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Wish I was invisible
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Jeune1 posted:
This happened on Friday but I'm still upset about it. I ran into a friend I hadn't seen in a while and in the course of greeting me he said "You look great." I know, I know this is just one of those things people say, even if you in fact look like refried death. But comments about my appearance send me into a tailspin. I either think the person is just being nice (and I in fact do look like refried death) or the person is being snide (because I do in fact look like refried death). At any rate, it makes me feel very defensive and angry. This applies to everyone, including my husband. I'm dreading a conference I must attend next week (in part) because I have to dress up and people will say "Oh, you look nice." I want to yell "Shut up about the way I look!"

I've tried talking to my therapist about this and she (and I know she meant well) started in about how I need to learn to look at myself and think "You're beautiful." NO! First of all, I'm a funny looking gal, period. Where I don't take after my dad, I take after my great-granddad. Second of all, the point isn't that I want to approve of my looks, the point is, I don't want to care about my looks. And I really want to be able to hear a perfectly harmless statement (perhaps even a compliment) and not feel like I'm under attack.
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itmatsb responded:
People are trying to make you feel good when they say something like that and what are they are getting back from you--hostility?

"You look great." can mean a lot of things--beauty, that you look healthy, you have beautiful clothing, that they like you enough to try to make you feel good, etc.

It is a very common thing for people to say, "you look good". It's also common for people to say, "Hi, how are you?" when they really don't want to hear the details of exactly how you are. You need to chill out about the comment and keep going to your therapist. Appreciate that there are still nice people in the world who put themselves out to say something nice to you.
 
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Jeune1 replied to itmatsb's response:
Thanks for your comment. I think my realization that my reaction is unusual (to say the least) is evident in my initial post. I do not show hostility to people who make nice comments because I realize my reaction is unusual (to say the least). If I thought it was perfectly normal I wouldn't have posted about it here. Sorry I disturbed you.
 
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An_247916 replied to Jeune1's response:
It sounds like you're projecting your own feelings of inadequacy on to other people. If you really felt you "looked good" then the compliment wouldn't bother you. However, it seems as if you are insecure about your looks so you would rather people not comment on them. Am I on the right track?
 
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Elizabeth_WebMD_Staff responded:
Hi Jeune1 -

I get it! Have never liked hearing a compliment and in would reply by pointing out my perceived defects - physical, emotional, school, work related.

Reading your thoughts brought back my mom's words. I think this drove her crazy. She told me just to say thank you. That's it. No discussion. No self doubt. Thank you and drop it. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't.

Elizabeth
 
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itmatsb replied to Jeune1's response:
Jeune,
Thanks for your kind response. I'm glad what you realize about your thoughts. With therapy I think that you will get better. As you start to feel better about yourself, I think that you will start to feel better about your looks.

I also used to point out my defects when complimented. Not any more. Except I have to admit to people how disabled I am and am in 24/7 pain, so that they understand why I can't volunteer and do things. They invariably say to me, "You look GOOD." I always say very kindly, "Looks can be deceiving."
 
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chez1 replied to Jeune1's response:
Hi Jeune
How are you doing, as in really doing? When is the conference and have you planned how you are going to cope with these issues.
I am sorry but I have had a giggle at "refried death", I have this mad image in my head!!
Take care and sending lots of hugs
Chez x
People often say that motivation doesn't last. Well, neither does bathing - that's why we recommend it daily....... Zig Ziglar
 
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Jeune1 replied to chez1's response:
Thanks for the kind thoughts. The conference starts next week and I just cope with it like I always do, just cope. At least I'll have the stress of flying to and from the conference and being AT the conference to distract me. Yay.

I know people don't mean any harm by it. I know my reaction isn't normal and I even know I'm letting a number of bullies "win" when I react this way because I'm giving things they said in the past far more weight than what a nice person right in front of me is saying in the present. Ugg. I just want to think like a normal person and not think anything of it.
 
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Jeune1 replied to itmatsb's response:
Ha. That made me think of my Junior year in college. I had to have an emergency surgery and came out of the hospital about 20 pounds lighter and so about 40 pounds under the target weight for my height. People I'd never spoken too kept bouncing up to me to say they'd heard I'd been in the hospital but I looked GREAT because I was so THIN!

I looked like a famine victim. So I probably also think people who compliment me are kind of deranged.
 
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itmatsb replied to Jeune1's response:
That's funny! Yes, after being overweight, I was below the normal BMI too for a couple years after my stroke. My doctor told me that she didn't care what I ate--ice cream sundaes every night were fine--as long as I didn't lose any more weight. But I don't remember anyone telling me that I looked good back then! So see, people don't lie to you when you're really looking bad! LOL


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