Well I need some help with what seems to me to be a difficult situation. I could use some help with this before I decide what action to take. I'd appreciate the thoughts of anyone willing to comment.
I got this email from my stepmother today responding to my reinforcing my boundary that we should not talk about my food, my weight and my health.... it read, "interestingly, once again i reread your communication and i totally understand your apprehension concerning discussions that might lead to disagreements causing you anxiety that you would rather avoid......i too like to avoid anxiety..
therefore i will share with you an apprehension of mine that creates anxiety for me.
it seems to me that when we take you out to dinner, you frequently order excessive amounts of booze and food and somehow i am put in the position of enabler by your maneuvering me into feeling that it is inappropriate to comment on or discuss.
i too want to avoid anxiety....does this mean we cannot eat out together??
Simple enough. I guess I will send her an email agreeing that we should avoid going out to eat together.
Then all the questions stared flooding my mind. What about the upcoming Jewish New Year dinner? Do I ask her if I am still invited to the Holiday dinner? If I do go, do I edit what I eat at the meal to make her feel better? Do I restate my boundary before the dinner. Does she find when we eat at her house different than when they take me out to a nice restaurant? If there is a family meal happening at a restaurant, do I decline the invitation knowing that she is monitoring what I order?
Do I say something to her to the effect that I would prefer that she not invite me to join them for dinner if what I order upsets her or do I say that I prefer she not invite me to a meal where she feel she is not able to honor my boundary.
I spoke with my brother about this today and he pointed out that there is no way to avoid uncomfortable situations
I have a boundary with my family that we not discuss my weight or my health. For the most part, my Father and Stepmom have honored it. I set the boundary in an email last October or September and my folks agreed and we went on for many months enjoying each other's company.
FEEL FREE TO STOP READING HERE. THE REST OF THIS POST IS THE HISTORY OF MY SETTING THE BOUNDARIES WITH MY PARENTS ABOUT DISCUSSIONS OF MY FOOD, WEIGHT, OR HEALTH. I INCLUDE IT BELOW FOR ANYONE THAT MIGHT FIND THE INFORMATION HELPFUL IN SETTING THEIR OWN BONDARIES
7/09 I spent two days with my parents at their home in the Berkshires the week before the ASDAH/HAES conventions. We had a great time. My stepmother pushed my boundaries a little with comments about my portions sizes. I also broke my own boundaries by trying to explain to them HAES and FA. This was a big mistake. I was feeling that initial excitement about how much finding this community seemed to be a complete game changer for me and my self concept. I quickly realized that finding a place where my parents and I can meet on the HAES concepts is not gonna happen.
On the 8/14 I got this email from stepmother:
so i was watching tv on the fitness channel which your father arranged to be the first thing that comes on when you turn on the tv.......and since i was busy with the computer, i didn't change the channel immediately...sometimes i like to imagine exercising from
my prone position in bed
anyway, to the point i heard this nutrition program where they gave you alot of excellent information
it concerned what to cook, how often to eat and talked about an exercise program... the name of the show was ultimate goals
and ps.. fyi...they talked about diet soda and it was a definite no no
because it contains aspartame which has the same effect as sugar on your system ....so the drink of choice was water
so i thought i would share with you
I responded with the email that follows reinserting my boundaries.
> I think it is fortuitous that you sent out an email to me today as I just got home from a "check in" visit with Dr. Kim that she and I agreed would be a smart thing to do every 3 or 4 months.
> Guess who was one of the topic's of discussion? You're right, it was you.
> I really do appreciate your concern. I also think that we should stay away from this subject of discussion. When I visited you guys recently, I realized that I have too much emotionally vested in wanting your support and approval and when it comes to my food, weight, and exercise, it just can't happen cause we have different ideas about what is best for me.
> I like what we have going on and I think opening the door to discuss what and how I am handling my health decisions is just too dangerous a road for us.
> I'd love to tell you all of the great things I am doing for my health since I saw you last so that you can be proud of me and not worry about me. I also know that it can only turn into a debate about the difference in what your thoughts and my thoughts are about my health decisions which will lead to other unpleasant exchanges, and that would lead to me withdrawing and I like talking and hanging out with you.
> I will let you know that Dr. Kim and I are in total agreement with my course of actions and we plan to see each other for another "check in" in a few months.
> Let's find stuff to talk about like our Beloved President who is right now taking the podium for another "town hall" How can you not be happy to have such a wonderful President! am i right of what?
My stepmothers response to this was "about the president, we agree!!!!!"
Well at least my boundary was back up. She implied she disagreed with my boundaries but I felt I could count on her to respect them.
Then a few days later, I got this from her..
i reread your message and i am sure you are right about sticking to safe topics to save all of our feelings
i hope you are having a great day
Great, right? I'm feeling good. We are going to move forward with our awesome relationship.
Then the email that I started this post came this morning...
Prior to this I sent a great email last october that put up the boundary making discussion of my eight, food and health off limits. It worked really well for all of us until this past month.
here it is.
While I am not great, I am okay. Getting back to work is a good thing (getting out of the apartment each day, etc) More good things will come, in time.
The work situation is a disappointment, the team there is unmotivated, the branch location is out of the way without a lot of new business coming in, the leaders in the branch do not follow direction from the Market Leaders. So a lot of the things I loved about the Job before I left, aren't part of the Job in this slot.
I do enjoy the day to day interaction with the customers. I do also know that I am lucky to have a job. The ability to move around and get back and forth to and from work is amazing.
I still see Dr. Kim as needed.
There is nothing you can do for me to speed up any part of my recovery or health. Nothing you can do about my weight, my job situation, my moving from okay back to great. Only I can do that. Only I can find the motivation, the willingness to do more.
I wish that every time we see each other didn't trigger in you concern and worry, but I know that this is not possible. I wish there were things for you to be happy about, excited about. Hopefully soon.
I hope we can find a way to hang out and see each other and enjoy each other's company.
I know you are concerned, worried and want to see me doing something more than I am doing. I will do more in time. Right now, giving myself credit for getting back to work and showing up there everyday has got to be enough. I cannot get down on myself right now. Only bad things can come from me delving into regret and disappointment in myself. I will not go there.
Discussions and communications between us about why I am not doing more, or suggestions of what I can do next can only lead to frustration and heartache, and, ultimately to me avoiding you guys. I don't want that.
Let's just hang out or get together when we all feel we can focus on things other than what I am going to do for myself, or how you can help me feel or do better. We all know that this road leads to nowhere good.
I like the email chess exchange, it is a nice way to stay in touch and enjoy something together.
I am hanging in there, showing up or work, expecting good things to come my way.
I love you and am very grateful for your Love and help and concern.