Dear Margo: Time for Psychological Warfare

My room mate’s mother has an issue with my weight; how is this any of her business? Margo Howard’s advice

Time for Psychological Warfare

Dear Margo: My roommate’s mother commented about my weight — to the roommate, who is now giving me an ultimatum about Weight Watchers, or she will never do anything for me again. (I tried WW once, and it’s not an experience I wish to repeat.) That she is issuing an ultimatum really hurt, but to make it worse, she said she won’t hear any “excuses.” All I get is defense of Weight Watchers, comments on my eating habits and reiterations of the ultimatum. Did I mention she says, “I’m not saying this to be mean” every time? And that she’s called me fat, adding, “I’m sorry but you are.”

I have nowhere else to go. I have a cat and can’t afford my own place. I would also hate to lose a friendship over this. I’m not in the least proud of my weight, but the mother’s butting in and the roommate’s behavior as a result upset me greatly. I doubt either of them is concerned about my health, and in the mother’s case, what should she care anyway? What can I do? — Beleaguered

Dear Be: I would throw the discomfort back her way. Tell the pushy roommate you resent being browbeaten, the subject is none of her business or her mother’s, you’re tired of the insults, and maybe she should see a counselor about her insensitivity, if not meanness. I suspect her financial situation is similar to yours, so maybe drop into the conversation that if she doesn’t tone it down about your weight, one of you may have to consider alternative living arrangements. — Margo, tactically

“Female Trouble”

Dear Margo: I work for a small company on a team of four women in their late 20s. There’s a problem with one of my colleagues that might strike you as odd. “Mary” suffers from severe PMS. Several days before the onset of her menses, she turns into a nightmare. Moreover, she gets a leave of absence for a couple of days each month because she feels ill when she has her period. I’m not a freak who makes another lady’s cycle her business, but after working so closely for two years, you just notice such things.

In the first months of working together, I sympathized, but it’s getting to be too much now. She’s not the easiest person to begin with, but during the week prior to her period, she becomes intolerable. I am getting fed up covering her workload when she is out. I gently suggested she consult a doctor. Her answer boils down to “no use seeing a doctor, that’s the way I was born.”

I brought this up to our boss, who told me he is aware of the behavior but is reluctant to let her go because of her knowledge of our company, which is true. Also, he is reluctant to deal with the whole subject. Should I start looking for another job? Should I start nagging our boss? — Feeling Stuck

Dear Feel: “I was born this way,” ergo no need to see a doctor, is fallacious. Were that the case, there would be no need for orthodontists. While it is often true that PMS sufferers are stuck with this unfortunate periodic personality change (no pun intended) in addition to the pain, I would try to get your colleague to give her doctor a try. I asked a doc about this, and the first line of treatment for severe PMS is an SSRL, usually Prozac. Good luck with either fixing it or living with it. — Margo, hopefully

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Dear Margo is written by Margo Howard, Ann Landers’ daughter. All letters must be sent via the online form at Due to a high volume of e-mail, not all letters will be answered.


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98 comments so far.

  1. avatar butterfly55 says:

    The magic of WW has never been clear to me, those who go to it and rave about it seem to keep going to it.  Isn’t the idea of losing weight to lose it and keep it off, not keep having to go back and do it again?  I lost 75 pounds 6 years ago ( from 175 to 100), did it by eating small portions, less often and no snacks.  Lots of moving about.  No points or special diets but I haven’t gained any of it back again.  I don’t like to repeat myself.

    • avatar Sadie BB says:

      75 pounds? Butterfly, you’re amazing!

      • avatar butterfly55 says:

        Thanks, it was time for the cocoon to come off.  The more I lost the more determined I became.  I check my weight regularly now to maintain it.  And I have discovered that the ability to move easily is much better than over-eating anything!  :)

  2. avatar A R says:

    LW1: Regarding the roomie and the mom. Like David and a few others, I believe that the LW has presented a very limited view of her grander problem. I think that in the grand scheme of things, there’s something she’s not mentioning. The “problem” is just too cut and dry: my roomie and her mom are mean *lately*.

    Here are some things to consider regarding this letter:

    Does your roomie normally act “mean” in other ways?
    Has anything in the apartment been damaged by your size/weight?
    Are you working? Are you paying your share of the bills/expenses?
    Is there a shared responsibility you are not handling that you are blaming on your size/weight?
    Are you possibly sleeping more than normal? Being unusually inactive?
    Have you angered your roomie over food? Takeout or groceries belonging to him/her that you should not have eaten?

    I mention these things because if you are guilty of one or several combined, your roomie may be lashing out at your weight because she perceives it to be a causal factor in irritations between the two of you.

  3. avatar dcarpend says:

    “I’m not saying this to be mean, but you and your mother are a pair of pushy, insensitive, mean-spirited, nosy b!tches. I’m sorry, but you are.”

  4. avatar Jon T says:

    I’m sure it’s already been suggested to LW#1 (I haven’t read all the comments), but I would seriously consider looking for another roommate situation pronto. I would imagine that there are plenty of other options available if you take the time to look. You don’t deserve to be treated this way, and your roommate is by no means a friend. Save yourself, please!