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Self-hatred, body dysmorphia

Discussion in 'Support Subforum' started by Stevielawrence, Jul 29, 2019.

  1. Stevielawrence

    Stevielawrence Peer Supporter

    I have gone through years of eating disorders in addition to having chronic pain. Though I have recovered from my behavior around food, I still carry so much self-hatred and deeply painful feelings of ugliness and unworthiness. I believe a lot of this is connected to my pain.

    I have done and continue to do therapy, but I can’t seem to forgive myself and be kind to myself and accepting of my appearance. I have intense shame. It is a deeply painful emotion, this self-hatred, and sometimes leads to thoughts of suicide. Not actually wanting to, just feeling so deeply unworthy.

    I had a father who judged me from the time I was 9 years old on my body and looks. He was a very abusive father at times emotionally and verbally, and I have a hard time forgiving him for doing that to me.

    I notice that this intense anger and shame I feel is highly directed at my body and symptoms and the pain, making me think I have the anger because I have pain, but maybe it’s the other way around?

    Id love others thoughts and experiences with these strong emotions.
    plum likes this.
  2. plum

    plum Beloved Grand Eagle

    Sending you some much needed love. I have my hands full at the moment so cannot write more but wanted you to know this is a courageous post and for now it is enough to be where you are. I hope others chime in with some thoughts.

    Plum x
  3. JanAtheCPA

    JanAtheCPA Beloved Grand Eagle

    Welcome @Stevielawrence, and I echo plum's sentiments about your courage.
    It's definitely the other way around. This is the entire basis of Dr Sarno's theories, which he developed after observing his patients and then going back to Freud.

    You should be able to incorporate TMS work along with therapy, although it would be helpful if your therapist was on board with the mindbody connection.

    Can you tell us what you have done so far, to learn about TMS?
  4. birdsetfree

    birdsetfree Well known member

    Think about when you were born, you weren't born with these thoughts and feelings about yourself. Those are your fathers, not yours. So the path to recovery lies in separating yourself from those negative destructive thoughts and hence feelings so that you can get back to your true loving self. Try to catch each and every negative thought and challenge it with a loving supportive one.

    Your mind is definitely creating the symptoms as a distraction from deeper emotions, most likely rage and fear.

    Your father probably did not know any better and didn't have the tools to deal with his own emotions. Recognising this is the first step to forgiveness. Separating your bullying thoughts about yourself from who you actually are will help you to banish them from your conscious mind. You are worth it, you are enough and you are complete as you are.
  5. JanAtheCPA

    JanAtheCPA Beloved Grand Eagle

    Awesome advice from @birdsetfree

    To which I will add this about forgiveness: I remember learning that you may find a way to forgive the person, but you do NOT have to forgive the behavior. Your father may have a place in this world, as sad and pathetic as it probably is, but parental abuse is an evil that should not exist.

    Every child ever born has the inarguable right to expect that their parents will love, nurture, and protect them. You had the right to expect all of those things from your father, who failed miserably to provide them. You may need to finally grieve for that loss, and allow yourself to acknowledge that this was a form of abandonment.
    L.L. and Stevielawrence like this.
  6. Stevielawrence

    Stevielawrence Peer Supporter

    Thank you for all you replies. Very helpful. I did some TMS work a few years ago - I read Sarno and worked out of schubiners workbook. I did get some relief, mostly I found myself no longer obsessed with the symptoms, even though I still had them and wouldn’t say I was “free.” When I started getting very active again, the symptoms came back and have been very stubborn. I remain active, but I still have pain, and this led me to believe I was igniting a structural issue through so much movement. I’ve been in a cycle for a year now of thinking it’s a physical issue, seeing doctors, doubting their diagnosis, trying the TMS way again, getting frustrated, googling, repeat.

    I do notice I feel a lot more rage and fear and sadness than I did a few years ago, even though I (attempt to) confront these feelings in therapy and other places. My life circumstances are different - I’m married now and have a 1 year old baby. I notice that all my “daddy issues” are showing up with my husband. I regularly doubt that he truly loves me. I also struggle with his mother and sisters. They might be the most insensitive people on the planet! I, on the other hand, am quite sensitive, with an artistic temperament, and I feel awful after even brief interactions with them.

    There are definitely lots of feelings in my head and heart. I have journaled heavily about my father and my self image issues - I’m not sure where else to go. More recently, I was journaling heavily for a few months, which sometimes helped and sometimes made me depressed. I’m willing to keep confronting my issues; I wish I could just trust that what is going on in my body is TMS and not a structural problem left behind by an injury. How can I get past the idea that my hamstring injury left scar tissue or something that is bundled up around my gluteal nerves? I can feel it when I move and stretch in normal ways. This is what yanks me out of TMS belief.

    Thank you, everyone, again, for your replies.

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