Anybody else struggle with insane jealousy/super-low physical self-esteem? - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 12 Old 04-06-2011, 06:31 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I have dealt with these two issues since I was in elementary school and have had plenty of pretty darn good counseling about it.  However, I continue to struggle with these demons.  I am very aware of how issues in my childhood influenced my sense of self-worth, so I am not looking for replies to counsel me on the genesis of the problem.  I am interested in hearing from others whose lives have been impacted by awful jealousy of other people (other women, in my case).  I get totally obsessed with checking out other women when I am in public--who has beautiful hair, who is wearing an outfit I couldn't ever feel comfortable in but wish I could, who has a great body, etc.  There are restaurants and stores I usually avoid (especially with my SO) because I feel so drastically physically inferior to the women I typically see there.  My therapist is very skilled, experienced, and compassionate, but admits that this phenomenon kind of is baffling to her.  I am probably what others would describe as maybe average-looking on a good day, but I know that really isn't the point at all.  I am honestly a pretty good and kind person and am so confused at why such a superficial issue has pounded me for so long.  I will mention that I am older than the typical mother and that, since the birth of my second child, these issues have eased up on me just a touch.  Thanks for any thoughts.


 sleepytime.gif I got tired of my signature, but I still love my children and husband and miss my little brotherkid.gif

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#2 of 12 Old 04-06-2011, 09:25 PM
 
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Uhg, I constantly compare myself to other women, mostly moms. I too struggle with low self esteem. It drive my husband crazy, Don't have any advise, but you are not the only one.

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#3 of 12 Old 04-07-2011, 07:43 AM
 
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When I was younger, I felt this way. For me, the way it reared its head was negative thoughts about the other woman. I knew it was totally jealousy-related, but I'd find myself thinking very ugly thoughts: "sure she's thin, but she must be anorexic," that kind of thing. The way I trained myself to stop was to very purposely think something positive about the woman (you could do it for yourself too, if your negative thoughts are being directed at yourself). It's not easy to remember to do, and it feels really clunky at first, but after a while it gets easier and replaces the negative thoughts. I have a friend who has almost eradicated her own negative self-talk in this manner as well.

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#4 of 12 Old 04-07-2011, 11:13 AM
 
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Funny, I was coming to this forum to post specifically about this kind of thing. I was very obsessed with my body during childhood and adolescence, especially when I started dancing ballet. I wanted to be skinny, fair-skinned, tall and blonde with blue eyes, like all the other Caucasian girls I played with. Obviously, being half-Asian, the last four attributes weren't really going to happen. As for skinny...well, let's just say I'm a booty-girl. I've got strong legs and butt and it has always bothered me.

 

When I got preggo, I was petrified of losing my figure and losing control over my body. I had previously dieted/starved myself and exercised like crazy to keep my figure. I was petrified of "getting fat" and getting stretchmarks, all of which happend. I gained 50 lbs, retained LOTS of water, and my belly and hips and even my calves all got pretty obvious stretchmarks. I covered all the mirrors in the apartment so I didn't have to look at myself without clothing. I felt *cursed*. I felt that I was unlucky because there are some women out there, like a good friend of mine, blessed with babymaking bodies, that just don't get stretchmarks and that just bounce back within weeks of pregnancy! Not I. It took a good 11 months for me to lose my baby weight and then I was left with ugly scarred-looking flabby skin on my belly.

 

Since then, I've started working out several times a week with the goal of getting rid of my migraines, but I can't help but begin to think once more about how dissatisfied I am with my appearance.

 

Somedays I don't worry about it and find some good in my appearance, and other days, like today, I feel like CRAP. I go to the YMCA, see other women's nude bodies and wish for this one's butt, this other one's legs and this other one's breasts. It doesn't help when a total stranger comes up to me and asked me what happened to my stomach to make it look the way it does.

:( ...um what happened is I got gigantic during pregnancy and I'm cursed with bad skin!

 

All that to say: I feel your pain. I think that this attitude comes from being deeply self-critical, and it's something I struggle with daily.

 

 

 

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#5 of 12 Old 04-07-2011, 01:00 PM
 
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Its basic human instinct for me. I love my mate, I need my mate, I want to keep my mate. For me, its not about being beautiful, wearing designer clothes or being thin. That is not what attracts my mate. When I dated my dh over a decade and two dc ago, I was into extreme sports....skiing, mt climbing, rock climbing etc. I was athletic and strong and kind of cute. Now, not so much.....  so if I feel jealousy towards another woman it is that "she is strong and adventurous, I could see my dh wanting to spend time with her".

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#6 of 12 Old 04-07-2011, 01:36 PM
 
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We all get about a zillion marketing messages a day that tell us that as women, our appearance is the most important thing about us, and then showing us a ridiculously narrow range of what a healthy, beautiful woman can look like, and then urging us to buy products that will turn us into that image. It's amazing to me that any of us can be sane, given the pervasiveness of these messages.

 

Halfasianmomma, I totally hear you about the pitfalls of ballet training. I was a serious student of ballet for most of my childhood & adolescence. I wanted that willowy, graceful, muscular-yet-also-slender physique. The physique that is natural and healthy for me includes large breasts, wide hips, a big, muscular butt, and short, stocky legs. Basically, I'm built like a truck, not a swan. That was a pretty horrifying revelation as an adolescence, and it has taken conscious effort as an adult to re-frame my body image and figure out how not to compare myself to others. I'm also one of those who got tons of huge stretch marks during pregnancy. And my belly is pretty much a wrinkled, saggy thing now.

 

Things that have helped:

A book I highly recommend is Kim Chernin's The Obsession: Reflections on the Tyranny of Slenderness. I read it over 20 years ago for a college class, and it was a real turning point for me in terms of waking up to the insanity that mainstream media culture dishes out for us and how to find a way out of that funhouse.

 

I spend as little time as possible looking at myself in the mirror.I do things like cycling and swimming. If I take a yoga class or a dance class, I look for a studio that doesn't have mirrors. I'm just a much happier person if I focus on how I feel instead of how I look. And it helps me not focus on other people's looks as well. I do things that really make me feel good, and I just don't give myself a chance to see how I look while I'm doing them.

 

Exploring buddhism has been helpful to me too.

 

 


Living in Wisconsin with my partner of 20+ years and our DDenergy.gif(Born 10/09/08 ribboncesarean.gif). Why CI Mama? Because I love contact improvisation!

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#7 of 12 Old 04-07-2011, 02:45 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for writing and I hope we hear from more folks.  One thing I did years ago was stop having a t.v. in my house (1999).  I simply choose not to have all that media crap in my brain which used to make me feel even worse than I did.  We rent videos from time to time, but not the kind that drive me bananas.  Gotta go...baby is biting my back fat redface.gif


 sleepytime.gif I got tired of my signature, but I still love my children and husband and miss my little brotherkid.gif

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#8 of 12 Old 04-08-2011, 08:09 AM
 
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Funny I just posted something related to this. I suffered from extreme low-self esteem when I was a younger. I too was a competitive dancer and and had a lot of pressure from my mother to stay thin and beautiful. Now I have much more confidence than I did when I was younger, but I still compare myself to other women. Since college, I find I get jealous more when someone excels at something I don't (sports, academics, languages) - its not so much about physical appearance anymore. 

 

I think they best thing we can to do is to try to think, speak and act productively. When I feel jealous or make a snap judgment about someone, I try to keep it myself, I feel the more I vocalize the worse it is. 


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#9 of 12 Old 04-12-2011, 05:06 PM
 
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I hear you! For me getting pregnant and losing control of my body was horrific! I was not one of those glowing pregnant mamas. I had horrible acne the entire pregnancy, I gained 50lbs, and my face got HUGE. I also didn't bounce back "right away". It took me 12 months to get back to where I was right before I got pregnant. During my pregnancy I found myself always checking out other pregnant women and wondering why the *** I couldn't have.... fill in the blank (clear skin, etc.) like they had. Honestly I'm scared to get pregnant again for that reason. I know it sounds awful. But I felt like the ugliest and fattest ogre for 2 years. It sucked.  

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#10 of 12 Old 04-13-2011, 08:33 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MamaofLiam View Post

I hear you! For me getting pregnant and losing control of my body was horrific! I was not one of those glowing pregnant mamas. I had horrible acne the entire pregnancy, I gained 50lbs, and my face got HUGE. I also didn't bounce back "right away". It took me 12 months to get back to where I was right before I got pregnant. During my pregnancy I found myself always checking out other pregnant women and wondering why the *** I couldn't have.... fill in the blank (clear skin, etc.) like they had. Honestly I'm scared to get pregnant again for that reason. I know it sounds awful. But I felt like the ugliest and fattest ogre for 2 years. It sucked.  



I can relate to this. It took me somewhere between 6 - 8 months post-partum (and LO is just a year!) before I stopped looking at the other moms and thinking, why? How come they are so svelte and I'm not? And they don't look frumpy at all! How come I can't de-frump? How come MY clothes always have avocado and/or banana on them and theirs don't? Oh yeah. I get this one. 

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#11 of 12 Old 06-15-2011, 02:08 PM
 
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Everyone has thoughts like these.

 

I personally deal with it with a religious perspective. In my religion, jealousy is considered something natural. But when it becomes extreme and it is accompanied by not so nice thoughts, it's an "illness" of the heart and one should strive against it. If I come across something that I find myself coveting or liking or admiring, I ask God to bless that thing and, for me, this right away removes the ugly beast inside. I believe that what that other person has is something that was granted to them by God. I also believe that in God's hands is all goodness, so if I want something, why not just ask Him?

 

That doesn't mean I wake up with Rapunzel's hair the next morning, but what there is, is satisfaction in my heart-- which is worth the whole world anyway if you ask me.

 

I have to struggle with this from time to time (and sometimes more than other times) but I don't mind; it's like I'm always reminding myself, always attempting to re-cleanse my heart if you will.


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#12 of 12 Old 06-15-2011, 03:05 PM
 
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baffling? Sounds pretty common to me anyways

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