Wednesday, 21 November 2018

How To Deal With Body Shaming Family Members

We're approaching that time of year where a lot of us have to spend time with our families, which can be great, BUT can also be excruciatingly bad for those of us who fall victim to those obnoxious family members who find it perfectly acceptable to talk about our weight, what we do and don't eat and how we do or don't look, freely at said family gatherings. Now, I've always had comments about my weight from my parents. Literally from as young as I can remember. I remember my dad telling me that I'd get nowhere career wise if I didn't lose weight because 'attractive women always get further'. I remember him hauling me into a room to tell me I looked bigger and how disappointed he was - I bawled all the way home. My mum's body image issues definitely had an impact on me, and still do, so this time of year always fills me with a certain amount of dread that I'm likely to hear some kind of jibe, some kind of congratulatory comment to someone who has lost weight and looks 'so so much healthier!!' and some kind of 'oh go on then, I'll be naughty and have one!' (eye rolling as I type). 

So, I thought I'd put together a few wee tips on how to deal with these comments, and let me remind you here and now, that you do not deserve to hear body shaming jibes from anyone let alone your own family members. 

1. If your family members claim to worry that much about your health, then they should worry just as much about your mental health, and how comments re weight can negatively effect you. There's a way to approach this, so remind them that their words are harmful - most won't know what to say back. 

2. Silence speaks volumes. If someone tells you you've gained weight, lost weight, look different... literally say nothing. Make them feel stupid for feeling the need to comment on YOUR body. They might be a family member but they still do not have the right to comment on your body. 

3. Opt out. I don't just mean don't go to the party, but remove the body shaming offender from your life. If someone continually makes you feel shit about yourself every single time you see them - do not endure it. You only live once and you do not need that! I'm so over this notion that we have to forgive everything our family members do simply because we are related - no! You do not have to. Make peace by making space. 

4. Kill them with kindness. Ok, so this is much easier said than done. The theory is to ignore their negative comment and instantly reply back with a positive one about them. That way you're making it clear that you don't accept their comment and you're choosing to be the 'better person'. I'd find this one particularly hard to do BUT it might help you!

Photography - @SarahEllen_Photography 

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Please, enjoy the festive period as much as you can. Do not feel you have to limit yourself and do not feel like you have to endure body shaming family members. This time of year can be really taxing on our mental health, so please make sure you protect yourself, and remove yourself from any potentially hurtful situations.

Chloe x

*The outfit in this post was kindly gifted to me from M&S
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