Sunday, June 10, 2012

Judgement or Pain?

I sometimes get frustrated by other people's slips and falls because I know the pain they are feeling, having been there myself  - repeatedly. With each fall I had, I beat up on me or pacified myself with some empty, feel-good platitude and an excuse that never involved truly taking responsibility for my actions, change, and growth.  

How do we cope
When others are trudging that well-worn, miserable path on which I cried many tears and bled bits of my soul, I feel that pain again. Occasionally, the snark monster comes out. When I do not know how to cope with feeling someone else's torment without feelings my past experiences, I seem to loose my compassion a bit and sometimes, even if only for a minute, I lose patience. Whether it is someone in the news, someone I love, or another blogger; when their experience mimics my past and they repeat it again and again, I sometimes hide from feelings and go into snarky mode. I wonder: is that a self-preservation action of my sub-conscious?  Is it some kind of Post-Obesity-Stress-Disorder? 

I do not think I need the shirt
Snarky works for some people as their coping method. I read a few blogs whose writers have a natural talent for making their observations of heart wrenching human train-wrecks into darkly humorous tales. A fan of creative sarcasm and satire, I enjoy small doses of the dark humor in their writing. If I feel they cross the line and are just being mean for the sake of meanness, I comment as such - or stopped reading. Have they given up caring about whom or what they lampoon? Perhaps so. I have occasionally tried to incorporate that type of attitude into my writing. It hasn't always worked for me. Sometimes I come across as mean, without intending any meanness. I like to be funny.  However, I know if I look past my humor I am only masking the pain that lies beneath.

In keeping the pounds off, I remember that lampooning as a tool to cope with the memories of the insanity, is not unhealthy for me if I do not fall into using snarky as my guiding attitude. When I feel 'snarky' coming out, I need to pause and fully appreciate what I am feeling and know how to deal with those feelings in a healthy manner before moving forward in what I say, do or write.

What are your thoughts?



Norma said...

Oh, I think you know exactly what my thoughts are.

Karen said...

I think it's a normal response. And I do think it's projecting our own feelings from the past forward onto somebody else.

When someone projects onto me , it doesnt feel right it feels weird. I was seeing a counselor for a non-weight related matter and described what had happened. The counselor described the incident as " the other person is projecting their own feelings back onto you so they don't have to deal with it. Or own it "

In the end , only kindness matters IMO. People remember how you made them feel. Sometimes best either to stop reading and or commenting for our own health.

I imagine it's much like the feeling that family members feel when they see a loved one drinking again after the person was sober for awhile. Or a person escape domestic violence , only to choose a new abusive partner or return to the original abuser.

I had read somewhere that it was completely normal for those of us who had lost weight to get impatient with those who couldn't grasp the skills and behaviors that weight loss/ maintenance requires. I can't remember the source.

In the end. Only kindness will matter. All my 2 cents. And it's now time for my daily weigh in , coffee, grain free breakfast, and the gym!

KCLAnderson (Karen) said...

As someone who has, over the course of seven years (that's how long I've actively been on this health/weight loss journey), been up and down on the scale, my attitudes and opinions (and theories) have changed quite a bit. When I first lost a significant amount of weight, I wanted to shout it from the rooftops and teach everyone how I did it (it wasn't just dieting, it was getting at root causes). Then I regained. Then I started writing. Over time my focus has turned from mostly outward (wanting to fix others, wanting to preach to others, wanting approval from others) to a more inward focus (being a good example, getting approval from myself, trusting myself, not worrying about others). I find that when I get judgmental, snarky, preachy, etc. it's usually when I am not doing too well myself...

Jane Cartelli said...

Norma, I love you. Your talented writing and observations give me comic relief and have a good purpose.

Karen: Kindness can also kill unless it is tempered with reason. I would never be mean to my brother in any way, shape or form. When he was in the hospital and was not permitted to have any liquids by mouth, he begged and pleaded with me to bring him something to drink. I wouldn't do it. Other people did because they could not stand to see him suffer in thirst. Who knows how much their kindness caused worse suffering for my brother later on?
That would be a case of people being kind without reason. It would also be a case of people projecting their own feelings of anguish over the thirst situation and giving it to him to make themselves feel better.

Jane Cartelli said...

KCLA: I believe recovery from obesity is a threefold illness. Our physical recovery can be doing fine but if our emotional and spiritual parts are not in sync, it can come out in judgement. (perhaps fear of regain). On the other hand, if someone is in denial about any of the three legs to this stool, everything gets out of whack - eventually. I find it requires constant balance and care for all three legs for me to maintain my weight loss, my sanity and my peace of mind. I think working closely with other people is essential and there are times when I need to take a step back because the pain is too great. I accept that as an essential action at times.

Karen said...

Jane, that's true. There must be reason and boundary setting so it is not enabling.

It may be healthier not to comment if one feels snark coming on? There are healthy ways to entertain yourself rather than beating up, snarking, tellng some one to snap out of it, verbally or writing. IMO

My personal thoughts are when I treat myself kindly then I treat others the same way, no snark required. That time can be spent doing something else.

Interesting topic. Karen P

Anonymous said...

I am good with snark (obviously) as long as you are not being pointedly mean. I usually aim it towards myself, but it is usually to shrug off frustration. I have occasionally aimed it outward - if mean maybe it was also frustration or observation gone wrong. If I find myself being consistently snarky on someone's blog in comments I just stop going there. Clearly there is a problem. But you are not going to be all love and cuddles with everyone. When people are snarky with me on my blog I go back and look at what I wrote. Sometimes it is a good kick in the pants, sometimes I wonder if they were having a crap day. It happens. I always hope, in retrospect, that I did not hurt someone - so it IS good to try to be rational before committing to the comment!

Norma said...

Thanks, Jane. :) As my oldest friend (he's been through an obese period and is also now a fellow gym rat/nutrition Nazi) like to tell me, "There is no zealot like a convert." Perhaps some of what I think/say is judgmental...that, I suppose, is human nature: there are those in other camps who judge me for the amount of time I spend at the gym, the nitpickiness about the ingredients I put into my body, my rigidity and routine, how I spend my money, what clothes I wear and my love life...they're entitled to do so; I absolutely believe that for them, criticizing my choices (and dedication) helps them feel better about their own. What criticism or dark humor I direct toward some other bloggers/columnists is almost always rooted in my own experience. I did, at one time, and for a long time, root for certain bloggers and hoped they'd find their way out of the world of free Big Diet freeze-dried, shrink-wrapped food and make some real changes in addressing their dysfunctional relationship with food to achieve sustainable weight some point, it became clear that the pity party, ensuing attention, $$$$, enabling, rationalizing and excuses were much more important to these writers than actually doing the work and losing weight. I am convinced that the two or three in particular whom I occasionally singled out as absurdities do NOT WANT to actually lose weight, as their fat is not only their shield against the big bad world, but it's their identity, source of income and claim to fame. So yeah, I scorn and pity them as individuals. In a witty and well-written manner, I hope.

E. Jane said...

When I read snarky comments on the blogs, I always ask myself why I am blogging myself. I see it as an outlet or a journal or sorts, not as a soapbox to tell others how to deal with their obesity. I also don't see it as a forum where it is OK for me or anyone else to be abused. Most of us are looking for connections that will provide constructive ideas and a place where we can share our OWN experiences, both positive and negative.

It's OK if I berate myself a bit by occasionally confessing my shortcomings; however, I never intended to become a target of someone else's frustrations or projections of their own issues.

Cruelty is cruelty, even when it may be well intended. There have been some over-the-top bloggers whose stock and trade resided within the amount of controversy they can stir up, most often by touting their own weight loss process as being superior, as they berate someone who is struggling. In my opinion, cruelty is never OK. Constructive advice is OK, if one is kindly trying to help someone find an answer to their weight loss problems. If I become frustrated with the efforts of others to get going, I don't snark, I just stop reading and commenting. And then...I remember how difficult it is to deal with obesity. We're all crying inside, as we make unsuccessful attempts to lose or if we're in the throes and terror of regain. Most of us have been there. Even those who have achieved a normal weight had many false starts and attempts. This is one tough condition to have!! I'm not going to judge. But if I am tired of what a blogger is writing, I simply stop reading.

I have also noticed that some of the most controversial (and often cruel) bloggers (and there have been few) are no longer with us, or are rarely with us. Their audience simply moved on to more user friendly, positive blogs. And once they started having difficulty with their own weight loss process, they could no longer continue the charade, and because their blogs were built on negative feedback, they had no choice but to close up shop.

Just my thoughts...

Unknown said...

Hi Jane! First of all, if you want to give me a piece of your mind about my crappy eating, please do. You know a LOT about controlling your eating. Really a lot. I'd love to learn more from you, even on your grumpiest days. I'm receptive to that. Sadly, too many others are not, and ironically, feel very alone with their issues.

There's a place in the world for impatience with others. People are impatient because we want others to understand what we have a difficult time explaining to them. We want them to make those same mistakes--for years and even decades!!!!! It you mix impatience with some happiness,getting some sort of excitement out of it, sometimes that works. Snarky usually doesn't.

I don't mind being on the humble side of a conversation if it is going to help me. I'm not that great but always want to be better. When I hear, in other words, that what I did was wrong, I still manage to say "thank you for telling me that." Especially when I don't want to. People have given me so much good advice, often after I was a total screw-up at something.

:-) Marion

Unknown said...

What I meant was--we want them to *quit!* making those same mistakes over and over.

:-) Marion

Jane Cartelli said...

Munchie: Love your sentence "It is good to try to be rational before committing to a comment." It applies to everything else to. It is good to try and be rational before I decide to eat anything. It is good to try and be rational before I choose to pick up a 2x4 and beat someone over the head with it. . . . love it.

Norma: You are absolutely witty and you named the problem well: some people do not want to lose the weight if it means losing the attention. Perhaps they are afraid of what their new identity will be? I am forever grateful to someone who I met 5 years ago who challenged me then to start considering what weight loss meant to my identity. I think her statement to me, which I took very seriously. saved me from regaining the weight when the image of a normal body started showing in the mirror.

E.Jane -
Good observation on the obnoxious and cruel bloggers. I see that happening, too.

I would never attack anyone on their own blog. If they have a viable email I will write them kindly and offer help if wanted. Again, I am not talking about people who are struggling just because they struggle - that is life. We will all have struggles if we are honest about it and can accept what is causing it.
I am only talking about people who are struggling because they have a lasagna in the oven, a cupcake in one hand,and they are blogging with the other hand, and cannot understand why the weight is not coming off.

Jane Cartelli said...

I know I want to stop making the same mistakes over and over again. I had to see that it was about more mistakes than just food choices. That really made a difference in my keeping the pounds off. When honestly really took hold in my life the weight came off of my head first and then my body followed.

And I am never worried about discussions with you. We talk the same language.

E. Jane said...

Jane: I have never included you in the group of bloggers that I was referring to. I enjoy your honesty and frankness, as well as your wit. You speak of your own journey and what has worked for you. I do the same, as we're all different.

Jane Cartelli said...

EJane; I never thought otherwise. i was responing to Marion and forgot to add.her name. Please do not think I took your comment as anything other than helpful.

bbubblyb said...

Jane, I'm glad we came across each other's blog. Since you have more time in this than me I value what you say. I really do believe the more time that goes by the healthier we become in all areas of our lives.

I also know I struggle more than some but I also think the "mental" part plays more for some than others. I think our reasons for our obesity also play a big part. I try to live in today because I know that's what benefits me but I still have plenty of baggage from so many years spent obese and also from abuse suffered. I'm not sure how long it will take me to overcome that baggage but I'm working on it.

As for being "snarky" I liked what both Karen's said about projecting kindness and also about if I'm kind to myself first I will naturally project kindness to others. I also know that sometimes things other say or do and my reaction is a reflection of my own short comings at times.

I have never once found your comments to me snarky. I always know your comments are made with care and I value what you have to say. I look up to you in many ways. Sometimes I will admit I seek your approval but I also know that I have to find my own way and not everyone's path is the same.

I think I still have work to do in the confidence area and believing I can do anything all the time not just some of the time. I know I am in control and I have to remind myself of that more. I can't keep "using" food and saying "I'm out of control" when I'm the one "using". I'm hopeful with more time I will get stronger and realize life without "using" will be just fine, that my mind is enough to get me through.

Good post, definitely made me think.

Anonymous said...

I have stopped reading a few blogs due to "snarky," "witty" posts that were neither, only cruel and judgemental. I regret that this happened because at least one blogger, when she wasn't engaging in name calling and sometimes outright defamation, wrote really great posts that I found helpful and inspirational. However, when the so-called "snarky" posts were written, it would seem to inspire others to comment and join in on her cruelty. It started feeling like junior high bullying and I stopped reading. Like you, I've been on this rollercoaster nearly my whole life. While I feel like I have figured out a whole lot this time around, I don't know that I definitely won't regain the weight. I am simply not in a position to judge others. Thank you for encouraging us to think about these issues.

Dennis said...

I read a quote recently that has really stuck with me. "Failure is not falling down, it us failing to get up after you have fallen."