Tag Archives: image

About Body Dysmorphia & Narcissistic Abuse During Childhood

Body dysmorphia is a mental disorder in which a person obsesses over flaws in their appearance.  The flaws may be real or not.  A person with body dysmorphia also often avoids other people because of feeling such embarrassment & even shame over their flaws.  They also may seek surgery or other ways of fixing these supposed flaws in their appearance.  The solutions may only provide temporary relief, but often the anxiety over the flaws returns.

Body dysmorphia can result from abnormalities or injuries to the brain.  A family history of the disorder also can lead to a person being prone to developing it.  I believe it also can be the result of narcissistic abuse.

Negative comments about something can be hurtful.  If they are negative enough, they can make a person feel very self conscience.  Narcissists don’t simply say a few random negative comments periodically, however.  They frequently say the most scathing, cruel, vicious criticisms they can come up with in order to annihilate their victim’s self esteem, because a person with no self esteem is easy to control.  One area narcissists often focus on is someone’s appearance.

Naturally when a parent says such things to their child, the likelihood of that child accepting the criticisms as truth is greater than if those same words were spoken to an adult by a stranger.  Parents have a tremendous influence over their children, & children naturally accept what their parents say as true, even when it isn’t.  Children’s brains are still forming too, which also makes it easier for them to accept their parents’ words as truth rather than question them.

When a child of a narcissistic parent grows up, it’s very likely that they will marry a narcissist.  It’s also likely that the narcissist they marry will repeat certain patterns that their parents employed.  Insulting the adult child of narcissistic parents in the area of their appearance is a common phenomenon.

When I was growing up, my mother was extremely critical of how I looked.  While she never said the word “fat”, she implied I was extremely fat more times than I can count.  Looking back at pictures of me as a child now though I realize I wasn’t fat at all, I was a normal weight.

Later when I married my ex husband, he continued her abuse in this area.  He also never told me I was fat, but constantly implied that I needed to lose weight.  I eventually lost weight & was too thin, yet I still wasn’t thin enough for his liking.

My situation is far from abnormal among adult children of narcissistic parents.

If you have experienced this as well, know that you are far from alone!  Many people who have suffered with Body Dysmorphia after experiencing narcissistic abuse.

I never went to therapy about this because I didn’t realize it was something treatable through therapy, plus after bad experiences in therapy, I lacked trust in the mental health system.  This caused me to look for my own ways to conquer Body Dysmorphia.  While therapy is most likely the most effective way, I thought I would share my ideas anyway in case anyone reading this prefers to handle the situation on their own as I did.

During the time I was going through the worst of the Body Dysmorphia, I didn’t believe in God.  Prayer wasn’t going to happen.  I wish I had because no doubt God would have helped me so much more than anything I did without Him!  Please learn from my mistake & pray. 

Also, listen to what other people tell you.  I spent my entire life dismissing complements rather than accepting them with a simple “thank you.”  People don’t give complements easily.  Listen to what they say because they mean them!

Look at yourself objectively.  Ask yourself if what the narcissist said makes any sense.  Most likely, it won’t. 

When you hear the narcissist telling you about all of your flaws, question those things. 

Doing these things won’t make Body Dysmorphia disappear overnight.  Sometimes I wonder if it’ll ever vanish entirely since even years later, I still am quite insecure about my looks.  But, at the very least they will help you to feel much less insecure, & that isn’t a bad worst case scenario!

4 Comments

Filed under Abuse and the Healing Journey, Mental Health, Narcissism

Thoughts On Being Comfortable With Who God Made You To Be

I recently had an interesting dream.  In it, I was at a concert of one of my favorite bands ever, Motorhead.  The dream was a bit odd since I’m not exactly a concert goer.  Watching them on TV is as close as I get.

When I woke up, I prayed then looked up what music & concerts meant on my favorite dream dictionary website, dreammoods.com.  According to the site, dreaming of a concert symbolizes unity & cooperation.  Very cool.. my husband & I were moving soon & the dream made me realize how well we’re working together to accomplish this.  Dreaming of music meant something different though.  The site said that dreaming of music depends on the dreamer.  Each genres means something different & if the genre is something you like, the music is offering you advice.  When I read this, it clicked in my brain immediately.

I’ve been a Motorhead fan for a long time, but in particular a fan of their late singer, Lemmy Kilmister.  In some ways he was your typical heavy metal musician.  But, in other ways he wasn’t & I always thought those ways were really interesting.  Not only was he highly intelligent but had a very unique personality.  He was fascinated by history.  Most of all though, he was unapologetic for being himself.  Not like a narcissist of course, just he had this attitude of, “This is who I am.  I like me.  Your approval isn’t required.”  Never having such an attitude myself, I admire & even somewhat envy it in others.

I believe my dream was trying to tell me that I need to share Lemmy’s attitude.  There is nothing wrong with being comfortable in your own skin & not caring what others think about you.  I realize narcissists try to make victims feel that way, but that doesn’t mean they’re right.  They don’t want victims to feel that way because an insecure victim with low, or better yet NO, self esteem is easy to control.  A person who is insecure doesn’t know what they want, think, feel & believe, which means they are going to be easily controlled.

Someone who has a healthy self esteem, however, is a threat to narcissists.  They know who they are.  They know what they want, think, feel & believe.  They are well aware of their boundaries.  Because of such things, they aren’t easily controlled or manipulated.  They may be briefly but they catch on fast, & put an end to being treated that way even if it means ending the relationship.

Anyway I don’t think the lesson in this dream was only for me.  I think it was for other victims of narcissistic abuse.  If it was for you too, I’m sure this resonates with you as it did with me.

I have tried to develop Lemmy’s attitude.  This is what I figured out about how to do that.

Naturally pray.  Ask God to tell you the truth about yourself.  That alone is eye opening!  I did that myself some time ago & was shocked at what He had to say.  He told me to research the personality of wolves, because that is what he created me to be like.  I assume because of being such an animal lover, that was why He used that example.  It was fascinating & so eye opening!  I never would have thought that is what God created me to be like.

Once you do this, remind yourself often of whatever it is He tells you about yourself.  Having the knowledge is a good thing of course, but reminding yourself of it often is what will get that knowledge inside of you.  This was where I made my mistake.  I didn’t focus on it as much as I should have, which is probably why I had the dream.  Learn from my mistake!  Think about what He said.  If it helps leave notes or pictures around your home that remind you of it.  Let this valuable knowledge get inside you & help you to blossom into the wonderful person He created you to be!

8 Comments

Filed under Abuse and the Healing Journey, Mental Health, Narcissism

About Being True To Yourself

Anyone who knows me knows I am deeply into music.  Although I love all kinds of music, one of my favorite bands ever is the famous rock band, Queen.  Their unique sound & ability to mix all types of sounds to make music is absolutely incredible to me.  “Normal” music bores me so the uniqueness that always has been Queen is super appealing to me.

Anyone who knows me also knows my way of thinking is a bit skewed from what normal people think.  That ties into my Queen fandom, so please bear with me….

Recently I was listening to my favorite Queen song, “The Show Must Go On.”  The song was written by Brian May, the band’s incredibly talented guitarist & by the way also an astrophysicist, for the band’s singer, Freddie Mercury as he was dying from AIDS.  The band members were incredibly close friends, & this song was his gift to Freddie.  The story goes, at the time they were to record it, Freddie was quite ill & the other band members weren’t sure he would be able to sing long enough to create the single.  Upon hearing their concerns, he slammed down a shot of liquor & said he’d do it… then proceeded to create the vocals in only one take.  Pretty impressive especially for a dying man, don’t you think?

Yet, this isn’t something that was un-typical for the magnificent singer.

An extremely shy man, Freddie Mercury created an on stage persona that was very different from his true personality.  His fans loved the extrovert he was on stage, yet in spite of that, when he was off stage, he stayed true to his true shy nature.  His private life stayed private as much as possible.

In spite of being known for being shy, Freddie Mercury had a healthy self esteem.  Many people assume being shy means having low self esteem, but that isn’t always the case.  He recognized his talent as well as his shortcomings.  As a result, he also was very accepting of others & non-judgmental.

Freddie Mercury was comfortable with who he was.  Ok, he was not perfect, but who is?  Even so, this man was clearly comfortable in his own skin.

Also, he wasn’t afraid to step out of the box.  He did many unique things.  The opinions of others really weren’t important to him.  That isn’t a bad thing at all!  Everyone should have such confidence in stepping out of the box!

Thinking of these things, I was reminded yet again that Freddie Mercury is quite the role model.  Yes, I know, he had issues.  But honestly.. don’t we all have some issues??  He was true to himself & that is a wonderful thing!  We should strive to be true to ourselves as well.

I think most of us can learn a thing or two from this amazing man!

Naturally as Christians, we need to keep God first in our lives.  That being said though, it sure wouldn’t hurt any of us to learn a few lessons from Freddie Mercury.

Whatever you do, stay true to yourself, be comfortable in your own skin & don’t be afraid to step outside of the box.  What other people think isn’t important.  And yes, this is aimed at those who survived narcissists!  You take care of yourself, be true to yourself & don’t be afraid of trying anything different.  If you want to dye your hair pink or blue or purple, then by all means, DO IT!!!  Get that tattoo, change your wardrobe into something entirely different from your normal.  Don’t let the opinions of other people determine what you should & shouldn’t do.  I know this can be so hard when you were raised by narcissistic parents, but it’s so important to break away from their mindset.  They don’t know you as the person God created you to be.  They don’t understand His will for your life.  And that is fine.  You know these things & you know that you need to do God’s will for your life.  Do it & enjoy every single moment!

2 Comments

Filed under Abuse and the Healing Journey, Christian Topics and Prayers, Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Mental Health, Narcissism

Revelation About Hating My Body

Lately my hormones are all over the place. In my late 40’s, I know it’s normal, but that doesn’t mean I’m happy about it.  I griped some to my husband about it one day recently, which I almost never do.  Usually I try to hide any physical or mental problems from him.  He’s got enough to deal with plus although I’ve improved, I’m still not overly comfortable admitting when I feel under the weather.

Anyway, after listening to me gripe, he said, “Can I ask you something? Why do you hate your body so much?” I was surprised by the question & immediately thought of many things. My looks have always been the main thing my mother & ex husband insulted about me, so I’ve always felt ugly thanks to their cruel words & wished I looked differently.  I have pain from arthritis, & now out of whack hormones.  I’ve also gotten taller & just bigger from the birth control I’ve been on for years.  Then there are the symptoms I developed after Carbon Monoxide poisoning in 2015.  It seemed at the moment like I had plenty of things to hate about my body.

Then, later on that afternoon, I wasn’t even thinking about this conversation when suddenly it popped into my mind out of the blue & I realized something… I blame my body for the actions of other people, as well as hating it for doing normal things!  How ridiculous is that?!

All of this has caused me a great deal of shame over my life.  Thanks to the constant criticism of how I look, I’ve always been very ashamed of my looks & felt incredibly ugly & disgusting.  I’ve been ashamed of getting arthritis when I was only 31 years old because it’s abnormal.  Truth be told, it’s probably a direct result of living with narcissistic abuse since it often causes inflammatory disorders.  The symptoms from the Carbon Monoxide Poisoning & crazy hormones?  Both are very normal & nothing to be ashamed of.

After some prayer, I think all of my faulty thinking stems from being raised the way I was.  My mother criticized everything about my looks my entire life, I assume because I look like my father’s mother & not her side of the family.  No doubt that was a disappointment to her.  In fact, she probably felt betrayed by that as most narcissists would.  As a result, I grew up hating everything about my looks, & not believing anyone who said I was pretty.  My ex husband later reinforced this in me by being so critical.

Then there was sickness. Anytime I was sick or injured as a child was nothing but an inconvenience to my mother.  She obviously resented taking care of me.  As an adult, she didn’t believe me when something was wrong unless it was very obvious (the flu, a broken toe that was black & blue, etc).  This taught me that I was wrong to be sick or injured.  I’ve actually felt like my body has betrayed me by being sick or injured when nothing could be further from the truth.  It also had me not believing my own symptoms, thinking I must be faking them or at least exaggerating things.

When I realized all of this, I thought there may be others who are going through the same thing, so I figured I should share it.

If you feel the same way, then know you’re not alone. We can change this dysfunctional thinking.

Start by praying about it.  Ask God to show you the truth & ask Him for help healing from it.

I believe that it’s important to get to the root of problems if you wish to heal completely, so to do that, I ask God what is the root of this issue?  Sometimes, He’ll bring a specific memory to my mind.  Other times, several memories come to mind.

Once you see the root cause of your false belief, aside from asking God for more help, also look at the situation objectively.  When you look at it as an outsider rather than a victim, you can see just how evil your abuser is & how wrong the things they taught you were.

Also, look at yourself objectively not through the eyes of someone trained to self hate through narcissistic abuse.  Psalm 139:14 says that we are fearfully & wonderfully made.  Rather than hating your body, consider that verse.   God made you the way you are for a reason, & it is a good reason!  Consider the good things about your body- how you look & the things you can do.  Just because someone told you that you’re ugly or didn’t care when you were sick or injured doesn’t mean there is anything wrong with you.  What it does mean is that the person who said such things to you has some serious problems!

4 Comments

Filed under Abuse and the Healing Journey, Mental Health, Narcissism