By Matt Stone
I thought Bob Greene,?perhaps America’s leading ambassador?for the statistically-counterproductive pursuit of intentional weight loss (dieting), had really crossed the line by having people sign contracts to crash diet. But Greene has been thoroughly topped by the actions of one Korean mother who recently demanded her daughter to sign a contract stating that she (the daughter) MUST lose an irrational 15 pounds in 30 days to avoid paying a $400 penalty.
Sadly, the girl, at an athletic and voluptuous weight of 145 pounds (5’2″)?does not need to lose any weight for health reasons or to enhance her attractiveness, and in fact has seen improvements in her body’s shape, composition, and overall femininity by QUITTING DIETING (and gaining about 10 pounds of healthy tissue doing so). If you are a reader of this site you may have seen her pics in the discussion on body composition in my book Diet Recovery 2.
Unfortunately, the girl may be forced to pay the $400 or move out (neither of which she can afford as a young college’student). I thought this would be a good opportunity to go beyond friendly online discussion and actually try to make a difference in a person’s life in the real world.
I contacted her and asked that, if’the regular readers of this site, passersby that read this article, and myself all?chip in and help, that she:
- Not cave to her mother’s demands and do any dieting
- Not intentionally lose any weight for her July 17 weigh-in
- Take some kind of stand against her mother in defiance of this atrocious abuse (I’m willing to stretch my imagination and think that she might actually have good intentions, but is tragically misinformed)
She agreed enthusiastically, and?hopes to?document this stand in some way (while doing her best to protect her and her mother’s identity).
Here’s how you can help…
The most important thing is that her mother is somehow moved to stop this long-held?pattern of verbal abuse?and shaming employed to motivate her daughter to fit some kind of skewed ideal. Please send a sincere, intelligently-written email explaining why you think she should not diet, doesn’t need to?lose weight, is perfectly beautiful how she is, what dieting did to you personally?in terms of how you look and feel, and whatever you feel inspired to share to email@example.com? She will print off the suitable?ones and deliver them to her mother to help make her case. The bigger and more passionate that stack the more convincing it will be.
Secondly, I thought it might be prudent in this situation to set up this page for donations. Yes, she needs the money, and if she gets some really generous donations she very well might be able to move out and into her own apartment free from mom’s wrath, but I like it as a gesture in general – showing psycho mom that there are perfect strangers out there – all across the country and the world,?willing to pay her more to NOT diet than mom is forcing her to fork over. If you?would like to donate, you can by pressing the?crazed Asian lady below. Donation is set to $10, but you can edit the price to whatever you like and press the “update cart” button.
***Update*** Donations are now closed. $305 was raised and I chipped in to send it to $401. See the check below.
Donated to the worthy cause.
Mom Forces Daughter to Play Better Piano or Burn Stuffed Animals
When Lulu turns in a poor practice session on the piano, Chua hauls her doll’s house to the car and tells her she’ll donate it to the Salvation Army piece by piece if she doesn’t have The Little White Donkey mastered by the next day. When Sophia does the same, she screams: “If the next time’s not perfect, I’m going to take all your stuffed animals and burn them.”
I’m good for at least $20.
Donation made. I hope she finds peace.
after the shit that went down in the TX Senate the other night, i’m feeling activist-y. this is a cool thing.
Is that photo the daughter? She looks absolutely lovely.
Yes that’s her. Downright obese, disgusting, and humiliating to the family huh? Insanity.
Insanity indeed. Even if she were 5000 pounds, I still wouldn’t understand her mother. Size is a non-issue. Being happy and healthy should be the focus.
Agree. She has a beautiful figure. Her mother is sadly misguided and is hurting her daughter. I will donate a few dollars asap.
I’m waiting, with bated breath, to see what Thomas Seay is going to write :)
LOL I was thinking the Same thing as I read this JonO
I am going to donate $50 and encourage others to give all they can. I may even donate more than this. Honestly, though I think writing this woman may be counter-productive. I am sorry if this is culturally insensitive, but if she’s the typical “Asian Mom”, she is hysterical and won’t listen to anybody. She only knows draconian measures to get her child to do what she (the Asian mom) wants. Us Westerners are “too soft.”In writing, you’re probably only going to entrench her position.
I fully support donating to this young woman. We need to give her enough money so that she can move out of her house and get on with her life…instead of putting up with her repressive Mom, who won’t change because her position is culturally re-enforced.
I really think people should DONATE and not WRITE. If the girl can somehow get enough money to move out amicably and quietly, that’s the best. You start writing her mother and you risk having the force of her whole family come down on the girl’s head for being “disrespectful”. That force could be enough to make her cave. I really want you to reconsider this strategy. I might be wrong, but I don’t think so. Believe me. I have a bit of experience in dealing with Asian Moms.
That email account was set up today. It will be up to her if she wants to actually pass that along to her mother or not. Good thoughts Thomas. You may very well be right.
I agree with you 100%. I lived through it. They won’t change their minds, it will just make them angrier and more determined.
Yeah gotta agree here, the e-mails won’t change anything. People don’t change through force or coercion, especially not when the source is their child. The sentiment is good though, and I think giving her enough money to move out will help more than anything. She can’t change her mom’s mind and she can’t change her mom. All she can do is move out and hope one day they will reach an understanding. Showing her mom a stack of letters from a bunch of random internet strangers who saw her daughter with no clothes on will only further confirm her mother’s belief that her daughter needs her help.
This is how a woman should look like. Curvy.
No, Harmen, this is how this woman looks and she looks good. Some women are much skinnier and less curvy but still look good – like a woman. Some women are much curvier and still look good – and like a woman. Not all women are naturally curvy and that doesn’t make them any less a woman.
Ditto @ Jade.
Done. I really hope we can help. Koreans are great except for their obsessive fixation on beauty. It’s just not right that plastic surgery has become the norm. Anyway…
Donation done! This is an atrocity, she should be ashamed of herself forcing this on her daughter.
Nah, you’ve all got it wrong. She was originally gonna make money THIS way…
From Stone’s updated Diet Recovery book…which included the same pix…
“She is a Pisces. For a good time, call her: (985) 655-2500”
But go on and donate. She can make money that way, too. SUCKAHS.
Bo John, look up the number (985) 655-2500. The first hit is rickrolled.com, a prank site. People send the number to friends and it plays Rick Astley’s “Never Gonna Give You Up” (I haven’t called it, but that is what they say).
So, since he fell for it, was it a successful rickroll, even though he didn’t hear the song?
i think you got rickrolled, mercury
I have to agree with Thomas. My daughter is studying Korean with a Korean family and this is probably going to be seen as very disrespectful and that crosses a deep line that we just don’t have here in the U.S. The goal isn’t to kill any relationship with her mom but to allow her to pursue health and for her mom to respect her. What would possess her mom to even be this drastic in the first place? Her daughter isn’t overweight! Personally I would be overloading my own mom with as much info, studies, and nutrition facts as possible so that there’d be no basis for her complaints (and she’d think I was the smartest daughter ever!). I also just remembered that I have a “beauty” book from an Asian author that definitely stresses looks over health– its sort of crazy in its suggestions and I got it on clearance from an alternative health bookstore. So this doesn’t really surprise me. Oh, and I just donated! ;)
Nah, you’ve all got it wrong. She was originally gonna make money THIS way?
From Stone’s updated Diet Recovery book?which included the same pix?
?She is a Pisces. For a good time, call her: (985) 655-2500?
But go on and donate. She can make money that way, too. SUCKAHS.
Holy cow! Big Al and Bo John think alike
Donated. Stay strong!
The koreans really need to learn the proper way to buy a coke when they go to america, otherwise it can get embarrassing http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P1GiAWLDIBE
She might want to stick to Pepsi products, just to be on the safe side. That was really funny.
ROFL. When I came to the US I went to the sewing store and asked for rubber. There was a long pause until the old male owner figured out I meant elastic.
The Tiger Mom thing is SO out of control. I have heard Sam’s friends that are thin little girls say they need to ‘watch their calories because their mom told them they were getting fat. Um, hello, it’s call puberty. I of course am always offering my kid ice cream and cookies. Cuz she’s perfect and if she gets insane now it will only backfire in high school and college.
Done! As much as I’m for being a healthy weight, I think fanaticism about dieting has simply replaced religious fanaticism of days past. In both cases there’ s an elusive ideal (adhere to certain behaviors, avoid others) and in both cases the majority of people are agreeing with the dogma without being able to adhere to it.
My best to this beautiful young lady, I hope she finds a nice place to stay and pursue health and happiness in peace!
Happy to be a donater.
Thinking about the donation.
I’ve known a few Filipino women who are over here and have difficulty gaining weight, but at least one wished to have a soft tummy like that young girl. Another was that weight and an inch or two shorter and looked adorable.
The mother is obviously not eating enough or she wouldn’t be a tyrannical witch.
Why doesn’t she just cut the weight MMA style? By just sitting in an Epsom salts bath for the day of the “weigh in” you can certainly lose a few pounds, and its just water weight so you just take in fluids after. It’s probably not the healthiest thing in the long run, but I can only imagine that this would be better than crash dieting of any kind. That, or she could maybe recalibrate the scale so it looks like she lost weight.
She certainly looks healthy and fine the way she is. I definitely know what it is like to deal with strict Asian parents and hope that it works out for her.
When she originally mentioned needing help in a comment thread a few days ago I was going to bring this up, but it was just too effed up to even have her thinking in the that dimension.
The only thing I know about Asian parents comes from this movie, lol. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yviIgIDxlwc
’93 born, so I’ve never seen it xD I’ll have to check it out.
Luckily I am Indian, and most Indian parents try to force feed their kids as opposed to getting them to slim down and would be worried if a child stopped eating (at least mine did for me, not my sister though who is overweight). I wonder why the culture is so different in Chinese, korean, etc. homes.
Rohan I just had to chime in because I just stayed with an Indian family for a month, and the grandmother literally force fed my boyfriend and I. I’m pregnant and had horrible morning sickness and couldn’t handle the Indian food, but she would get so upset and thought I was starving my baby. My boyfriend had to finish my food so her feelings wouldn’t be hurt. We never went hungry that month! Haha
Haha that’s pretty funny – Older folks generally get very offended if you don’t eat or are on any type of diet.
When I visit my grandparents I just ask them to order me pizza or cook me food x, not because I’m a 20 year old kid who needs to eat but because they would be really, really upset if I just said “i’m ok with eating anything.”
They were really upset with themselves when I was on paleo, as a lot of indian food involves carbs lol.
Hahaha these are awesome! The only one of my friends who was worried when I lost 30 pounds on a “health” diet, was from India. xD
He was like, “oh you lost weight! :( This is not good. You’re so thin. You need to eat more!”
Is this money for her to pay her mom or to move out? It sounds like it is to pay the mom. Why is she or any of us giving in to the mother? What is the consequence if she doesn’t loose the weight AND she doesn’t pay? An angry mother? Sounds like she is already a pill to deal with.
I am shocked. So shocked! Shocked at the fact that people are just so willing to hand over their money like this. Its crazy! You read a post that is no more than a few paragraphs long, by a blogger whom many of you have never met, about a girl in a picture who’s face you cant even see. This girl could be anyone!! You’s are deluded and you have more money than sense.
Martin, a few grammatical errors in there, but the biggest problem with your reply is that you had a perfect setup for a clever pun but blew it. More money than sense? Gotta go with “more dollars than sense” buddy. I give it a C-. Needs work.
All in all I was very amused that you think that people writing their genuine thoughts, feelings, and life situations online is less real than meeting someone. Because, you know, meeting someone in real life, putting on a big smile and talking about the weather and telling some jokes to lighten things up is so much more genuine.
It’s not the fact that this girl shared her story online. I could have met her face to face and heard her story in person. I still wouldn’t hand my money over. Why? Because I have no idea who she is. I have no idea if she is telling the truth. I have no idea if she is being genuine. This could be a scam for all I know. I am not going to hand over money because YOU think she is deserving of it. And that’s what I’m trying to point out. The sheer sheepleness of your readers is shocking. I couldn’t believe it when i was scrolling down the comments “$10 donated” “I’m donating $20” “….$50!!.”
To be honest, the girl sounds like she is better off without her mother anyway. Let her mother kick her out.
You are not one to be lecturing on grammatical errors. I’m not going to take the time to point out the ones in your books (and there are a few in there, let me tell you!.) But I recommend re-reading your reply to me. And we shall just call it even
Also, you do realise that you have an international audience? I don’t use dollars in this part of the world. The saying here goes “more money than sense.” But that’s okay, you weren’t to know :)
Just another example of American arrogance at it’s finest.
You may have never met the girl but Matt was kind enough to provide her contact information: her number is (985) 655-2500
Thanks to you and all of your multiple personalities for giving me her phone number. I would TOTALLY love to call this girl and ask her out on a date.
I don’t get it. I blame it on the concussions.
Uh, there is an exchange rate. If you donate, the bank will find a way to charge your account in the local currency (as long as its traded on the world market). So, given that, how is asking for $10 arrogant? If Matt had asked for the donation to be done in Euros, the same would be true.
You are right. It might be a scam. I am willing to take the risk. Nobody is forcing you to do donate, so why get your panties in a bunch?
Thomas The Sheep
you assume that we are all just “readers” of the blog. the thing that’s distinct about Matt Stone from other nutrition bloggers, is that he answers every goddamn email and keeps in personal touch with a hella ton of people.
oops that posted while i was still typing. just that i emailed a whole bunch of nutrition bloggers (when i was trying to figure out how to put on weight in a healthy way) and this was the only one where i got personalized emails in return.
“American Arrogance” sheesh! I’ve lived in Europe and I’m so sick of hearing it. There’s a certain brand of European arrogance that is WAAAY worse than the American kind, in my opinion. For example – I was in a pub in a certain country where I was living and a friend introduced me to a girl and told her I was from the States. She immediately launched into an angry lecture about how I ought to recycle more, without knowing anything about me at all. This sort of thing happened all the time. I often felt that the only reason I wasn’t totally looked down upon was because I’m an artist and a musician and a first generation American and from New York. If I had been a Southerner from the Bible Belt I probably would have been subjected to more condescending lectures. That said, I understand that Martin may not be from Europe, I’m just speaking from my own experience.
Okay, I’m done with my rant. I love Europe. I loved living there. My husband is Irish and my parents are immigrants from Eastern Europe. Matt, I’m sorry that Martin has no sense of humor.
There seems to be a lack of reluctance to hand money over. And there is a big lack of validation over the whole topic. This is not a criticism of Matt and I apologize for any attacks as I’m a big fan of Matt’s work, theories, methods and everything in between. I’m not suggesting Matt is “out to get you.” This could be my very own Mother putting out a plea and asking for donations. My outlook would still be the same, I would still be surprised at people who didn’t know her to hand her money. (And I know shes definetly not out to scam anyone!)
I know $10 may be short change in some peoples pockets, but when you have people donating $50, and urging others to do the same. To some of us, that’s quite a bit of money to just hand over. You got to make sure where your money is going.
This is the internet folks. Use some common sense.
You need to let go of your fears. If you can afford to donate something, and the case resonates with you than so be it. Sometimes you need to trust your intuition. The world isn’t black and white. Giving money to “people you don’t even know” on the lawless seas of the internets doesn’t have to be an act lacking common sense.
I’m pretty slack about my facebook messages. But even those I still almost always eventually get to!
Just for the record, this Martin — the one who made the comment about getting his urine yellow a couple days ago — is not the same Martin who just posted all this stuff.
Do you mind if we call you “Clear Pee Martin”?
Her mom won’t back off unless the majority opinion on weight is changed or if there was some famous professor who says that being heavier is healthier. Korean moms and Koreans in general are conformists through and through. She is someone who comes from one of the most homogeneous countries in the world. Individualism is not really acceptable there, like it originally was here. Anyway, in a way, I’m like a 31 year old version of her in that I went through a similar experience with my parents without the contract signing. I’m also a Korean American who was verbally and emotionally abused by my parents and brothers until I finally broke down and became anorexic in college. Basically, I scared them into silence after that because I became skinny in an ugly way, physically and mentally breaking down from lack of food and overexercise. The best thing for her is to just move out. She’s way too old to be at home anyway, if she’s college age. If she wants independence, it’s time to wean off the parents’ care and shelter. Either get a job or get married. Your mom will not change her mind, but she may soften her stance a little. I’ve had two kids, and then I found Matt Stone’s blog. Not gonna say that it was the best experience I’ve ever had, since I gained about 65-70lbs without the super high body temps and sleepful nights like some of the other people around have had here, but definitely he’s changed my way of thinking about health. Thanks also for introducing me to Bella Dodds!
Thank you for sharing! Your words could never be more true. Your story is eerily similar.
Korea is THE most conformist culture ever.
To all, I am not hurt by anyone saying something “culturally insensitive.” Asian collectivist cultures are insanely materialistic and crazy.
Oh I do have a job! I also tutor. Both jobs make enough money to pay for my tuition, but I cannot pay for rent, car insurance, and food. At the end of each college year after paying tuition and gas I have $800 extra which goes to misc spendings like car repair : / and goes to the next year’s tuition. Tuition is $11,000 per year. My dad pays me in cash for all the grocery receipts I give him. I’ve bought 1 pair of jeans and 1 dress in the past two years. This is why I am at the mercy of my parents (just mom, my dad is the coolest guy in the world but like everyone in our family we do what the mom says). I finished my 2nd year of college, is that too old?
I just wondered if you have a friend who could share rent with you, and maybe groceries.
Thanks everyone for your support!
The donations and the emails are more than gracious. After reading the emails and comments it has made me realize what my mom is doing is out of line and that I should further myself from such an unhealthy relationship. She has been doing this for years to my sisters and I. Somehow I was the lucky one and my other sisters were ravaged by my mom’s dieting insanity.** There really is no reparation possible in the relationship as for the past two years I have been trying to convince my mom about being healthy at any size if you exercise and eat nutritious foods, but she rebuts every argument with me being “too lazy and far-flung from reality”. In conclusion, my mom is insane. I am ready to move the hell out.
Yes this seems like I could be anyone. But I have actually been emailing Matt for the past year and had a phone conversation with Matt Stone expressing how my mom thought I was fat well before I submitted my original picture (phone session Nov 20 2012). Now I never would have asked for money because it does seem unbelievable that anyone would subject a person to such a task of losing weight. I simply was asking what advice people had for losing 15 pounds in a month and why I was doing it. http://180degreehealth.com/2013/06/extreme-makeover-weight-loss-edition-meredith#comments
Butt after those comments Matt emailed me about a bun-raiser.
**(Both sisters are the same height. Younger sister was forced to diet after a sports injury caused her to be 125 up from 100 lb. Her shin splints only worsened and was in a wheelchair for 5 months on and off [I know that sounds so crazy, but it’s on the record with emails to Matt about my sister’s condition 8 months prior to this post]. We have all been told we were fat every step of the way. My older sister was 95 lb for 2 years and would only eat one bowl of cereal a day and then went to 190 lb was depressed and dropped out of high school.) Both sisters to this day binge eat.
Sister, do what you must so that your Mom doesn’t do permanent damage to you. A few years back I took a class and there was a young Chinese lady in it. I don’t know how it came up, but at one point she said matter-of-factly, “I’ll never get married. I am too ugly. My parents and family told me so.” I was shocked. I was shocked that parents would EVER tell their daughter this, and I was further shocked because this was an attractive woman. I tried to convince her to the contrary of what her family had told her, but she thought I was only being polite. I WAS NOT BEING POLITE. She was completely convinced that she was so ugly that nobody would ever be interested in her. She had bought into it. Don’t you buy into it.
One problem is that this blend of Confucianism/Consumerism/Free-Market capitalism gets rewarded by our society’s standards. Asian kids from these families get into “good” schools and get “good” jobs. As a result, Asian parents of this ilk think they are doing a good job. They don’t see the fallout. I read that 15-24 y.o Asian-American women are the demographic with the highest amount of depression…maybe even the highest amount of suicide. http://kalw.org/post/asian-american-women-depression-and-suicide-go-largely-unseen-0
To quote the guy from Nazareth, “What good is it to have the whole world but lose your soul?”
You don’t need to have an Asian family to be told this. I grew up thinking I was ugly, too, along with some other choice things I was told. Caucasian family of European decent.
Real Amy, of course, it can happen in Caucasian families. However, I must say that it doesn’t happen in Caucasian families on the scale and breadth as in Asian families. Caucasian families tend to have other problems. One of them being the exact opposite of the Tiger Mom syndrome. A lot of Caucasian families just put their kids in front of a television all day long. I think too little structure is just as bad as too much structure.
Anyway, Real Amy anybody who tells you that you are ugly seriously needs to get glasses. I’ve seen your picture and you are too fine.
I don’t think i included my face in that pic I posted, but thank you! Ironically, I learned most of the things I was told growing up were actually the opposite of how I really was.
I saw enough to get the general picture :)
Sweetheart, I am the mother to an 18YO daughter and to read your story is heartbreaking for me. I realize that your mother can only be/act/behave the way her mother did, and her mother before that, etc., but I simply cannot imagine ever being so negative to my child. Every day I tell her she is amazing, beautiful, smart and that she has a smoking hot figure (she’s 5’7′ and is rocking at 160! She has amazing curves!!)
You can’t change your mom. She is what she is, and can only offer what she has. But what you can change is your surroundings. You can choose not to be a victim of this anymore. Please don’t spend the rest of your life believing what your mother has told you. You have an AMAZING body, you seem well-spoken and intelligent. You have EVERYTHING going for you. Now its up to you to either take the ball and run with it, or become like your sisters and just wallow in it. You only get one chance at this life; is living with your mother really how you want to spend the precious little time you have on this earth?
Please go live your life and enjoy the beautiful body you were blessed with. And please, please, please be the one, when you have children of your own someday, to break this awful, awful cycle. Children -no matter what their age- should be cherished.
I think it is awesome that so many people want to help you with donations, now take that money and go kick some ass!!
Just wanted to say thank you for instilling body positivity in your daughter! I’m 24 and grew up in a white upper class area, where a lot of mothers pressured their high school age daughters to diet and exercise. My mom NEVER did, and both my parents always told us how beautiful we were, and they still do now even though I’m recovering from an ED and know I look terrible. I’ve always had a big appetite and they loved that I enjoyed their cooking and food in general. Makes me sad to think I grew up in such a positive environment but still developed an ED. It kind of scares me to ever have a daughter, there is so much flipping pressure!
Stephanie- Thank you for your kind words! You know, there have been plenty of times people have made comments about my daughter not being active enough or that she “carries a few extra pounds than most” but I have always just written it off. She has rarely been sick in her life, is almost always happy and is smart as a whip. She was recently accepted into 5 colleges.
Sure she had some moments in her recent history where she envied the skinny girls at school, but I always reminded her that skinny doesn’t mean health. I mean, really. My daughter heard one girl who bragged about being only 90 pounds and that she was so thin she didn’t even have her period any more. My daughter said all the other girls oohed and aahed because they didn’t want to have their periods either. I reminded my daughter that that was dangerous. We are meant to have our periods. Period. I also reminded her that someday when she is ready to be a mom that her body will be ready too because she has a sturdy, healthy body. I know she gets it, but she does have moments where she waivers.
Don’t worry about being a mom someday. You’ll be fine!! Yes, you will meet a lot of asshole mothers along the way with lots of opinions, but like everything else in life, you pick and choose who you want to be around. I’ve weeded out a lot of those type of mothers over the years that criticized every little thing I did or didn’t do. Funny thing is, when I hear stuff about them now through the grapevine, their kids are in jail, dropped out of school or have become parents at 17.
Assholes are everywhere. They can be hard to hide from, but someday when you become a mama, just love that child with all your heart and everything else will fall into place!! :)
Your daughter sounds like a wonderful person, in a big part thanks to you I’m sure! I’m due with my first in November, so that’s why I’m worrying about having a girl. We don’t know the sex but if it’s a girl I don’t want her to ever think she’s ugly or not good enough.
I am gonna lend my voice to the same topic that Thomas just raised. -Don’t let your mother destroy your sense of selfworth-.
I also come from a very conformist society and a conformist family from within it. As I grew up I could only hear how I wasn’t good enough, even though I looked quite slim, got good grades, graduated ahead of my peers, with honors. None of it mattered. The ‘you aren’t good enough’ showed through my every day facade, I was a crushed person. No guys took any interest in me until my husband.
It wasn’t until I moved to the United States and I was being approached by complete strangers about how I should be a model, that I was stunning and expressing their genuine interest in my character and intellect.
Don’t drink the kool aid.
Just want to say that you have a lovely figure and I’d trade for it any day! I hope you are able to move out and have your own space, surround yourself with people who accept you just as you are. I also hope that your mother can somehow find peace within herself so that she stops treating others so poorly.
I will be able to make a small donation after payday. In the meantime, what you wrote about your sisters convinced at least this internet stranger that this is _abuse_, not just a neurotic mom with terrible priorities. Congratulations for resisting so far!!! Your mom is obviously capable of actually damaging her own children in real, physical ways. And your dad might be nice, but he’s not proving capable in one of his main parental duties: Protecting his children.
A lot of us have to leave abusive or badly troubled families at a young age; I had to go at 18. (Not weight-related, my dad’s a standard-issue wife-beater.) Yeah, it’s a lot easier to have a family that’s normal and that can financially help you out, and I was envious of that sometimes. But we don’t get to pick. I’m 37 and I still envy it, frankly, but I’m better off with my independence, no question. No amount of “getting along” or “being good” will give you the mother you deserve, a mother who loves and protects her children and supports their physical and emotional health. One day, you may need to grieve that you didn’t get that mother.
For now, remember that as in Vegas, you can’t beat the house. She’s the house. Even if you think you’re great at tuning her out, you’ll be playing her game, and, again, the house always wins. Even if you think you can save money and avoid college debt by living at home, you are paying, and paying worse. This is draining your energy and jeopardizing your health. If you don’t have your health, being in a better financial position is meaningless.
Go to a school counselor and *do not minimize* when you describe your situation. The article Thomas linked might be good backup; he’s right, BTW, these parents get away with it because their kids do well in school instead of rebelling and becoming delinquents. You will be tempted to make light of it and act like you have it all under control. If you do this, some counselors are lazy and will believe you and not look deeper. If you get one who is lazy or who you don’t like for any reason, ask for another, just say it doesn’t seem like a good match. If you go in there telling it like it is & saying that living at home is no longer an option, they will help you find other options. Many students are in similar situations w/r/t dangerous or unsupportive parents. Even if the details are different, they’ve seen it before, I promise.
(And to echo others, you look REALLY GOOD, not “just” healthy, but conventionally beautiful and sexy as well. Don’t mess with that, if you’ve been thru re-feeding and come out stronger, you’ve earned it, don’t toss it away.)
In addition to these serious comments, here’s a wild card one: Maybe you should write to Margaret Cho … I’m sure she can relate!
This is HORRIBLE. I donated a bit.
SIGH. Parents. (I deal with a lot of well-intentioned but abusive parents… I’m a music teacher.)
I’m glad that you understand that many of the great atrocities and abuses of this world are good-intentioned. Few get that. But it’s so true.
Remember the saying, “The road to hell is paved with good intentions.”
Off topic, but since this is the latest most active post, Ill ask here.
Matt, I think I read somewhere on your site in a post deep amongst the comments somewhere about a Ray Peat quote from 1993 I believe? To do with how people would be alot healthier if they didn’t cut out food groups. It may not have been on this site, I’m not 100% sure where I read it. Do you know which one I am talking about?
Yeah you read that here. Or on Facebook or in one of my books.
?If we added up all of the special ?avoidance? diets, no one could eat anything. Many people are ruining their health by avoiding too many foods.
Page 81 of Nutrition for Women.
Of course Ray Peat doesn’t advise we avoid food. Well, only vegetables (well, you can eat some as long as you “cook them to death”.) You can eat ALL the fruit you like, as long as they belong to the group of six fruits that you can’t get outside of Mexico or, ta-dah, cook them (I have grown fond of char-broiled grapes). Hey, you can eat rice, sometimes. You can drink Orange Juice. You can eat meat, as long as you balance it out with gelatin. You can eat ice-cream. You can eat aspirin, T3 and chase that shit with coffee. Hell, as a Peat guru told me once, you can eat all kinds of stuff.
LMAO Thomas! With that paragraph, I think you summed up Peatarianism better than all of Danny Roddy’s blogs put together. Btw, Char-broiled grapes with a sprinkling of progesterone-E is DIVINE :)
Jon, I think that most people who first encounter Peat guidelines are just so damn happy to be able eat ice-cream and drink coke that they think it’s not restrictive. Truth is that it’s restrictive as hell. Am I wrong?
Thomas, you’re not wrong at all. That is probably why I love your comment so much. Not only is Peat restrictive, it is contradictory unto itself. For example, Fruit, especially the Tropical fruits, is an optimal food BUT do not eat Mangoes and Bananas..ummm..say what!!?? However, Peat has allowed me to escape from the anti-orange juice,anti-sugar and anti-milk propaganda. I do disagree with Peat on Starches.
matt, this post gave me bully-imia
(Sorry in advance for the long post, but this is so near to my heart…)
Unless you were raised by wolves, we all have some human who raises us – and they did as well. When I was a child-abuse counselor, I always told the child (who unfortunately, was living with a parent while social workers decided what to do with the family) to ask their abusing parent, what their childhood was like. It turns out that over 90% of abusers were abused themselves.
No, it’s not right, but it just IS.
This is a larger story about all cultures: not just parents, but media that makes anorexic looking girls fashionable. It’s the story of how desperately girls want to be accepted, that they will starve themselves to look like the models and actors they admire. This is the story of girls who have little understanding that they are so much more than what they look like: the talents, gifts, hopes for their lives. It’s heartbreaking…. and I was one of those girls myself.
My mother was overweight, but never on a diet – and I didn’t want to be fat like her (I’m so ashamed that I even said this: she was one of the sweetest, most intelligent, caring women on the earth!). So I started dieting when I was THIN!! I dieted chronically, always wanting to be thinner; and of course, when my body stopped losing weight, and I gave up in frustration (still not eating a normal amount) I’d gain it back. PLUS the additional punishment pounds for dieting in the first place. But I always went back, to try the next “miracle diet”. I dieted myself into considerable overweight. Self-hatred, blaming my body, fear…. all of those stressful feelings made me into what I feared the most: fat.
Thankfully, I found Matt Stone, while I was on yet another diet: the Paleo Plan, that didn’t work. I cried in relief for finally learning that dieting was making me fat. I read Matt’s books, talked with him, re-fed myself, and got myself back on the path to health and healthy weight.
First of all, it is so important to work on your self-esteem to know you are SO MUCH MORE than just your appearance, or a number on a scale (throw it away!). Get rid of friends who want to look like Barbie Dolls. Focus on your inner gifts, your purpose in life, and being YOU. Stop stressing about your appearance! Stress starts you on the path to overweight!
EVERYONE who is lucky gets older, and looks do not remain youthful. But you are STILL beautiful because of your heart, mind, soul; and your body evolves and is the reflection of all of who you are.
With regard to this particular mother, and other “abusive” mothers. This is truly sad. Some of these mothers truly believe that they are helping their children. Others are jealous; or have other reasons for their behavior. That was probably how they were treated. None of it is right, and it becomes a challenge to live your life despite of the abuse.
It’s been said that the things that don’t kill you make your strong. I really don’t necessarily believe that. It can break your down, and make you feel ugly, useless, not good enough. For many, that’s enough to stop them from trying to live their lives and be happy.
There’s wonderful ways to transform a negative mindset; to turn off the hurtful words from others and the ones that you hear in your head; the memories of hearing them said to you. (EFT, and other techniques can be so powerful to breakthrough those negative beliefs). And you have to stop saying them to yourself as well.
Thankfully, this young woman had enough personal strength to reject her mother’s attitude. That shows me that her self-esteem is strong enough to have her maintain her path of believing in herself. I also commend all of the people who have reached out to send their support and heartfelt care, whether backed by funds, or not. Hopefully, the good will be heard over the negativity.
This is a great comment. I will say, I have never understood how someone abused could turn around and become an abuser, although it clearly happens often. I would be interested in what goes into the mindset of people who do this, but I don’t think I will ever get it – of all people, they know how awful it feels to be abused, how could they do it to someone else? I had the opposite reaction, saying never will I subject anyone to what I was subjected to in my childhood.Why do some of us go that way, and others the opposite?
My suspicion Amy, is that it works like this: you don’t know how to process the abuse, and how to juggle the abuse alongside whatever connection and love does exist, and so they start to become conflated. The abuse you experienced becomes just an expression of love or concern your parent had for you.
It was ‘for your own good,’ you think, and it’s for the good of the next generation now too. Looking back and mourning the lost early life, and processing the anger you feel toward your parents is hard, maybe overwhelming. So rather than face that, you naturalize the behavior, minimize the pain, chalk it up to childhood exaggeration or whatever, and transform it into righteous parenting. Easier that than the sort of deep introspection that is the alternative. Not to mention the commitment to conscientiousness and learning new responses to familiar triggers. If you never knew anything else, even if you want to change, you may have little idea how.
That’s my impression of it. See Alice Miller’s ‘For Your Own Good,’ available free online here: http://www.nospank.net/fyog.htm
The Real Amy and Rob-
The events from our earliest childhood are often buried and hidden in our subconscious mind- so even if there is a change of parents (divorce, foster parents) the “re-action” of becoming an abuser may be more of an automatic response.
You know how hard it is to stop anger- and be mindful when you feel attacked. I also know MANY adults who were abused as children who decided not to have children because of their childhood, and their fear that they wouldn’t be good parents as well.
It turns out that not only abuse, but neglect and even humiliation can have similar negative effects on the creation of overweight and obesity and other health issues later in a person’s life. People who report loving relationships with their parents (both) live the longest and healthiest.
(you made great points, Rob)
I still don’t get it. Probably because I went through it so I can only understand my own reaction. I have only worked through the conflicted feelings in the last several years, but I have known ever since childhood that I did not ever want to continue what I experienced. I also made sure to be kind to my younger sibling, and have not perpetrated any sort of emotional or physical abuse in the romantic relationships I’ve had as an adult – all of this long before therapy, which I only began in my late 20s. I have had trouble getting close to people, and am always afraid I will fall for someone abusive and repeat patterns that way, but I have always had great awareness that I did not want to cause anyone else the pain I felt. It simply will never make sense to me how someone else couldn’t feel the same.
The other 2 people I know closely who went through abuse (much worse than mine actually) do not feel they want children, but neither has shown signs of being abusive. I don’t know if I want children either, to be honest. I hope so one day, but it does still scare me.
Still I find repeated patterns of abuse especially reprehensible – I have absolutely zero tolerance for anyone using that as an excuse.
Alice Miller’s work is very impressive. It was huge in my understanding and coping (as an adult) with the violence & neglect in our home growing up. One of the biggest practical takeaways is learning “when to fold em!” when dealing with people who aren’t good parents … otherwise the grown kids of these parents can just keep trying and trying to to exhaustion.
Also, regarding the profile of a spousal abuser who also commits child abuse, the writing of Lundy Bancroft, a family law attorney and researcher, is the best I’ve read. He has a ton of articles online, and you can read sections of his book (expensive) free online too.
Amy, I think I can answer your question in part. It would be clearer to you if you were a parent. Think about it. In moments of stress, what do you fall back on? Well, unless you are super-conscious of it, you will fall back on the model that was provided to you. For example, when I am calm and unstressed, I am less likely to make mistakes with my kids. However, when I am stressed and, in addition to that the kids are making a racket, etc., I might scream at them, just like my father did me. Look, I am not letting anybody off the hook for this (myself included), but the “mother” in question here and other abusers who were abused are falling back on the model that they know. Such people are either going to be super-conscious of the abuse they suffered and not want to inflict in on their children or they are going to be unconscious and act out the old model. Same goes for children of alcoholics. Some will be very wary of abusing alcohol, more so than people who come from non-alcoholic homes, and others will become alcoholics themselves.
However, the mother in question has another re-enforcement. She has the weight of a whole culture that supports her behavior. And you have to understand historical forces here. The individual as we know it in the West does not exist there. There has been no “60s revolution”, there hasn’t even been “The Renaissance”. The notion of “doing your own thing” is alien to those cultures. You are expected to do what your family and society expects of you. Read Confucius and his codified roles and behavior.
The cultural thing does make sense to me. And I guess it will change with time. However, I don’t get the anger/stress excuse. As I mentioned above, because I determined early on that I did not want to ever be abusive to another person, I made sure to be kind to my younger sibling, and have not perpetrated any sort of emotional or physical abuse in my romantic relationships as an adult. All this through all kinds of anger and stress. We are all in charge of our own reactions, no matter the situation, and if you really feel strongly that you don’t want to act a certain way, you will not.
Amy, there are certain things that YOUR culture teaches you that are ok that you accept as “common sense”. However, if you go to another culture, what you accept as “common sense” may be alien or even offensive. I don’t know how you can’t get that point. The mother in this case is acting from what her culture has taught her. Read that book “Tiger Mom”. Many Chinese women are surprised that American Moms don’t want to follow that model. That’s their cultural prejudice. After all, from their perspective, it works. And as much as I have railed against this Asian model, I am equally nauseated by most of what passes as the American model…letting your kids sit in front of a television and basically grow up not knowing how to do one god damn thing. A lot of kids get out of high school (and even college) and don’t know shit. They don’t know math, they don’t know a foreign language, they don’t know an instrument, they don’t know how to change a god damn tire on a car or drive a nail. NOTHING!
A lot of the pressure that Asian parents exert on their kids comes from the fact that historically, resources have been extremely limited in Asia and you had to fight to get them. So being hard on your children, really hard, was a type of “tough love”. The kid who didn’t struggle hard was going to literally fail, in a bad way. In Asian families, there has historically been a strict division of labor, not unlike the The man works outside the home, the woman takes care of the home…that includes pushing the kids to work hard.
Now within the context of American society, this mother seems harsh…but imagine if you were in an environment of limited resources? Where you had to struggle to survive and where you wanted to ensure that your daughter married into a family that had some resources….Then the mother’s actions might seem more justified. It would be “tough love”.
Now, this woman no longer lives in that type of subsistence-level environment. I am not going to justify her behavior, but I think it’s fair to at least consider its historical and sociological roots.
That’s why I said I understand the culture thing. I get it. It was the anger/stress explanation that I didn’t get.
I do think the cultural aspects will change as the world homogeonizes. Hopefully American parenting will improve, too, because I agree there is a lot that could be improved.
i don’t think you guys don’t have twenty-somethings at home.
first of all, sure, mom is self centered.
but mom doesn’t know that dieting is health suicide. who knows that but matt’s followers?
mom is sick of grown kid that she has to support
mom starts making odd/impossible demands
either kid leaves in a hurry or starts pony-ing up some dough. she ain’t gonna loose no 15 pounds and mom’s no dummy
mom just wants rent or a new exercise room.
a convoluted plan…sure, i’d say slightly sociopathic. of course, daughter will get her revenge when she picks out the nursing home…
god i really need to start checking for typos