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Confrontation

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Something happened the other day that I am so proud of. I wanted to share it with you guys.

I’m not sure if anyone remembers but I have struggled with an eating disorder for almost 20 years. I have been trying really hard since my illness to stop being so uptight about what I eat.

As a result, I have gained a lot of weight. A lot. I actually am happier with my body than I have ever been. I would love to be thinner, but I am afraid to try to diet. I do exercise, but not obsessively.

Anyway, none of that is the point. The point is that since my illness and weight gain, my mother has made non-stop comments about my weight and size. It is incredibly hurtful to me and rude.

The final straw was when I called her for mother’s day. I mentioned going to a lunch meeting that I was super excited about. And meeting with the hospital where I had my surgeries. And then I mentioned that I was working out more and was even thinking of running again for a benefit.

And that’s when she proceeded to tell me that it would be great for me to run again as I really needed to lose weight. She has told me in the past that I get fatter and fatter every time she sees me (which is true). And that I would be happier if I weighed 150lbs (which is not true, I was miserable when I weighed 150).

In high school, when I was 100lbs thinner, my pediatrician told my mother and I that I needed to gain 20-50lbs because I was unhealthily underweight. My mother told him no, that I looked good. And the pediatrician told her that we were discussing my health, not my appearance.

The other issue is that I am one size larger than my brother, but every time she sees him she acts like he is one meal away from starving to death.

So, I called her the other day and told her I needed to talk with her. Then I told her off.

I told her that I didn’t appreciate her constantly putting me down. I told her that her rude comments were not helpful. I told her that my doctor, cardiologist, sex partners, and myself did not think I needed to lose weight. So why did she?

I also told her that she was my mother. If she loved me, then she needed to love me at any weight. And that if she didn’t love me, then I didn’t need her in my life.

She claimed that she had no idea she was hurting my feelings. She claimed that she was only trying to help me. She claimed that she thought I was trying to lose weight and she was trying to be encouraging.

But I know she and I have had this conversation in the past.

So I made it extra clear. I told her that I never wanted to hear a word about my weight again. Not if I lost weight. Not if I gained weight. I told her that if I ordered a salad, it would be because I wanted a salad (which I love) and not to lose weight. If I started running it would be because I love running (which I do and always have). If she buys me something that doesn’t fit, it’s because the clothes are not my size, not because I am too big.

It felt amazing. I felt so powerful. And I have decided to cut her out of my life if she doesn’t comply with my request. And I am trying to get my brother to confront her too as he hates her comments on his thinness.

Underwater

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I think about my mother a lot. I try to imagine her childhood. I try to understand the way her entire life stacked up on her to make her the person that she is.

I feel sorry for her. I can even see where she was coming from sometimes. I can understand the sad logic in some of her choices.

But I just don’t think I can forgive her. I have been in enough abusive relationships to know how hard it can be to leave them. And I imagine having children makes it even harder.

I will never have children. I will never have to make that choice. But I know this; a man abusing me is one thing, a man abusing a child is quite another.

I don’t know why she stayed with my father. But then again, I do. She grew up in a household with a violent, abusive father and an emotionally abusive, manipulative mother. Just like me.

I used to fear ending up like her. But I am ending that cycle. I won’t risk doing to someone else what happened to me. I won’t abuse a child. My life history will not repeat itself.

And I have dated enough abusive men to know it would have ended that way for me. But I am not doing that any more either. I would rather spend the rest of my life alone than spend one day with another abusive or manipulative partner.

The funny thing is that my mother did eventually leave my father. When I was 20. Long after it could have made any difference for any of her children.

I’ll never understand why she waited so long. It all just feels so senseless.

My mother is remarried now. I wish I could say to a better man than my father. But he isn’t. In fact, he reminds me so much of her father. I guess she will never be done repaying whatever it is she thinks she owes in her life.

But maybe my real point is that she can’t help it. When all you know is abuse, it’s hard to realize there are other options. Sometimes I wonder if it doesn’t provide some sort of cold comfort.

Maybe sometimes, some abused people become so acclimated to it. Like fish living deep in the ocean depths. They have learned to survive under so much intense pressure that they become dependent on it. They can no longer live without it. They literally die if you take that pressure off them.

But I don’t want to be a fish anymore. And I don’t want to be underwater. I have long called being abused being underwater. It’s from a short story that I have always loved. And I don’t know the name of it. It’s not Breathing Underwater which is a fantastic YA novel.

This is a short story about a girl that is underwater in her house and one day she comes home and her sister is underwater too. And they are kind of swimming around in it. And then she moves out and never finds someone that is quite right for her until she meets a boy that is underwater too. Does anyone know this short story? I’d love to read it again.