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My life is in turmoil because I don't have any self esteem. It affects my daily life and causes terrible problems between my husband and I. I live in constant pain inside because of how I feel about myself.

I am 51 yrs old although people think I am 38 to 40 yrs old. I am told by many that I am very pretty and that I don't look my age and that I am very young at heart.

When I look in the mirror all I see is someone who will never measure up or be good enough. TV, movies and magazines validate my feelings about myself because I will never be able to live up to those standards. Men are very visual and they like what they see. I hear them raving about how hot, sexy, beautiful or what a good body these women have. I never have, I don't now and never will be able to live up to those standards. If they feel this way about the women they see on TV, movies, etc.... and I don't look anything like them, I feel they are with me because they can't have them....that "I will do".

My husband is very careful not to say anything about other women knowing how I feel. He also says 95 % of the time that he never looks at another women. Does he think I am stupid enough to fall for that line? He is no different than any other man who is visual so I know he thinks these things. The women my husband does say are pretty look nothing like me. So, why is he with me????

When I look in the mirror I see something different than what my husband or others tell me I look like. I see fat, ugly, old, bad body women. I am disgusted at what I see. I have a hard time going out around people because I think they are thinking how bad I look.

I am obsessed with trying to look like these women. I will be online for hours searching beauty sites hoping to find something to make me look like these women. How can I look younger and make my body look perfect.

I hate TV. The Victoria Secret Models put me to shame. Every women puts me to shame. No matter how hard I try I will never be good enough, never measure up.

I am afraid my husband won't want me anymore. I am afraid he won't love me anymore. Especially getting older. What am I going to do? I have checked into surgery but I am not too sure about taking the risk of it going bad.

I am having a hard time explaining everything. I can tell you that at times I cry all night, my husband gets angry with me because when a commercial comes on TV or a show with women who are scantly dressed I can't stay in the room. And sometimes I make comments because the hurt is so bad I don't know how to deal with it. It hurts me so bad that the hate I feel for myself consumes me. I want to be the only one he thinks is beautiful. I want to be the only one he longs for. I know men see women who are hot and it stays in their minds all day. I don't want my husband to see someone who is hot then comes home and makes love to me because I am there.

I imagine you must think I am petty and silly. But my pain is real. My pain is very deep. It consumes me.

I have tried and tried to over come this but it's not working. I just bought a Self Esteem Workbook to work on hoping it will help me.

Thank you for listening. Please if anyone can help me I would appreciate it more than I can say. I can't go on like this. ;)

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Do you think I feel this way because my husband had an affair 2 yrs ago? Since then what self esteem I did have is gone. He said it wasn't because of me that he had the affair. He said it was because he was drinking (he is now a recovering alcoholic). It is hard because in my mind all I can think of is...if I was pretty enough, smart enough, or built good enough he wouldn't have had the affair. (it was a 3 month affair). He got caught, that is why it all came to a front.

Anyway, do you think this could play a large part in my self esteem? If so do you have any thoughts on how I can work through this?

Thanks so much.....

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butterfly29, anxiety is a tricky thing. That affair sounds VERY painful :( :(! It might be extremely hard for you to approach your feelings about this. Could you be obsessing on the physical appearance issue, as awful as that feels, because it's actually easier to grapple with than what you are really feeling? This cannot be an easy time:( Does it help to write about it?

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  • 2 weeks later...

Can you remember any good times in your marriage before his affair how you felt about it when you marriage was better? Can you weigh up the pro's and con's here can you forgive him for his mistake. I say mistake because he came back to you didn't he, that tells me he wants to be with you but maybe the pain of his affair won't let you move on. Save your marriage love, save it for all the years you have both invested into it, save it for all the worthwhile and meaningful moments and throw the rubbish away, I know when men cheat it can leave you think ing you weren't beautiful enough, but it has nothing to do with that men don't cheat because of you, they went off and did something quite independently on their own and maybe you need to talk to him honestly about that and about his reasons before you start punishing yourself with invasive surgery. It won't fix it hun, you can't fix this by punishing yourself you aren't to blame for his discrepancy, but what you can do that is in your power is to decide to forgive him and to try to find ways to reach out to each other again and find a way past this awful time you have both suffered. Talk to each other, don't avoid the issue by blaming nameless women in TV adverts or magazines, you know that is just a picture in a book it is meaningless, but your years of marriage aren't, please for both of your sakes give it some thought. You have intimacy issues that is your pain trust has been broken, it is going to take many soul searching communications between the two of you, maybe some tears and maybe some great sex to heal this, and I promise you, when you sort out this past and put it under the bridge and you feel happier with your man, you won't give a toss what your flabby bits look like, the whole issue is just festering and you haven't spoken about it, he probably feels as lost as you do. Try having a talk open up a mode of communication of sorts. I know one thing about both of you, is you still love each other very much, but there is too much hurting in your marriage right now and that rot needs to be thrown out so you can start again.

Edited by menheal
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I too have issues with self esteem, dating back to the age of 6 when my brother raped me and I consequently when on to 2 violent and sexual abusive marriages. I think myself as non attractive, useless and not worth wasting time with. I hate going out in public and the agorpahobia doesn't help that. Hence I spend a lot of time in the 4 walls of my home. I think that when I go out everyone is looking at me as if I am not dressed correctly, don't fit into the social norm, and get depressed and very anxious. I spend a lot of time in bed as no one can see me there and it is a safe place. I can understand where you are coming from as both my husbands had affairs and it just made me feel like I wasn't good enough. I sypathize with your plight, but keep posting and we wish you all the best.

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Since there is nothing anyone can do to stop you from measuring yourself up if I may, the average American women is 5' 4" and 163#'s.

Those women you see on TV and in ads are barely women, the average age of a model is between 16 and 25.

If you wish to know what men really say about Victoria Secret models it's this, they are silicone queens. Yes, men do talk, they discuss at what temperature silicone melts. I'm quite sure I would be violating the COC if I told you the nickname construction workers have for the girls that you envy so much. It's quite derogatory.

Men don't want the pom pom queens, they prefer women who are more mature.

Anyway, if you wish to judge yourself harshly at least judge yourself realistically.

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Finding my way......thank you and I think it helps writing about it. I am hoping that something will click and it will be what makes this better/go away. I don't think the affair is the cause of all my problems but it is an important one. My husband is very controlling and abusive in many ways. But I love him and hope someday he will stop hurting me and our marriage will be a good one.

Thanks for understanding how painful this is....take care.....

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Dear Merylou..... I too have been sexually abused as a child by family members and their friends/significant others. I also was abused physically, verbally, mentally and emotionally....as a child and in relationships with men. I have worked in T for years and it really helped me. I have come so far. Do you have a T? If not I do encourage you to find one. T does work if we work hard. I still have issues but am I ever in a better place than I was. :) Take care.....

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I thought of you today Butterfly. I got an email from a friend, here is a link to the same cartoon she sent me http://www.247weight.com/difference%20(2).jpg It's just the way women are, overly critical of ourselves, never seeing the real and true us in the mirror. Then I had this idea, just because I want you to see what average is. I went to google images and keyed in the word Linda, (just seemed like an average ladies name) I only found one super model and one porn star on the first two pages I checked, the rest of the ladies were just like you and me and I have the feeling that you are better than average looking.

Jamie Lee Curtis did an interview in her sweats wearing no makeup. When they asked her why, she said because you asked to interview ME and this is how I look. What you see on the big screen is what I look like after endless hours with makeup artists and hair stylists, that isn't real, I am real and this is what I look like. I think the interview was for a magazine, when I have more time I will try to look it up for you. PS, with or without makeup most men I know think she is one of the sexiest women out there but if you take a look at her, she really isn't pretty at all.

Food for thought. File it away for when you are ready.

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Hi Just Me,

Thanks for thinking of me. That was nice. What you said is very interesting. I have heard Jamie Lee Curtis talk about being real before. She's pretty cool. Not many like her. I will think on what you said. I am working very hard on a workbook about self esteem. It is supposed to get to the bottom of why I feel that way. I believe it is more than just the media, magazine, etc.... I know my H having an affair is part of it but not all of it. I think it make come from the severe abuse I endured for many years growing up. Something I am working hard on in T. I just wish my H would stop saying hurtful things to me about this subject to me. I wish I had his support and understanding.

Thanks and talk soon....Ann

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Hello Butterfly,

I understand what you're going through and I've struggled with self-image for a very long time.

TV models, as desirable as they may look is not a very good; no let me rephrase is NOT a realistic reflection of reality. Commercial ads trick us by saying: "this is how you should look like" or "if you don't look like this, you're not human" or "either one of us, or you're a loser" and our tendency is to hope desperately for their miracle products and if it fails, kill our self-esteem.

Oh and as for your Hub having an affair, well, marriage is about trust and you must believe the best in people. I think, media again, instilled this on people by showing helpless people being taken advantage on. But tell you what butterfly, you are only helpless as much as you allow yourself to be.

If you feel you're fat, do exercises and eat healthy [a lifestyle change, not temporary] and you'll be surprised, you'll be dropping a pound or two.

Take some time to read this poem, it helped me during my own struggles:


Believe me butterfly, there are people who love and care for you and sometimes, you may think that they are your enemies because you might think that they don't understand you.

God Bless,

Edited by Dazed
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Two parts of understanding for you Ann, your husband is hyper critical, you are hyper sensitive so neither of your realities is the truth right now. He, like you, deals with his own patterning of right and wrong just based on how he grew up and what his family was like and in many ways "Leave it to Beaver" type families are just as much of a cause of problems as the highly dysfunctional ones. Reality for most people lands in the Rosanne Bar, a bunch of screw ups in a screwed up world making the best of what they got but that only works when people especially parents teach their kids to be what they are rather than some social conform. People who try to live their lives in a perfect world in a perfect way have very limited coping skills when life throws them fast balls and curve balls. You probably have more coping skills than your husband does you have just become hyper sensitive due to the overload.

Anyway, chin up.

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Lots of good comments, guys. Here’s my take…might post this one under coping techniques, too, if you think it’s applicable.

Hello, Butterfly29. Listen, I want you to check out a movie: Tarzan--the original, made in the 1950's, and when you do, ask yourself if the guy cast as Tarzan would have a prayer of being cast today.

He wouldn't. Not a snowball’s chance in hell, because he looks way too normal.

See, this form of brainwashing isn’t just being directed at women. We're being told (and by we, I mean men and women, young and old) that we aren't good enough.

Instead, perfection is promulgated as the norm. The average (and by average I mean how MOST people look) is not.

Question is, why do magazines, television and the media and general do this? Are they just evil? Well, there’s a lot of money to be made in making people feel inadequate. There are a lot of people who understand this, and use it. The silliest one I’ve seen recently is one online, asking me if I think my lips are plump enough.

It’s a sales pitch!!!

Seriously, that’s ALL IT IS. It is NOT reality. It's an illusion, designed to make someone money. You don’t have to be famous, you don’t have to be glamorous, you don’t have to have the steroid-induced six pack. The only thing you have to be—and really, even this is optional—is YOU. You are good enough, just as you are. You are everything. It’s all that polished, slick and shiny crap in popular media that’s nothing. Deep down, you already know this.

The next thing I’m going to share with you is the kind of thing I can do online, where your identity is somewhat hidden: once, just out of curiosity, I downloaded pornography from the early 1900’s, back when film was still a new medium. I was shocked by what I saw, because the women were so normal-looking. They reminded me of what my Mom looked like naked. But that didn’t affect the men’s performance one bit. Oh no, they had no problem cashing them around the field, whether they had cellulite or not. :-) Oh, and the men didn’t look perfect either. They all just looked like people.

After I got over the shock of watching, (and the fact that everyone in it was either dead or in their 120’s) it was actually very refreshing. And it wasn’t just one or two videos, either—they were all like that in 1910 and 1930. I guess it took film-makers a while to re-define sexy.

The reason The Sales Pitch works so well is because a lot of people are sensitive, and the media is in-your-face and unavoidable. There is SO MUCH we absorb from today’s magazines, advertising, television, and the culture in general.

Think about it—the diet industry, pharmaceutical industry, health care, beauty products….all these corporations have mountains of money. They’re going to use that pull to protect their position. It all connects. (It probably does literally, too, because no law will keep corporations from colluding with each other behind the scenes). It’s not a conspiracy; it’s just in their best interest if most of the population feels bad about themselves.

The key is being able to step back, in the moment, and ask yourself: “If I were to believe this, how would it make someone else money?” If the answer is that it would, there’s a good chance you’re being manipulated.

That will protect you. So will availing yourself to programming of a different kind. After all, we’re sensitive, that’s why pop culture affects us so powerfully. (It’s also why we’re the first to figure it out). So why not use that sensitivity for a good cause? Expose yourself to new and enjoyable reading material and new ways of thinking that remind us of the reality—that you ARE good enough, just as you are, without any upgrades. You are everything.

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Hi Josh.....Thank you for your post. You are so right about all you said. One thing that really stood out to me was when you said you are only helpless as much as you allow yourself to be. It gives me some motivation to keep going each day.

I do agree with what you said about the exercises. I do have a bit of a problem and that is health issues that stop me from doing a lot of excercises "but" I do what I can. And your encouraging words will help me to keep going.

Thank you very much Josh...... Take care

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Hi 2002-2009.... what you said below really touched me. I am going to say this over and over to myself because it really spoke to me. If i keep saying it over and over then I have to believe I will believe it. Good post and a lot of wise things said. Thank you much....Take care...............

(that you ARE good enough, just as you are, without any upgrades. You are everything.)

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