Here’s an email I received a while back from someone who purchased the first edition of my book, “Where There’s Smoke”, (currently going through revision for 2nd edition), reprinted here with permission. I’m including my reply. Any comments or sharing of your experiences are more than welcome.
Thank you very much for addressing a problem that isn’t spoken about in many circles. I have an 8 year old daughter I want to try and protect if any incidents of female rational aggression occurs.
I had a question for you if you have the time. I’ve lost a great deal of weight (30+ lbs) and still have plenty to go. I want to be healthy during the 2nd half of my life and keep up with my daughter.
What I’ve noticed with some of my female friends is they seem standoff-ish and not so nice now that I’ve lost weight. Have you in your research experienced women who better themselves physically and mentally only to receive some sort of backlash?…
I also noticed with women for example, I don’t know in the grocery store when they see me coming the look on their face and physically movements get almost a rage type of look, and it really bothers me. I’m pretty easy going, I’m probably being hypersensitive about the reactions I’m experiencing.
I hope I’m being clear on my question. I’m hurting inside because I feel like I’m going to lose a few friends just because I wanted to become mentally and physically sound. That’s a major reason I purchased your book. Friendships are very complex and the older I get, it seems harder to figure out who is a true friend.
And here’s my response:
Thanks for the feedback. I think it’s awesome that you are educating yourself about relational aggression. Our daughters can really inspire us, can’t they? My oldest daughter came face to face with it in elementary school, probably around 10 or so. It was awful. I handled it best I could, but I wish I knew more about the dynamics then. It would have, also, helped me later when I became a target in another situation.
Anyway, in answer to your question about women receiving some kind of backlash to new choices they make for themselves? Yes. Unfortunately, it’s a common experience. It’s almost as if you betrayed them or something.
Some women need others to stay just the way they are, because any new changes you make shows that they have no excuse for whatever rut or bad choices they’ve made for themselves. Jealousy factors in. The level of insecurity is a good indicator of how much of a backlash there might be.
It can be very subtle. You know, the friends who encourage you to have another piece of pie or keep offering you chips. It can come in the form of a look or a smirk or whatever or it can be outright alienation. The intent is the same. To cause you to trip and fall.
It could very well be that you will lose some friends, but then friends who want to keep you down, who would prevent you from moving ahead aren’t really friends to begin with. A woman actually doing what she needs to do to take care of better herself is often a great revealer of who is a friend and who is not.
Endings are always sad, even if the situation wasn’t the best for you. But don’t let that stop you from your commitment to your health and happiness. Know that while it’s sad, it’s also a cause for celebration! You will meet new people who will be happy for you, who will accept you for who you are.
As you leave older not-so-good-for-you-friends, you will find those who are also reaching for their own dreams drawn into your life. Your life will become richer and filled with more people who are actually worth spending time with. It’s not a perfect transition, but if you hang in there and keep true to yourself, it will happen.
What a wonderful example to set for your daughter!
As far as strangers looking at you negatively, you’ll always find those. Don’t let that get to you. The world is full of people. What you want to do is look for the kind ones.
A smile is one of the most powerful magnets I know.
Don’t feel apologetic for losing weight. Be comfortable in your changing body, and embrace your new health and commitment with a healthy passion. And don’t let your so called “friends’” reaction color how you perceive other people.
Go on out there and be friendly and self-confident. Hold your head high, think about the little girl you love and let yourself smile. You will find others will smile back. Some won’t. Who cares?
And if someone is so hung up they can’t stand the sight of a happy person, so what? That’s their problem. Don’t let it become yours. As long as they don’t try to sabotage you or hurt you in any way, you can just let those people go.
I’m so happy for you, [name removed]. I think everything is going to work out okay. The most important person in your life is that little girl, and I am so happy for her that she has a mother who is willing to show, through example, what it means to respect yourself and work for what you want.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Be Notified of New Posts by Email