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Old 05-30-2008, 07:19 AM
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Can't make sense out of crazy.
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Red face True confession

There is another "layer" to my situation that maybe is relevent to my problem and recovery.

I was born with a facial birth defect. The L side of my face is affected and is not symmetrical with the R side, I have pretty bad, obvious scars too.
Essentialy, in laymans terms the whole L side of my face was underdeveloped in utero. My jaw, cheekbone, chin and L ear were most affected. I also have almost no hearing in my L ear. I've had surgeries throughout childhood to make my appearance better, but I'm still obviously very different and (in my opinion) freakishly ugly.
I'm pretty good at hiding it all at first meetings, first impressions though, so at first people dont notice much, but then they do as they interact with me more.

So. All this to say I have really, really bad social anxiety. It makes getting out there to go to Al-anon meetings very difficult. I am terrible in social situations unless its at nighttime, very low light, ect - probably why I was always liking the bar scene, everybody looks good to someone who is drunk! (sorry, bad humor)

BUT. I'm going to commit to go to a meeting tonight, at our (very large -dont really know anyone) church. Its a Christian version of the 12 steps, with a dinner & fellowship beforehand, followed by a group worship, teaching, and sharing of personal stories, followed by small recovery groups.
I wont do the dinner because eating in front of people with people all around me makes me VERY uncomfortable, but I am going to the rest.

Thats why I really like this place, SR, so much. I get to be who I am freely without being stared at, whispered about and judged.

I really think my problem has a lot to do with my dependence on my AH.
Imagine the person in the entire world with the lowest self esteem and you have me. Growing up was beyond horrible, heck, it still is. Everyday I step out of the house is very difficult for me.
This whole job search thing is beyond terribly stressful for me.
Social situations of any type are terrible. I have anxiety all the time, always hyper-aware of who is around me, who is looking at, or has the opportunity to look at my bad side.
I love going to the mall, but hate it too, so many people all around on all sides people watching.

When I do talk to a person, their eyes find their way to my scars and stuff and they stare at them while talking to me. Like a man staring at a woman's breasts instead of looking her in the eyes when talking to her, only in my case its not in admiration! When people do this it totally unnerves me and I lose my train of thought, and just try and get away as soon as possible.

For a long time I blamed myself for my father leaving us when I was 13yo, I thought the strain of me and my problems were too much for their marriage -he left for good 1 week after I got back home to NY from a major surgery in Canada. Of course, my childish brain didnt factor in his alcoholism and personality & mental issues...

Anyhow I definitely feel that the "regular" codepency issues are exaberated for me by my appearance and zero self-esteem/self-confidence.
I think my husband being with another woman makes me a little more crazy than the average person would be, because he was my comfort zone. He was the only one I ever truly believed thought I was attractive, as he never let a day go by without sincerely telling me so, the one time I let myself believe it and it all got betrayed so badly, with a pretty and outgoing blonde woman.
People talk about other people being out there for them, well, I sit here and think - umm....yeah. I am in my late 30s, have 4 kids, add into that my appearance and mental issues and its a recipe for being alone for the rest of my entire life. Because I really feel only "losers" with no self-esteem themelves would be interested in being with me. Lets face it, no "good" man is going to be interested in being with a deformed woman.

Thats why I think losing my AH hits me even harder than the average woman and makes me cling even harder and made me hang in there and hope and pray even longer. I can totally see that if I was an attractive woman with at least a little self-esteem I would have never hung in for as long as I did with AH. That sounds bad on my part, but I'm realizing it to be true.

Anyhow, I'm really rambling.
Thanks again for listening and being here.
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Old 05-30-2008, 07:33 AM
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Originally Posted by strongerwoman View Post
People talk about other people being out there for them, well, I sit here and think - umm....yeah. I am in my late 30s, have 4 kids, add into that my appearance and mental issues and its a recipe for being alone for the rest of my entire life. Because I really feel only "losers" with no self-esteem themelves would be interested in being with me. Lets face it, no "good" man is going to be interested in being with a deformed woman.
Wow. You do have a lot on your plate. First, negative thinking rarely leads to positive results. Second, have you tried individual therapy to deal with you issues? I found it immensely helpful and believe it can also help you deal with your issues and begin to move forward in a move healthy positive manner.

Originally Posted by strongerwoman View Post
I can totally see that if I was an attractive woman with at least a little self-esteem I would have never hung in for as long as I did with AH. That sounds bad on my part, but I'm realizing it to be true.
Being attractive does not equate to high self esteem, to being able to get out of denial or to being able to make healthy choices.

I'm sorry you have these additional issues complicating your life. But I do know that with work you can change to a more positive outlook.
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Old 05-30-2008, 07:45 AM
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Stephanie,

you are so hard on yourself! I'm appauled that you have had to deal with people's disrespect and prejudices, I can see why this had lead you to have low self esteem. The great thing about having low self esteem though is that it can be built.

I think it is great that you are able now to see that you were not to blame for your dad leaving. Isn't it strange that we feel so powerful as little children to think we can influence another person so strongly! We tell ourselves so many lies and blame ourselves for things we had no control over; then this spills over into adult hood and we still think we can control/be responsible for people in this way.

True beauty comes from within, I truely believe that. Gosh - I've met so many ''stunners'' with their external gorgeous looks, perfect hair, figure etc and as you get to know them, you find that that is where the beauty begins and ends! I feel for people who are shallow, self centered sorts who take no care for others, to me they are hollow.

Are you having therapy at all? You have touched on things in your post that I think would really benefit from this. Plus check out these web sites, I should have them on my signiture I'm always harping on about them! I was given these from other members at SR and I've really found them to be inspiring and they have really helped me to heal within,

Inner Bonding: Relationship Help, Relationship Advice, Spiritual Growth, Parenting Advice, Healthy Living

Abundant Spirituality + codependency recovery + inner child healing = Joy2MeU

Keep posting and working on you, you are worth all the happiness the world has to offer, no less than anyone else out there,

Love and hugs to you
Lily xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
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Old 05-30-2008, 07:54 AM
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SW
Your situation does add a new dimension to your codependency issues but that can be overcome. Really.

I'm sure that you've heard that beauty comes from within a thousand times and are sick of hearing it.....but it's true. But first you have to come to appreciate your inner beauty and that is a trick that we all have to figure out. Women tend to really sell themselves short. Too fat. Too ugly. Too tall. Too short. Too this. Too that. We are basically pretty darn mean to ourselves!

The whole thing about the recovery process that is so beautiful is that it addresses these issues that we have with ourselves. Acceptance of things we cannot change. Changing the things that we CAN change. And understanding and recognizing the difference.

You cannot change how you were born. It is a part of you. But it is NOT the whole of the you. Acceptance.

You cannot change how people stare. It is an initial part of getting to know you. It's human nature. They are curious. As they get to know YOU, they will no longer stare as it will just be you, their friend, that they are talking with. Acceptance.

Now that you've told us about this.......tell us about what you really LIKE about yourself. Tell us what your strengths are. Tell us about the real you. The inner you. The you that has had the strength to deal with your birth challenge, deal with an a father who left you as a child, deal with an A husband, and be the mother of four beautiful children.

One of my dearest friends has some facial issues.....she is one of the most beautiful people I know. She is so very funny and she makes me laugh so hard. I love her so very much. When I look at her, I don't notice the facial differences......I see......my friend. I see a beautiful and talented (and I do mean TALENTED) woman.

Stick around here, S..........this is a great group of people. We are all here to help each other grow and survive......no not just survive.......thrive.

gentle hugs
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Old 05-30-2008, 09:11 AM
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Stronger: I agree completely with all the posters. I know in your head right now that you are saying "sure you do but you aren't living with this". And you're right, sort of. We don't live with the issues you have in your life. Just like you don't deal with the issues that I have in my life. You have picked this ONE facet of yourself and chosen to put on the Loser banner because of it. That's not right. That's not who YOU are. Your children don't look at you and think their mother's face has problems and therefore she's a bad mom. Your friends don't do that and think you're a bad friend. And your AH is not an alcoholic jerk because of YOU.

I know how it weird it feels to be on the receiving end of the cheerleader peptalk but I want you to hear it loud and clear that you are worth so much more than you think...so much more than a facial problem. I think you're doing great by going to the meeting and making a BIG step towards meeting other people to talk to. Do what you feel comfortable with this time, then make another small change when you're ready and go to the dinner too. You are doing great just by going and seeking help/friendship. Don't short change yourself. End peptalk.
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Old 05-30-2008, 09:20 AM
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Originally Posted by strongerwoman View Post
Because I really feel only "losers" with no self-esteem themelves would be interested in being with me. Lets face it, no "good" man is going to be interested in being with a deformed woman.
Ditto what kindeyes said above. And "good" men, real men, will look past the physical and see your inner beauty, your "true" beauty. And they would consider themselves lucky to have you.
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Old 05-30-2008, 09:45 AM
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Originally Posted by strongerwoman View Post
There is another "layer" to my situation that maybe is relevent to my problem and recovery.

I was born with a facial birth defect. The L side of my face is affected and is not symmetrical with the R side, I have pretty bad, obvious scars too.
Essentialy, in laymans terms the whole L side of my face was underdeveloped in utero. My jaw, cheekbone, chin and L ear were most affected. I also have almost no hearing in my L ear. I've had surgeries throughout childhood to make my appearance better, but I'm still obviously very different and (in my opinion) freakishly ugly.
I'm pretty good at hiding it all at first meetings, first impressions though, so at first people dont notice much, but then they do as they interact with me more.
Everything comes from the inside. For the people that really matter can see the eternal beauty of your soul.
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Old 05-30-2008, 12:06 PM
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Originally Posted by strongerwoman View Post
I'm pretty good at hiding it all at first meetings, first impressions though, so at first people dont notice much, but then they do as they interact with me more.
It intrigues me that you feel you're freakishly ugly and people are staring at you all the time......but "at first people don't notice much." I wanted to share a story:

My first serious boyfriend had some codependency issues, and so did I, so while we were together for several years and moved cross-country together, we never really clicked. Not-so-good things happened. When he asked me to marry him (under horrible circumstances) I told him I didn't think it was a good idea at that point, and he blew up: "It's my birthmark, isn't it? My last girlfriend did the same thing -- she couldn't marry somebody who was deformed, and she tried to make out like it was no big deal, but now you're doing it too! I thought you could look past it and see the real me!!!!"

I stood there in silence for a minute, and then blurted out, "WHAT birthmark?" I swear to god I had no idea what he was talking about. He launched into a tirade about how I was just trying to make him feel better, etc etc

He brushed back the hair from his forehead and showed me the silver-dollar-sized, pale discoloration he'd had on his face since we met, that I'd never taken notice of. THIS was the thing that had ruined his life. He too felt that everyone, everywhere, was absolutely obsessed about his face. He was convinced of it.

My husband now has the face of someone who had terribly bad acne when he was a teenager. You know what I loved about him? He acted (and felt) like, "If something like this is going to turn someone off, then they're the LAST people in the world I need in my life." Literally? He uses his "ugliness" as a litmus test to judge whether someone's worthy of being a friend.

Maybe you'll reach that point too: when your unique appearance can just be a yardstick by which you measure other peoples' character, not how you measure your own. I have a girlfriend who's missing a hand. She drawls, "I'm just a regular chick. I just have one less hand than you. Big damn deal."

Hugs to you, Stephanie. You are who you are, and the world needs you. IMHO, life has bigger plans for you than just tagging along after an alcoholic.
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Old 05-30-2008, 01:18 PM
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OMG Givelove..what a GREAT post!!
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Old 05-30-2008, 02:00 PM
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Thumbs up

God Bless you Strongwoman!! We are so glad you are here!
Thank you for sharing your story.:ghug
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Old 05-30-2008, 03:59 PM
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I really like the "thread" of being a STRONG woman in this post. I am sorry that you have had such a tough road. I wish I was there to give you face-to-face support, and I hope you find wonderful arms at your meeting tonight. Pretend they are ours if you can! Strongerwoman, I believe a lot of our issues with being afraid of others judging us come from being with an alcoholic who acts like they are always right and everyone else in the world is wrong, coupled with our embarrassment of their actions to the outside world. But you don't sound completely "mild" to me, girl. You have a streak in you that screams "MOXI!!" and that is where I would hope you go. I love the posts that talk of their less than "normal" friends taking an attitude against those who would judge them. I'll bet that trait makes them very attractive as good friends. People who are beautiful but not interesting really aren't that fun to talk to or hang out with. People with a little gumption and fiestiness have always attracted me, especially women. The sassier, the better! I think you "own" that personality, Strongerwoman. Let that girl GROW in spirit and serenity. You will find friends that YOU deserve.
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Old 05-30-2008, 07:05 PM
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Just wanted to chime in again that my therapist gave me "homework" today to come up with a list of 5 characteristics that are MUST-HAVES for me in a person I want to have a future relationship with. I have a few already in mind that I feel strongly about and a few others that might make the list. As I was thinking of my list, not once did "handsome" or "perfect" come up. Of course I want someone that I'm attracted to but that is sooo relative to me and can mean sooo many things. I want HONESTY and LOYALTY and FAITHFULNESS. Those things come from the inside and are NOT reflected in a mirror.

Anyhoo...I thought of you when I realized it and wanted to come home and share that little tidbit with you. Hope you had fun tonight at your meeting and got a lot out of it!
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Old 05-30-2008, 09:51 PM
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Can't make sense out of crazy.
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Y'all are just plain awesome. Thanks so very much. I have some replies to type out but it is late, late, late and I think I'm coming down with strep throat so I'm off to bed. Will be back tomorrow.
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Old 05-30-2008, 10:10 PM
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Thank you for sharing your story here at SR and my heart really does go out to you and I am sorry you are hurting (and have been for a long time) Some people in society can be so cruel and thougtless. There are many many important points above and I also truly know that beauty does come from within.

My brother in law is blind in one eye....whe I first met him 20 odd years ago I used to initially notice that his eyes were quite obviously different...he looks like he has a glass eye I guess is the best way to tell you.....well 20 odd years on and I never ever ever even notice it! Infact someone recently asked me hey whats wrong with your BIL?....I had to ask them to explain as I had no clue whatsoever what they were talking about!! He also takes it in his stride and has so much to offer the world that it definately does not hold him back atall.


I hope that you will go for some help regarding your self esteem my friend, it wont be easy but YOU are so worth it.

Kindest Phiz :ghug3
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Old 05-31-2008, 01:38 AM
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(((((stongerwoman))))

As a woman who has large breast and still gets stared at 53 years old hated by women and treated by men like that is all I am I can tell you that being who I am is all I know how to do. I can tell you it was much worse dealing with it before I found my self esteem and my spirit.

My attitude about my body plays a key role if I notice someone noticing my breast there is a place I can go in my own mind and totally blow it out of proportion. I start judging the person who looked at them. One thing I have to accept is that people will notice my breast and believe me people laugh stare and point even now it still doesn't feel good and I have never felt admired by men noticed yes, but, if that is admiration I don't want it. I would never choose a man who is a "breast man".They just seem way too immature to me. I can't understand why a woman would want to be with a man who said their breast weren't big enough thereby giving them a reason to stare at every big pair that passed in front of them either and be disrespected, and then want to take it out on me. Something I occasionally say to a woman who is sitting with a man that goes ga ga over
my breast is "are you with this jerk"?

It is my thoughts about it that that isolate me. I think if I had two lumps the same size as my breast on my back that I would still get stared and laughed at...

I don't like the jealousy I feel from women either I can't understand it at all still it is more their problem than mine. I wish the next big breasted woman you see that you would reach out to her and treat her like a person that is more than her breast just like you are
more than a scar on your face.

I have a friend that used to be a model for a cosmetic company and she was in a bad wreck and it scared her face. We met and became good friends. One day she started talking about the accident and how it ended her career. She was shocked that I had never noticed her scar until she pointed out. I pointed out my large breast to her and we
both laughed cause she hadn't noticed either. She told me that she thinks that the accident may have saved her life because the life she was leading as a model made her feel exploited like she was only a "face" not to mention the parties,alcohol, and,drugs that she was constantly exposed to. Believe me she is much more than a scar on her face and our conversation made her realize that she had started living her life with her spirit instead of her face.

You have a scar so maybe people do notice I bet some people notice your spirit too. The ones that notice your scar maybe able to see your spirit too if you let them. My attitude is the key to it all. Your's will be too.

Also people who just have to find someone else's flaw in order to feel superior are very insecure.
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Old 05-31-2008, 08:32 AM
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Hey there strongerwoman,

You have admirable strength sharing your pain here.

Originally Posted by strongerwoman View Post
... Because I really feel only "losers" with no self-esteem themelves would be interested in being with me. Lets face it, no "good" man is going to be interested in being with a deformed woman. ....
Couple decades ago I met a charming young lady who was physically deformed. She had a terrible case of juvenile rheumatoid arthritis that developed when she had her baby at age 17. She walked with a pronounced limp as her knees were deformed, as well as her feet. Her fingers were twisted up in a tangle and she could barely hold silverware to feed herself. Her elbows and shoulders were severly damaged and she had trouble opening drawers, cupboard and carrying things. Her jaw joint was damaged too, so she had trouble speaking and eating.

She was admirably strong. Raised her daughter on her own, put herself thru school and got a college degree. Got a job and insisted on earning a living, even though she qualified for full disability. She had a deep, loving heart and was constantly adopting every stray critter that came by.

That young lady was horribly deformed, but like others have said in this thread, her _insides_ were pure gold. I found her to be beautiful, kind and compasionate, and thought I would be blessed to have a wife like that. So I courted her for a couple years and we married. The next couple decades were the best years of my life.

Now I'm no hollywood super star, but I ain't no loser either. I've worked very hard at my career and my recovery the last 28yrs. I've stuck it out thru lousy jobs and scrimped my pennies thru the good ones. I buy my clothes at the salvation army and drive a simple truck. I've never cheated on my partner or even wanted to. I help around the house, do my share of laundry, dish washing and scrubbing. When our daughter was with us I did my best to be a good role model, and later I did the same for the grandkids. I have tons of friends, all of them decent, righteous people, and most of them are guys. I don't gamble, smoke, drink, or hang out at the strip joint downtown.

I fell in love with that deformed young lady because she was _lovable_. Not because of her looks. In my eyes she was the most beautiful woman in the world. Our marriage was blessed with love and happiness for almost two decades. In the end she got very ill, became dependent on pain pills and that addiction was her undoing, as well as the end of our marriage. Her addiction does not change who she was _before_ the pills.

Strongerwoman, I have no idea how deep your pain is. If it's anything like my ex-wif'es pain, then it must be overwhelming. I do know that when I went looking for a partner I did _not_ look for losers. I looked for a heart of gold, and I found one. If you go looking for losers, well then that is what you will find. But if you decide you deserve better, that you deserve somebody kind and decent and loving, well then you'll find somebody like me.

I ain't no loser. But more important than me, _you_ ain't no loser either.

Mike
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Old 05-31-2008, 07:04 PM
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Hello strongerwoman.

I love all the replies so far to your thread. I couldn't agree more with all that has been said about the value of a person's inner strength and all the qualities that make a person special & unique.

As I read your post and all the others I kept thinking of some people I know from my teenage years. Two of them were as close as brothers to me and one was a fellow classmate.

All three have severe and prominent physical defects. One had a birthmark over one half of his face, the other appeared to have been burned over 3/4 of his face and the third had a very twisted spine, causing his sternum to be concave on one side. Two of them were competive surfers and later on both became missionaries. The third is one of the top physicians in his field.

All three were wonderful friends, very popular and extremely charming. All of these guys suffered in ways I will never understand but each one went on to become very successful in every way imaginable, outgoing, happy husbands and fathers.

Each married women who shared the same fine personal qualities and ... I find it especially interesting that their wives were drop-dead gorgeous. If one were to judge by how some may look at things...or even by some of the things you share about your own feelings of self-worth...these guys would be single, lonely losers and nothing could be further from the truth.

Strength of spirit is attractive as is self confidence. My friends got alot of that confidence from the struggles that they endured and from their faith. jmho.

It takes courage to open up about ones personal struggles. I can guarantee you that what you have shared is helping someone else and will continue to do so whenever somebody comes here to this forum and reads.

I hope that you can find the inner healing you so deserve, you seem like a very strong woman-- and I would have said so even if that was not part of your screen name. Please see my sig line...It gives me alot of hope, I really believe it's wish the same for you.

Thank you for sharing.
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