Why People Sabotage continued...
"He wants the old me back," she told Spangle. She saw it as a control issue and eventually divorced the man for trying to control her so destructively.
"In some instances," Spangle says, "a spouse may have the need to control. A man may think if his wife stays fat she won't be flirting or attracting notice. Sometimes, this spouse will compliment the heavy person. No one else does, so this is a way of keeping control."
Katz says people who are themselves overweight (two-thirds of Americans) feel threatened. "Most people struggle with weight issues," Katz says. "If I am fat and you go on a diet, you put me in the uncomfortable position of feeling bad about my own weight; deciding to do something about it, which I may not be ready to do; or trying to talk you out of what you are doing.
"People who are threatened," Katz sums up, "fight back."
Sexual anxiety is also a part of it, he agrees. "If the person gets thin, they may find someone else. That is a factor. 'My wife is getting so sexy, she may dump me.'"
And, Katz says, being reassuring to the dieter may be a higher form of love. "A mother may think it's her job to make the child feel better about themselves. They may be on a mission to get a daughter to accept her size."
Co-workers, he says, tend to be competitive. If you are succeeding at something, even losing weight, it makes them look less successful. Plus, you might attract notice for a promotion.