Dear Amy: I recently went out with a couple of “gal friends” who openly and loudly mocked people who are noticeably overweight/obese.
With so many family members battling weight issues, it really impresses me.
In the first place, I was so surprised that I could not reply; In the second case, I spoke briefly about eating disorders.
My friend Marilyn didn’t understand. Her pride point: “If I were, I’d lock myself up in a room until I lost weight. That’s all a guy has to do.”
Please suggest how I can respond in the future. I will never sit back and listen to rude comments and lack of understanding again.
Finding the right assertive words to support people is absolutely essential in our world where people look, speak or act differently.
I don’t want to make enemies. Better to help others understand.
Dear Heartland: People of all sizes have the right to live in their own body and walk around in public without noticing. They have the right to live among humans without being judged or ridiculed. These rights are very basic.
Don’t bother lecturing these women about eating disorders. Not all obese people have an eating disorder, and not all obese people hate their bodies or crave being thin.
When it comes to the genius “return” of this type of bullying, I remember a legendary moment on the old Johnny Carson Show.
The larger-than-life defected genius film director Orson Welles (a man of many qualities) was a guest on the show, along with the troubled and famously loud actor Robert Blake.
Robert Blake came in, looked at Welles up and down and said to him, “You make Wimpy look stingy!”
Welles immediately replied: “I’m fat, and you’re ugly. But I can go on a diet.”
There is scope for how to respond.
You could say, “What if we don’t criticize and shame other humans who are just going out for their special day, and their only crime was leaving the house? These comments are not a good look at you.”
Idea #2 (that might turn those friends into friends of friends): “Maybe we should rethink who really needs to put it in the closet, Marilyn.”
There’s also a response that might inspire these women to think about their behavior, without directing them to: Pack your things and simply say, “I don’t like watching you two act this way. I’ve decided to go.”
Dear Amy: I am the youngest of many siblings. I found out two years ago that we have a half-brother. I have contacted him, but have not received any response.
Only two of my brothers know. One gets very upset and angry (I think he just wants to protect our deceased father’s reputation). The other brother seems indifferent.
I am so excited to meet our brother.
Finally, last week, I reached out to his wife. She replied and told me he only had two weeks (maybe a month) to live.
I think all my siblings have a right to know and decide if they want to contact him before he passes away, but I’m at a loss as to what to do.
Shortly before his death, our father met this son and told him that neither my mother nor his other children knew about him and that he wanted to keep her that way.
Do I tell them and risk the emotional problems it causes them, or do I not tell them and deny them the knowledge of another brother?
desperate and confused
Dear Desperate: It tells us a lot about how committed your family is to secrets that some siblings have known about this half-brother for a long time, but haven’t revealed to others.
At this point, all your worries should be directed at the dying man, who presumably lacks the strength to deal with your family drama.
You should reach out to his wife and see him immediately (if he wants to), and offer him the option to communicate with you and your other siblings. Bring family photos from your co-mom, and treat your siblings afterward.
Dear Amy: The “Dreamer” had constant thoughts and dreams about her first love.
I appreciate your explanation of how the subconscious uses these dreams to fix events from her past.
I am wrestling with something similar. It has inspired me to take a fresh look at what’s behind rumination.
Dear Grateful: Dreams can provide long-awaited answers.
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