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OT - Women Wednesday

Aniki-Moderator's picture

I don't know about anyone else, but I'm hard on myself. Hard? Pfffft; more like downright BRUTAL At some point in my life, I decided that if I'M meaner to me than anyone else, their words won't hurt as much. Instead of talking myself UP, I've been talking myself down. In a way, I'm mentally abusing MYSELF. That is SO jacked up. Who else is a self-abuser??

But we women also tear each other down. Why? Is it jealousy or envy? Her body type is better. Her hair is longer. She has a nice tan. She doesn't have zits. She has those cute dimples. Is it some subconscious, ingrained mean girl code that causes women to view other women as rivals? I picture a pair of cavewomen checking out a mighty hunter and one pushes the other into a steaming pile of T-rex poop just before she flips her hair and bats her lashes. Fast forward to pioneers and one female secretly dumps some meadowsweet or crushed rowan berries into another woman's cooking pot. Fast forward again to present day and horrible makeup tips or telling someone an outfit looks great - when it's awful and it's an outfit with a woman hiding somewhere inside - instead of helping her find something flattering. And the cattiness...MEOW. 

Okay, maybe it is NOT a subprimal urge to come out on top and get a man (or woman). Insecurity? We think she's better so, instead of imitating or striving to be better, we try to tear her down so she's "not so great" any more. We want what she has. Instead of getting our own, finding something comparable; lie, cheat, steal, hurt, tear down. 

Years ago, my sister and I were a mean girl club of two. That's not to say that we went around saying hateful things to women or tried to hurt them and we certainly did NOT try to take what they had. No, we sat with our heads together and whispered or talked on the phone about a woman's faults or her awful taste in clothes or .... MEOW.

But I didn't stop there. My mean girl picked the easiest target available: ME. I beat the stuffing out of myself. And I was utterly ruthless. NO ONE could say anything to me that was meaner or nastier than what I said to myself. Nice comments and compliments did not matter because Mean Aniki wouldn't let them. They said that to be nice, but it wasn't actually true. Because you are NOT good or smart or pretty or <insert complimentary adjective here>.

Awhile ago, I decided I wanted to try and banish my inner bully and, in doing so, would hopefully banish that ugly, seemingly inherent desire to be mean to others. What a challenge! I've spent decades of beating myself up. And when my body changed (all of those fun menopause things), I found it much more difficult to find myself lovable because I most certainly was NOT beautiful or thin or... and there I was, yet again, looking for every negative thing I could to tear myself down. 

Experiment time! I needed to go shopping for nice clothes instead of hiding behind my veeeeery extensive oversized t-shirt collection and told Mean Aniki she was not welcome. NOT easy and she came along anyway. BUT... Instead of trying on an outfit and saying, "gads, you are a fat pig!" I mentally bit my tongue (okay, I actually bit it for real), said, "that's not very flattering", and looked for something else. Not-So-Mean Aniki ended up with a new wardrobe that was flattering. There is certainly something to be said when you feel good about yourself: less depressed, more confident in my appearance, smiling more. My friends noticed and said how good I looked. One girlfriend even told me how sexy I was! DH, that sexy beast, must have taken some new vitamins because he's even more attentive. MeWOW!!


Are you a self-abuser? Are you your own worst enemy? Is your inner mean girl riding shotgun wherever you go? Is she carrying over into other aspects of your life?

Well, tell her to take a hike! No, you are likely not your idea of perfection (and that's probably kinda skewed), but you ARE beautiful in your own way. Build up your inner NICE girl. I bet you'll feel better. xoxo


Stepdrama2020's picture

Raise my hand. I too beat myself up daily. Its hard to correct but try I must.

Mean girls in HS always made fun of me and my sisters. We were neglected, poor, and alcoholic pops. The jokes that flew our way was so mean. I walked with my head down to avoid eye contact. My twin ended up on drugs and died of an overdose. That is not entirely from the mean girls, but dang they sure aided and abetted her course.

Fast forward rid of a toxic marriage, a good job, my own home, I am ok. The ol insults sometimes rear, but I shut them down. I try to be kind to myself.

Ya know thats why when I see any members who I percieve to be picking on an OP, especially a new member, I jump to their defense. WORDS MATTER. 

Aniki as for you, you are a kind lovely soul. Never forget that. So glad you are luving yourself. You make ST a better place.

Aniki-Moderator's picture

I'm sorry about your twin, Stepdrama, and what happened to you and your sisters. How awful! {{{hugs}}}

Those ol insults... What was that line in Pretty Woman about "...the bad things are easier to believe...".

Ye ol sucky Negativity Bias.


So sweet of you to say that. Thank you! *kiss2*

Kes's picture

I am not a self abuser in the way you describe, Aniki.  For this, I probably have my very fallible father to thank, for whatever else he did to me (turn me into a victim who got bullied at school for instance) - he did tell me I was beautiful and clever at any opportunity - and I FELT that he meant it with every fibre of his being.  He admired and adored me, and so I have never felt insecure in my attractiveness or in my intellect etc.  However, my parents and especially my mother, did fail me in myriad other ways and I became an addict for 17 yrs in order to dull the intolerable feelings of it all. If that's not self abuse I don't know what is.  And also I have chewed the skin at the side of my nails really badly, since I was a young child.  Often the damage runs down to the first knuckle and beyond, and they bleed most days. I have never felt able to wear rings, or nail varnish, as a result.   Most of us have some damage that we wage a constant fight against - it is part of being human, I feel.  I don't feel guilty about my damage any more - I feel proud that I have survived, and yes, grown.  

Aniki-Moderator's picture

You should feel proud to be a survivor, Kes! You beat a 17 year addiction. That's wonderful!! *give_rose*

And I need to go trim my cuticles as I'm currently picking at them due to stress...

Watereddown's picture

one pushes the other into a steaming pile of T-Rex poop


Aniki you're too funny! I PM the hell out of you and you've been nothing but nice to me and I really appreciate it. *give_rose*

Aniki-Moderator's picture

Watereddown, you do not PM the hell out of me! You're welcome to any time. I'm sorry that I'm slow to answer at times, but want to give thought to my response. *kiss2*

Esperanza's picture

I'm really hard on myself too. Today my therapist told me something that made me reflect "be kind to yourself, that kindness and love you have for your family, your children, your husband...why can't you not give it to yourself too?" I'm never kind to myself yet I'm kind person to everyone around me ...whyyy?! Defo something to change !

Aniki-Moderator's picture

Esperanza, I also do my best to be kind to everyone around me. Why are we spreading that love and kindness to everyone but ourselves? Do something nice for YOURSELF today! 

PetSpoiler's picture

This really speaks to me.  I'm harder on myself than I am anybody else.  I've been having panic attacks lately and have been mad at myself for it.  I get angry at my body, tell it I hate it.  I feel useless during these episodes, like I'm a little weakling who can't handle life.  Yet if even a complete stranger was having my issues I wouldn't think that of her.  I'd want to hug her and tell her she's not alone, she's not worthless, and that she will be ok.  But I can't show myself the same kindness.  My background is that I've had these attacks off and on since I as a teenager, possibly even younger.  My mother didn't understand.  She's the type to slap you on the back and tell you to get over it.  She actually told my husband that she thought I was trying to get attention.  Believe me, attention is the last thing I want.  Luckily he isn't like that.  Sometimes they get so bad that I have to call him so he can calm me down or distract me.  My mom is trying to understand now I think.  She acknowledges that it could be hormones.  My sister is extremely hormonal and my mom has been a witness to that.  She doesn't have panic attacks that I know of but is hormonal.  And my daughter has anxiety. If not for that she probably would still say I'm trying to get attention and need to toughen up and chill out.  

I used to look in the mirror and think how ugly I was.  I still do sometimes.  When I was overweight, I saw myself as a fat ugly cow.  I lost the weight and still have to tell myself that I'm not overweight now.  I'm a 4 for goodness sake!  Body issues don't disappear just because you're at the ideal size/weight, whatever that may be.  I see my stomach that I can't get flat/toned.  I was overweight for a while, during that time I had two kids by c/s.  I could at least cut myself a break on that.  But if another woman had the same stomach I do, was overweight like I was, I could sincerely tell her no, you're not a fat ugly cow.  I could encourage her to do something about her weight if she was unhappy with it.  I could tell her how awesome she is for all that she has gone through and come out the other side.  

Those are but a few of the problems I'm having right now.   Thinking of posting a blog for perspective.  Not step related, or marriage related but I know some here would understand.  

Aniki-Moderator's picture

But I can't show myself the same kindness.

Yes!!! I hate looking in the mirror because Mean Aniki wants to criticize. I've been trying to focus on the positives when I do: my hair looks good or this shirt is flattering.

Post the blog! I post many OT blogs: some for fun and some simply trying to reach out. *give_rose*

ESMOD's picture

Yes.. much harder on myself than others are really.  My dad was fairly judgemental.. maybe that yardstick really was too rigid?

Also.. grew up with the age of models who had impossibly thin as in physiques..

I just came across a picture of myself from when I was 27.. and I remember that vacation (went by myself.. so I had "some" nerve I guess).. but I remember being very self conscious because I wasn't really thin.. in fact.. thought I was kind of fat.  I see that picture of me with the waterskis.. and you know what? I may not have been a rail.. but I was definitely looking like a normal woman.. in fact, by today's standards with the booty and thick thighs?  I'm not even all that "thick".. just a normal body of a normal woman.. probably could have lost a couple pounds.. but no celulite.. was reasonably fit looking.. would "kill" to be that size again... why did I think I was so bad?  because I had some chub under my arms if I wore a strapless?  because my thighs were built to meet not have a gap?  ugh... 

Even now.. I have to catch myself sometimes.. I am literally repeating  "I hate myself" in my head.. it's really sad.. and I consciously try to not do it.. but it's a long hard habit to break.

Aniki-Moderator's picture

ESMOD, I look at pics when I was in HS and wonder why the hell I thought I was fat! I was NOT; I was muscular and a jock. Thigh gap... think I was a toddler. 

It IS a hard habit to break and is a struggle - sometimes daily. I caught myself doing it last night after I ate too many Cheezits (addictive little suckers) because my willpower is MIA. Sigh... 

ESMOD's picture

The only way I have willpower is if I can muster it up in the grocery  If I don't buy it... I can't eat it right?

I swear... I have such a crappy relationship with food... every food choice is either fraught with extreme overanalyzing.. or I just completely refuse to think about it.. and just eat whatever....

and then guilt if I 'chose' wrong.  and when I do make that overanalyzed choice of what restaurant we can go to.. and it's closed.. I am practically in tears.. and much less it always seems what I want to eat is not offered.. run out.. not as advertised..etc.. it is way too high stakes. so I get so hungry that I can't make a decision.. it sucks.

Aniki-Moderator's picture

ESMOD, I have a variety of isues with food and think about it way too much. Ugh. Before we go to a restaurant, I pour over the menu to make my food selection and always have a backup plan in case they are out of my first choice. Food issues suck!

MissK03's picture

I am definitely a self abuser. When I was single from 25-29 and would see everyone around me starting to get engaged and married I was just like what's wrong with me? Why can't I find someone? 

I would see these guys with these high maintenance girls and just think why? I am fun, low maintenance, not needy, what's wrong with me?? 

Fast forward to now. Now I beat myself up about where I am at in life. Which in sight isn't a bad place BUT it's not what a expected. Now it's... why didn't I get to have the wedding, house, kids etc. Which I know isn't really a reality in today's society anymore considering the divorce rate but, it's more of just the fantasy idea of it all. I was never one of those girls that wanted a fairytale life etc but, I thought by 35 I would have something of my own sort of speak... A F'n ring from SO would be nice... he doesn't get it though. Which is where the why am I not good enough comes back into play in to my head. Why was BM good enough... etc etc? How come these terrible people get more out of life (even though I know deep down they are not)  then me? I am good person. 

This is what comes in waves through out my head. The post a made about BM and the stupid jeep was such a huge trigger for me. I am pretty much over it now but, still hits those nerves. 

Aniki-Moderator's picture

MissK03, I distinctly remember thinking that same thing about guys and high maintenance girls and never understood it. 

Darlin', if BM was "good enough", they would not be divorced. It sounds like you may need to sit down with your SO and have an honest talk about what things are important to you and why. {{hugs}}

bananaseedo's picture

This really spoke to me Aniki, thank you for posting.  I am especially brutal with myselt as well, always have been.  Well, actually always is a bit much- it was after getting involved w/my now EXH when I was 14- he was 23.  He plummeted my self-esteem quickly in a matter of months and destroyed my self-image, peace and confidence.

I was never a mean girl, but was the victim of them at times.  I don't know if it's just primal or what, but I agree women are particularly vicious, manipulative, even from very young ages.  Hence why I always was happy I had sons and not daughters.  

It also depends on how they were raised, my parents-albeit very religious which brought it's own set of issues-were very kind, loving and positive parents.  I clashed a lot with my mom later in life as she always has been very meddlesom/controlling (thanks mom for having me inherit this, at least not to her degree lol).  

I also bite my nails, I also have gained a lot of weight, I body shame myself constantly -depression is an ugly pig that is a life destroyer.  

Aniki-Moderator's picture

Bananaseedo, my psycho exh was only a couple of years older, but he was a natural when it came to gaslighting and mental abuse. In the end, the only self-confidence I had was doing my job. Hell, I could not even pick out my clothes without having a panic attack - HE chose them. After I escaped him, I would spend hours on Sunday selecting my work outfits for the week. It was agonizing and took well over a year before I didn't get panicky at the thought.

I clashed with my mother because I didn't fit the mold of what she thought I should be. She was old school and expected me to be a little lady. Instead, I was Daddy's Girl, a scruffy tomboy who loathed dresses, and the famiy jock. It wasn't that I was trying to defy her; rather, I wanted to be ME. I will never know what discussions/arguments my parents had behind closed doors, but I was allowed to spend the majority of my time doing "boy" things with my Dad. 

Yes, depression IS an ugly pig. I fight it constantly. {{{HUGS}}}