WLS has given me power over my body that I have not had since I was a child. Between the ages of 8 and 10 suffered from an abusive home life with significant neglect whi*****luded malnutrition and deep hunger. After that I was moved to my father and step-mother's home and there was always food a plenty. I ate too much. I deeply feared the sensation of hunger. Hunger felt like starvation and abandonment. I survived my childhood and became a pretty well rounded (pun intended) woman but not without suffering injury. For me, that injury was feeling powerless against hunger.
WLS gave me my power back.
As I prepared for surgery I was nervous, confused, unsure of what to expect. I found OH and the boards became a life line. A resource for information, first hand anecdotal stories, inspirational 'Before and After' photos, and friends who knew what I was going through.
Unfortunately, like in all things, life is imperfect. People are imperfect. I found over time that my power over my body was being snipped, nipped, and dogged at by OH members who professed to be 'helping.' I do not think it is 'helping' at all to insert yourself into another person's journey and offer un-requested advice. In fact, in group therapy sessions this is something specifically I, as a counselor, am trained to prevent. Unsolicited advice steals power from the person being advised.
There are lots of long winded clinical explanations about why that is but a short version is this: Unsolicited advice becomes one of three things 1) validation of the inner critic the person was already facing 2) cutting off of a sense of peer to peer connection 3) disemboweling of a sense of personal worth and achievement.
I hear your criticism and my inner critic says "SEE! Told YA!" (which isn't helpful...if I could hate myself into healthier eating I wouldn't have needed RNY trust me)
I feel 'less than' and 'other'
I follow your advice and then don't actually feel like I succeeded but instead feel needy and dependent and weak ("I am a failure without you telling me what a failure I would be without you")
None of that is healthy empowered living. Unsolicited advise is a egocentric play for unwarranted power and authority by the person 'offering' it for their own benefit not for the benefit of the person being targeted with said advice. Always.
When I said as much in the main boards I was handed my head a bit and told I was an issue by some of the louder voices. I sat back and continued to use the support I found helpful and spit out the bones of things I found unhelpful. After all, I am a grown woman and a comment on the internet has zero power over me.
Then I noticed I wasn't the only person the comments would target. There were hurting folks finding their need for support swatted down. Deactivated members. Quieted voices. Lonely folks without an in-person support group. Folks without anyone in their local area who has had WLS. Folks whose family is just plain tired of hearing about WLS. People like me.
I was losing my power again. Others were losing their power. WLS is about gaining power. What to do?
I created a small private support group utilizing OH. The smaller group setting allows members to feel safe while being vulnerable about their struggles, their successes, and their progress without fear that they will be criticized. The only rule is don't offer advice unless it is asked for.
Ironically it has been brought to my attention that I now run 'RNY_Elizabeth's we don't give advice unless you ask first group.' This has apparently been said in critical tones as though it is a dig. I find that edifying and I am honored to be thought of that way even if it was intended to be catty. I am indeed a strong advocate for this type of mutual respect.
However, my point is this...if the main boards don't feel comfortable for you. If you feel like you are not well served by the 'tough love' approach, that is ok. You are not alone. You are not doomed to failure because you don't do things a certain way. You are not powerless.
Simply choose to hold onto your power. Make your tools, your pouch and your OH, work for you. Personal accountability is key. Find a way to use these to your best outcome.
If you are interested in joining a small group, create one. Invite people you feel comfortable sharing with, and make it a space you can thrive in. Don't get quiet and find yourself alone again. If you don't want to make your own group, feel free to message me. We have room for more in our little corner.
WLS gave you power. OH supports your holding onto that power. Use OH in ways that keep you going.
FYI... almost 2 years out, no regain, still 124, still healthy, still feeling great, still my only regret is not having WLS sooner.
Consultation weight: 265, Surgery date: 10/6/15, Goal: 150, Current weight: 125; 5'5, 45 years old
"I am basically food's creepy ex-girlfriend. I know we can't be together anymore but I just want to spend time hanging out" ~me, about why I love cooking so much post WLS
Unfortunately, when one person betrays the trust of everyone in the group, it spoils it for everyone. I had to make moves to make the group feel that the personal stuff they'd shared would not turn up on these public boards. It sucks.
PM me if you'd like x
Proud Feminist, Atheist, LGBT friend, and Democratic Socialist
Feel free to start your own group. No one is stopping you.
6'3" tall, male. Maintaining a loss of 280 pounds.
Highest weight was 475. Consult weight 04/12 was 411. RNY on 08/21/12 at 359 lbs. Current weight 195.
M1 -24; M2 -21; M3 -19; M4 -21; M5 -13; M6 -21; M7 -10; M8 -16; M9 -10; M10 -8; M11 -6; M12 -5.
I would always entertain being part of a group that is positive, yet informative and does not talk about, or put down others, if you find a group like that I would be willing to join. If I were to start a group, that would be the type of member I would want to be associated with.
HW - 299 , Consult day weight - 277, Day of surgery - 259, LW - 178, CW - 189
I'm sorry you feel this, Elizabeth and I'm pretty sure I've never bullied or spoken loud on this board.
Whoever in your group has shared from my group is not to be trusted. If they'do that to me, they'd do it to you, make no mistake. It's not a nice trait.
I'm very offended that my trust in that person has been betrayed. If they didn't feel that my group was for them, then they should have done the decent thing and left. We all now know who they are as a person.
ETA: as you bring up your work as a support group counsellor, I'd like to ask if you encourage your members to share information outside of the group? Every group I've ever run has had very strong rules on that.
Proud Feminist, Atheist, LGBT friend, and Democratic Socialist