Mom’s anger could stem from worry
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.”