I have recently started having a really big problem with my reflection, which I guess isn’t anything new, except the reason for that problem has changed. And in particular, it’s a problem with my facial reflection rather than my whole body (I still have body image issues in general though). It’s not about my weight, it’s about what my face looks like. Because the problem is, some of my abusers were close blood relatives, and, inevitably, I can see some of their physical traits in my own face. This, is a huge problem for me. This morning it caused a massive panic attack and meltdown. I don’t know how this is going to ever go away.
The older I get, the more similarities I see. I normally straighten my hair to within an inch of its life, because nobody in my family has naturally very straight hair. But I have my father’s solid jawline, my grandmother’s facial shape and sometimes her expression. Even my teeth are very similar to my aunt’s – we both have very similar front teeth. That might sound ridiculous, but it’s true, and many people commented on it when I was younger. Now I wear glasses I look even more like my grandmother somehow.
I genuinely don’t how how or if it’s possible to cope with this or accept it. I am already constantly reminded of the abusers – all of them, not just family – with the constant physical pain. But now I even look like my family, of course I do. But I don’t want to. I don’t want to resemble them. I despise seeing glimmers of them every morning when I look in the mirror. My face when angry, particularly, is similar to both my father and grandmother’s.
My grandmother had a habit of chewing the inside of her lip and I do the same, and I’ve seen a picture of this and gone cold at the stark similarity in our expressions.
It has been gradually worsening, and I don’t know what to do. It’s getting to the point where seeing my own reflection, especially if caught off guard (in a morning I’ll try hard to have a neutral face before facing the mirror, it sometimes helps) makes me feel physically sick and even frightened. My laughter is especially similar to my father’s.
I look in the mirror and I see the face made up of different abusers. I know I am NOT them but it doesn’t help. They are still a part of me. I can never fully be separate from them. My face will continue to resemble them, even for split second glimpses. The people who terrify me, live in my face. The people who frightened me and hurt me so much, stare back at me from the mirror or in photographs.
How does anyone ever cope with that? I don’t want to resemble them in any way 😥