I am seated at my desk early on a Sunday morning. Very early, as in 4 a.m. I am reading through the journals from my clients. Entry after entry, four in a row now, I read about my clients having been bullied, pressured into eating and drinking.
I can now feel their silent cry.
‘Why?’, I asked. Why do friends and family push you to eat and drink when you clearly don’t want it?
I can hear Clarissa wanting to say, ‘Why do you want me to eat when I clearly have told you I don’t want it?’
Martha wanting to ask, ’Why are you pressuring me to drink when I politely refused your offer three times?’
I can hear Elizabeth wanting to say,
’Why do you insist on bullying me? Yes, bullying, because that is how you are making me feel. I am living. I choose to not partake in the food. I am here and want to enjoy the company, why must you badger and bully me this way?’
I can feel how each of you is feeling in these situations. I have been where you are.
I keep reading my clients’ journal entries when I come across Helen’s journal. She writes about an evening out with friends.
‘My friends and I went to a movie. Afterward, the girls wanted to have a drink, and I went along but I told them I would be the designated driver for the night. My so-called friend orders me a $13 cocktail, tells me to drink it and to stop being a stick in the mud. I was floored, and insulted, and hurt all at the same time.
How dare she order me a drink? How dare she tell me I’m a stick in the mud, I am the designated driver? What is she thinking?
I was really hurt! I did not have even a sip of that drink because I was the designated driver.
But if I had not been the D.D., I probably would have drunk it because I felt embarrassed, I was mortified.’
After reading this journal entry, I am very close to tears. I feel so bad that Helen and others like her have had to endure this type of treatment from the people they know and care about. Why don’t their friends and family understand that you want to enjoy their company and be social, and you have chosen not to overindulge in food or drink?
I can hear each of you screaming,
‘I don’t want to feel like this anymore! I want to feel healthy. I want more energy. I don’t want to feel like this anymore!
Why do you keep pushing me? I have said no three times! And you still don’t hear me! Stop making me feel like there’s something wrong with me!’
It’s now 6 a.m. and I’m still reading about your Saturday night and how you barely escaped.
To my clients, I say, hold your ground.
And to the people who think they are helping when someone says, ‘No thank you.’ let their no thank you be a no thank you. Get out of the habit of pushing them, even in a joking way, to eat or drink. It is a real struggle for many of us to maintain control over social situations.
Rather than pressure them, support the person. Make them feel comfortable. Can you do that?
I always submit my blog for reading to a few clients. I received good feedback and the majority identified with the clients in the piece. I will be submitting subsequent articles that have client feedback and feelings! If you feel you want to share, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Your sister in Christ!