The Heartbreak of HyperEgoRidiculousness

The jerk whispererI saw a beautiful graphic today on Facebook from Adam Bouska that said “If you’re going home to an unsupportive family this holiday season, remember that your worth is not defined by what they say or how they treat you.”  As far as I’m concerned nothing could be more true. Here are some things that help me when I’m in a hostile, or just less than friendly environment.

We are each the best witness to our own experience.  Sometimes people say things that let us know that they think they know better than us about our bodies (there’s a thin woman in you trying to get out, you just didn’t diet correctly,) or our sexuality (bisexuality doesn’t exist, being queer is a choice) our gender (trans* people have to act like blah blah blah or they’re not really trans blah blah blah) or whatever.  These people may not know it, but they are struggling with HyperEgoRidiculousness a condition I just made up to describe someone who has such an over-exaggerated sense of self importance that they actually think they are a better witness to our experiences than we are.

We each have the right to make decisions for ourselves – the way that we prioritize and pursue health is one of those decisions.  We also get to choose who gets to talk with us about our decisions.  People, in most cases, have a right to free speech, but not a right to an audience with us. It’s ok to take it as a teachable moment, it’s ok to just let someone babble while you think about something you actually care about, and it’s perfectly ok to have a policy of  – hey, you feel free to say whatever’s on your mind, I’ll be over there – come find me when you’re done.

I’m always a little bit amused when somebody feels like I should care whether they “approve of my lifestyle.”   If people don’t approve of Health at Every Size, then I invite them to do something else, if they don’t approve of being queer (not a lifestyle but that’s a whole other blog), then they are under no obligation to date someone of the same gender.

It’s really pretty simple. If people disagree with who we are or what we do, and based on that they choose personally not to do it, that’s fine.  If they feel the need to be vocally against who we are or what we do, and they do that at us, that is problematic behavior.  If they feel that rules or laws should reflect their beliefs such that our civil rights are compromised so that we are forced to do and be what they think we should do and be, that’s oppression.

Each of us gets to deal with this kind of bs in any way we choose, and all of those choices are valid.  If you’re looking for specific examples, I wrote about that in my column for Ms. Fit Magazine.  For now I’ll just repeat “If you’re going home to an unsupportive family this holiday season, remember that your worth is not defined by what they say or how they treat you.”  People’s poor treatment of you says nothing about you and plenty about them.  You may not always be treated with respect, but you deserve to be.

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8 thoughts on “The Heartbreak of HyperEgoRidiculousness

  1. This is exactly why one of my brothers never, ever gets to spend Christmas, Thanksgiving, or any other major holiday with me. He spends his time letting me know that my choices, my decisions, and my tastes are all ‘wrong’ because he didn’t approve them in advance.

    Here’s a clue-by-four, brother-not-so-dear: I get to make my own decisions on my own time based on the input I seek out and the priorities I set. You get to make your decisions based on what you find helpful or important. But you don’t get to make my decisions for me, and you REALLY don’t get to make me feel bad about my choices because I didn’t choose to consult you and follow your advice slavishly in the matter.

    Also, quit putting so much energy into figuring out WHY I like Animal House and Bad Santa even though you didn’t think I would. I do. That’s all there is to it. And yes, I’m allowed to like classically trained counter-tenors even if the rock falsettos of the Beach Boys and Frankie Avalon actually hurt my ears.

    Um… I may still be working through a little resentment, even after all this time.

    Happy holidays, everyone, no matter which one(s) you are celebrating! Find a good supportive family/tribe, whether it’s the one you were born into or one you have created for yourself.

    1. *HUGS*

      For awhile in my twenties I spent time trying to figure out how I could hire an actress to be the person my family seemed to want me to be.

      I don’t care how much they mean well, or want what they think is best for me, or how nice or concerned they try to be, it still boils down to not accepting me as who I am right at this moment, and that effing hurts.

      1. Heck, Linda, does that ring a bell for me. Back when my mother was alive, I used to joke to my husband about buying her a doll for Christmas. Because for her, it was all about how I looked, or how she thought my behaviour made her look, and with absolutely no recognition of how her efforts to make me look that way hurt me – physically when I was a young child, emotionally as I grew older. Inconvenient facts about who I was – from the trivial, like me not actually much liking pink, to the serious, such as me being pagan – were edited out of her mind as if they didn’t exist. So I get what you say about the actress, absolutely; it wasn’t ever *me* she wanted to see.

  2. Heh, I need to remember this year ’round. My parents (with whom I live–thanks, multiple disabling conditions and more turning up all the time!) have issues with me “suddenly turning lesbian.” They don’t get bisexuality, and my mom either denies or has forgotten threatening to kick me out and disown me when I was 17 if I ever had a relationship with a woman. Mom is VERY slowly coming ’round, and Dad oscillates between being okay and uncomfortable. My long-distance partner is 15 years younger than I am, which doesn’t help, and my asshat ex has refused to sign divorce papers for nearly FIVE YEARS because he doesn’t want to pay me the money he owes me, all of which makes it worse.

    Weirdly enough, the entire rest of my family is fine with it. My gf is getting here Tuesday, and they’re all looking forward to finally meeting her! Even the ones who were avowed homophobes. I think my announcement made them rethink their positions–never mind that I’ve always been pretty androgynous and tend to set off gaydars. Once they meet gf and see us together, I think they’ll agree that we’re made for each other. 🙂

    1. Lots of hugs. I’m sorry your parents have issues with your sexuality, especially when you live with them. Here’s hoping that they’ll come around the way other family members have.

  3. I have limited contact with my own brother these days because of the same reasons above. He isn’t mean to me per se, but there’s always just this whiff of disappointment and the “Well, you always WERE…” or “Yeah, you NEVER change…you always did…”

    Then he likes to trash me behind my back and complain about how the choices I’ve made are making his life difficult (when we barely have contact with each other, and for 12 years we lived in different countries.

    I decided that at 42, I’m allowed to say who gets my time and who doesn’t.

  4. This reminds me of the simple elegance of my favorite pro-choice bumper sticker: “Against abortion? Don’t have one. “

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