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That Chip On Her Shoulder

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Okay, the social gathering that was supposed to be so fun, wasn't. Again. We have a neighbor who is very overweight. She is certainly nice enough, I guess, and her kids are great. I don't know her husband well, but he spends time in the yard and with the kids. This woman is hard to like.

She seems to think that the rest of us are blessed with thinness. I don't think the other women think much about their weight. We all vary in size, I'm the smallest. And we certainly talk about food, what we make, what the family likes, what's on sale where. But this one woman is combative to the point of rudeness. "Here", she'll spit at me, "You can eat as much of this as you want". Huh? I've tried to tell her that I used to be fat but she doesn't believe it. I think she believes someone made up the Civil War just to give her something to have to be tested on.

We don't see her as the Fat Neighbor, but as the truculent neighbor. She seems to think that all we see in her is her weight, which is hardly true. She has a nice house and lots of books, so she reads. She and her family take trips to interesting places, yet she thinks that her weight is the only thing that defines her. Frankly no one gives her weight a second thought, but we sure do see her attitude, and it's kind of irritating to have someone think that we just go around judging people by their weight. I am probably the only woman on the block who is thinner now than on my wedding day, but that's from hard work, and the only person who should care about that is me. Others may have other stories, but it's not something we talk about.

The woman needs Weight Watchers, not necessarily because I think she should lose weight (that is entirely up to her, I don't care), but because at least she would have one place to be where she doesn't have to assume that automatically antagonistic attitude, and maybe she could find out how freeing it is not to have to protect herself from imagined criticism. The chip on her shoulder is heavier than she is, and THAT is what we see.
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    I have never experienced fat people talking about their weight amng "Normal" and it is kind of embarrasing that nobody talks about weight in my presence... If I made comments like your neighbour it wouldn´t take long before I got it back in my face so I would really avoid that...
    1820 days ago
    That is so sad.
    1821 days ago
    sorry for her all the best
    1822 days ago
    Sounds like not much you say or do will go over well when someone already feels that way about themselves.
    1822 days ago
    Good luck in your interactions with her. I feel sorry for her. She pushes people away.
    1822 days ago
    Wow, as Carol and others said, it's clear she does not like herself. I wish you the best handling the situation, because it sounds like SOME interaction is unavoidable.

    I also resonated with Zeedra's comment about the bus. When I was big, I could see the looks on people's faces when they saw me coming down the aisle. I started getting on the bus earlier in the route so I could already be seated, and I hoped the skinny person would sit down next to me, because the bus seats don't fit two fat people well. Now that I'm thinner, I confess I do look at the large people getting on and hope they sit somewhere else.
    1823 days ago
    Don't we judge overweight people...especially morbidly obese? Isn't that a well-documented fact? When I'm on a bus, don't I hope that the really fat lady who just got on doesn't sit next to me. I'm sorry that I feel that way but sometimes it helps me understand people and be more empathetic if I also understand my own prejudices.

    ding hearing things like "Well, it's easy for you." and "You're lucky." My new student came to me and said another Japanese student she came over with is hounding her all the time for help because: "It's easy for you and it's hard for me." My student says: "It is NOT easy for me. I have to WORK to be able to speak and read English. She is just lazy!" I don't know if the other student is lazy. If I picture myself in Japan with just English, I would be scared to death.

    Nell: I don't agree with other posters that you can try various ways to "fix" this. Although, I like what one person said about bringing the conversation to talk about books and travel. Sometimes it's just not "our fight" and it's best to stay out of it. Some people are easier to love at a distance.

    I'm blabbing too long...must get dressed and going!"
    1823 days ago
  • KANOE10
    That is hard when you hsve an antagonistic neighbor who says im polite things to you. Her comment was rude and untrue. You cannot eat as much as you want. You have reached where you are with hard work and moderation. I have the same thing at work. I am surrounded by overweight people. Last Xmas one worker told me in a mean voice that she did not make rum balls for me as I was always o a diet. I am not dieting I am maintaining.

    I would avoid her if possible.

    1823 days ago
  • GABY1948
    This woman obviously has far deeper problems than just her weight. I don't think even Weight Watchers or anything like that would help her attitude much. I feel for her...she is far more miserable inside than she is to the rest of you. I feel for her family the most!
    1823 days ago
    I don't think there's much you can do until she gets over her issue that "everybody is looking at her and judging her".
    1823 days ago
    Maybe you could show her a picture of your formerly overweight self to convince her.
    1823 days ago
    An interesting, but ultimately sad, blog. Your neighbor doesn't like herself much. I'm not sure what you can do.
    1823 days ago
    I understand you've tried to tell her your story. If she doesn't want to hear or isn't ready, there's nothing you can do. It's a shame she feels so alone.
    1823 days ago
    OMG! I feel so bad for her as it is evident she cannot stand who she is. It is so very sad. She has no self worth, no esteem, my heart goes out to her. Remind yourself how blessed you are to be you and not her.
    1823 days ago
    So sad...I'll pray for her...Lord, You know more than anyone this woman's needs. Only You can fulfill our deepest needs and concerns. Minister to this woman and draw her unto yourself. Help us with our negative attitudes. Your Word says that You are love and we love, because You first loved us. That includes self-love. Grant us patience as we deal with the shortcomings of others. In Jesus' name, Amen.
    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon
    1823 days ago
    I guess another approach would be to take an interest in her books and travels.
    1823 days ago
    All I can say is that I hope you don't have to interact with her much. I don't think anything will change her at this point. We have a woman in our neighborhood who is one of the 90-odd percent who go on walking and dieting campaigns to lose the weight, and then put it all back on, plus some. I hate to see it happening, but there's nothing we can do when it's in their own hands to change.
    1823 days ago
  • SUNSHINE99999
    neighbors can be a tough breed. Be a as nice as you can and hopefully she will change her ways. emoticon
    1823 days ago
    I feel sorry for your neighbor. She sounds like she hates herself, her weight and anyone who is thinner than her. She is screaming inside for help. Can you help her? Can you sit her down in a one-on-one and explain to her in a non-confrontational tone of voice how you once walked in her shoes? Can you point her to SparkPeople and show her how it can help her to get started in the right direction? Can you be there for her when she has questions? Can you help her start to exercise by taking short walks around the block? Can you reward and praise her when she does well? If you think you can do all of this, you just may have found a new best friend.
    1823 days ago
    good luck dealing with her
    1823 days ago
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