How My Mother Affected My Body Image
Start writing a post

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

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

14
Like Mother, Like Daughter: How My Mom Unintentionally Affected My Body Image
Paris Mercurio

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.

Report this Content
This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
Swoon

23 Pandemic-Approved Date Ideas That'll Send Sparks Flying From Six Feet Apart

There's a safe way to date right now and yes, it includes masks.

156398

While some people would rather opt out of dating altogether during the pandemic so they don't have to wear a mask on a first date, others are choosing to listen to both guidelines and their heart in order to find love during the time of coronavirus (COVID-19).

Should you be one of the individuals welcoming romance right now, there are pandemic-approved dates you can go on that still adhere to guidelines (and yes, you'll have to wear a mask).

Keep Reading... Show less

I didn't believe the notification when it came through to my phone: Ruth Bader Ginsburg had died from complications due to cancer.

Keep Reading... Show less

In our patriarchal society, men hide from their feelings, but toxic masculinity is literally killing men. They swallow the pain and move on so that they can look, feel, and act "tough."

But, strength is derived from asking for help and voicing your struggle and, trust me, working on your mental health is one hell of a struggle. The real way to "man up" is to acknowledge the downfalls in unjust societal norms. Mental health problems do not mean that a man is weak, they are neurologically-based disorders that require professional treatment.

Keep Reading... Show less
Swoon

11 Things Your Boyfriend Should Do Before He Drops $499 On A PS5

Let's start with spending less time gaming and more time with you.

10222

Scrolling through Twitter this week had me rolling on the floor laughing as I read some of the hilarious tweets from ladies who, whether in a relationship or not, shared reactions to the news that PlayStation 5 is on its way

As this "buy your boyfriend a PS5" joke takes off across the internet, let's just say, there are a few things your BF should be doing before dropping $499 on the new gaming system — or, if the tweets are real for some, before you buy it for him as a gift.

Keep Reading... Show less
Politics and Activism

Sorry, But 'I Don’t Care About Politics' Is Not A Valid Excuse For NOT Voting

The younger generation of voters is so crucial to the upcoming election because our vote is going to shape the world that we are about to enter as adults.

32970

When I ask my friends if they are voting this term most of them respond with "no" followed by an explanation of "I don't care enough," "It doesn't affect me," or "I don't keep up with politics," etc. I get it, as a college student I know that there are many other things to be concerned about like school, relationships, work, and friends. I also understand that keeping up with politics can seem like trying to keep up with an over-exaggerated reality show that has way too many seasons. Not to mention most news stations and websites are biased so it's hard to decipher if what you hear is true or fake.

However, despite all of this annoyance, as the next generation of Americans, we have to remember that we owe it to ourselves, our families, and to our futures to care.

Keep Reading... Show less
Tasia Sli

Tasia Sli and Anna Yang met in quintessential New York fashion at a chic rooftop event, inquisitive Yale grad Anna gravitating towards model/entrepreneur Tasia.

Keep Reading... Show less
Photo by Anna Hernández-Buces

"Do you have big parties on Cinco de Mayo?"

Keep Reading... Show less

Two of my favorite things in life are reading and books. Obviously, they go hand-in-hand. In my life, I've realized that there is nothing better than learning about the current world or getting fully immersed in another world. Reading can inspire, teach, and entertain you.

For me, the feeling of opening a book and smelling that fresh book smell can't compete with anything else.

Keep Reading... Show less

Expecting mother and wife to singer/songwriter John Legend may have accidentally slipped up and revealed the gender of her and Legend's third baby today on her Instagram story.

Keep Reading... Show less
Lifestyle

20 Books About Latin And Hispanic Heritage Absolutely Everyone Should Have On Their Bookshelf

Any ally of the community needs to be reading these incredible reads.

10003

I go through phases when it comes to what I like to read. I am typically reading two books at any given time: one serious nonfiction and one escapist fiction novel to have on hand and open up depending on my mood.

What remains consistent, however, amongst most of my fellow bibliophiles is a desire to try new and different authors and genres. I, as an Indian woman, have been partial to reading books written by fellow Indian and Desi writers since I first got a library card.

Keep Reading... Show less
Health and Wellness

I Asked 46 Women What They Thought About The Term 'Plus-Size', And Here's What They Had To Say

It's 2020, where change is inevitable and norms are not only questioned, but challenged.

5501

We live in a world where it's become customary to push boundaries, break rules, and question standards upheld by society. Though try as we might, some of these standards are harder to conquer than others — body image is one of the top contenders.

For years, the body positivity movement has pushed for the acceptance of all marginalized body types not represented or celebrated in the media. Recently, we've gotten better at appreciating and accepting all body types, but one thing that's still lingering is the stigma of body image in the fashion industry — more specifically, the term "plus-size."

Keep Reading... Show less
Netflix

Many popular TV shows are holding off premiers until spring, so most people are relying on their television subscriptions to get them through a socially distant fall semester.

Thankfully, Netflix was busy filming this past year because there is a ton of new original content coming in the near future. From mysteries to romances, here are some of the best new shows you have to check out this year:

Keep Reading... Show less
Entertainment

Taylor Swift Sang 'betty' At The ACMs And It Was The Perfect First Live 'folklore' Performance

I guarantee that Inez is spreading rumors about how fire this performance was.

4420
CBS

The Academy of Country Music Awards were last night and the performances were wonderful, but Taylor Swift's live version of "betty" from her newest album "folklore" really took the cake for me.

Keep Reading... Show less
Health and Wellness

9 Reasons I Unfollowed All The Fitness Influencers On My Instagram Feed

I don't need to feel bad about myself because of who I follow on social media.

3167

Throughout quarantine, something that a lot of us picked up on was working out. With all the free time, it seemed like the perfect opportunity to work on that "dream bod" you've been wanting for years, or to just feel good about yourself.

A common way to stay motivated and keep yourself on-task is to follow fitness influencers on various platforms. For some people, yes, this can be a healthy and helpful way to keep your drive. In other cases, however, this can do more harm than good.

Keep Reading... Show less
Facebook Comments