Saturday, April 9, 2011
200.2 lbs. Eh. It’s better than 202. Or 220. And 175 mg cholesterol.
“Those who have abandoned their dreams will discourage yours.”
I think it is time to remodel /upgrade some friends. One in particular. I love her dearly. There is very little I wouldn’t do for this woman. However, when she lashes out, she goes below the belt and makes nasty comments about my weight/shape. I talked to her for the first time in a while tonight and told her that I’d lost 25 lbs. Since this woman has made such an issue over my appearance since I’ve known her, you would think the reaction would be something like, “Oh, wow!” or “Good for you!” or “Atta girl!” No.
I got, “Uh huh” and a desultory question about how I had done this. The answers were met with “Uh huh” and then a brief dissertation on what Janet Jackson did to lose weight (and her information was inaccurate. I never once heard “plastic surgeon”). When I tried to describe what I was doing going forward, I could tell that I had been tuned out.
Naturally, this made me think of my family and I had an epiphany: it’s not the changed behavior that these folks want from me. If I drop 100 pounds and I’m happy, they’ll just find something else to home in on. No. They feed on unhappiness and self-loathing. Hey, misery loves company and it’s a block party.
There are no vampires in the Dracula sense. No melancholy immortals living in the shadows resenting humans and plotting their destruction. There are those humans, however, who will suck the light and joy out of anyone they can. The idea of infecting those around them with equal unhappiness and emotional discomfort is similar to the modus operandi of traditional vampires: bite ‘em and make ‘em one of us. They don’t want you thinner/married/dis-married/living somewhere else; they want you unhappy with yourself as you are so they won’t feel so lousy about themselves as they are right now. Instead of biting your neck and sucking your blood, they project their self-loathing onto you and watch with secret satisfaction as your inner light dims. When you feel worse about yourself than they do about themselves, they’re your most sympathetic and supportive friends. When you start wearing Goth makeup and a nose chain, you’ve got a support group.
You make a change in your life that makes you happy; it goes unacknowledged or quickly dismissed. If you are in an upbeat, optimistic mood, they will not leave it untouched. Any ideas or plans for pursuing something you want will be quickly and verbally dismantled. If you have made progress towards a goal, it will be actively undermined. It’s a form of co-dependence.
How many times have those in the dieting legions reached a milestone weight or a goal weight only to have a “friend” say, “I think we should go out and celebrate”? The celebration usually takes the form of a food splurge. If you decline, it’s “Oh, one day isn’t going to kill you’ and the pressure mounts until you succumb or walk out of that person’s life. Of course, a few months later when you’ve gained back the weight; this same person will be throwing the nasty comments as vigorously as before and with additional ammunition because now you are officially a failure and that makes him/her delighted. Equilibrium has been re-established. Watch “The Days of Wine and Roses” and you’ll see this principle in action. It’s like a drowning man dragging his rescuer under the waves.