Post # 1
I’m wondering if I can get some advice about how to handle a sensitive topic with my mom. My wedding is about 6 months away and every time I talk to my mom about plans for it, she becomes increasingly anxious about how she will look on the big day. She talks about having to lose lots of weight, worries about whether or not she will need botox, and whether or not she will need to learn how to wear make up (which she really doesn’t wear day-to-day). I’ve told her that she doesn’t need to do anything different than she normally would, that she is beautiful and that I want her to look like herself on my wedding day. But it doesn’t seem to help; my future MIL recently asked me what color dress my mom is plannng on wearing to the wedding and I’m really hesistant to bring it up to my mom, thinking it will just result in more of this ridiculous body anxiety. I feel super guilty because it’s almost like my wedding is causing my mom to hate herself.
I should also mention that this is informed by a long history of bad self-esteem and body image between my mom and me. My mom is an amazing woman — really passionate, driven in her career, and a very kind and loving person. She’s just never been kind to herself. Growing up, she constantly complained about her body to me (even though she was always an average, healthy weight); and even though she never said anything cruel about my own body, I inherited a lot of that self-loathing. It’s taken me years to get to a point where I feel at peace with my body image, but talking about this wedding is making me increasingly anxious that I need to go on some sort of crazy diet. And yet, I can’t just not talk to her about the wedding. I need her advice and her support.
Have any of you experienced this with your mothers during the wedding planning process? Is this normal? How did you navigate it? I totally appreciate any advice!
Post # 3
- Wedding: October 2013 - Dalhousie Castle
I know what you mean because my mum was a bit the same, though maybe not so extreme. She was always worried about her figure when we were growing up. It didn’t help that my Dad was quite critical about the way we all looked. Now me and my sister have definitely inherited some of those issues.
My mum was king of the same when it came to the wedding. She didn’t talk about weightloss that much, but was really really concerned about having a great outfit and hair etc. She, like, me was really worried about being judged by people there for not looking good enough and in the photos later.
I’m not sure what to recommend except that she go to therapy.This helped my mum, my sister and me to gain confidence and self esteem. I don’t think this is something that can be helped by resoning with her or telling her she looks beauitful. It’s probably deeply ingrained in the way she thinks about herself.
This is one thing I am so afraid about passing on these issues if I have a daughter in the future. I don’t want her to feel like she’s only worth something if she’s beautiful on the outside.
Post # 4
@AnotherMrsBrown: Thank you. I forget how ingrained this is and therapy would really help here. I’m also terrified about passing this on to a future daughter; it seems like it would be so easy to slip up.
Post # 5
Don’t take this guilt upon yourself. Your Mom’s issues are her own.
I suggest you tell your Mom that FMIL is asking about dress color and ask your Mom if she wants to phone FMIL herself , or if she would like you to tell FMIL she can go ahead and purchase any color she wants. Then just back off and drop the whole subject. Eventually your Mom will get a dress.
Post # 6
@eilean: I’m going through this with my mom. She is by no means “fat” perhaps a size 12. She hates the shape of her body and finds ANY imperfection in EVERY dress she puts on. I say it looks beautiful, the saleswoman says it looks beautiful but she insists they look terrible. It’s like watching someone with an eating disorder. What she sees in the mirror is not reality. We’ve been to 6 different stores and tried on at least 40 dresses. I even bought her 5 dresses and brought them home so she could try them on in privacy and ended up returning them all.
I actually had to tell her that I refuse to be involved any more. She was passing her stress on to me. I told her that I was done, gave her examples of the dresses I liked that she tried on, and told her to email me pics if she found something. She’s a grown woman and she needs to put her big girl panties on. She looked great in so many dresses. I told her this. Sales associates told her this. My dad told her this. I’m not adding her issues to my list of wedding to dos. We all have things about our bodies that we don’t like. NO MATTER WHAT, WE ARE ALL BEAUTIFUL THE WAY WE ARE. Just remind yourself of this, remind your mom, but DON’T take on her stress.
Post # 7
@Mademoiselle-G: I’m so sorry you’re going through this; I live many states away from my mom, but I can see a similar thing happening if I lived near her. Shopping was always an emotional ordeal as a kid; I think you and jules1949 have some great points about setting up boundaries.