Can my husband tell me I’m fat

By JackieWalker

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How would you feel if your husband told you you were fat? Seriously, this was a question I was asked the other day.

What would your response have been if you were this lady?

  • Anger – how dare he talk to you like that
  • Humiliation – how mortifying that my husband has noticed
  • Hurt – can he not see my sparkly eyes, my ability to make him laugh, my heart
  • Unworthy – he’s always wanted me to stay slim, he’ll stop loving me now
  • Jubilant – thank heaven he noticed something, that means he knows I’m alive
  • Disinterested – did you say something dear, never mind
photo credit: via photopin cc

photo credit: via photopin cc

One of the first things I ask clients is how something made them feel.  Communication is a double edged sword, it takes both the talker and listener and divides between them the responsibility for what’s being said and what’s being heard.

As a talker, we deliver strings of words which commonly, but not always, make sentences and sense.  Sometimes we plan what we are going to say, more often however we let our mouths motor on, sometimes wishing we could bite our tongues!

The listener might feel they have a less active role to play, after all they can’t make someone say what they want to hear and are therefore at the mercy of what might come out of someone’s mouth without much thought being put into it!

The missing link in the above roles is that both the talker and the listener are human beings, though that might have gone without saying!  What needs to be remembered is that both have feelings.  They’ve had different experiences.  They might have been in similar situations before, and there may have been a consequence to a string of words.  Unless you were there, it’s unlikely you will know what the consequence was, and it’s not really any of your business.

The key to understanding how important it is to bring the other person onto your radar and notice the effect either your listening, or your talking is having, lies in the story of the green dress.

The Green Dress

Imagine returning from holiday with a suitcase full of dirty clothes.  Now normally, I’m a fastidious dirty clothes sorter outer.  You know what I mean, whites with white, dark with dark.  However on Thursday last week, I seemed to lose the careful streak.  This is the equivalent of motor mouth.

I did check what was going into the washing machine.  I looked it all over and remember thinking, that’s fine, they’ve all been washed a gazillion times, it can all go in together.  And off I went to write the weekly blog post for my own site – 7 Emotional mistakes which make you look a fool.

photo credit: penelope waits via photopin cc

photo credit: penelope waits via photopin cc

I’d just put the final full stop on the post when all the noise in the utility room died away,.  Result!  Multi-tasking is taking on perfect timing.  Before I’d even opened the machine door, I could see that there was a rather attractive green material visible through the glass door.  Strange I thought to myself, I’m sure I don’t own anything that colour.  This is the equivalent of noticing the effect your talking is having on your listener/s.

My heart came up out of my chest and into my mouth.  Oh my god, what had I done?  What had I ruined? What will I do now?  How can I apologise and make it right?

With trembling hands I pulled on the handle to open the door.  Out tumbled dresses, sarongs, shorts, t-shirts, and the culprit.  The green dress.

There was a fair amount of damage – one top had to be consigned to a new life as a duster.  One has most definitely become a mint coloured polo instead of a white polo.  But, and this is important, not everything changed colour.  Only the things which were susceptible and able to soak up green dye.

This is the equivalent of understanding that your words will be heard as you intended by some, but not all.  There are folk out there who will take umbridge, will feel hurt, and will react in a way you were not expecting.

You’re fat

The first thing I said to the wife who asked if her husband could say she was fat was

‘Did he actually say you were fat’?

‘No’ she replied, ‘He said I’d put on weight’.  I then asked her if that was true, and she nodded her head.

The husband simply made real what the wife already knew.  His words found the material susceptible to the green dye.  If he’d been a tad more careful about how he shared his words, and sorted them out, he may still be sleeping in the same bed as his wife.  She could take a look at bolstering her self esteem so that in the future, when she hears her truth, she’ll still have a husband in bed with her.

FREE TIP … Never wash a green dress with whites

Meantime, if anyone is looking to lose weight, get fit and eat more healthily, take a look at Mary Weaver’s latest post and fabulous programme.

Carefully yours ..



Jackie Walker is the creator of The Emotional Surgery addressing both emotional and physical issues.She leads Meanderful Meanderson a Greek Island - thoughtful and creative time-out holidays designed to pique your curiosity and encourage fun and play! (definitely NOT retreats)

Latest posts by JackieWalker (see all)

So nice to see you checked to verify the facts with her. It seems that this bit gets missed, more and more lately.

Red too. Don’t wash red with whites. I’ve never had green transfer but red – wow. Pink everywhere.
There is a packet you can get to correct that which often works. Perhaps we need to hand out some metaphoric packs of dye remover too. 😉

Thanks for the post.

We are extraordinarly good translators of the spoken word, changing to mean what we think was said! Inferential listeners particularly. There is a dye remover isn’t there, I think one of the t-shirts was a bit far gone! Metaphoric dye remover would be a great product! Actually I think I already have it in a different guise, I call it teflon coating 😉

My husband, bless him has never said I’m fat he refuses to comment on it as he says he will be in the dog house whatever he answers, truth or otherwise, and I make him right. My previous husband never stopped saying it when I was a size 12, my weight clearly reflected upon him as a man and a UK size 12 is clearly too fat for him.

Jackie—thanks so much for mentioning my stuff!

And speaking of laundry, I've ruined several nice pieces of clothing in the same way—most recently a pair of nice beige trousers that became robin's egg blue. :-)

A partner once said I was getting fat – I called him fat back and we left it there…names, descriptions…bah and only I am in charge of deciding how I look…anyone else is with an opinion that doesn’t count!

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