But when I see a fat lady, I move down a couple of rungs on the ladder of human Her New York therapist had referred her to Dr. Yalom. She’d. Section 2 > Exercise 4 > Obesity: body image and culture. The following passage opens Irving Yalom’s story, “Fat Lady.” In this story, Yalom, a psychiatrist, tells. Fat Lady. Yalom, Irvin. Primary Category: Literature / Nonfiction and “disgusted” by fat women, that his “contempt surpasses all cultural norms.
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There was considerable internal preparation as well, which Betty found difficult to describe other than to say she was “gathering inner fst and waiting for the right moment to commence the diet.
Her wish that I could have been her father led us into one final aspect of her grief that had always caused her much torment.
Interacting with the Medical Humanities
For one thing Carlos had, months before, only half jokingly told Betty he was going to take her to Hawaii for a weekend when she had lost a hundred pounds. You and I are very much alike— in one way, at least. My negative feelings slowed me down. Now I knew why! Obesity, endemic in my family, was a part of what I had to leave behind when I, a driven, ambitious, first-generation American-born, decided to shake forever from my feet the dust of the Russian shtetl.
I have never touched her.
She was certain her boss was eyeing her breasts. She developed distressing physical symptoms — including headaches her father died of brain cancerbackaches, and shortness of breath — and was tormented with the obsessive thought that she, too, had cancer.
I was walking in the fields behind the house. I have never thought to inquire.
yapom Consider ten to be the most significant revealing you can imagine and one to be the type of revealing you might do, let’s say, with strangers in a line at the movies. Could she feel the difference? At the end of the essay, Yalom writes: Since she was phobic about seeing doctors because of her shame about her body, she rarely permitted a physical exam and llady never had a pelvic examit was hard to reassure her about her health.
Irvin Yalom has a problem with fat women. Who ever has a kind word for the fat lady?
To meet other obese people— make some friends, get some dates? Lay discussions released a flood of painful memories about a life- time of rejection by males.
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Haven’t you had enough, for Chrissakes? But were an explanation demanded of me, I suppose I could point to the family of fat, controlling women, including — featuring — my mother, who peopled my early life. In some desperation, I stretched for ways to be helpful to Betty.
I was worried that people wouldn’t think I was sad enough. No, she hated groups.
I saw a painter with a stocking over his face spraying inside the house. But what, I wondered uneasily, about the rights of the pa- tient?
Betty responded that she had a reputation for being easy to talk to. What makes the story yaalom than the sad tale of a depressed, obese woman is the immediate disclosure of the narrator that he is “repelled” and “disgusted” by fat women, that his “contempt surpasses all cultural norms.
Now committed to being entirely “present” with Betty, I tried not to flinch from halom of her questions. And of course the consensus is lacy because she lost so much weight, this therapy was spectacularly successful.
Ultimately I would have to help her assume responsibility for her appearance — but saw no leverage for achieving that at this time. Though she continued to take it, it had not helped her: It was all there — there had been a person, a handsome woman, buried in there all the time.
TRUE TALES FROM A FLAWED THERAPIST
But I do the same thing with Califor- nia. One of the axioms of psychotherapy is that the important feelings one has for another always get communicated through one channel or another — if not verbally, then nonverbally. Ladj I saw her two days later, she seemed guilty and depressed. She sat high in the chair, as though she were sitting in her own lap.
Besides she marshaled other responsibility- absolving arguments: I was less bored now. You tell me about a life that is full of despair, but you do it in a bouncy ‘aren’t-we-having-a-good- time? And so it went: