I think my DH and I have treated each other this way when we've reached the end of our ropes with frustration about the other (his irritation was my weight and my irritation is his drinking). Neither of us are proud of it.
I can't just decide to start taking away someone's dignity. I feel it would remove my own as well. If my kids saw me or their dad behaving that way as a matter of course, it would affect them negatively.
I would imagine that the best way to deal with Fat Spouse is probably similar to the advice given in Al-Anon (support for people affected by drunks). Don't make excuses for them, let them feel the consequences of their own actions and tell yourself every day, their behavior is not your fault. On the other hand, support them wherever you can.
I guess I agree and disagree with you. You mention fatlings having high self-esteem. I don't think I did. I gave up on taking care of myself and didn't want to be around other people. But at the same time I have to admit that I was selfish, self-absorbed and only cared about myself, really. I think those are character flaws and not an issue of self-esteem. I feel like my self-esteem is higher because I'm actively fighting against those flaws and trying to be a better person and seeing results. In other words, I'm proud of myself because I'm doing something worthy of being proud as opposed to a year ago when I was just taking up space and producing carbon dioxide.
Edited for clarity.
Eric Bana is hot. Why? Many reasons. One reason is because he's not fat.
Ridicule works? In a marriage? I doubt it. If you are the thinner half I suggest you do some self-esteem building. Your going to need it. I don't think your need to put yourself on a pedestal in order to tell your spouse they need to do something about their weight, but so many of us go around beating ourselves up for our spouses problem. Trying to figure out what role self-esteem plays in someone's weight gain and their refusal to do anything about it just gives me a headache. You can't build somebody up when they're busy tearing themselves down, The best you can do is ignore bad behavior and reward good behavior. In the mean time, if your not going to get divorced, what are you doing for your self? What goals are you trying to achieve and where are you going to find success in your life to build on outside your marriage? We can't take care of others if we can't take care of ourselves. You have to do something besides wallow in this. Believe me I've been there! Your marriage may not make it. Marriages fail for all sorts of reasons and obesity is one of them. You may or may not be able to help your spouse, but I think for most of us ridicule is out of the question.
I don't know that I'd say that fat people have a high self esteem. When I was fat, I was pretty down on myself. The thing is though, I never thought I was doing anything "wrong." I always thought that I was eating "better" than my thin friends and was just fat due to genetics or metabolism or whatever. The truth was though that I was not really eating that much more than I should have been, but that extra 300 or so calories one day and 100 another added up. And every now and then, I'd eat a lot of pizza or something else from takeout. It may be that my genetics caused me to not be able to get away as much with something like that like other people can, but them's the breaks- it's still calories in, calories out; the only difference between people is the number of calories you can take in before it starts adding to weight.
I do think there is some truth to "fattitude" though- not necessarily in having a high self esteem but with making excuses. I hated myself when I was fat, but I was convinced that I was just unlucky and that it wasn't my fault and that I wasn't really eating that much. No one likes to hear that being fat is a moral failing, and that is why every time you see comments on an obesity-related news story, there are always a bunch of obese people saying, "well you can't tell how hard someone is working at it because lots of people have health issues- I've got thyroid issues/low metabolism/PCOS/genetics/fibromyalgia/depression/gluten intolerance" or what have you. All insist they eat 1000 calories a day and exercise (read: 1000 calories + "small treats" that aren't counted, and the exercise is sitting or water aerobics once a week). I know from personal experience that being obese is something you never want to own up to- you'll make excuses- and what's more is you'll BELIEVE them. In that sense, "fattitude" is a very real thing, and M2 has a point. That kind of denial has to be confronted before a person can change.
All you have to do to see this in action is go to some of the fat acceptance blogs. I have yet to see any one blogger say that excess weight is due to overeating. In every case, the blogger in question seems to be an "exception" - in most cases, they have a screwed up metabolism that was a result of yo-yo dieting or genetics. Presumably, SOME fat people are such not because of whatever excuse du jour comes up but due to diet, but I have yet to see a single fat acceptance blogger come out and say that this applies to them. It's always some exception.
I find it really strange that a people from movement that tries to divorce morality from fat seem to have such a hard time "accepting" it - and poor diet as even a POSSIBLE cause of it. No, everyone insists that they eat "less than a thin person."