Family Kept Judging Person's Weight Gain, So They Got Real About Mental Health

I've known a lot of people in my life who seem to think it's perfectly reasonable to comment on other people's appearance without invitation, and I'm not just talking about compliments.

When I was younger and less knowledgable about my own mental health issues, let alone those of others, I mostly just ignored the comments. Now, though, I try to be the person who points out how wrong it is to assume anything about the person based off their appearance.

In general, I think the culture is shifting in a positive direction, but that doesn't mean that individuals aren't still making things uncomfortable for friends and family.

Most of us know people like that, and many of us have also been the target of those snide comments, only to be told not to "talk back" at risk of "upsetting" the bully. As though their comfort is more important than ours.

That's what one Redditor was dealing with when they finally snapped and their family's reaction had them turning to Reddit for a bit of clarity on the situation.

Using an anonymous account under the name throawaymentalhealth, they began by explaining that they used to be very skinny.

Unsplash | Bill Oxford

The story was posted in the r/AmItheAsshole subreddit for judgement.

Even though throawaymentalhealth says that they weren't physically healthy, their family saw skinny as good and constantly complimented them.

Throawaymentalhealth knew the family liked to comment on *everyone's* bodies, but stayed quiet to keep the peace.

After years of personal struggle, throawaymentalhealth realized that they suffer from anxiety and depression. They sought treatment and through a mix of hard work and medication, are healthier both mentally and physically than they have been in a long time.

However, weight gain is a common side effect of medication. This didn't bother throawaymentalhealth, but you can guess how family gatherings tended to go.

Though throawaymentalhealth's immediate family and friends all understand and are happy for them, it's the larger gatherings that cause issues.

At their grandmother's birthday, the first big gathering in a while, the comments started right away.

"The first thing I heard there was 'oh my God, I can't believe how chubby you are.' I brushed it off, laughed about it. But it just kept happening."

The immediate family tried to help by passing along a bit of context among the family, but while most people dropped it, a few didn't.

Some people still chose to believe that mental health issues aren't "real" and continued to comment on the weight gain.

It was at a Christmas party that throawaymentalhealth finally cracked. When an aunt was making fun of them, they snapped, "Who would know anxiety and depression medication could make you gain so much weight?"

It shut the aunt up so quickly that throwawaymental health decided to keep on casually putting the bullies in their place.

"Have you gained weight?"

"Oh, yes. It's the price you pay for not wanting to die everyday."

After yet another incident on a Zoom call, the daughter of the bully reached out and said that a lot of the family thinks throawaymentalhealth is being an asshole.

They responded that if grandma could understand mental health and stop commenting, then everyone else has no excuse.

But it did leave them wondering if constantly making those people uncomfortable with talk of mental health and suicidal thoughts actually does make them the asshole.

Hell no, it doesn't, and the collective judgment of Reddit agrees with me.

The ruling was overwhelmingly Not The Asshole (NTA).

"NTA good for you for both standing up for yourself and destigmatizing mental health. People will never learn to behave better if they aren't called out on their rudeness," said nippitybibble, "Never make yourself small for someone else's comfort."

A few of the commenters did note that if the snark hasn't worked, it may be time for a new method, though.

Unsplash | Dan Meyers

Redditor cursedanne said that if they're going to use "not understanding mental health" as an excuse, then maybe stop giving them that out. Drop the passive-aggressive tone, and just get firm.

"'Aunt ______, stop it.'"

"The reality is that it doesn’t matter why she gained weight for this. What matters is that her family members are being cruel, and it hurts OP."

Throwawaymentalhealth shouldn't have to worry about their own tone when they aren't the bully, but it can muddle up the point.

And it does sound like they've taken it to heart and will try a firmer, polite stance going forward.

"Thank you for all the nice words, advices, everything."

The initial shock of the snarky comeback clearly got most of the family's attention, but there's no quick fix for judgmental assholes.

Especially when one's prior silence has given them "permission" to keep on doing it.

You don't need to "understand" mental health to just shut up when someone says your comments about their weight are hurtful.

What do you think about this? Is there another way throwawaymentalhealth could have handled this?

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