Mom’s anger could stem from worry

The Hamilton Spectator - - GO - DEAR EL­LIE el­liead­

Q. I’m 21, liv­ing with my mother, try­ing to get my life back to­gether af­ter a bad breakup with my fi­ancé.

I try to do ev­ery­thing my mom says. But when­ever we’re around fam­ily, she finds a way to in­sult me or throw me un­der the bus, whether she’s say­ing th­ese things to put me down, or make her­self look bet­ter.

She con­stantly wears my things with­out ask­ing, but when­ever I wear some­thing of hers, I get yelled at. She’ll say I can’t fit in it (when I can). She al­ways tells me how much big­ger than her I am (not so). It just makes me feel bad about my body.

She yells at me for things that aren’t my prob­lem, e.g. not clean­ing dishes that I didn’t leave in the sink (mostly my dad does that).

It’s tak­ing a lot out of me. Is there any­way I can make things bet­ter with her?

A. Talk to your mother. Take the high road and as­sume that she feels badly for you about your breakup.

Some par­ents show their wor­ries for their chil­dren in neg­a­tive ways.

Say that you ap­pre­ci­ate liv­ing with fam­ily while you re­cover. Thank her for what she does for you and ask what you can do to make things eas­ier.

Note that some dis­putes are fairly com­mon when older chil­dren are still liv­ing at home. Ex­am­ple: If she’s out, clean up the dishes in the sink, even if they’re not yours. You’re liv­ing there and re­spon­si­ble for pitch­ing in.

Q. I think my boyfriend of three years has a binge eat­ing dis­or­der. He’s 51. Go­ing out for din­ner with him is al­ways em­bar­rass­ing. He or­ders co­pi­ous amounts of food, and al­ways leaves clean plates. He’ll ask the server what meal has the largest por­tion and or­der it.

He re­cently paid a ton of money to go on a diet pro­gram and he lost 30 pounds with, in my opin­ion, se­vere di­etary re­stric­tions and var­i­ous po­tions and pills. I be­lieve he would’ve lost the same amount of weight if he paid at­ten­tion to por­tion con­trol.

Last night, when out, he broke his diet. It was such a turnoff. He gorged him­self. I’m find­ing it dif­fi­cult to be around him when he eats. What should I do?

A. If you want to stay in the re­la­tion­ship, help him rec­og­nize that he has a prob­lem. It may be “binge eat­ing” or some­thing else. Nei­ther he nor you can know un­less he has a med­i­cal checkup, as there are other causes for such be­hav­iour. Tell him you’re wor­ried about him and care about his health.

If he gets an all-clear from the doctor, then tell him you worry about his emo­tional well-be­ing. Some­thing may be caus­ing the overeat­ing — gen­eral anx­i­ety or in­se­cu­rity about the re­la­tion­ship are pos­si­ble causes.

Say that, as his part­ner, you’ll help him or­ga­nize see­ing his doctor, and/or see­ing a ther­a­pist about his yo-yo di­et­ing and gorg­ing him­self.

If he re­jects your help and in­ter­est, you’ll likely re­ject the re­la­tion­ship.

Reader’s com­men­tary: “I worked briefly with a wo­man who adored her hus­band who’d gone back to grad­u­ate school at the univer­sity where my hus­band taught.

“She was eager for when he fin­ished his de­gree and they could start a fam­ily. She didn’t know that he was one of my hus­band’s stu­dents, and that he was hav­ing an af­fair with another stu­dent. When he no longer needed his wife’s fi­nan­cial sup­port, he left her for his girl­friend.

“I later learned that when he left, she was dev­as­tated to dis­cover she was the only per­son who didn’t know about the af­fair. I never felt that I should tell her, since all her friends knew. But I now re­al­ize I could’ve done some­thing anony­mously.”

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