Editor’s Note: Forgive me while I step outside of my usual blogging habits today, but I feel that this one’s important enough to share with every woman who ever doubts herself and her relationship. This post is an open letter to Lauren Pinkston, the beautiful and talented blogger over at Apples and Bandaids Blog, in response to her recently published post entitled .
My boobs are not your problem, I promise you–and they’re really of no concern to your husband either. But I’m writing this today for a really good reason: after reading your recent post, I checked out your bio and couldn’t believe what I found.
See, that post revealed the thoughts of an insanely, excessively insecure woman who is on the verge of blowing up her marriage and who thinks very little of herself.
But your bio reveals a well-traveled, educated and worldly teacher-turned-women-empowering-blogger who isn’t afraid of anything (and who, for the record, is pretty gorgeous!).
While these two “sides” of you seem to be on opposite ends of the spectrum, I’m here to tell you that you’re not so strange–and you’re not alone.
Boob-Fear: I’ve been there
I’ve been where you are, and there is a way out. But it starts inside your own head–and the very first thing you have to do is stop worrying about stuff you can’t control.
So, using your own example, you don’t need to worry about your husband looking at anyone else’s boobs (and BTW, by “forbidding” it or making it “taboo” in your house, you’re actually making those non-you racks a lot more interesting–why not just let it go–is there anything you could truly do to change the situation, outside of a hollow blog post plea?). Instead, just stop thinking/worrying/stressing about it.
Now why would I recommend THAT?
Because let me ask you one simple question: is thinking/worrying/stressing about my boobs or anyone else’s going to really change the fact that your husband may or may not look at them?
No, of course not. What matters is that he’s not going around looking to touch them or to be in the same room as them, even–he saves all his love for you, yeah? (Assuming he does if he’s kind enough to pretend to not look at other women’s boobs on the internet!)
Anyway. Let me get to the point here.
Let’s Talk About You
First of all, as I previously mentioned, you are absolutely gorgeous and I am nearly positive that your husband thanks his lucky stars for this on a regular basis.
And let’s not forget that whole well-rounded, well-traveled, educated and awesome, sexy, stylish mom part.
Second, these skinny, fake-boobs-having, barely-legal, clearly childless women you see baring it all on the internet? Your hubby is not comparing you to them, I promise you. These images are, believe it or not, sort of separated from you in his mind.
It’s not that they’re better than you–in fact, they’re not nearly as good, because YOU are “real” in his world and they are not. You, he can touch, love, make love to–all that good stuff–and plus, you’re the mother of his children and you love him just the way he is, too, right? (Plus, let’s face it, he’s probably no Adonis himself–do you walk around comparing him to every dude you see in his underwear? I don’t think so.)
So how do I know all this stuff, anyway? Have I been somehow secretly spying on you? Nope, I’m not that tech savvy!
And now, it’s time to talk about me a little: I know this stuff because I have BEEN where you are.
Like, almost literally where you are, right now. Thinking that other women somehow had control over my husband and whether or not he chose to remain my husband. Ahem.
I’d like to sit here and tell you that I have never had a single moment of insecurity in my marriage. There was a time when things got pretty hairy, partially due to some old insecurities I had laying around. It got ugly sometimes.
The fact is that I’m human and that like every other woman who has had children (3 c-sections, thank you very much), I have my “battle scars,” such as the saggy spot on the bottom of my belly that will never quite go away.
And yeah, there was a time in my life when I could be classified as insanely, outrageously and cripplingly insecure and, as a result, pretty jealous in my relationship.
Another Thing in Common…
Like you noted in your blog post, I too used to really worry that hubs was constantly comparing me to other women and get sick thinking about what he was thinking/feeling about me (and/or these other women).
It wasn’t that I believed he’d cheat on me, it was that I worried he’d THINK about other women naked and WISH he was with them instead of me. Yeah, no kidding.
It got so tough that it was even an issue with women on television or in movies sometimes. Yeah, I know how ridiculous that sounds, and I even knew it then. But I still couldn’t help it–I was insanely obsessed for a proverbial minute.
Not only was I making myself physically ill, but I was also causing major issues in my marriage. It’s a lucky thing I finally realized what I was doing and figured out how to mostly fix the issue.
By now, I’ve come to a point where I understand a few things about life, marriage and the way the healthy male brain works at various stages throughout a man’s life.
At the time I was dealing with this issue, though, the idea of my husband finding any other woman attractive made me want to vomit–seriously–and the thought that he might find one more attractive, intelligent, stylish, sexy–or whatever–than me? Made me want to crawl in a hole and give up on this whole deal.
And yeah, people gave me the old “he’s married, not dead” and “well at least he comes home to you every night,” and yeah, it made me think mean things about those people, because none of that mattered in my misguided head at that moment.
It was so intensely harsh during one of my pregnancies that I became almost obsessive about it and in a very unhealthy way–no kidding. I’d watch my husband’s eyes (to see where and what he was looking at, of course). I’d listen carefully to everything he said, literally trying to seek out opportunities to prove that he didn’t REALLY love me and want me.
What the hell is wrong with us, anyway?
I don’t know about you, but I’m guessing we’re dealing with similar psychology here.
As for me, something inside me told me that he was really just with me because he was waiting for something better to come along–and when that something better did finally show up, he’d be done with me before I could say BOO. (To date, this has never happened, by the way.)
But I lived in fear of this every single day for the longest time. It was all I could think about sometimes, and it consumed me. I really think it almost killed me in some ways.
Then one day, I finally realized something: I had no control over my husband and his choices. I could only control myself and make my choices wisely. This meant I could continue to make myself (and him) miserable, or I could just decide that I was going to be happy NO MATTER WHAT the circumstances in my life happened to be that day.
I could just let go of worrying about what secrets my husband may or may not have rolling around in his head, because none of that mattered. I had to learn to trust him and trust in our relationship (and trust myself) enough to know that he’s in it for the long haul.
I realized that I was actually a pretty legit person who deserves good things in life, and it occurred to me that by changing my own perception of this whole deal, I could literally change both of our lives (and the lives of our kids).
See, as it turns out, the “something” inside me was a big, fat liar–it was my own doubt and insecurity whispering to me, telling me that I wasn’t good enough and that I didn’t deserve the kind of love I imagined that “some” people had. You know the kind I mean–that whole “meant-to-be, soulmate, I knew I loved you before I met you” kind of shit.
But if you’re there right now, I’ve got great news for you. You can CHOOSE to step out of that mess right this moment and change your life–and all it takes is one single thing: a shift in perspective.
You are your own kind of beautiful. There is no one else exactly like you and there is no reason to compare yourself with women who are different than you. Beauty is not a particular look in a woman–it goes so much deeper than that.
And for the record, not every man is into those perfect, tanned, flat-bellied bitches that make you cry into your pillow at night. Some guys actually find the bodies of “real women” much more attractive. Just saying. Keep going, stop worrying and start shining your beautiful light into the world, unencumbered by stress about things you can’t control.
All you have to do is decide. You can do this. It’s all in your hands. So what are you going to do about it?
In light and love,
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Angela Atkinson is a certified trauma counselor and the author of more than 20 books on narcissism, narcissistic abuse recovery, and related topics. A recognized expert on narcissism and narcissistic personality disorder who has studied and written extensively on narcissistic personality disorder and narcissistic abuse in toxic relationships since 2006, she has a popular narcissistic abuse recovery YouTube channel. Atkinson was inspired to begin her work as a result of having survived toxic relationships of her own.
Atkinson offers trauma-informed narcissistic abuse recovery coaching and has certifications in trauma counseling, life coaching, level 2 therapeutic model, CBT coaching, integrative wellness coaching, and NLP. She is a certified trauma support coach and certified family trauma professional. She also has a professional PTSD counseling certification. Her mission is to help those who have experienced the emotional and mental devastation that comes with narcissistic abuse in these incredibly toxic relationships to (re)discover their true selves, stop the gaslighting and manipulation, and move forward into their genuine desires – into a life that is exactly what they choose for themselves.
Along with her solution-focused life coaching experience, Atkinson’s previous career in journalism and research helps her to offer both accurate and understandable information for survivors of abuse in a simple-to-understand way that helps to increase awareness in the narcissistic abuse recovery community. Atkinson founded QueenBeeing.com Narcissistic Abuse Recovery Support, the SPANily Narcissistic Abuse Recovery Support Groups and the Life Makeover Academy.
She offers individual and group coaching for victims and survivors of narcissistic abuse here at QueenBeeing.com and at NarcissisticAbuseRecovery.Online.