I Lie to My Daughter About My Poor Body Image

3 years ago
This article was written by a member of the SheKnows Community. It has not been edited, vetted or reviewed by our editorial staff, and any opinions expressed herein are the writer’s own.

Woman shadow behind translucent mirror photo via Shutterstock.

Standing in front of the steam covered bathroom mirror, naked, dripping wet, and quite honestly ashamed of what is looking back at me, my tween daughter barges in.

“I need a hair tie!” She couldn't care less that I’m naked. Hell, she’s naked, and very comfortable with being in the buff.

Woman shadow behind translucent mirror photo via Shutterstock.

Standing in front of the steam covered bathroom mirror, naked, dripping wet, and quite honestly ashamed of what is looking back at me, my tween daughter barges in.

“I need a hair tie!” She couldn't care less that I’m naked. Hell, she’s naked, and very comfortable with being in the buff.

Me, not so much.

She bounces in front of me, grabs a hair tie, blows me a kiss, and is off.

I am left feeling perturbed.

Not because she barged in—I am a Mom. I haven’t been alone in a bathroom for 15 years—but because I detest my naked body, and I don’t want her to know.

Each morning it’s the same thing: Me standing in front of the same mirror, trying to get clothes on as fast as I can, so I don’t have to look at my naked body. Crazy, right? To me this is the norm; this is how I have lived my entire life, and I don’t tell anyone. Especially not my daughter.

I have done everything in my power to raise a smart, independent daughter who has a healthy body image. But It hasn’t been easy, especially with my self-image being genuinely distorted.

As far back as I can remember, no matter how skinny, it never seemed adequate, I have never looked fit enough, often thinking I was a disgusting pig.

The obsession turned into anorexia and bulimia in my early twenties. It consumed me. Every minute of every day, I spent thinking about food, how not to eat food, and how to purge the food that I did eat. These aren’t just a random thought here and there; it is all-encompassing.

Every second, of every day.

It takes away from your psyche; it twists your perception and lies to you. It controls you, and everything you do.

I do not want my daughter to go through this. So I have done everything in my power to show her that loving her body is important. Even if it means lying to her about how I feel about mine.

Look, I know I shouldn’t lie to my girl, that I should genuinely believe that I am beautiful, practice what-I-preach, and all that bullshit. The issue isn’t that I don’t want to believe it, I do. I just don’t see it.

I would do almost anything to be able to walk into a room without wondering how fat I must look. Or if people are judging me based on how I look. It’s not vanity; its pure anxiety that runs deeper than having a bad hair day. I have chosen to not leave the house on occasion because I can’t get past it. It is debilitating at times.

I could be a size two and not feel comfortable enough to put on a bathing suit. As a matter of fact, I have been a size two and even then, I had a hard time with my body.

Never Good Enough

I don’t have an eating disorder anymore. Okay, technically, I will always have a disorder. Let’s just say, I am not practicing the art of vomiting after eating anymore, nor am I starving myself. But the long-term effects of my eating disorder linger. My perception is not a reality; I am not fat and know this with the utmost confidence, but I just can’t see it.

So I lie to my daughter.

I will continue to lie to my daughter about how I feel about my body until I can genuinely say, I love mine.

I will not jeopardize her self-confidence and the respect she has for herself. The respect that I have helped build, by letting her see her Mother have anxiety and panic attacks while looking at herself naked in the mirror.

I know I have a long way to go, when it comes to my self-image. And I have confidence I will get there, eventually. But she does not need to be dragged into it.

I can’t possibly let her know that I detest my body, when I tell her every day not to worry about hers. That beauty is only skin deep. It is difficult to raise a strong independent girl as it is.

More difficult is convincing myself, I am good enough

 

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