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Old 03-20-2019, 06:31 AM   #1
Arbie
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Default Is this something to be concerned about?

Not going to do anything about it. Just wondering if it's cause for concern.

Every time I visit my sister, she seems fixated on my looks. Not that she merely mentions, "You look good," and leaves it at that. She goes on about it. The biggest percent of her conversation will be about how much weight I've lost, how much younger than my age I appear to be, how long my hair is. Always all good things. She seems to think I'm Miss Universe material. (I'm not, and that's OK.)

I've always had a weight problem, and when we were younger, I never felt beautiful. If I still had contact with my mother, she would be the same way toward me, but also the opposite. That is, also fixated on my looks as if nothing else matters, but giving me detailed negative messages rather than positive. My sister and I grew up to think a woman's value pretty much consists of how physically attractive she is. According to our childhood conditioning, that means thin, youthful, and flawless with a mane of long, flowing hair, and if a woman didn't fit that description, then she pretty much wasn't as worthwhile. I was always made to feel I'm "less than," because of some physical flaw like protruding front teeth, or not being the right shape. (And I wasn't allowed to grow long hair until later in life.) I'm sure my sister is only trying to counteract the negative messages I've heard countless times in my life, and I appreciate that.

The thing is, I've moved beyond the point where my looks are all that important to me anymore. I don't really *need* that validation. I suppose what's slightly irritating is that she may be trying to help me clear a hurdle I jumped over long ago. I know I can just smile and say "thank you," and that's what I do, but after a while, that subject gets a little awkward. There are other things we could be talking about.

Come to think of it, this is basically a family trait. I remember a Thanksgiving dinner from quite a few years ago. The family had invited my ex-husband and his new wife to join us. At one point, my brother pulled me aside and told me discreetly that I am so "much prettier than that other wife," as if appearance alone makes me a better person than she is. It doesn't, and there's nothing wrong with her anyway. She's a very nice person. I guess my brother wanted me to feel good about myself. I know he meant it as a compliment, and again I appreciate it, but I'm thinking it's not really necessary. I no longer judge a person's worth by their looks, and therefore I don't really need to have mine praised or somebody else's criticized in order to be happy with myself.

Do you think this is a problem?
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Old 03-20-2019, 09:55 AM   #2
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Default Re: Is this something to be concerned about?

if you've moved beyond the idea that appearance is so important, likely this behavior that has been ongoing is becoming more contrasting to your perspective and stands out more. You've endured years of that dysfunctional behavior and now that you re more healthy it just is more obvious.


It's not a problem, it's just that you're seeing people, your family, in a different light and that can be a good or bad thing, it's what you do with it that matters. Let it be a reminder of how you've changed and it's a good thing. Allow it to draw you back into the old role and dysfunction and obviously that's a bad thing. Just take it as something you observe and see about your family members and their behavior, accept that this is just how they are and continue with your healthy perception of self.
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Old 03-20-2019, 11:26 AM   #3
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Default Re: Is this something to be concerned about?

I wish I could view it like you do! That’s so healthy. I agree with the above. Seems you’ve moved far beyond this now. Perhaps you could simply say “thanks” and then change the subject, indicating you dont want to continue talking about it?
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Old 03-20-2019, 11:56 AM   #4
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Default Re: Is this something to be concerned about?

[QUOTE=Arbie;

What an interesting post Arbie! Thanks for sharing. It sounds like you and your sister are close and have a good relationship. Do I have that right? If so, I recommend chatting with her about this issue. Need not be heavy or confrontational. Just something like "Hey love, just so you know, i don't need all the compliments on my looks. I am happy and well now. And I feel that character is so much more important thank looks; I know you agree. Let's find some other fun things to chat about." See what she says.

I completely understand why it would be uncomfortable for you to stand there listening to someone try to bolster you when you in fact you don't need that.

I hope a chat helps you and your sis
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Old 03-20-2019, 01:15 PM   #5
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Default Re: Is this something to be concerned about?

Your feelings and thoughts are perfectly valid, Arbie! I understand what you mean. It's good that you're feeling better now and that you're able to look at yourself like more than your own appearence, and other people as well. I agree with what all the others have already wisely said better than I ever could. You've been given some great advice on this thread. I'd suggest to follow it if you can. Like you've said, your sister and your family are probably only trying to be supportive, but I understand why you'd feel bothered by this kind of comment. I'd suggest to talk to them about this and see how it goes from there. Just be honest with them. Tell them that you appreciate their compliments, but that you don't need them and that you already feel good about yourself and that you'd like to talk about something else with them. Hopefully they'll listen to you and understand you. I'm sure they will. Either way, what's important is that you're a ware of your own qualities. That's the most important thing. I'm really happy that you're feeling a bit better! Remember that we're here for you if you need it. Feel free to PM me anytime. Let me know if I can do something to help you. Wish you good luck! Let us know how it goes. Sending many hugs to you, Arbie. You're a strong, wonderful person. Be proud of yourself for how you're handling all of this! We all believe in you! We're all rooting for you!
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