defence

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Handing Back the Hate

Published April 26, 2010 by Fat Heffalump

Yesterday I got an email from a friend (you know who you are *waves*) terribly upset because she’d been yelled at by some douchebags in a passing car again, and wanted to talk to someone who knows what it’s like to be on the receiving end of such bullshit.

My heart hurts for her, because yes, it happens to me pretty regularly, and I know how it can really pierce through to a very vulnerable spot.  I remember the humiliation, the hurt, the shame, the tears, the shock very clearly.  And I remember just thinking “Why?  What do you have to gain from being so hurtful to me, a complete stranger?”

I sent her an email telling her what an awesome friend she is, and how the opinion of random douchebags on the street is no reflection on her as a person.  But I know it’s still hurting and that her self esteem has taken a pretty full on hit.

The thing is, knowing why someone has to randomly hurt a stranger doesn’t help.  Even if you were given the opportunity to ask knowing that the answer you would get would be honest (and let’s face it, douchebags are not really forthcoming with the honesty huh?) the answer wouldn’t be enough to you and I, to those of us on the receiving end, to justify being targeted with such hate and humiliation.  Because usually, it’s such a pointless reason that we can’t imagine someone would hurt another person for it.

My friend asked me how I stopped it happening to me, and how I got to the point that it doesn’t hurt any more.

It doesn’t happen any less to me now that I have stronger self esteem and confidence.  It still happens pretty much on a daily basis.  Sometimes it still hurts for a bit, usually with the shock, you know?  Though why I still feel shock when it happens, I don’t know.  You’d think I’d be used to it by now.

But what has changed is me.  I’ve found a resilience I didn’t know it was possible to have.  Though I didn’t just lift up one of the sofa cushions and there that resilience was, I had to learn a lot of lessons and practice.  I still do, believe me, I fall off the resilient wagon from time to time.

Plus any of you who blog will know, having a presence on a blog as a fat woman is always target to trolls and douchebags.  Thank God for WordPress huh?  It cleans up so many of them so effectively.

A valuable lesson I learnt is that when someone treats you badly, it’s not your fault and it’s not your baggage to carry.  It’s not about you, you’re just the whipping girl/boy they’ve singled out to dump their baggage on.  You’re not the one that is flawed or broken… THEY ARE.

I have an analogy I like to use.  I was sharing this one with another friend recently, it’s a little more blunt than most therapists and other professionals would express it, but it works for me so I’m going to share it with you.

When someone is hurtful to you, think of that hurtful behaviour as a big steaming turd.  I told you it was blunt!  Think of the hate, or anger, or nastiness they are slinging you as a big steaming poo.  Now ask yourself “Did I do anything to earn this big steaming turd?  Was I nasty or rude to this person?  Did I say or do something to them that would have hurt them?”  Usually the answer is no, because hey, they’re a random douchebag right?

When the answer is no, as it usually will be, think to yourself “No, that is not my big steaming turd.  I didn’t produce it.  It’s yours.” and metaphorically hand it back to them.  Refuse it in your own mind “I am not taking on your shit.  It is yours to carry.”  Imagine yourself handing them back that big stinky poo, on the end of a shovel so you don’t get any on yourself, and washing your hands of it.

It works.  In two ways.  Firstly you hand back all the hate, negativity, anger, prejudice and bad behaviour to the person who owns it.  And secondly, I always get a giggle out of thinking of some douchebag standing there with a bit stinky turd in his or her hand!  If the douchebags of the world knew what I was thinking about them!

It’s wrong that we have to deal with this.  It’s wrong that we have to suffer through people treating us badly for whatever reasons – but it happens and you can only deal with it as best as you can.

Feel free to try my method – if it works for you, I’m really happy to have shared it.  If not, have you found another method that helps you get through douchebaggery?

Dealing with Douchebags

Published September 22, 2009 by Fat Heffalump
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Ugh, I hate having to even talk about this topic, because it is so wrong that it still happens. But I know most of you have dealt with this shit so I’m going to talk about some ways to handle it and cope when it happens.
Yes, it’s douchebag season again. But when is it bloody not?
I copped some abuse again this afternoon from a douchebag passing by in a car. I was idly standing at a pedestrian crossing on my way to catch the bus home, when a car went by and a douchebag hung out of the window and screamed “Hey you stinky fat fuck!”
How absolutely mature and erudite. Fucktard.
This is an almost daily occurrence for myself and many other fatties. It’s not just fucktard bogans in passing cars either. The douchebaggery comes from all walks of life. I’ve copped everything from little old ladies stating loudly that “People like that shouldn’t eat.” as they passed me eating fruit salad in a shopping centre, teenage kids pointing and giggling, men making disgusting comments about “fucking the lard arse”, right through to a somewhat normal looking woman in her 40’s who pushed me on an escalator and when I said “Excuse me!” turned and replied “Well you shouldn’t be so fucking fat!”
The worst that I ever got was the time I was on the train to work and a group of young guys in King Gees started making barking noises, and I looked up to catch one taking a photograph of me on his mobile phone. I then sat there in horror as he texted it to all of the guys around him, who sat around making the most horrific comments about me being a “fucking fat dog who should just kill herself.”
It used to tear me to pieces. The times I would arrive at work and burst into tears because someone had exhibited this douchebaggery to me in the street… I can’t tell you how often it happened. Many times I came within a whisker of taking my own life out of sheer despair at how complete strangers treated me. I can’t describe the pain it would put me through.
These days I am lucky enough to have got some excellent help from both my GP and a very good psychologist who have taught me how to protect myself emotionally from douchebaggery, as well as where my value lies as a human being. But while I don’t let these people destroy me like they used to, it still hurts, every single time.
I’m still at a loss how to deal with it a lot of the time. Do I flip them the bird? Do I say something like “Fuck you, douchebag!”? Do I ignore it? More often than not, I’m so shocked that all I can do is blink and flinch.
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A friend of mine recently said “I wish I was there when this happened Kath, I’d smack the bastards one!” when I was telling him about how douchebags treat fat people. The thing is, douchebags are quintessentially cowards. They tend to pick on lone fatties, or maybe a couple of women. Douchebags never pick on a fatty that has a male friend with them. Nor do they pick on fatties in groups of people. I’d love to have this mate with me when someone had a go, because while he probably wouldn’t smack them one, he would definitely step up and tell them where to go. But as I said, douchebags are cowards.
However sometimes justice comes to play. Remember the guys in the King Gees on the train? Well, I got to work that day, and burst into tears. And one of my bosses at the time, Ali, happened to be in. She demanded the whole story from me. She asked me to describe the guys, and for some reason I remembered the logo on their King Gees. She called the company, which turned out to be an apprentice training company. She demanded to speak to the manager of the company. It turns out that these young guys were a group of apprentices going off for a training session in the city that day, completely paid for by the company. The manager knew the exact class/group that it was. When given the description of the guy who took the photo of me on his phone, he knew exactly who it was. He told Ali that he would investigate and take some action.
Ali called the manager of that company every morning for four days. On the fourth day, the manager called Ali first. He told her he had called in each of the guys from that group one by one, leaving the dude with the phone for last. As he said “I wanted him to sweat bullets”. He demanded each of the guys prove that there were no photos of not only me, but other women they had encountered on public transport etc on their phones. He told each of them that if he ever caught them harassing anyone again, in company uniform or otherwise, they would lose their apprenticeships, no further notice. The last guy, the one that took the photo? In the managers words “I tore him a new arsehole, ‘scuse the French Ma’am.”
I’m not sure if Ali knows how much it means to me that she went in to bat for me. Her anger and indignation at their treatment of me meant more to me than I can put into words.
If you’re a friend, family member or other person in the life of a fatty, please, PLEASE take the time to listen when they tell you of douchebaggery they have suffered. If you’re with a fatty and someone abuses them, and you can (it’s not always safe to do so), stand up for them. Or at least console them. If you can’t understand why you should, perhaps think what it would feel like if someone insulted you all the time. How would it feel if people told you that you should die, because of the way you look? How would you feel to be pushed, spat on, your photograph taken for ridicule, food thrown at you, lewd comments made about you (even about raping you – for some reason douchebags like to throw this one at fatties), sworn at, criticised by old ladies and middle aged women, and avoided as though you have some horrible contagious disease?
Because that’s what happens.
If you’re a fatty that has suffered douchebaggery (and who of us hasn’t), ***hugs***. I know how much it hurts, and I know the hurt doesn’t get any less with time, even when your self esteem is strong and you are confident. I know it’s wrong and unfair that this shit still happens. And you are welcome to vent about it in the comments here if you want to. I’m sorry that you, and I, have to put up with this.
Remember, even if you can’t say it, you can always think it:
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