The Comments That Can Tear Your Soul Apart

January 2012

This isn’t the picture I refer to in the post, but gives you the idea of me 100lbs heavier and with shorter hair.

Happy Monday everyone! As I mentioned on Friday, Lisa was off all weekend so it was a run-free (and sleep-heavy) weekend … which was great since last week was a blur coming back from vacation and seeming to have so much going on between work and home and the kids …

I managed to get in 47.5 miles last week running pretty much my ‘standard summer’ routes for 5 days. This morning it struck me how the thought of running 10 miles at one time was inconceivable just a couple of years ago … and now it is pretty close to my nominal daily run distance all summer. Perspective? Not me!

Having a Safe Place in Your Life

Today’s post is about comments that can hurt you deeply, but I am really only talking about stuff in the context of blogging. This weekend I saw a post – a happy one about an old friend getting remarried – that brought back a memory of someone from the same friend circle who went through a very difficult time a few years back, and due to sharing friends with the person on the other side of her difficulties, had her situation spread and become more difficult on Facebook. It led her to completely pull back and delete her account and email addresses. I hope that provided her some distance from the hurt, but it is a reminder that we all need to feel safe.

One thing about being married for 22 years and together for 25 is that Lisa and I are connected at a level that is impossible to put into words. As we were driving home from vacation something came up and it was one of those times where we finished the sentence together … but unlike most ‘finish your sentence’ things it contained references three levels deep!

But that connection also means knowing how to push someone’s buttons – we can see each other’s weaknesses and trigger points like they were massive bulls-eyes. I attribute much of our strength and happiness to the fact that rather than poking and jabbing at those weaknesses, we tend to protect them and throw ourselves in front of them if someone else tries to poke them. We are not perfect, no one is … but we fundamentally trust each other to always have each other’s back.

Thing is – we ALL have those weak spots. And some people poke them – intentionally or not.

The other day Suz alluded to a comment that really got to her in multiple ways, and then she addressed it more directly.

It got to her because:
– It attacked her as being eating disordered – which given everything she deals with is incredibly hurtful.
– It created a very negative feeling in what Suz is trying to have as a positive space, especially for people like her struggling in many ways.

Then Hollie posted about getting some seriously negative feedback on a web forum (I will actually deal with that one separately another day). What she saw was people questioning her writing (grammar, spelling, etc) and even asking based on that assessment how she graduated college. Myself and many other commenters complimented her for handling it in such a mature manner as opposed to unleashing the rage cannons on them.

Each of these women has set up their blogs not only as a way of sharing their own story, but also building a community, and rightly feel that people visiting should feel safe and encouraged to share positive messages.

Things That Perhaps SHOULD Bug Me But Don’t

Given my history of obesity and struggles to feel like a ‘real’ runner … you might think that an easy trigger would be to call me fat, say I’ve gained weight, or tell me I’m a slow old man.

Nah – I AM slow, I HAVE been fat, and I’m 48 … not exactly OLD, but the same age my Dad was when I graduated college.

None of that stuff bugs me in the least. In fact, while I have talked much about trolls and poor treatment of others using the anonymity of the internet, it is really nothing that has bugged me much. In fact, now that Hollie talked about it directly, I can say that her specific case is one that bugged me and that I alluded to indirectly … multiple times.

You might also think that insulting my family would be something that would bother me – and to be clear, a real-life encounter involving my family is one of my fundamental triggers – but I have also been around the internet long enough to know that there is no picture of any person that would not be potentially met with what comes down to the ‘2/10 would not bang’ treatment. So some person online making comments about the physical appearance and/or sexual preferences of my wife and/or children? Um, ultimately more about the person making the comment.

That leads to one thing – stuff said in real life is much more likely to impact me than stuff said online. I am not impervious online, but it would be much more difficult to make me feel personally insulted.

A Couple of Interesting Stories

Another interesting story – way back in the 80s, Lisa picked up the expression ‘thank you very large’, and since I was probably about 350 pounds when I met her I took some offense, but since she was so nice otherwise I was left confused and assuming I was being over-sensitive. Fast forward to when we met up again in Boston and I was under 200lbs (i.e. NOT large), and she used the same expression – and soon enough I was telling her about my feelings from a few years before and it made for a great early ’emotion sharing’ moment. Funny stuff.

One other story … let me be blunt: when people knew you as fat and then see you thin they really don’t know what to do or say and sometimes say the most hilarious and/or bizarre things! So people who I went to college with who saw me later had an interesting array of reactions – and they were generally bizarre things like my head looking too big for my body and so on.

And people who don’t recognize you are even more fun – I had one guy who was the year behind me in the fraternity who didn’t recognize me in April at the reunion … and it was great seeing his face when the recognition washed over him! It was great because it remained something that blew his mind all weekend!

Really it comes back to things I have talked about before – sometimes people who really don’t know what to say still feel the need to say SOMETHING. And generally when they speak up it isn’t either appropriate or sensitive … so we depend on knowing what they MEAN to get past what they SAY.

How I Discovered My Current Weak Spot

Just about a year and a half ago I was getting ready to start on a new project at work that would have me in Kentucky each week for several months. But there were some needs for transitioning and helping out on my existing project – and that included meeting new people who needed to capture things I had been doing to document and integrate with the processes we were moving towards.

So while dealing with one of the people – someone who I quickly became friends with and have stayed in contact with ever since – after a number of meetings we ended up meeting in my office, and on the wall was a picture from a team building meeting during the very early days of the project. At that point I weighed about 250lbs, and my overall look was definitely not one of my best: haircut emphasized roundness of my face, outfit was snug, and so on.

But at that moment the woman said something that stopped me in my tracks and hasn’t ever resolved in my head:

I think you look better there than you do now.

OK … WHAT?!?!

First off, telling someone … ANYONE … that they look better at another time than now is not a particularly classy move. Also, when weight is involved, the correct approach is questions ‘you look like you lost weight?’ and so on. Figure out the right thing to say – it really isn’t hard, especially for someone who is in a communications profession.

But WHY does this stick with me?

Because the insinuation is that I looked better fat.

While I have moved so far along in so many ways, it is pretty fundamental to me that I look pretty darn good now, and that being fit and thin is a great look for me, better than when I was heavy. In fact, I think I look pretty much better than at any other time in my life, and younger than I did 15 years ago.

But am I fooling myself? While I am 99% certain I am NOT, it is amazing how a small off-hand comment in February 2013 can stick with me and sabotage my self-image.

And really, I KNOW it is BS. How? Well, I will elaborate more in an upcoming post, but when I first lost weight when I was young I saw the way some people treated me change almost instantly and suddenly had women hitting on me in the airports and at companies I was working with. It was drastic and dramatic change. So I KNOW that stuff, but since when has THAT helped?

It is a reminder of how regardless of our strength and self-image, that pretty much everyone has a weak point, something that will shake your self-esteem.

What is Your Weak Spot and How Do YOU Deal With Those Who Push Your Buttons?

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47 thoughts on “The Comments That Can Tear Your Soul Apart

  1. I know it’s not the same thing, but as a thin person now who has been up and down in weight die to pregnancy, nursing, and losing baby weight, etc, this is a trigger for me too – someone who has told me I looked better pregnant or postpartum than with a thin runners body. And since I’m female, “boobs” come into the picture here and yes they’re way smaller now than ever! It is irritating for someone to tell you basically you don’t look good NOW, even though since they are telling you you’re thin they can somehow get away with it. I have gained a few lbs recently and I don’t get that much anymore but a year ago I was self conscious about being thin and comments like that made it worse.

    Another “hot button” I have is people assuming they “know” me when they are really off base. Assumptions of any kind I find very annoying. Another great post!

    • I really don’t look at it as different, because it all kinda sucks – and I laugh about the ‘boobs’ because Lisa dealt with the same thing, and people can really be presumptuous about it! We know we’ll never make everyone happy and that people will always haveopinions … it is sometimes just stunning how freely they express them! πŸ™‚

  2. It amazes me the things that come out of people’s mouths. I’m very cautious about commenting on any weight loss, even if it appears significant, because I never want to make the other person feel uncomfortable. The whole, “you look great” thing can be a catch 22 since you don’t want the person to then think they did Not look great before, what if they lost weight because they were sick, stuff like that.
    And my trigger? Feeling invisible.
    I love the fact that you and your wife are so close. My husband and I have a very deep connection- we can finish each other’s sentences, we can go all day without communication then all of a sudden, we text at exactly the same moment. It’s a very safe place to be πŸ™‚

    • I know what you mean – my goal is always to allow the other person to speak, because you don’t always know what they are thinking or feeling. And once you have opened up a positive communication channel, things flow naturally. I work with a woman who has lost a bunch of weight on Weight Watchers and looks great, and because she has seen me tackle my weight issues, we have a natural flow and context for discussion.

  3. I love this post. It’s interesting how our weaknesses never leave us, not ever. My weaknesses have always revolved around my chest. I hate when people who haven’t seen me since high school ask if I had a reduction, and I hate when anyone mentions the glaringly obvious fact that I’m a runner who has boobs. As if I didn’t know?
    As usual, you hit the nail on the head. Sometimes people don’t think before they speak, and I think that is a part of what that women said to you. It just stinks that it’ll never leave your mind-why is it so hard to forget the bad stuff and only remember the good?!

    • haha – it is funny that until I started running in races and during the daytime a couple of years ago I never really had to think about the whole ‘running with boobs’ thing, but it is pretty obvious that it would be something that a woman has to deal with.

      As for why these things stick? I wish I knew … I guess it is when they poke at our small fears, even if it is nonsense.

  4. Weight is definitely a trigger for me. I know that I have never been obese or even really over weight but as a competitive figure skater I once was part of a group told to skate some laps around the rink. Then we skated laps with 10 pound weights. Later we were pulled aside and asked how much better we would feel if we lost 10 pounds. I once had a coach pull me aside for a nice conversation that ended with, how fast could you lose 10 pounds. It lead to obsessive thinking that messed with me for a long time. It goes beyond me, I get offended and hurt when people discuss other people’s bodies in negative ways. You just don’t know their story.

    Family is another one. You mess with my family and that is it. I found out my brother’s girlfriend was telling people that my incredibly kind and sweet fiancΓ©, at the time, was not as nice as people thought. She lied and told people that he verbally attacked her over the phone. I actually was with him when he called her and this was so far fetched from the truth (he actually called her office and happened to get her and briefly chatted with her about our insurance policy). If the two of us are in a room and I say more than a dozen words to her, it will be a stretch……ever.

    • I was a competitive figure skater, too! My coach was never one of the ones who told her skaters to lose weight, but I had friends under different coaches who weren’t supposed to eat bagels, couldn’t have the cakes people would bring to the rink on their birthdays, etc… I remember in middle school, one of my friends who I thought was skinnier than me kept complaining that she was fat and it bothered me so much because I could see that she wasn’t. (We were actually the same size, so what does it say about my body image that I thought she was smaller??) Point is, I know where you’re coming from. Looking back, that was a difficult environment to grow up in.

    • And you see – at that point it doesn’t matter whether it is 10 lbs or 100! You have been conditioned to feel fat and bad about yourself and less than your best because of a number. That sort of thing hurts – and because with the larger weight issues in our country, worrying about 10 pounds or whatever will get you an eye roll rather than sympathy …

      And yeah, don’t F with my family … that happened with one of my boys just over a year ago, and whoa … the ‘discussion’ between myself and the father of another student lives on … πŸ™‚

  5. Obviously I can relate so clearly to this post. Weight is my big trigger–as I’ve talked about before, I was fat (not obese, but chunky for my frame, certainly)–and now that I’ve been thin, and as I have been, I just want people to tell me that I look great, that I look healthy, and happy. It really is amazing the things that stick with us, that we overhear or are said directly to us, that shouldn’t matter, but really do–what I think is most telling about those situations is that it shows us just how unhappy we were in those moments (that we are being reminded of) and how much we never want to go back.
    And to echo Sarah, you mess with my family, and I will destroy you. Thus why that comment affected me so much. I am in a space where I can deal with it, but so many people are not. And I’ve cut people out of my life entirely for things said about my family. One girl went from literally being my best friend to me maybe saying a total of 5 minutes worth of conversation with her the rest of highschool.
    If I lose respect for you, it’s over. Plain and simple as that.

    • I remember that girls comment, and her father’s, and it STILL hurts. Its like a never-ending “fingernails on a chalkboard” kind of hurt. What was so sad and so horrid was that she was repeating her father’s hurtful words and thought they were funny.
      I wonder if he will ever realize what his callous disregard for another’s feelings cost his daughter. Sadly, he taught her well and she will pay for that poor lesson always.
      You’re right–mess with me, and I’ll get mad, mess with my family and I will rip you into small pieces.

      • It is so sad when you hear things that you are basically the reflected words of parents through their children. 😦

    • Yes, yes and YES! πŸ™‚ You have discussed it in detail (and I hope everyone has checked out your post), but it is really important stuff.

      We shouldn’t HAVE to say ‘oh, I am X because of Y condition’ to avoid judgment.

  6. Interesting post. I think my trigger is probably weight, like most of the commenters. I guess that says a lot about how much pressure society puts on us regarding our bodies. And I never understand why people say the mean comments. It seems unnecessary and cruel. I was so impressed with how Suz handled the mean comment on her blog. It’s hard to brush those things off but she’s obviously made of tough stuff πŸ™‚

    • Agree so much on this … and yeah, body image and pressure play huge factors – and how quick people are to make comments!

      As for Suz .. total bada$$ mofo πŸ™‚

  7. Just like you said about the comments on your family (for real?!? people have the gall to comment on that?!?), it really comes down to them and not you. I have no idea what drove that woman to say you looked better before, but a few things that come to mind are jealousy, shock, feelings of low self-worth because she wanted to lose weight and / or get healthy, etc. It’s so tough to pull yourself back from those situations, but almost always we see that people’s comments are a true reflection of themselves and not necessarily the situation around them.

    • Thanks Megan … and I realized I didn’t describe the person just in case of too many real-life reads – this person would easily be identified. But hey, whatever – the woman is perhaps 5′ tall (at most) and I would be hard pressed to put her over 100lbs. In other words, very petite. I am not sure the motivation, but I have sometimes wondered if in the same way we hear about men pushing women to eat because of a preference for obese women, that this woman likes large men? Yeah, bizarre, but really not sure about any of it! haha

      • That’s an interesting theory — maybe she really did just like bigger guys, though why she’d feel compelled to say that to anyone in a work context, let alone someone who is married, and let alone to say she now finds you LESS attractive, is beyond me… Maybe she was hoping you’d gain some weight and leave your wife? Some people certainly have body types and coloring that they’re attracted to. All 3 relationships (including an ex-husband) I’ve witnessed of one of my best friends were with very tall and thin blonde guys, clearly her type. While most guys I’ve dated as an adult (and the one I married) were the opposite type, more muscular, darker hair, under 6 feet tall. But like I said, even if “old you” was more her type, why she’d SAY that AT WORK just boggles my mind. Hashtag no filter?

  8. This is a really timely post for me. Weight is a huge trigger for me especially right now that I can’t exercise the way I want and I feel like my fitness is really suffering and there’s nothing I can really do about it. And then I hear comments from people saying that I look better now and I’m feeling really conflicted because have I really gained enough weight in the past month that people are noticing it? It’s not like I was trying to be super thin…my body just was the way it was because of the running. But that doesn’t change the fact that I am petrified of gaining weight. I don’t understand why anyone has to mention it at all.

  9. People’s reactions to changes in our appearance (whichever direction it goes) are sometimes hilarious and at other times degrading and they do not actually know what they have done. How you handle their comments depends a lot on the situation and your self-confidence level at the time (which fluctuates over time).

    My trigger points are when someone says I can’t do something – because they devalue my abilities, that because I have reached a certain age I am incapable of keeping current with technology or that I automatically am slower than they are since I am creeping up on 60.

    Good post and one that makes us think. πŸ˜‰

  10. This is a great and thoughtful post. Even unintentionally there are things that can hurt. It’s always funny how bold people suddenly become online.

    • So true Hollie – I have a running friend at work who is just back from vacation and we were walking in together and I’d seen pictures on Facebook and knew she was dealing with her second injury of the year (knee, now achilles) so I asked about the pictures and sight-seeing and how she was feeling … like I say, allow her to talk about the injury, the impact of running a race (the reason she was away), and her recovery process and where it will put her in terms of fall races. Thanks again for your great post on GOMI.

  11. The most frequent comment I get (in real life) that most bothers me is when someone, usually my boss, says that I look tired. It’s instantly defeating, and it become self-fulfilling. Yeah, I could pretty much always fall asleep immediately if given the opportunity (though I almost always get 6-8 hours of sleep). It’s true, I’m tired 98% of the time (and I have circles under my eyes almost permanently, only gone right when I come back from a long vacation), but I don’t need to be reminded of it!
    My blog is small enough that I don’t get negative comments, and I guess it helps that I don’t really post pictures of myself or my race or running paces/times. It just surprises me that people would say stuff like that to a blogger. If grammar issues drive me crazy and a blogger doesn’t proofread or have mad grammar skillz, I have a simple solution — I just don’t read them. It just seems so negative, pointless and a waste of one’s time to read a blog you don’t like and then say negative things to/about it. No one makes us read anything. We all might have opinions, but if you can’t say anything nice…

    • It is funny – I never realized I asked ‘reflective questions’, ones that opened up to the other person to answer how they choose, until it was pointed out. And maybe it is because I always HATED the way questions were asked to me about weight and food and so on. And if there is someone I see all the time, I will never ask about a chronic thing, just ‘deltas’ – and again, never ask a directional question, because way too often people doing that end up being wrong.

      And I agree – who has time to ‘hate read’?

  12. There are so many things about this post I’d love to comment on but I’ll keep it fairly simple. First, this was incredible on so many levels. I want to first comment on the fact that you and Lisa know each others triggers and protect them, that to me in a relationship (any relationship, even friendship) is critical for long term trust. It’s not just knowing them, but the protection part that struck me deeply. I think many people find other people’s trigger points and use them as a weapon, and that causes a lot of pain and is just a really shitty thing to do to another person. I haven’t received any negative comments on my blog (yet) and I hope I don’t have to deal with that in the future, but if I do, I hope to have the grace that Susie did on hers to address it.

    • Thanks Sara … and the sad reality is that I HAVE seen friends and even married couples (and even people close to me) use those weak points as weapons …

  13. I would agree with you that I am more likely to be offended by something in real life than online. When I started blogging I knew that I was putting myself out there and that there is the possibility of negative comments…and while I am lucky enough to have not dealt with that yet, its probably bound to happen at some point. The thing with blogging is that we are not sharing everything, so people don’t know 100% of your whole story and make assumptions to fill in the blanks. It doesn’t make it better or right in any way, but I just have to remind myself that people like that are probably dealing with their own self-esteem issues in some way or another.
    I feel like I am pretty average size (whatever that means?) so I don’t have specific triggers related to weight, however, there have been one or 2 times when someone asked if I was pregnant and for whatever reason it stuck with me (not that i felt like I had gained weight or was “fat” or anything…more like, I will never wear that shirt/dress/etc again!) but I was just really surprised that someone would ask that in such a casual way, without thinking of how offensive it could feel to someone who was self-conscious or trying to lose weight. Great post!

    • The whole ‘asking if you are pregnant’ thing is a recipe for disaster … I remember years ago a young woman I had hired and was pretty sure she was pregnantm but I waited until it came from her before I said anything! haha And I know my Lisa had a couple of those drisses / shirts where people would ask – or just outright say ‘that makes you look pregnant’.

  14. I’ve only ever had a handful of sort of negative comments on some of my other blogs. One was on my first first ever post and some asshat told me my post was too long for him to bother reading. That was hurtful because I was so new and didn’t know what I was doing, but in retrospect, I’m not sorry I posted the way I did that first time.

    I’m torn about some things regarding negative comments — constructive criticism is important and I hate the idea of thought police or people having to tiptoe around everything. While criticism might sting, oftentimes there is some truth in it and I have to ask myself why it bothers me and consider whether or how I might want to to change or address it. In the long run, if I keep my mind open, I generally feel I benefit from criticism, whether it’s constructive or not. How I choose to handle it speaks of me and my development as a person.

    I’ve come to believe this DESPITE that I have a horrifically negative mother who would sooner shoot you down than raise you up. She was a tremendously difficult person to deal with, and honestly, she would still push my buttons if I hadn’t chosen to walk away from the relationship. Every mean thing that came out of her mouth would hit me in the “why can’t she love me” spot. It took me years to realize it was more a problem of who she is than who I am. Unfortunately, I spent a lot of my younger years pretzel-ing myself to try to make her like me and handled my self-esteem very poorly and drank to deal with my feelings. But when I realized I had other choices, since my mother changing was not one of them, I had to choose trying to become a better me or I was likely to kill myself with alcohol.

    All of this is my disjointed way of saying that most criticism, even some that is said in mean-spiritedness feels like an opportunity to me. It may be an extremely uncomfortable one, but it still gives me a chance to decide to do things differently as well.

    I also feel like I ought to add that I am guilty of being snarky more times than I probably would like to admit. Sometimes it’s because I see something that is concerning behavior in another, sometimes it’s because that behavior reminds me of my mother and it’s my indirect way of getting angry at her. There is a lot of wtf-ery in the world and putting yourself publicly online is inviting people to disagree with you. I’m not sure I want to be in a world where no one calls bullshit either. I guess there is a line somewhere and I’m not always sure where it’s drawn.

    Thanks for another thoughtful post and sorry I rambled along so much.

    • I didn’t find it rambling at all … and totally loved it. Well, the stuff with your mother, in spite of having read about it on your blog before, is never fun to hear. It is a reminder that sometimes we really just need to walk away.

      As for criticism, you might remember that I wrote about that saying that I find there to be too little honest dissent in the community … so I always welcome people disagreeing with me. Just wonder sometimes about the need to launch personal attacks in lieu of actual topical dissent.

      • My dealing with my mother really does color basically everything, sometimes in good ways. Other times I feel like I’m a terrible person who desperately does not want to be.

        I think sometimes people take things as personal attacks that are not and other times people are being outright rude and nasty. I have been on websites that tear apart people’s appearances — and oftentimes I can’t see the horrible things they are saying about the individuals. Comments about sallow skin or how they’ve aged, etc. It really freaks me out when I read some of those comments because I think, geez, I could never stand to hear myself ripped that way given that I can’t stand how I look already. Actually, my husband sometimes comments on who I see as gorgeous women that he calls “tired” and it makes me feel like hiding in the closet. I’m not even sure what standard people are holding others up to and whether most people even would come close to it.

        But when faced with these things, I try to examine where my insecurity is from, whether I should take into account those criticisms, etc. one thing I love about your blog is how you do put so much thought into issues and are not afraid to be controversial. I find myself wishing I could be more like you.

      • Thanks so much Judith! I really appreciate it … and Lisa said a similar thing last night to me about ‘letting things go’.

        Comparisons are seldom healthy – they tend to push us either to complacency or inadequacy … neither of which are good.

  15. A huge trigger point for me is when people say things they think are compliments but because of my past, I get really worked up….”you could be a model” (wedding dress shopping) “you’re so lucky you can eat what you want. You just run it all off” “I wish I looked like you” or “I wish I had your self control” all drive me through the roof because of my ED history. I’m a lot better off than I used to be thankfully, but it still really bugs me. You have no idea what hell I put myself through for years because I didn’t love or trust myself, so to hear you say something about how I look or eat or have good self control just sends me off. I don’t run off everything I eat, and I’m ok with that. I’m healthier than I’ve been in years, and that to me is worth more than anything else. I know people often don’t mean anything by it, but it still sets me off and can result in them getting an earful (nicely) about why I don’t like comments like that ha. Oh and say something negative about someone I love, and you’ll wish I never found out haha. A couple girls who messed with my little brother in high school are still scared of me…I’m a little protective at times πŸ˜›

    • Thank you SO MUCH for sharing … in a world full of overweight people, those struggling with eating disorders or dealing with chronic digestive issues or whatever face a very unfair judgment. Even me being pretty thin now, I got a comment from someone on a new project about how I should be eating more, and when I turned down donuts made another rude comment, at which point someone else spoke up on my behalf. Rude! πŸ™‚

  16. I think it’s really interesting that it’s become part of standard greetings to say something along the lines of “Have you lost weight? You look so thin/pretty/handsome” or whatever. Are we all so insecure that we need to say something complimentary right off the bat? Are we fishing for compliments in return? It makes me really uncomfortable sometimes when people lead with a comment like that, because then I feel obligated to return the comment, and it feels really insincere. I wish we could all just share a greeting without the focus on physical appearance.

    • Totally get what you’re saying – there is so much fake sentiment about this stuff.

      On the other hand, I love when the discussion is REAL. I loved being able to ask the woman on my project about her weight watchers progress, because (a) she was making obvious progress and (b) most of the team is typical guys oblivious and/or would never ask or say anything. When you are making positive changes, it is great to get to share.

      The funny flip side was with my old college fraternity friends … everyone giving each other crap about pretty much everything. πŸ™‚

  17. One thing I understand is if I’m putting my life out for people to read, there’s always going to be an asshole who gives you shitty comments ): it’s just life – being hidden behind a computer screen makes it easier to give bad comments. + I always feel terrible when someone goes Oh did you lose/gain weight?! like WHY ): I know if I’ve gained weight, please don’t remind me ):

    • So true – we already know about our weaknesses and if we’ve added a few points or haven’t been exercising or whatever … I have always liked the non-specific ‘so great to see you, you look great’ sentiment. Unless they’re on crutches or something … πŸ™‚

  18. My weak spot, which I think you could guess, is definitely my inability to have children. I’m still working out my feelings on the situation, and though I’m mostly happy with our situation, there are certain things people can say that get my blood rushing. I was just marveling the other day that there’s a lot of memes and stories going around where people WITH kids openly covet the childless lifestyle, say “boy, I wish I could…(sleep as much as I want, go to nice dinner, pee in private)”. And it’s funny to everyone and we all laugh. But flip the roles, and you’re just a sad bitter woman wishing you could have children. And nobody wants to think about that side of the coin so you become Debbie Downer. I’m hypersensitive to it still, so I notice things and read more into them than probably is intended, but the dichotomy is interesting to me. You always carry yourself so well in these conversations, Mike, and I have no doubt that consciously acknowledging your weak points helps you rise above like you always do!

    • Thanks Laura – I appreciate it and know that you are in a very tough place. You mention some of the memes, and there are also the childless groups you have talked about on your blog, and so on. It is hard to find a fit – and no matter WHAT you do there are sure to be insensitive people who will pin you down with questions you shouldn’t have to address.

      One specific memory I have from our infertility and miscarriage support group was after months of us all commiserating and us dealing with anoter miscarriage and others with failed implants … we got pregnant, the first in the group, and although we were still high risk, there were two couples who turned on us bitterly and ferociously and another couple who was mad and couldn’t be happy for us … all in the blink of an eye. Two other couples from that group ended up having kids (and naturally expected us to be thrilled regardless of how they treated us!) … but it is a reminder of how deep and difficult the feelings are around having children …

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