Sometimes people worry that if they set a boundary, like saying “It’s not ok to body shame me or I will leave” that other people will think that they “can’t handle the truth” and are “trying to control what I think.”
People may well think or say those things. If there’s anything that I’ve learned from my trolls, it’s that people will go to any length to justify their prejudice to themselves and anyone who will listen. We cannot control what people think of us, nor can we control their behavior. For me in these situations, I’m less concerned with what people think, and more concerned about how they treat me in my presence.
So when I say “It is not ok to talk about my weight or eating. If anyone says one more thing about it I’m going to leave.” I’m not trying to control what people think – they can think whatever the hell they want, I am stating clearly what behavior I will and will not tolerate, and what I will do if they continue behavior I find intolerable.
If they continue discussing my weight or eating and I leave, it’s not to control what they think – it’s to remove myself from a situation, to keep myself safe and well, and to make it clear that I’m serious about my boundaries.
People who want to ignore and break our boundaries will use all kinds of tactics, including suggesting that we are trying to control them, that we are creating the problem etc. We don’t have to fall for that.
If people want to spend time with me they have to treat me a certain way, which includes not body shaming or food policing me. So while they are allowed to think whatever they want about me, my body, and my food choices, they are, at the very least, 100% responsible for keeping those thoughts to themselves if they want to talk to me.
It’s not that I “can’t handle” what they think is the truth, it’s that I don’t have to, and so I won’t.
UPCOMING ONLINE WORKSHOP:
Between in-person and online family gatherings, work parties, New Years bashes, New Years Resolution, and a ton of diet ads… the holiday season can be a perfect storm of fatphobia. Plus this year all the talk of COVID-related body changes adds another layer of nonsense All that diet culture can really get you down. In this workshop we’ll talk about tips, tricks, and techniques to help us deal and have a happy holiday season on our own terms – whether we celebrate any holidays or not.
Full details and Registration: https://danceswithfat.org/monthly-online-workshops/
*This workshop is free for DancesWithFat members – login info is on the member page
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Book Me! I’d love to speak to your organization (and I can do it remotely!) I speak to healthcare, college, corporate, and general audiences about topics including weight science, weight stigma, and the Health at Every Size paradigm. You can get more information here or just e-mail me at ragen at danceswithfat dot org
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