I’m right, or if I’m not, how to get over it.

P.S. Many of you know that I am pregnant (5½ mos.) so I’m willing to accept that it’s just my hormones if that’s your opinion.

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27 Answers

Dog's avatar

I am so sorry your Mother is this way.

She sounds really like a toxic person and you are very likely more susceptible to her jabs because of the hormones. (Note I am not blaming your hormones so much as saying they leave you a bit vulnerable.)

Is there any way to avoid her or at least tune her out? There is no reasoning with her so a heart to heart is not likely to do any good.

You had no choice dealing with her when you were a child. Do not let her cast a shadow on your adult life.

janbb's avatar

I’ve had to deal with problems similar to that with my Mom. Creating as much distance as you are comfortable with is the best possible solution. It’s too hard to try to change her or engage with her. I feel for you.

beatthelastboss's avatar

After reading the title of this question, and seeing the word “Mom” and the word “Hard” in the same sentence, I realized what a sick mind I really have. Thank you for this realization!

hungryhungryhortence's avatar

Bah, it’s the pregnancy hormones. I’ll bet the rest of the time you keep her personality in check. All the snarky stuff is on her. My mom and grandma are similar, they’ll dissect a person’s appearance down to the bones yet my mom has been overweight for years but has no problem nitpicking me if she sees I get any squish on me.

fireinthepriory's avatar

These comments are really cruel in my opinion. Have you tried directly telling her that you don’t like it when she comments on your weight? You’re a responsible adult! It’s not her place to say things like that to you, and it’s within your rights as a human being – let alone her daughter! – to tell her so.

If she really won’t desist after a few weeks of you telling her to stop politely, I’d say it’s time to respond with something like “Mom, you know I don’t find it helpful when you make comments like that to me. I’ll talk to you later.” and then hang up. It’s not worth it to be so upset!

asmonet's avatar

My mother is obsessed with my weight, and she has some good points but she’s too socially inept to come across as loving. I get it. My mom sees swelling on my ankle from my foot injuries and rants about diabetes – she’s just a worry wort.

I used to fight and cry and kick and scream over it… I got better. Now, I simply state I’m happy and well, and ask her something about her own life to change the subject. It almost always works, when it doesn’t, rinse repeat.

faye's avatar

I try very hard to not be like my mom. I can remember running out the back door if I saw her coming down the street! And, sure, hormones make a difference but I’ll bet she gets to you most of the time. Does she have some interests or is she a lonely, bitter woman? She’ll maybe be so enthralled in the baby that she will let up on you. I could never get past it so missed out having much of a relationship with her.

filmfann's avatar

Your mother sounds tactless, but also like she cares and worries about you.
Don’t dwell on it.

OutOfTheBlue's avatar

I think 30 to 40 pounds is over weight, 50pounds+ overweight is obese, and over 100 pounds over weight is morbidly…

Thammuz's avatar

You’re taking them way too hard, EXPECIALLY since they come from a mother that you know to be not kind, considerate, nurturing, or selfless. Personally i suggest a new script for your conversations with her:

if (comment == “you’re fat”) {
while (1){
printf(“fuckyoumom”);
}

(note to the non-programming: while(1) means an infinite loop)

That said surely your hormones do play a part in this, but i’m not a fan of simply dumping everything on the hormones, it would be too fucking easy for me to get away with everything if i did.
[i have shitloads of (or act as if i did, i might simply be really horny and an asshole without the hormones, i don’t know) testosterone for some reason, probably because of a hormone cure i had as a kid]

PandoraBoxx's avatar

@OutOfTheBlue, did ubersiren’s mom pay you to come here and say that?

Because this question is about how moms seem to deliberately go out of their way to make their daughters feel bad about themselves and their weight, not whether or not ubersiren is actually overweight or not.

ubersiren's avatar

@faye : I think she’s actually getting more harsh as she ages. She is lonely, mostly because people can’t remain friends with her. I feel bad for her for this reason, but she simply will not change. Her own mother didn’t want to speak to her, even on her death bed. She was actually worse after our first son (her first grandson) was born. The post-partum visit to our house brought lasagna, some gifts from my sister, and a self-righteous “lesson” on how to keep house better. She scolded me for not keeping house after my first week with a newborn. She came in and totally rearranged my kitchen and linen closet. She said that I knew I was going to have company and really should’ve closed the linen closet door so they couldn’t see in.

@OutOfTheBlue : That really isn’t the point.

@hungryhungryhortence : Perhaps you’re right. Writing out all her faults and habits makes me realize that she’s always been this way, and maybe I’m just more sensitive to it now. This is the farthest she’s gone with my weight, but I should’ve expected it with her rapid incline in harshness.

ccrow's avatar

I’m sorry you have to deal w/this. As far as diabetes goes, if you’re seeing an OB-GYN, they will be watching for gestational diabetes, so you can just say, “The doctor says I’m fine,” to those comments. Lap band? Probably not an option during pregnancy anyway, so, “No, I couldn’t do that now anyway!” The how do you get housework done question seems silly to me, I mean if you’re doing it what is there to ask about??? If it’s a problem this website helps a lot of people (me included!). I agree w/ @fireinthepriory if she starts in on you, end the conversation or change the subject.

faye's avatar

@ubersiren my mom did stuff like that,too, going thru my stuff and the kids’ stuff. We kind of made a joke of it. and it’s hard to go thru the whole afternoon,eg xmas, when she starts in on you. I think it’s a stiff upper lipper for you. She’s not going to change now. Unless maybe she is chronically ill, arthritis, anemic, etc.

casheroo's avatar

what a bitch. oops! did I say that outloud?

I dislike when people think that as they age they can just be nasty. My grandmother can be that way, but she tends to talk about you behind your back..I don’t even want to know what has been said about me. I know I’m one of the favorites though.

I would be extremely hurt by those comments, especially while pregnant when it’s hard to control that sort of thing. I would just avoid her while pregnant. She seems like she’s not healthy to be around and you should be enjoying this time of your life.

derekfnord's avatar

ubersiren, how would you react to this treatment if it wasn’t coming from your mother, but rather from some other casually callous adult? I suspect you’d either try to avoid talking to them, or attach no significance to whatever they have to say. I suggest doing the same with your mother. She’s just a person. A mother has just as much right to be a numbskull as any other person, and if yours is, then (now that you’re an adult) you don’t need to put any greater weight on what she says than on what any other numbskull says.

Some of us grow up and find that suddenly our parents are suddenly much smarter than they seemed when we were in our teens. ;-) But others grow up and have to face the fact that their parents just aren’t very smart (or very nice, or very reliable, or very wise, or whatever the case may be).

That’s not an easy realization to make. We grow up with parents as the all-knowing providers, and it can be a strange feeling to realize one day that they’re just as flawed as anyone else, and that we ourselves may have naturally grown up to be better people in various ways than our parents were. (No guarantee of that, but it’s possible.)

There’s not necessarily any reason to believe that her opinion of you should be considered any more valid (or even as valid) as your opinion of yourself. You may be a better woman than she is…

JasonsMom08's avatar

Sorry to hear that your mother is not very kind. Next time she launches into some more comments, just tell her that while you appreciate her concern, you are handling your health issues and find her comments hurtful. Keep repeating until she stops. People like that for some strange reason do not realize that you know that you are overweight, and she feels that reminding you over and over again will somehow cause you to no longer be overweight.

Sariperana's avatar

maybe its the way that she says these things – because when i read it, its not so much harsh – but more concerned.
But as long as you have a healthy attitude towards yourself, your body and your overall health and you are taking all the right steps to maintain the above – then more power to you – and you can ignore her comments.

Supacase's avatar

I think they are harsh and you are right to feel the way you do. I agree with @fireinthepriory, just disconnect with her when she starts. When she can agree to treat you with respect, you will be happy to resume speaking with her. You don’t need any toxic people in your life, even if they are family.

@casheroo Do we have the same grandmother?

Iclamae's avatar

It sounds like she’s worried and doesn’t have the tact to say it better. My mom has a similar problem and we have a worse family record for diabetes and all kinds of heart stuff. I don’t think she’s saying it to be a bitch but you could point out to her that it hurts your feelings. While it’s not her place to bother you about this kind of stuff, she’s a mom and she’ll do it anyway. Maybe she’ll just tone it down a little.

But yeah, you have to not let it get under your skin. She might not stop and since you don’t live with her, you can avoid it when you’re having an off-day.
Good luck with everything and the baby.

galileogirl's avatar

A lot of times people can shrug off invalid criticism but when they know it is true but are in denial it can make them angry to be reminded.

YARNLADY's avatar

I have a real hard time understanding the situation. My mother was very loving, supportive and kind, and she would say the same sorts of things to me, entirely out of love. I can’t even imagine how hard it must be for you when those loving caring words cause such pain because of the relationship you have with your Mom. My heart goes out to you.

casheroo's avatar

I think asking someone if they’ve looked into surgery that would alter their body, so they can barely eat…just to lose weight, is implying she is morbidly obese and NOT a comment anyone should be making unless they were truly concerned.
I’ve seen pictures of @ubersiren and she is no where even close to obese, and is currently pregnant and barely gaining weight damn you! lol I don’t think @ubersiren is in denial of anything. She even admitted she’s got some extra meat on her. But, is it really a proper concern or criticism to ask your pregnant daughter if she’s looked into surgery? I don’t think so.

galileogirl's avatar

There have been several questions here about parents’ criticism and how to deal with it. Adult children can’t change what their parents may see as concern. If they are open to discussion, it wouldn’t take decades to happen. Thus the child can stew about it and let it affect their lives (and be in denial about ability to change their parents) or they can put on their grown-up pants and get over it.

noraasnave's avatar

This seems to be a question of boundaries. Ideally you should be able to open up to your mother about any weakness, any problem, and any situation and she should respond first by simply listening and second by helping you in a way that is not condescending. For some reason we all expect this of our mothers.

The rub is that your Mom has issue as we all do. You trust her to be ideal and she walks all over you. Since she is hurting you, it is your responsibility to set some boundaries to protect yourself, to keep yourself from getting hurt by her. If she were coming at you with a knife you would tend to think that was unacceptable behavior and you would lock the door and call the cops.

You must do the same thing here. Driven by her internal issues she attacks you with words. You stand there and allow her to stab you over and over again. You need to lock the door and call the cops inside yourself. It is a work in progress as is every change in life, but you have to shut the door on that issue and any other issue that she uses to hurt you. You have to be the bigger person.

My first ex wife would love to chew me out, in real life and on the phone. I came out of counseling session, newly armed with knowledge of how to enforce my boundaries. She called, we talked, and the conversation turned once again to my flaws and such. I hung up on her without warning. She called back furious: “Why did you hang up on me?” I responded: “I am not going to tolerate discussion on this topic, I will hang up, or I will end the conversation if we find ourselves discussing me or my family in a negative light. I will give you the same respect.”

It will not be easy, it will probably be very painful, it will change your relationship with her forever most likely, but the stabbings will stop, and she might even learn her lesson.

faye's avatar

In addition, both of my daughters are overweight and never once have I thought it would serve any purpose at all to throw it at them. They know how big they are.

bxgirl's avatar

If your doctors feel you are healthy then don’t worry about it. People will call you a lot of things in life , it is what you answer to that matters. Let your haters be your motivators. The best way to deal with people like that is to point out that you know exactly what they are doing and that you will not play the “role” they wish to assign you in their play. It is like watching a ballon deflate. Then smile and walk away, or bless them and hang up.

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