I’m a short skinny person, and I hate when people call me things like “tiny, small, or short.” I thought I was genuinely okay with the names until family started to talk about my weight. How thin I was and why I was growing. I can tell in their faces they are displeased with my weight. Please help me overcome this emotional barrier
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If your family is “displeased” with your weight, they can go pound sand. Your weight is YOUR business, and no one else’s. This is coming from a fellow small woman here. I’m short and thin, and I have heard my fair share of disparaging comments about my size. I hate being called “so skinny” or being told, I “need to eat more.” Like WHY does it matter to anyone else?
I suspect that your family is super critical because they do not have your body type and are “teasing” you to let you know you don’t fit in. It’s family bullying. What worries me most is that this is how most young people develop eating disorders or unhealthy relationships with food and exercise. Do your parents make these comments or give you these looks? Do they defend you at all? They should be defending you and teaching you how to stand up for yourself, as well. As for your other relatives, you can tell them off. There are a few approaches you can take with this:
Approach #1: Feign ignorance. Make them explain their comments or jokes to you. Make them explain their disapproving stares. “Why do you say that?” “I don’t get it. Aren’t jokes supposed to be funny?” “Why are you looking at me like that? Aren’t you worried your face will freeze like that?”
Approach #2: Asserting yourself. “Wow, that was rude and unnecessary.” “Don’t talk to me like that.” “Don’t call me that; it’s rude and mean.” “If you won’t listen, then I’ll hang up/leave the room. I don’t want to speak to you until you apologize.” “You don’t get to tell me what to do. You don’t get to tell me how much to eat or how to exercise. I can take care of myself.” “When you make comments like that, I feel upset and like I’m doing something wrong.”
Approach #3: The Snark. This works with the rudest and least respectful family members. “I can’t believe you just said that. How embarrassing for you!” “Didn’t your parents ever teach you manners? Did you forget them at home? I strongly suggest you recover them if you want to continue speaking to me.” “Like you’re in any position to judge me for my size.” “Your insecurities are not my responsibility to soothe.” “Is your face frozen? Because you keep looking at me with that disapproving stare. You should consider minding your own business.” “Do you want me to develop an eating disorder? Because that’s how you encourage me to develop one.” “As a toddler, didn’t you learn ‘If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all?’ What happened to that?”
As for approaching your parents, I’ve got some ideas: “When you make comments like that, it makes me feel like I’m upsetting you or doing something wrong.” “Why didn’t you say something when Aunt Ethel called me names? That hurt.” “I need you to back me up because Uncle Bob won’t stop making me uncomfortable at family dinners.”
You absolutely should be able to rely on your parents to back you up and defend you from relatives’ nasty comments and bullying. If your family members (parents included) say anything that sounds like “You need to grow a thicker skin/stop letting them get to you. Stop being so sensitive/it’s your fault because xyz,” then that tells you that they are nothing more than bullies and are full of crap. It’s them refusing to take responsibility for their behavior; they would rather blame you for your feelings than apologize and change their behavior. They are jerks and would rather project their insecurities onto you rather than do the hard work of addressing their issues themselves. I’ve got some resources for you. If you’re worried about developing an eating disorder or anything similar, these should help:
Project HEAL -> https://www.theprojectheal.org
NEDA -> https://www.nationaleatingdisorders.org A
Mighty Girl -> https://www.amightygirl.com/parenting/body-image-self-esteem
Feel free to share these resources with your parents. They absolutely should be defending you from nasty comments and bullying from other relatives. They should also be aware that not defending you or contributing to the bullying could seriously harm you. They would be neglecting their responsibilities as your parents to let this go. You are not your weight or your height or your size. You are a whole person. Your body is perfectly valid the way it is, and it will be at any size. Your size does not determine your worth or your character. You deserve to be treated with respect, no matter what. You deserve to be comfortable in your skin.