26 October 2016Last updated

Features | People

Ask the expert: my mother humiliates me in public

I do sympathise with you. The choice to lose weight (or not) should be yours, not your mother’s

Russell Hemmings.
4 Mar 2016 | 12:00 am

My mum constantly nags me about my weight. She often publicly humiliates me, pointing out when we’re in a restaurant that I eat too much of the wrong things. I lack the confidence to stand up to her. Recently, she pressured me into buying an outfit that is two sizes too small, saying I should slim down for it. What can I do?

I do sympathise with you. The choice to lose weight (or not) should be yours, not your mother’s. 
In my experience, this kind of external pressure only serves to have the opposite effect. Making someone feel bad about their weight and body is counterproductive and likely to push you to seek comfort and solace in food.

Your mother sounds very domineering and maybe this is part of the problem. Our emotional relationship with food is often bound with how we were brought up, and what kind of focus was placed on eating by our parents.

If – and I suspect this is the case – your mother was very judgemental every time you ate, then you probably made negative emotional connections with food, viewing it as a comfort and guilt-inducing at the same time. This, in turn, impacts your self-esteem and ability to feel body confident.

Your mother might believe she is doing you a favour and may have even convinced herself she is right to interfere because she feels your health is at risk, but shaming you in public and pressurising you into a situation where you are expected to lose weight is tantamount to bullying.

This is where your lack of confidence probably came from in the first place. So working on that will make you feel more in control when it comes to other aspects of your life.

You need to draw strength from the fact that you are grown up and stand up to your mother the next time she attempts to make you feel bad about yourself. I suggest that you visualise in your head potential things you might say to her when such a situation arises and replay this motivational mind video again and again. This will help you to stay calm and deliver your message when the time comes.

Make sure you remain polite, but firm, as this will allow you to stay on high moral ground. Clearly explain that when your mother makes unkind remarks, it is hurtful and that any decisions about your weight will be made by you and no one else.

Yes, it will be nerve wrecking at first, but I guarantee you will gain in confidence the moment you do it.

Show your mother where the line is and never allow her to cross it again.

Learn to love yourself as you are, then if you do choose to lose weight, you’ll know it’s because that’s what’s right for you.

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Russell Hemmings.

Russell Hemmings

Life coach, and clinical and cognitive behavioural hypnotherapist. More info: / 04 4273627 / 055 2867275.