Yesterday in response to my post about boundary setting for family and friends food police, I suggested that one option for creating a boundary with a consequence attached was to say “It is not ok to talk about my weight or eating. If anyone says one more thing about my weight or eating I’m going to leave” and then, if they fail to respect your boundaries, it’s time to go. I got the following comment in response, I think it’s a question that lots of people have and I want to address it:
But, if you just get up and leave, they will likely say that you are doing so because you “can’t handle the truth”, are “lying to yourself”, etc. If they don’t say it, they may at least THINK it. How would you and/or your readers deal with a possibility such as this?
They may well think or say those things. If there’s anything that I’ve learned from my trolls, it’s that people will go to any length to justify their prejudice to themselves and anyone who will listen. I cannot control what people think of me, nor can I control their behavior. I don’t care what people think, I’m confident in my choices, so I only care how they treat me in my presence.
So when I say “It is not ok to talk about my weight or eating. If anyone says one more thing about my weight or eating I’m going to leave.” I’m not trying to control what people think – they can think whatever the hell they want, I am stating clearly what behavior I will and will not tolerate, and what I will do if they continue the behavior that I find offensive.
If they continue discussing my weight or eating and I leave, it’s not to control what they think – it’s to remove myself from a situation that I find intolerable.
If people want to spend time with me they have to treat me with respect, which includes not body shaming or food policing me. So while they are allowed to think whatever they want about me, my body, and my food choices, they are 100% responsible for keeping those thoughts to themselves if they want to spend time with me (and they are under no obligation to want to spend time with me, of course.)
Most of the people in my life with whom I’ve had to set this boundary have been able to pull it together and behave appropriately. There are a few who haven’t, and they don’t get to spend time with me anymore. I don’t know or care what they think about me, as long as I don’t have to put up with it. Of course your mileage may vary, but I’ve found that – when it comes to family and friends food police – if I stop focusing on what people think and start focusing on what I want, things start improving right away.
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2 thoughts on “What If People Think I’m Delusional Because I Won’t Diet”
Agreed, and besides, what’s to stop them from saying/thinking you’re delusional if you stay and listen to them? If someone’s ambushed you at a celebration to lecture you about your weight, they’re probably already making assumptions about you and calling you ungenerous names in their heads that might potentially at some point leak out their mouths, so it’s not like that’s something you can avoid by showing them the “right” amount of deference.
Seriously. Trying to control what other people think is all too human a want ND impossible. (unless you get ’em early and maintain it forever via fundamentalists’ religions and Madison Avenue). Why bother. Say wish you well and good bye! Way easier said than. I still try to find Ragen on reddit and can only find the troll droppings and they are embeddedly harsh. I mean impacted like constipation that puts you in the hospital. Haters do Gotta hate. They don’t want to know anything else!