I look like my abusers.

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 😥


7 thoughts on “I look like my abusers.

  1. I know what you mean. Perhaps train your brain to focus on how you DONT look like them. Perhaps your hair is a different colour. Or eyes. They certainly don’t have that survivor tattoo in their reflection. Its tough seeing your abusers within yourself. I see mine in my behaviours too which is also pretty soul destroying. Still, regardless of any similarities you share, there are many many more differences 🙂 xx

  2. Look beyond your pain and the evil that they did to you and see the goodness within you. Transform your mind to see the Light and not the dark of your past. God bless you.

  3. As you work through the trauma, the memory of what happened will frighten you less, and so reminders of it will also frighten you less. Just keep trudging.

    I can’t really remember what my parents looked like anymore. I have a somewhat recent picture of them, but they are 20 years older than the last time I saw them and I can’t quite make a connection between their faces now and their faces then: when I first saw the same photos, I wondered who they were. So time helps too.

  4. When you are abused by those close to you, who are supposed to be protecting you, it is very difficult to process and accept and rise above. Don’t be hard on yourself. The most important thing is that your behaviour doesn’t resemble them in any way shape or form. You have been brace enough to speak out against it and break the chains of abuse and that says a lot about your character.

  5. Somewhere along the line I became my abusers, or the voices in head that still chastise me, beat me up with criticism, tell me everything I say and do is wrong, became my voice.
    To keep secrets secret the others in the so called family didn’t want let out, the child they attacked is looked down on. A child takes all that in against herself.
    It’s a daily job to really take a look at me and who I really am, not the voices of my childhood that say, ‘We abuse you, and then we blame you for it.’
    I am not what they did. I was a beautiful, happy little girl. I am a beautiful, grown, sensitive, deep, compassionate woman. You cannot have me, I am mine. Though I still work to love me, that is what I choose to do.

  6. Thank you all so much for taking the time to reply, and such compassionate and helpful replies too… Ashana especially the thought of their memory fading in time hadn’t occurred to me, I can see how that will help and look forward to the day I can see my own face without any feelings of fear or sickness…
    Thank you all, I really appreciate it… and grace to survive, amazing, your assertion in your own identity moved me… x

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