I used to blame ex-friends, but I realize now they were not to blame. Even those that were very mean to me or unfair. I realize the cruelty happened for many reasons, not just one reason. These cruelties included ending communication with me, badmouthing me to other people, turning their backs out of fear, assuming all kinds of things that weren’t true, calling the cops, wrong accusations, diagnosing, recommending “treatment” instead of offering friendship, dishonesty, bigotry, and various other things.
First, I’d like to address weight bias. When we think of weight bias, we assume the topic is discrimination against anyone who is heavy. Did you know that it can and does work the other way? Some of this hasn’t been around that long. Back in the 1950’s and 1960’s and even 70’s, no one thought about losing weight. Dieting for weight loss wasn’t done. People didn’t want to be super skinny. Skinny was seen as weak or sick. Suddenly, the tables turned. Society began to hate fat. Yes, it’s totally illogical, but this hatred of fat has be pervasive in the media and in our language. It’s seeped in everywhere. Suddenly, dieting was huge. Not only that, dieting communities sprouted up, all these supporting hatred of fat.
Now what? People hate fat, and they want it gone. What of those that aren’t bogged down with this hated vermin, fat? What of those who make it seem just so simple to be skinny and stay that way, while the rest struggle? Immediately, this means targeting and scapegoating of those who are thin. We don’t even know we do it.
Of those who are so thin that they might seem sick or simply too skinny, it’s very easy to turn that person into a scapegoat. “That person must be diseased. That’s why it’s so easy for him/her.”
“Diseased,” whatever that means to people, is now seen as a sin. So the very thin person might be labeled the following: Selfish. Vain. Stuck up. Obsessed. Trite. Body dysmorphic. Attention-seeking. Anything but seeing the person as human. Simple envy turns into blaming the envied person.
As analogy: Do you recall the book Lord of the Flies? This was a book about a community of children who destroy themselves. Do you remember Piggy? We never learn his real name. Piggy is envied not because of his weight, but because he’s really super smart. I think the other children envied his insight, and bullied him because they, too, wanted the intelligence he had.
I do the same thing. We all do. I am far more prone to jealousy than I’d like to be. I think most of that comes from being the oldest child. When I feel envy of a person more successful than I am, as a defense mechanism, I might tell myself, “That person had it lucky. I’m less lucky and am seen as inferior.” I get mad when really, it’s not this person’s fault. That person didn’t cause my bad luck. There are greater forces at work here.
Secondly, I’d like to address those that ceased communicating with me. There were reasons for this. Often, it was misunderstanding. Sometimes, the person ran away due to my bad behavior, but this wasn’t the usual cause. I do recall when I acted badly. I tried to ask forgiveness but the person had already fled. I also tried, unsuccessfully, to explain that a person tends to act badly while being abused. But it was too late and I wasn’t believed about the abuse. I tried to explain that I had been taken off the pill Imipramine too fast, and was in withdrawal, causing me to act badly. However, this apology, too, was rejected. There was nothing more I could do.
Some stopped communicating due to an incorrect assumption. There were so many of these I cannot even count them all. One was diagnosis. Some were convinced I was psychotic or personality-disordered. This I couldn’t stop. Trying to “prove” I wasn’t sick made me look worse.
I know why this happened. For one thing, a lot of it is envy. I’m okay and I’m off meds. I’m okay and I’ve rejected therapy. I’ve been fine for a while now. This is coveted, this independence from shrinks, and others want that, too. So, instead of realizing the bind they are in, they rationalize it by saying, “Yeah, she got away, but she must have SOME disorder.” Or, “She must be suffering. She must have needed all that treatment just like we do.” But maybe they don’t, either. They cannot challenge what they’ve been accepting as fact all these years. To do so would involve pain and immense grieving. Yes, that’s what I went through, too. It’s not easy looking back on all those lost years, knowing it didn’t have to be that way. I know it’s hard for many, often so unbearable that they’d rather believe lies.
I cannot blame them. I do blame the regime they are living under. They don’t recognize the brainwashing, nor know they are being shoved around, mere commodities. I can only hope they turn their lives around, painful as it can be. It’s also joyful.
Then, there were the behaviors that told me the person meant well, but instead, harmed. These include pushing some “treatment” on me, or calling the police thinking they were saving me. There’s no reason not to believe the police will save. After all, we grew up learning that that’s what police do. They rescue lost children and help elderly people cross the street. Truth is, the cops in USA don’t do that anymore. They profile poor people, people of color, minorities, immigrants, gays, and teens, among others. For years, I was treated badly by the Watertown Police and in local emergency rooms. But these well-meaning people who had ratted on me assumed that they were doing the right thing. As I said in another post, there’s a fine line between caring and abuse.
As for recommending treatment, or being pushy about that, I don’t mind, but I do mind if the person shoves it in my face and at the same time, withdraws their friendship. I know how it feels to be the butt of that.
While I may or may not have recommendations for a person based on my own experience, I try not to be pushy. I’ve learned my lesson on that one (the hard way). And I do not at the same time withdraw friendship or push a person away. Instead, I draw closer, trying to be more available to anyone who I feel I can help, to anyone who is suffering. I don’t think it’s right to turn away from a person because they are having a hard time.
I’d like to address badmouthing. Gossip. What is gossip? It means talking badly about someone, passing along information someone else said. We’ve all been subject to it. People will believe anything! “She had an affair with….” How many times has such false information been passed around and spread like a plague when in fact, no one bothers to find out for themselves?
Sometimes, I’m able to find out where the gossip started and try to challenge the source. Usually, the source is elusive. Otherwise, the gossip wouldn’t be continuing. I did find out one source, years ago, but that was long after the whole badmouthing was over and done with, and wasn’t even relevant anymore.
Other than the above things, if it’s a matter of simple miscommunication, I find that we both recognize the comedy of errors, and we end up getting back together. It’s cool when that happens. Usually, the relationship is stronger as a result.