Woe Is Me! “A Person in My Life Keeps Insulting My Body and My Life Choices!”


May 3, 2020


Image credit: Teesri Kasam (1966)

Woe Is Me! is a series in which The Swaddle team indulges your pity party with advice you’ll probably ignore.

“A person in my life, whom I don’t want to reveal too much about, keeps trying to tear me down. He says my degree in gender studies will get me nowhere, that no one will hire me and that I’m wasting my time. This makes me feel worthless and devalues all the effort I put into studying hard. He also keeps making comments about my weight, calling me skinny and malnourished all the time. No matter how much, or how many times I eat around him, he refuses to see me as anything but weak. How do I make this stop?”

— Unwanted Opinion Receptacle

RD: You can’t make it stop. That’s who he is. And even if this terrible man was capable of change, do you want to be the punching bag that helps him get there? What he’s doing to you is toxic, undermining, and insulting. If you can leave, please leave this shit for brains. How he’s treating you is dangerous. I suggest you get out before it gets worse.

SM: There are a lot of people who take joy in bringing us down. I think when we’re younger it’s difficult to recognize initially, but the more comfortable they get with you, the more comfortable they feel demeaning every part of you. This person clearly feels they’ve reached that place. You’re writing this woe from a place of hurt, but I’d suggest you turn that hurt into anger at this awful person and turn him out of your life. This experience must have been so painful, and I’m sorry you had to go through this. But it does bring with it a valuable lesson — to never get close to someone who demeans you. If anyone attempts to demean you even in a small way, and it hurts you, you give it right back, so they won’t dare to do it again. Your degree in gender studies will take you places, and good metabolism is a gift to be cherished. It’s become such a cliche now, but as I grow older I’ve begun to realize that the only way to be happy and to overcome insecurities is to surround yourself with a fortress of self-love and confidence, not with people who fuel your insecurities or create new ones. You deserve better. Hell, you deserve the very best!

AM: You can’t and don’t have to make it stop. That’s who he is and he will probably never change or it’ll take him years to be what he’s not and you don’t want to deal with that. Just go away from this person as soon as you can. You chose to study what you were interested in, and it was your decision. How can he decide how good or bad it’ll be? Everything he’s saying is an attempt to pull you down for some reason only he’s aware of. Good relationships aren’t meant to make you feel insecure or devalue yourself, and this sounds like anything but good. You don’t have to do anything to make him stop, that’s his problem, it’s time for you to stop this by getting out of it altogether and I’m sure you will.  At least you know what kind of people to stay away from in the future. Good luck!

DR: Hey! Unfortunately, I have gone through what you’re dealing with right now — in terms of both career-shaming and body-shaming from my high school boyfriend. And, believe me when I say this: these people DO NOT stop projecting negativity until they’ve irreversibly damaged your self-worth and undermined your confidence. You might want to look up “negging” (a close cousin of “gaslighting”), in case you aren’t aware of this technique. The wrong choice you’ve made isn’t choosing a degree in gender studies, but choosing to put this man in an important place in your life. But, before he breeds more toxicity and harms your mental health further, you need to dump his behind and break this chain of abuse! I’m sure you are going to find yourself intertwined in a web of emotions when you try to do that, and you’ll probably mistake that for feelings, or worse — love, but it’s nothing more than emotional manipulation, and no matter what he said — you’re not weak. Oh, and you have no idea just how much brighter the world will seem, and how much happier you will be once his spirit has been exorcised completely from your life and his negative sermons have stopped echoing in your head — it’ll take a few months, but in the end, it’ll be worth it… because you’re worth it (please forgive the L’Oréal-ness of that)!

ADT: Please drop this individual from your life as quickly as you’d drop a hot potato with a spider on it. There is no better time to major in gender studies than now — considering the slow, but sure progress we’re making towards achieving equality and rights for all. Only a dense fool would look down upon the importance of such a vital field of study. On top of that, imagine being pathetic and embarrassing enough to pass judgment on another person’s body. Neanderthals have more sophistication. If he attempts to speak to you again, do not engage. If he insists, look him in the eye, say, “Okay loser,” and walk away.


Written By The Swaddle Team

  1. Dishari Roy

    Hello! Very insightful replies, but I feel the Swaddle team here has missed out on something. All of the suggestions are made on the presumption that the the person bothering the victim is her boyfriend/ romantic partner. I would like to suggest that the perpetrator could very well be her father, and that puts her in a very complicated situation. ‘Throw the toxic person out of your life’ isn’t really that most helpful advice in such a scenario.

  2. SK

    It’s important to be happy and the purpose of love or happiness is to do so. What’s the use of being in a relationship which gives you pain and tears? By all means, stay away from mean, demeaning or toxic relationships. U deserve better !

  3. S

    Having Faced and facing also….but Now that I am well aware and healing out of it from being sensitive to being tough and empathic……… and the most Important reason it is my family .. mine is “indian rural joint family’s hardly 1 or 2 out of 20-25 people manage to study and well known for talent- hiding the oppressive reality assuming it happens in everybody’s family”👪, I want to make sure ‘my mother and sisterinlaws n childrens in my family who are being discouraged’ I want them to raise their voice , stand for right for their own self worth. Sometimes it backfires…n sometimes times it works.
    When women and children in my family cry then i am like angry “why don’t they listen to me and fall in men’s ambitious trap!?”
    Frustrating it is…for me because I am in the same boat. Feel helpless, being secret alone worrier.
    But I am determined…even if I am loosr for them…. i will support the right cause….I want next generation of my family to be respectful towerds every individual and not discriminate and ‘neither to get discouraged nor to discourage.’


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