Like Mother, Like Daughter: How My Mom Unintentionally Affected My Body Image

Like Mother, Like Daughter: How My Mom Unintentionally Affected My Body Image

"It's impossible to drown out the voice of someone you love."


Something that I have struggled with for a long time and recently become more aware of is my troubled relationship with food and with my body. I have dealt with issues relating to body image for at least the past 5 years. Ever since I first became aware of my body in comparison to others, I have struggled to accept myself the way I am. I very rarely share these thoughts with other people and the few people that I have told only know small bits of the whole reality. I keep these feelings to myself for many reasons. Primarily, I feel as though I am not allowed to dislike my body because I am generally thin. I know that if I told my friends how I felt, they wouldn't take me seriously about it. But the reality is, anyone at any weight can dislike their body, and everyone is allowed to feel how they feel about themselves regardless of their appearance.

Part of my problem has to do with my mother. When she was my age, she was a fitness fanatic, and she grew up to become a personal trainer. I have always felt at odds with her when it comes to health, fitness, and especially body image. She makes sure I remember that when she graduated high school, she weighed only 106 pounds. I remember the day I was weighed at the nurse's office during my sophomore year of high school and I found out that I had reached 107 pounds. I felt like I could never be as good as her, and I would always just let her down by not living up to her standards. I felt so awful about myself, and that was only the beginning. I've gained a lot of weight since then. Just a few months ago, she came with me to my doctor's checkup appointment. The nurse weighed me and I was mortified to find out that I was 118 pounds. When the nurse left the room, my mother very obviously craned her neck to check the number on the scale. "118 pounds," she said, and it sounded like she'd given up on me right then and there. "Well, weight fluctuates," I said, a desperate attempt to make an excuse for myself. Last time I had a checkup appointment, I was 111. "By 7 pounds, though," she replied. I wanted to sink into the floor. Then, to make matters worse, she got up on the scale and weighed herself. "110 pounds," she said loud enough to make sure I would hear. I wished that I could just disappear. My mom and I have different body types and I'm a little bit taller than her, but that never mattered in her book. As far as she's concerned, we'll always be in direct competition.

I struggle a lot with food. I find it very difficult to cook and eat food around my mom. When she's not around, I take the chance to bake treats and eat whatever junk I can, but it only ends up making me feel terrible about myself later on. I know that I need to work on my eating habits. Even though I've never binged, purged, or starved myself, I now know that the absence of extreme eating disorders does not mean I have a perfect relationship with food. I eat a lot of sugar because it brings me comfort in the moment, but I always feel the worst afterward. My family has a genetic history of diabetes and I know that I should be careful even now, developing healthy habits early on. I don't know why I do it. Sometimes, I feel like I just do it to get back at my mom in some weird way. As much as I want to impress her, it also feels sort of freeing to defy her, even in secret. But I hate feeling her watching eyes on me no matter what I'm wearing, seeing her judging face as she searches every inch of my body, calculating how much weight I must've gained recently. I hate walking out of the kitchen with a plate of food and hearing her say, "you're going to eat all of that?" I absolutely hate knowing that the times she's expressed being the proudest of me directly correlate with the times I've been the skinniest. But it all hurts so much that I usually don't have the courage to admit it to myself.

She has said so many times that she only wants the best for me, that she just wants me to feel happy with myself. But she doesn't realize that everything she does to supposedly make me feel better just makes me feel much, much worse. My mom claims that she gained a lot of weight during her freshman year of college and really struggled during that time. She says that she doesn't want me to ever have to feel the way she did. I want to tell her that in the process of trying to prevent that from happening to me in the future, she's made me feel that exact way for years. I sometimes worry that I'm exaggerating my mom's actions and projecting off of her. Her voice just feels like the outward expression of the voice inside my head that tells me I'm not good enough. It's so much harder to ignore that voice when it's not just inside, but also outside and attached to the person you love most in the world. I am quite literally an extension of my mother, and she is an extension of my deepest insecurities. I never wanted her to be, but she is. And it's impossible to drown out the voice of someone you love. I can't disconnect from that part of her, so I simply have to learn to coexist with it. I don't know how to get past it, but I want to try.

Popular Right Now

There Are No More Government Shutdowns On The Horizon For Now, But The Future Is Unknown

Can the government shutdown occur again?


A $333 billion spending bill has been made for President Trump to sign to prevent any further government shutdowns. The bill says little about the broader the president is demanding to build. Other border security ideas are mentioned and funding for some departments that have been neglected because of the shutdown.

As for the border, there are some provisions. Texas' Rio Grande Valley border has built a 55-mile "pedestrian fencing" which cost about $1,375 billion. Trump is willing to sign this deal but also making an executive order by declaring a national emergency to get the border wall he wants. He explained it by saying, "We're going to confront the national security crisis on our southern border and we're going to do it one way or the other." He says we have to take action fast in order to stop the smuggling of drugs and human trafficking, which he says Mexico is responsible for.

President Trump is making a total of $8 billion dollars, spending from the executive order, national emergency, and the congressional appropriations bill. Senates leaders have given their opinion on it. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer have given their statement, "The President's unlawful declaration over a crisis that does not exist does great violence to our Constitution and makes America less safe, stealing from urgently needed defense funds for the security of our military and our nation."

This declaration of emergency is going to court, to make sure it is legal. Many leaders have opposed saying this is a fake emergency. Declaring an emergency lets the POTUS move around some money in the military-construction funds a total of $3.6 billion. That money will have to pull from other fundings to gain it. If Trump does not get his desired wall, we can expect another government shutdown.

Related Content

Connect with a generation
of new voices.

We are students, thinkers, influencers, and communities sharing our ideas with the world. Join our platform to create and discover content that actually matters to you.

Learn more Start Creating

6 Things That Just Shouldn't Exist

Why would they do that?


Okay folks! It's time, once again, for an Anna Bechtel article where I am a grumpy old lady and complain about things that shouldn't exist.

Why? Because I feel like it. And because I can. And I haven't done this in a week.

Here we go.

1. Wireless earbuds

We don't need these. They're way too small, and they look stupid. Even the non-Apple ones look stupid. We have perfectly working earbuds. We don't need these.

2. Electronics that aren't their normal size

The tablets are like huge phones. The phones are smaller tablets. The computers are normal sized tablets. WHY? Just make each product around a certain size!

3. Stan Twitter & Terms

If I read one more "ugh, her mind," "skinny legend," "iconic," "goddess," or "boy bye," I am going to personally report everyone doing this. Unless it's done ironically or sarcastically. Plus these people are fuckin insane. Who has this much time?!

4. Dating Shows 

Whether it's The Bachelor and it's 20 spin-offs, Are You The One, or anything else, we just need to stop with these dating shows. Hardly any of these couples ever stay together, and it's not like these people are actually doing something interesting. However, some of these contestants do make good podcasts after the show. Hmm, why isn't podcasting a reality competition? I gotta produce this. Let me drop out of college real quick.

5. Balloons


Honestly, why? They don't do anything. If you accidentally let them go, you'll never see them again and they will become litter. They deflate in a week. And they pop easily. There's no point to them.

6. Glow Sticks


Okay, first of all, "glow" sticks? They hardly even glow. Also, they're way too tight, and uncomfortable to wear, you can only use them for one night, and if they break, you die. Not worth it.

Related Content

Facebook Comments