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Negative Body Image

Luminous

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This is probably going to sound really ignorant but I'm going for it anyways. What is it like to have an overwhelmingly negative body image (in terms of perhaps health or shape)? Also what do you think would be the best way to support one who has these feelings?

I'm trying to support a family member with a very poor body image (ie. she thinks she's fat and ugly but she's pretty average/perhaps slightly underweight), but every time I try to be supportive or rationalize this I end up coming off abrupt or not providing feedback that is meaningful. My empathy is typically a bit better than this but this is somewhat a blind spot of mine it appears...

(Also sorry if this is in the wrong section, I was debating on putting this in the advice section but it's kind of health related so idk).

Folks, real or imagined, your poor body image is probably a blessing in disguise, so embrace your granny panties and your baggy jeans. For those who attain the perfect body and flaunt it, there’s a hard lesson to be learned in an irony that I’d liken to a lonely rich man realizing his money will neither buy him true love, nor real friends.

I think if one doesn’t have realistic expectations and a realistic view of themselves to begin with, a superficial effort to attain physical perfection will likely render an unrewarding and unfulfilling outcome that’s as disappointing and superficial as the people one will likely attract.

This is not on topic. RadicalDoubt asked what it's like to have negative body image. And for help in making someone else feel better. You lack understanding of the entire situation, and your response is not helpful at all. It's unsympathetic and condescending.

Do you have any idea what it's like to feel like you aren't good enough to be loved or liked or wanted? Do you really think that people who feel this way are really only being superficial and seeking perfection? There's a lot of shame associated with this topic, and you coming here to tell people that they should feel thankful for having that shame is just a slap in the face.
 

Merced

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I think of it as like... a logical discrepancy. If I was physically attractive, I would actively be attracting more people. I don't know how I get myself out of that funk, but rationalizing it and letting it pass is the best method I can think of.

Also buying clothes that make me feel good. Take her shopping maybe?
 

Yuurei

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This is not on topic. RadicalDoubt asked what it's like to have negative body image. And for help in making someone else feel better. You lack understanding of the entire situation, and your response is not helpful at all. It's unsympathetic and condescending.

Do you have any idea what it's like to feel like you aren't good enough to be loved or liked or wanted? Do you really think that people who feel this way are really only being superficial and seeking perfection? There's a lot of shame associated with this topic, and you coming here to tell people that they should feel thankful for having that shame is just a slap in the face.

:yes:
I am not trying for perfection. I want to look like your average 35 yr old woman, not some horrific hybrid of angry old man and pug dog.
I want to look good enough that I can actually particpate in selfies and photoshoots like everyone else. Good enough that going to get my luscence renewed is not a harrowing ordeal.
When I was a young teenager my grandmother found me in the bathroom standing in front of the mirror at 3 am, flicking the lightswitch on and saying “ adorable” ( with the lights off) “ hideous” ( lights on) that isn’t exactly buffalo bill but iI’m pretty sure in unhealthy behavior.

The wors5 part is the truth behind this; in very low light I can see the gorgeous woman I should have been and I love her. With the lghts on I can see every wrinkle, every extra curve or lump in my face ( from a lack of collegen) but no matte4 what I will never be her, no matter how much make up I use ir how well I dress.

On a related rant; a freind of mine was just given full time status at FB. I could recieve ALL of his benifits by merely signing a puece of paper. One of those benifits is that all surgeries are covered, including gender reassignment. But it does not include an eyelid lift. For me it is the same issue. Yes, it is hard to see with my eyes constantly less than half-ldded but it is also a form of dysmorphia and t isn’t taken seriously.
 

RadicalDoubt

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Unfortunately then, this is very little anyone can do. Many people misunderstand "Dys" to mean "bad" but it has more to do with specifically "wrong" "different" or "out of order"

So the "Dys" In dysmorphia means that a person feels they are in the wrong body.

It doesn't matter if that body is objectively "good" or "Bad". You can tell someone with dysmorphia that they "Look good." but even if you can convince them of this ( good luck with that) it wont matter. She could look like a model and it would not matter because she feels like it is not her body.
It isn't how she is meant to look. She is walking around in a shell that she does not feel represent her as a person.
Does this make any sense?
Explaining it like that actually does make a lot of sense and actually sounds like an incredibly unpleasant experience. It definitely makes the dynamic make a bit more sense to me overall, especially with her own efforts as well as my own having little effect on her overall feeling, especially if this ends up being an accurate descriptor for her. Thank you for this descriptor in particular.
 

StrawberryBoots

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This is not on topic. RadicalDoubt asked what it's like to have negative body image. And for help in making someone else feel better. You lack understanding of the entire situation, and your response is not helpful at all. It's unsympathetic and condescending.

Do you have any idea what it's like to feel like you aren't good enough to be loved or liked or wanted? Do you really think that people who feel this way are really only being superficial and seeking perfection? There's a lot of shame associated with this topic, and you coming here to tell people that they should feel thankful for having that shame is just a slap in the face.

I have zero sympathy for people who, by their own free will, choose to be offended, skewing other's intentions and posts just to be offended.

I have zero sympathy for people who, by their own free will, choose to focus on the worst in themselves and others and chronically complain about it.

I have zero sympathy for perpetual victims, complainers, and pouters.
 

Luminous

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I have zero sympathy for people who, by their own free will, choose to be offended, skewing other's intentions and posts just to be offended.

I have zero sympathy for people who, by their own free will, choose to focus on the worst in themselves and others and chronically complain about it.

I have zero sympathy for perpetual victims, complainers, and pouters.

Well, that's your choice.

It's ignorant to think that people choose of their own free will to think there is something so innately wrong with them that they aren't lovable. Why would anyone choose that if it were easy to be happy and feel better about themselves? Eating disorders and body dysmorphic disorder are medical disorders. Not something someone just chooses to have.

Even if someone's issues don't reach that level, there is tremendous pain involved in feeling that one isn't good enough or correct in some way in the eyes of others, or one's self.

I have little sympathy for people who are condescending, unempathetic, judgmental, and unwilling to engage in a dialogue to better understand other people.

*Edited to add: As you edited your post while I was writing my post, I'll add that I'm glad you were able to move beyond feeling bad and into happiness.

I'll also add that the idea that people suffering from negative body image just need to turn to God is a way of brushing the real issues aside.
 

StrawberryBoots

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Well, that's your choice.

It's ignorant to think that people choose of their own free will to think there is something so innately wrong with them that they aren't lovable. Why would anyone choose that if it were easy to be happy and feel better about themselves? Eating disorders and body dysmorphic disorder are medical disorders. Not something someone just chooses to have.

Even if someone's issues don't reach that level, there is tremendous pain involved in feeling that one isn't good enough or correct in some way in the eyes of others, or one's self.

I have little sympathy for people who are condescending, unempathetic, judgmental, and unwilling to engage in a dialogue to better understand other people.

*Edited to add: As you edited your post while I was writing my post, I'll add that I'm glad you were able to move beyond feeling bad and into happiness.

I'll also add that the idea that people suffering from negative body image just need to turn to God is a way of brushing the real issues aside.

We are our own worst enemy. :)

I know what it feels like to be bullied, to feel despair, to feel ugly, to feel fat, to feel unloved, to feel lonely, to hide, and all of that because I'm human, but I didn't stay stuck like that. I set my heart free by forgiving people and forgiving myself. Then, I made the necessary changes in my life for my confidence, well-being, and overall health & happiness. I've worked hard in honoring my commitments to myself and can smile frequently now regardless of the troubles around me.

When I feel like I can't overcome an obstacle on my own, God gives me the strength and the courage to do it.

I'm not perfect, nor do I desire to put too much emphasis on being perfect, which is why my light-hearted humor in embracing your granny panties because if you can't even love you for you, then how can you expect others to love you for you, or for you to love others.

I'd encourage folks with a poor image of themselves to start working on themselves from within: mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. Make an action plan, then take constructive action, following through. I know it's hard at first, but you can do it. It's amazing what the mind and the body can do.
 

Luminous

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I'd encourage folks with a poor image of themselves to start working on themselves from within: mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. Make an action plan, then take constructive action, following through. I know it's hard at first, but you can do it. It's amazing what the mind and the body can do.

That I totally agree with. Though some people need help in figuring out where to begin, or even in acknowledging they have a disorder in the first place.
 

Peter Deadpan

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We are our own worst enemy. :)

I know what it feels like to be bullied, to feel despair, to feel ugly, to feel fat, to feel unloved, to feel lonely, to hide, and all of that because I'm human, but I didn't stay stuck like that. I set my heart free by forgiving people and forgiving myself. Then, I made the necessary changes in my life for my confidence, well-being, and overall health & happiness. I've worked hard in honoring my commitments to myself and can smile frequently now regardless of the troubles around me.

When I feel like I can't overcome an obstacle on my own, God gives me the strength and the courage to do it.

I'm not perfect, nor do I desire to put too much emphasis on being perfect, which is why my light-hearted humor in embracing your granny panties because if you can't even love you for you, then how can you expect others to love you for you, or for you to love others.

I'd encourage folks with a poor image of themselves to start working on themselves from within: mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. Make an action plan, then take constructive action, following through. I know it's hard at first, but you can do it. It's amazing what the mind and the body can do.

Are you even like... gaining anything from being a member of a personality forum?
Not everything is about you, and reality doesn't exist through only your lens.
 

Yuurei

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Explaining it like that actually does make a lot of sense and actually sounds like an incredibly unpleasant experience. It definitely makes the dynamic make a bit more sense to me overall, especially with her own efforts as well as my own having little effect on her overall feeling, especially if this ends up being an accurate descriptor for her. Thank you for this descriptor in particular.

You are very welcome. I'm glad I could be of some help and I wish it were more hopeful in nature.
I have zero sympathy for people who, by their own free will, choose to be offended, skewing other's intentions and posts just to be offended.

I have zero sympathy for people who, by their own free will, choose to focus on the worst in themselves and others and chronically complain about it.

I have zero sympathy for perpetual victims, complainers, and pouters.

It's funny because I sure as hell do not have sympathy for any of these either but that is not at all relevant to the topic.

It is absolutely NOT a choice.

No one is placing blame on anyone else for feeling this way, it is no one's fault. Therefore, no one is playing the victim.

No one in this thread is whining or complaining, only answer questions and offering advice to the OP.

We are our own worst enemy. :)

I know what it feels like to be bullied, to feel despair, to feel ugly, to feel fat, to feel unloved, to feel lonely, to hide, and all of that because I'm human, but I didn't stay stuck like that. I set my heart free by forgiving people and forgiving myself. Then, I made the necessary changes in my life for my confidence, well-being, and overall health & happiness. I've worked hard in honoring my commitments to myself and can smile frequently now regardless of the troubles around me.

When I feel like I can't overcome an obstacle on my own, God gives me the strength and the courage to do it.

I'm not perfect, nor do I desire to put too much emphasis on being perfect, which is why my light-hearted humor in embracing your granny panties because if you can't even love you for you, then how can you expect others to love you for you, or for you to love others.

I'd encourage folks with a poor image of themselves to start working on themselves from within: mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. Make an action plan, then take constructive action, following through. I know it's hard at first, but you can do it. It's amazing what the mind and the body can do.

Everything you've said only proves your ignorance on the subject. As PD already said; this isn't about you. Thus your feelings aren't helpful here.

When people find out about my disdain for my own appearance they find it hard to believe I usually respond with laughter-like most everything- because I realize "it must seem absurd for someone as confident as myself."
I guarantee that I have laughed at situations that would destroy you. I am quite certain I have a better sense of fashion than you, and most of all, I earned it all myself without the help of any "God."

This deformed ( actually, not hyperbole) and fairly useless body does not even remotely do justice to the greatness that is myself. It does not represent who I am as a person and I am not victim as it no one's fault.
 

Virtual ghost

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This is probably going to sound really ignorant but I'm going for it anyways. What is it like to have an overwhelmingly negative body image (in terms of perhaps health or shape)? Also what do you think would be the best way to support one who has these feelings?

I'm trying to support a family member with a very poor body image (ie. she thinks she's fat and ugly but she's pretty average/perhaps slightly underweight), but every time I try to be supportive or rationalize this I end up coming off abrupt or not providing feedback that is meaningful. My empathy is typically a bit better than this but this is somewhat a blind spot of mine it appears...

(Also sorry if this is in the wrong section, I was debating on putting this in the advice section but it's kind of health related so idk).



Call me radical but solving this problem in wider sense just isn't possible without stomping on fashion and make-up industry. Since the standards they are pushing just aren't realistic, first they take naturally the most beautiful people and then they do cosmetic surgery on them. After that they place such person is clothing and make up most can't afford and in the end they photoshop the whole thing ... and then they say this should be a standard. This is a crime against mental health of the public.
 

Abcdenfp

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Call me radical but solving this problem in wider sense just isn't possible without stomping on fashion and make-up industry. Since the standards they are pushing just aren't realistic, first they take naturally the most beautiful people and then they do cosmetic surgery on them. After that they place such person is clothing and make up most can't afford and in the end they photoshop the whole thing ... and then they say this should be a standard. This is a crime against mental health of the public.

This should be posted all over social media. It's maddening and most people just want to be loved for who they are not how they look
 

StrawberryBoots

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It's funny because I sure as hell do not have sympathy for any of these either but that is not at all relevant to the topic.

It is absolutely NOT a choice.

No one is placing blame on anyone else for feeling this way, it is no one's fault. Therefore, no one is playing the victim.

No one in this thread is whining or complaining, only answer questions and offering advice to the OP.

Everything you've said only proves your ignorance on the subject. As PD already said; this isn't about you. Thus your feelings aren't helpful here.

When people find out about my disdain for my own appearance they find it hard to believe I usually respond with laughter-like most everything- because I realize "it must seem absurd for someone as confident as myself."
I guarantee that I have laughed at situations that would destroy you. I am quite certain I have a better sense of fashion than you, and most of all, I earned it all myself without the help of any "God."

This deformed ( actually, not hyperbole) and fairly useless body does not even remotely do justice to the greatness that is myself. It does not represent who I am as a person.
I don't know what you're going through; I didn't pretend to, and I'm not your enemy.

You called me 'ignorant' and I feel blind-sided by that, like you don't respect me. Let's be clear, I didn't call you or anyone else here names. Despite how you feel, my opinion, my experiences, and my suggestions for overcoming a poor self-image were equally as relevant as everyone else's. You don't have to agree with my opinion or like me for working hard and over-coming my poor self-image or for my giving God the glory for achieving the seemingly impossible, but I do deserve respect.

My comment about my lack of sympathy for perpetual victims was not in reply to this topic; it was in reply to a specific post that was addressed to me (in this topic); the member that wrote me, skewed the meaning of my post for the worst. I rarely visit Typology Central and just recently met her in another thread where I saw her struggling with her negative feelings towards Mole. I tried to be a peacemaker between the two of them, but she wasn't willing to forget what Mole said to her and she proceeded to point me to every bad thing mole said. I asked her to please stop with all of that and just give Mole some grace. I think she's still upset with me for that; I don't know, but I don't have any hard feelings towards her or anyone else here.

Despite what little I've shared here, you don't know me or what I've been through in my life. Next time, please try to take in what's going on, without the rejection of my opinions & experiences. It wasn't easy for me to open up. My intentions are pure. I love people and especially, I love helping people that truly want to be helped. I've known brokenness and I'm an over-comer, thank you, Jesus!

I hope this provides you clarity. God's peace, love and joy to you, Yuu.
 
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Mind Maverick

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Does gender dysphoria count? If not, I've never experienced this and don't understand it well myself despite being motivated to look like a male model. I have known others that do struggle with it though, so thanks for the read, maybe I can understand them better now. Good topic.
 

VILLANELLE

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It's hard struggling with negative body image, every day is a battle. In MY experience, which I am speaking of right now in this comment, I find I am buying clothes that fit my size now. It's easier said than done. Everyone is different. Some people lose weight, and some people adapt and become healthier to change themselves. Whatever works for you, basically, is what you should do... do what you feel.

I'm trying to eat a bit better, which is very stressful for me to do, but baby steps count. I'm also buying things in my size, and that's making me feel better. I'm not going to fret, and while I have terrible days and I might hate myself, I do love myself and I'm trying to be kinder to myself. I go for walks, so that's some exercise there, and I try and make better choices. It's a struggle because I have some issues with food, but I'm trying to be better...

At the same time, I can be really hard on myself, too. It's really hard, and even people who tell me I look good and stuff, I don't believe it. I hate my face, and personally, I am trying to save for surgery to attain the feature that I want. And sometimes I like my defective feature. But then something sends me feeling into some spiral and I see and crave what I don't have. It's a never ending cycle. And it's not just my face, sometimes I point out my other features....

Be as supportive as you can, but outside influence can only do so much. It's a very personal, internal battle.
 

Mind Maverick

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I think Melodrama touched on a good point she didn't directly speak, too. It's really up to the individual to make those changes themselves. You can't do it for them. It requires their own effort. Support can only go so far.

I also remembered that I do struggle with negative body image quite severely once its time for in the bedroom...but in my case that is linked to trauma partly. Putting effort into my appearances also helps, but then I think I have a fairly attractive baseline and the rest is just work...so instead of getting insecure I get motivated. I have yet to face the age related struggles, but I'm still 28...it's just getting close to those 30s that's sinking in. Havent learned how to cross that road yet insecurity wise but im sure i will when i get there. I can only imagine it's partly a matter of learning to value and prioritize other things. I dont see any rule book saying that my 20s have to be the best time of my life. Id rather set goals and acheive things that make me think otherwise.
 

rav3n

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How old is she and is she still single? The reason I ask this is if she's still single, headed into her forties and fifties, she might feel that she can't compete on the dating market against younger women.

This might not help but it's interesting. Regardless of gender, hips grow wider which results in an increase in waist circumference as people age, and not because of the fallacious belief of weight gain.


Big Fat Truth: Hip Bones Widen With Age | Live Science


Researchers found that the width of the pelvis, the distance between the hip bones and the diameter of the hip bones all increased as people got older , even after people maxed out height-wise.

The pelvic width of the oldest people in the study (ages 70 to 79) was, on average, about an inch larger than the youngest people (ages 20 to 29), according to the study. That translates to about a three-inch increase in waist size between someone age 20 and someone age 79.

This is the link to the actual study, for people who prefer it since journalists have a habit of getting creative or misinterpreting findings.

Surprising evidence of pelvic growth (widening) after skeletal maturity. - PubMed - NCBI
 

RadicalDoubt

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Does gender dysphoria count? If not, I've never experienced this and don't understand it well myself despite being motivated to look like a male model. I have known others that do struggle with it though, so thanks for the read, maybe I can understand them better now. Good topic.

I'd say gender dysphoria certainly counts, though it isn't what she experiences. Frankly, even as I've actually gotten a far better understanding of this topic now [thanks to everyone here's help actually], dysphoria is easier to understand, at least conceptually, comparatively to general body hate [ie. I do not have disphoria myself, but I do have issues with appearing overly gendered for some reason, though I definitely understand dysphoria is more complicated than that).

How old is she and is she still single? The reason I ask this is if she's still single, headed into her forties and fifties, she might feel that she can't compete on the dating market against younger women.

This might not help but it's interesting. Regardless of gender, hips grow wider which results in an increase in waist circumference as people age, and not because of the fallacious belief of weight gain.


Big Fat Truth: Hip Bones Widen With Age | Live Science


This is the link to the actual study, for people who prefer it since journalists have a habit of getting creative or misinterpreting findings.

Surprising evidence of pelvic growth (widening) after skeletal maturity. - PubMed - NCBI

Actually these studies are incredibly useful, I wasn't aware of it. Some of her biggest issues come from the way she visualizes her hip/pant size change. She is going into her 50's this year, although not single.
 

rav3n

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Actually these studies are incredibly useful, I wasn't aware of it. Some of her biggest issues come from the way she visualizes her hip/pant size change. She is going into her 50's this year, although not single.
Not that this will help her feel any better but facial bone structure also changes as people age.

Our Face Bones Change Shape as We Age | Live Science

Aging is an eventuality for everyone like death and taxes. Even cosmetic surgery won't fight it unless surgeons change bone structures.
 

Fidelia

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This seems more about emotions than about her actual looks being the problem, and for that reason reassuring her about her appearance or pointing out her misconceptions will not be solution for her. It's more about what the underlying fear, sense of loss, etc is and addressing that. I think often it is easy to focus on the thought or behaviour that is incorrect or not optimal. Since we are creatures mostly moved by our emotions rather than what we rationally may know to be true, often the outward manifestation of the issue or the thinking changes when the emotion itself finds safe expression and whatever is underlying is grieved. I think we naturally move towards equilibrium, as long as there is nothing that is getting in the way.

Ungrieved losses or things that aren't changeable often keep us going around in a pattern of acting or thinking that only result in frustration. If those things can be talked about, or some of the grief over them bled off in some way, then it is much easier to find appreciation for what is present, to change thinking, or to behave differently.
 
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