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Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Dear Gaby -- Column 1

Welcome to the first edition of "Dear Gaby", my advice column for BBWs. I've always thought I have all the qualifications to make an effective advice columnist: 1. plenty of life experience; 2. a well-earned supply of common sense, courtesy of the School of Hard Knocks; 3. straight-up, no-bullshit delivery; and 4. a genuine desire to help people. The similarity of my name to another famed advice columnist, Dear Abby, has never been lost on me, either (haha).

I would like to make this a regular feature, so if any of you readers have a question relating to being a large person -- whether it's relationship issues, work issues, family issues, you name it -- just email it to me and I will get back to you. I'll let you know if I use your letter in my blog. Confidentiality is assured.

Here's our first letter:

My boyfriend calls me names like bitch, slut, whore, ugly, fat, skank, smelly, tramp, etc. But then he tells me he loves me and that he was just joking and doesn't mean it. Well, I don't take it as a joke and I take it very seriously. Do you think I'm overreacting? Would you take it as a joke?

-- Not joking around

Wow. Honey, I can't even believe you have to ask me, or anyone else, this question. You already know the answer. Of course you're not overreacting! Let me ask you this: If this guy were talking to your mother, sister, or best friend like this, would you think it was okay? Listen, I don't mean to dump on you, but it sounds like you have a serious case of low self-esteem. You're not alone, though. Many, many women do, especially BBWs, because we generally get used to being treated in a disrespectful manner. However, we have to learn to stand up for ourselves and let people know that we will not tolerate abuse in any form. When you condone this kind of behaviour, you're actually reinforcing it, and telling the person, "It's okay to treat me this way, go ahead. I won't stop you. I actually agree with you."

That old "I was just joking" excuse has probably been around since the dawn of time. A lot of women excuse it by saying, "Well, at least he doesn't hit me." It doesn't matter if abuse is "just" verbal. There's no "just" about it. Verbal abuse is just as damaging as physical abuse --possibly even more damaging! -- because at least physical scars heal. Emotional scars can last a very long time.

You need to get out of this relationship. I mean, how good can it be, anyway, with this kind of behaviour going on? Is the sex that good? NO sex is that good. I understand a BBWs fear of not being able to find someone else if you leave. It is hard to find a good man these days, and a lot of us figure, "I might as well stick with this, because what else am I going to get out there?" Isn't it pathetic that we have to think this way? But I understand, it crosses your mind. It makes you hesitate. Yes, there are BBW lovers out there, but there are also plenty of manipulators and liars who prey on BBWs with exactly this kind of mindset. I understand it's difficult, honey. But ask yourself this: Are you willing to put up with this for rest of your life? Is this the kind of relationship you've always dreamed of?

The situation is a little more complicated if you have kids with this man, but it makes your leaving even more essential. Do you want your children to see this man treat you like this? What do you think it will teach them? Girls will learn that it's okay for a man to verbally abuse them, and boys will learn that it's okay to verbally abuse their future wives/girlfriends.

What galls me is how this man calls you these names, then has the nerve to claim he loves you. He obviously does not love you. A person who loves you does not call you abusive names. But he claims he does so that he can keep you around. Ask yourself this: What kind of a man wants to keep a depressed, lonely, emotionally wounded woman around? A man who doesn't think HE can get any better! You're actually a perfect match, in that way. You both feel like crap about yourselves, and don't feel like you can get any better.

Believe me, honey, you can get better. Even if the worst were to happen and you would never meet another man (which is highly unlikely), is that any reason to stay in this situation? No fucking way. You're better off alone than with a nasty, abusive man like this.

Please leave. You deserve better. Believe in yourself. And when you do leave, and he comes crawling back (which he definitely will, because you are his lifeline for feeling better about himself), tell him to get the hell out of your life once and for all. Be strong. You will find someone better if you start valuing yourself, protecting yourself, and start having higher standards about who you allow to get close to you. It's crucial that you build on your self-esteem, because if you don't, you'll end up attracting another man just like this one into your life.

Well, that's our first letter. Please, readers -- female or male -- if you have any questions regarding BBWs and would like an opinion, shoot me an email. Confidentiality is assured.

Till next time -- the motto for today (and every day) is: If you want someone in your life who loves you, treasures you, and treats you with respect -- treat YOURSELF that way first.

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