We’re Not Gonna Take It

Well, at least I’m not going to take it, everyone else gets to choose whether they are or aren’t.  What is it I’m not going to take? The insistence that I have to put up with poor treatment.

When I wrote about ways to deal with the Friends and Family Food Police, I got an e-mail saying that I should just “keep my mouth shut and appreciate that they care enough about to say something”.

Um, no.  I’m not going to do that. I respect everyone’s right to handle these situations in their own way, but that’s not how I roll. To me this behavior is inappropriate and I’m not going to smile pretty and take it.  The people who are in my life must respect my choices (even if they don’t agree with them) and must treat me with the level of respect that I require. I do my best to give clear communication, set specific boundaries and consequences, and follow through.  I respect someone’s choice not to be in my life, and I will not hesitate to remove someone from my life if they aren’t able to get it together. What I won’t do is be surrounded by family and “friends” treating me in a way that I find inappropriate while I shrug and say thanks.

When I wrote denouncing bullying behavior disguised as being for our own good, I got an e-mail saying that I should “stop worrying about the words people are saying and appreciate their intentions instead.”

I get why this can make people uncomfortable.  It’s difficult to see someone get upset with  a person who seems (or says that they are) well intentioned.  And I think that’s exactly what’s so insidious about this type of bullying.  People get to mistreat us and then side step while waving their red cape of “good intentions” and the compassion police will step up to misplace the blame on us.  That doesn’t work for me.

When I did a video condemning the fact that Dr. Oz, who makes MILLIONS of dollars scamming people with weight loss promises, was shocked to find out that there is research that disagrees with him, I received e-mails saying that I “need to find more compassion for Dr. Oz and where he is at in his journey”.

I might be able to locate my compassion if Dr. Oz admitted that he was on a journey, and had bothered to do a basic literature review and wasn’t a big scammy scammer. But he chooses to call himself an expert and tell millions of people (as a medical doctor who they trust, and for profit) to do something when he hasn’t even bothered to look at the research and/or he knows that it’s not going to work.  I’m not scraping up a lot of compassion for Dr. Oz, though I do have tons of compassion for the people he is so confidently and profitably lying to.

In this culture fat people deal with a whole bunch of crap and everyone has their own way to deal with it and that is totally cool, but I will not give up the option of insisting that I be treated with respect, and pointing out fat shaming/hating/stigmatizing when I see it.

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26 thoughts on “We’re Not Gonna Take It

  1. AMEN! (in a non religious way)

    Noot sure if you have seen it or not but John Oliver did a video on Dr Oz and his scamming. Was funny and informative. It included his court thing where a guy on the judging panel (ok I’m not american so I have no idea what was actually happening) said “do you really believe this product is MAGICAL?” and watched dr oz stumble over himself. I found it amusing – totally not the point but I’m on pain killers because surgery and then I was in a bus crash. YAY DRUGS!

  2. This. I am not taking it either anymore. In most cases “family concern trolling” with “good intentions” is just badly disguised bigotry. And it does much more harm than good. Family body shaming and family fat shaming made me hate myself and my body from a very young age (kindergarten, actually), and I am still struggling with my body hate issues. Well intentioned??? F***k it! This behavior’s only intention is to please the bully and make the bully feel better, but certainly not me. A bully is not concerned about my well-being, but his/her own low self-esteem.

    1. I think sometimes the family shame-heaper(s) is/are honestly convinced that:

      *They know exactly how everyone should live;
      *Everyone else knows exactly how they should be living, they just forget all the time, or rebel, or something;
      *Nagging and punishing and blaming and shaming and making dire predictions is the way to get everyone to live how they should;
      *Therefore, crapping on your family members equals love.

      Doesn’t make them any easier to live with, of course. And they are so shocked and upset when you are finally able to move out and suddenly you never pick up the phone! Don’t you know they care about you so, so much?

  3. My reply to the ‘good intentions’ argument is the one drilled into me since childhood – The road to hell is paved with good intentions. If your intentions (oh mythical concern troller!) are what let you sleep at night, fire ahead. I don’t care about them.

    I’m so glad you write about things like this, Ragen, it helps firm my resolve when dealing with my family!

  4. Dr. Oz was recently brought before Congress to explain why he was promoting weight loss substances that don’t work. He apologized for using extreme language like “miracle” & “amazing.” But nothing else happened he just promised to temper his words, not stop peddling crap, just try not to over promise. It’s frustrating so no, no compassion for doc Oz.

  5. apparently this came up recently as wrongly attributed to Meryl Streep which is great because I got to read the correction:

    “I no longer have patience for certain things, not because I’ve become arrogant, but simply because I reached a point in my life where I do not want to waste more time with what displeases me or hurts me. I have no patience for cynicism, excessive criticism and demands of any nature. I lost the will to please those who do not like me, to love those who do not love me and to smile at those who do not want to smile at me.

    I no longer spend a single minute on those who lie or want to manipulate. I decided not to coexist anymore with pretense, hypocrisy, dishonesty and cheap praise. I do not tolerate selective erudition nor academic arrogance. I do not adjust either to popular gossiping. I hate conflict and comparisons. I believe in a world of opposites and that’s why I avoid people with rigid and inflexible personalities. In friendship I dislike the lack of loyalty and betrayal. I do not get along with those who do not know how to give a compliment or a word of encouragement. Exaggerations bore me and I have difficulty accepting those who do not like animals. And on top of everything I have no patience for anyone who does not deserve my patience.”

    – José Micard Teixeira

  6. Would the same people think tolerating the “well-intentioned concerns” was a great idea, if the concerns were turned on their lives?

    “Oh, you believe differently than I do? Well, for your own good, YOU MUST CHANGE! YOU’RE DOOMED IF YOU CONTINUE THE WAY YOU ARE!”



    “I can’t believe you ride a bicycle on THESE ROADS! IT’S NOT SAFE WITH THE WAY PEOPLE DRIVE! YOU MUST STOP!”

    The list could go on and on, with all sorts of scenarios where someone can badger another “for their own good.” In most cases, people find it much more tolerable when it’s someone else being bullied for something that doesn’t really step on their toes. To borrow a line from an old Bee Gees song, though, “When the someone else is me, it’s unkind, it’s unkind.”

    If people really love us and are concerned for us, then enjoy spending the time we have together, because life is not guaranteed. We could live the healthiest lifestyle imaginable, and still die tonight. We shouldn’t waste the time we have by spending it nagging.

  7. That’s one of my favorite songs of all time. “Oh, you’re so condescending /your gall is never-ending /we don’t want nothin’ – not a thing from you!” \m/

    And the thing is, when I refuse to put up with concern-trolling, I *am* paying attention to the intent of the words. I just have no illusions about what the intent of the words are, and I am unwilling to pretend they’re better than they are. The intent behind “Have you tried Weight Watchers? I could go to the meetings with you for support!” *is identical* to the intent behind “die, fat bitch.” They both meant to inform me (as if I didn’t already know) the speaker believes that if I can’t exist in a thin body, I shouldn’t exist at all. The former just uses all these nicey words and offers meant to allow the bully to hate and *feel moral for doing so,* while the latter is honest.

    Kain once said, “Hate me, but do it honestly.”

    And Rambo further added, “Just because someone smiles when they hand you a bag of shit doesn’t mean you have to take it.”

  8. So ridiculous… so many examples throughout history of people who did awful things with “good intent”. Even Charles Manson thought he was going to start a race war, on God’s orders at that, in order to make the world a better place.

    It reminds me of all the people who will tell you that you need to forgive and learn to have a relationship with someone who has abused you just because you’re related… as if it was the responsibility of the person being abused to make things better for the person doing the abusing. As far as I’m concerned, the most I “owe” a concern troll is the information that they’re being a jerk and need to re-think how they express their “concern”.

    I don’t have to take it. I don’t have to pretend to like it. And I sure as hell don’t need to ask for more of it just to make them feel like a good person.

    1. I’m a big advocate of the forgiveness part, but the relationship part is a different matter. I promote forgiveness from the aspect of letting go of the hurt so that we no longer allow the offense to continue hurting us. It’s not that the offender deserves forgiveness – it’s that we deserve to get the infection out of our system.

      All that said, regardless of the relationship, if the offender continues to offend, especially, or if seeing the offender always brings the hurt back to the surface, then do what is best for your own health. If that means cutting ties and not seeing them any longer, then that’s your decision to make.

      After all, if someone steals something from me, I can forgive them. That does not mean, however, that I have to let them close enough to steal anything else ever again. That’s true whether it’s our money that was stolen, or our personal dignity.

      Even then, I don’t have the illusion that it’s my place to nag or bully someone into such an action, just because I think it would be good for them.

      1. I am also a big advocate of the forgiveness part, but from a Christian perspective. I don’t dare hold someone else’s sins against him when God does not hold mine against me. My choice to forgive is a reaction to being forgiven.

        But I am not a fan of the old adage, “Forgive and forget.” Forgive, yes – always. But when you forget, you allow the same situation to happen again because you didn’t take away the lesson you learned.

        1. BINGO.

          Don’t forget, forgiveness was originally a financial term; it refers to canceling a debt. Forgiving a debt does not mean allowing that person to rack up more debts with you. It is completely okay to forgive somebody in your heart and also cut off all contact with them because they never stop crapping on you and they show no signs of ever wanting to change.

  9. Why would I want to continue a relationship that consists mostly of me gritting my teeth and saying ‘thank you sir, may I have another?’ over and over again? At some point, for my own self-preservation, I am going to tell you to either drop the damn paddle or find yourself someone else to hurt.

    And when the paddle they are hurting me with is made of smoke and mirrors, I’m damn well going to tell them that.

  10. I will never understand the idea that you should allow someone to be mean to you because you might hurt their feelings. That way madness lies.

    People who are actually concerned are willing to ask questions and learn more information.

  11. I think anyone who actually had good intentions, or was speaking from a place of love, caring, or concern would respond to being called out by apologizing and doing their best to correct their behavior in the future, not by tone-policing the person calling them out.

  12. Just survived a family wedding this weekend. Actually, I totally enjoyed officiating and love the couple to bits–but I had to deal with a few family members with whom I have issues. Definitely toxic personalities–especially my mother.

    I love my mother, dislike her immensely. She ensured that she got attention by misbehaving as she does at everyone’s wedding (why she continues to get invited is beyond me). She is the person I point to as my “original” body shamer. She actually had the gall to body shame my niece for her size. She’s 37 weeks pregnant, hellooo! The girl weighed 100 pounds when she got pregnant, my mother is actually likely close to twice her weight, I just don’t get it.

    She otherwise behaved badly, purposefully doing things my niece didn’t want her to do and then pitching fits when those things were “redone” to my niece’s politely requested specifications. She even ruined food others prepared and came within inches of destroying the cake prior to it being cut. That was after the knife she brought for cutting the cake was forgotten at home–not intentionally.

    I spoke maybe a dozen words to my mother, for I have chosen not to include her in my life anymore. It sometimes saddens me, but it’s situations like the wedding that serve as reminders as to why I just don’t want her in my life.

  13. It’s also frustrating when you’re basically insulted by someone, and told to just ignore them. I did when bf’s mom’s friend was rude about changes in weight, because I wasn’t sure how to react.
    Boyfriend told his mother, who apparently chewed this friend out (thank you future mother in law).

    Then last week we had a waiter who made comments on my eating habits. First he wanted to make sure I knew broccoli was instead of and not with fries (um, yes, I’d rather have broccoli). Then when I decided to try the leftover pretzel cheese dip commented that it’s tough, but better for me if I ate them without cheese sauce (way to assume), and when I needed a box, admonished me for not finishing my meal. I really wanted to short his tip, but, boyfriend tried to suggest that the waiter could have Asperger’s like me, and simply not realize he’s being rude or that it wasn’t funny. I was too tired to argue…but even if he does have Asperger’s, it’s not a license to be a prick, and someone should educate him on why it’s not okay. If he’s just being a jerk…I hope karma works its magic.
    Sometimes, even the most loving, supportive people, fail to see why we are peeved.
    Thinking that I still ought to contact the manager.

    1. You absolutely should contact the manager! There’s absolutely no reason a server needs to be commenting on food choices (although I know it happens all the time — I have a friend who’s had bariatric surgery who has to carry a card for the doctor explaining why need needs to eat less than average portions).

      I would have shorted the tip (although for me, furious-and-not-leaving-a-tip means only leaving 10% or 12%) and called the manager over to explain why.

      It is always possible your server wasn’t neuro-average, but that still doesn’t mean he shouldn’t be trained to do his job properly. Plus, if it was zeroed in on just you and just weight, I tend to think it was obnoxiousness and not Asperger’s.

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