Beth Warren Nutrition Blog

5 Ways to Manage Unsupportive People

by Beth Warren July 9, 2021

Summer comes with many weight challenges. And for many of you, I’ve been hearing it comes in the form of unsupportive people in your life. Whether it’s extended family you’re living with, or being more social and hanging around groups of people more, the reason why they may be saying anything to you to make you feel poorly about how you look, how much you weigh, what you eat etc is everything to do with them and nothing to do with you. While we wish they all realize how unacceptable it is to say ANYTHING, let alone unsupportive comments, we also know they are who they are  are and likely always were and will be. And if you can’t just cut them from your life, here are some things you can consider from because it should NOT derail you tom your goals nor make you feel an less of yourself:


  1. Find Support Elsewhere

When close friends and family can't offer you what you need, it can be helpful to seek out people who can. Depression support groups, either in person or online, can be a great place to look.4


Although people in support groups may start out as strangers to you, fast friendships are often formed because you share the common experience of depression. After all, there is nothing more refreshing than talking with someone who gets what you're going through.


Don't hesitate to seek help outside of your family and friends. Sometimes, it's easier to share your struggles with a stranger—especially if they have been through the same things—because there is less concern about being judged or criticized.

2. Ask for Help Directly

Don't be afraid to ask for what you really need.4 There may be some cases where people would be perfectly willing to support and assist you if they realized what you needed.


Perhaps they don't know how badly you are doing because they are accustomed to you being the strong one. Or maybe it has never occurred to them that you might appreciate it if they offered to babysit your kids for a few hours.

3. End Negative Relationships

Cut negative people out of your life or find ways to mitigate the damage. There are going to be some people who, no matter what you do, are mean-spirited and hurtful. If you can, remove them from your life. If you can't end the relationship, find ways to either limit your contact with them or bolster yourself against their insensitive treatment.


For example, if a relative always has some kind of biting remark to make at family gatherings, form an alliance with your more supportive relatives, or prepare a few witty comebacks ahead of time. It's also helpful to vent your frustrations with your counselor or therapist. They can help you determine the best course of action.


Remember, there is nothing wrong with minimizing contact with people who have a negative impact on your well-being, or completely cutting truly toxic people out of your life.

4. Harness Your Emotions for Good

Use your anger with the other person to your benefit. Instead of turning your anger inward and beating yourself up for your failings, channel this anger into doing something positive.


Go out and get some exercise; break a few pieces of ceramic tile and construct a beautiful mosaic; or give your house a thorough cleaning. Find something physical to do that will release your pent-up feelings.5 You'll have an outlet for your anger and do something good for yourself at the same time.

5. Feeling a lack of support from your friends and family can make coping with feelings of depression that much more difficult. There are things that you can do, including being direct when you ask for help, but sometimes the best thing you can do is seek support from people who do understand what you are going through.

If the people in your life are not giving you the love and support you need, try expanding your social support circle, whether that means seeking help from a mental health professional or joining an online or in-person support group.

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