View Full Version : Internet friend wants to see a picture

12-29-2011, 11:45 PM
I have been chatting with a German man for over a year. We talk pretty much every day. A short while ago he sent me a picture of himself. He was tactful and non-pushy, but I can tell he wanted me to reciprocate the sign of trust. The problem is I hate the way I look. I feel embarrassed, ashamed, self conscious, just terrible about my physical appearance. We can't post numbers, but I could describe myself as morbidly obese. (Although, I am, surprisingly, healthy as a horse, so morbid maybe is not such an accurate term.) At any rate, this is not a question of a few pounds I am obsessing over that no one but me would notice.

He is talking about coming to the US for a vacation, and coming to my city to visit. I want very much to meet him, but that would put things in the real world, and the real world includes this horrible evidence of my out of control eating disorder. :cry I don't want him to think less of me, I don't want to be rejected. :cry What if I show him a picture of myself and he decides to cancel his trip? :cry I would be so ashamed. I AM so ashamed.

Part of me says it is dishonest of me to not let him see a picture of me, and let him make these plans without all the facts of the situation. But I just can't seem to bring myself to the dreaded act. A friend helped me pick out a flattering picture, and I have a pic all ready to send. The idea of sending it is overwhelmingly awful, I just can't imagine hitting the send button. :cry I don't know what to do. :cry I really wish he was not coming at all so that this would not be an issue. :cry

I feel so terrible about this. I am very upset, distressed, panicky. :cry

I could use some support and feed back. :cry

(Just to clarify, romance has never entered the picture at all, in the slightest.)

12-29-2011, 11:56 PM

Hugs if ok.
I am sorry as this sounds really distressing for you and I can literally feel it popping off the page. :(

But you know what? You are valuable as you are.
I understand that the possibility of being hurt feels v frightening. And the truth is that people can dissapoint us. But I hope you send him the picture as you have nothing to be ashamed of.

If he does judge you then that reflects on him and not you.
But I do understand that the fallout from that seems impossible.
But what is the cost of hiding yourself?

12-30-2011, 12:05 AM
You could just draw some boundaries in the relationship and say you honestly don't like sharing photo's because who you are is more than a photograph

Its also your choice whether you physically see this person when they come to your country. You could just talk on the phone

I'm not saying you need to hide yourself....just pointing out there are many options rather than just going along with his requests

12-30-2011, 12:33 AM
I am REALLY torn. I want to see him, to meet him, to spend time with him, show him the beauties of the area I live in. I want to have coffee with him in real life, not just in front of a computer. I am so very fond of him. But that would bring in all the reality.

But what is the cost of hiding yourself?

It is pretty big. I would not be able to spend time with him. We are very close. It would feel so sad to not see him because of my stupid self consciousness. I really really want to show him the mountains here. I want to meet him so badly.

Seriously thinking about this, it is a chance I can't miss. It would be so stupid to miss out on life because I hate my body. Just another thing my eating disorder would steal from me. I have lost so much, I hide so much, I am so cut off from others because of my self consciousness. :cry

I guess this is just something I have to do if I want to really live life and be true. :cry

I have heard so many times here on SF... you have to build a life worth living. And for me that would include seeing a good friend in real life.

I guess he could reject me. He is a very kind person though. If he did reject me, he would not be nasty or hateful. It would hurt though. :cry

Well, I don't have to do anything right now. I can talk to my T about this.

12-30-2011, 12:40 AM
I should be in bed ages ago but shall share a quick story with you.

I had a client a long time ago who shared with me that she would not get married to her fiance as she was morbidly obese and didnt want to start out that way or go through a wedding like that.
They gt engaged before she put of the weight and she couldnt get past it.

They were from a v strict religion so didnt get to see that much of each other as it stood. years went past. I think about six or seven. I would encourage her and her fiance begged her all the time.

I moved away from that area but heard about a year later that they had set the date but that just before the wedding he had a fatal car accident.

I hope this isnt horrible and upsetting for you in any way. it is all totally true. She was left mourning all the happy times she could have had if she wasnt so hung up on something that others really didnt care about that much.

It sems a shame to miss spending time with someone you care about because of wanting to hide away.

12-30-2011, 12:52 AM
Dermaline, thank you for sharing that story. It is life. Our time is so fleeting.

Well, I seem to have made up my mind to let him see a picture of me. It would be such a shame to miss out on the possibility of something so wonderful.

Any advice on the approach to use? I think I would prefer to share the pic via email, so as not to have to deal with his initial reaction in chat. Should I be casual about it, just say I finally got hold of some pics, here they are? Or should I confess my self consciousness and trepidation?

12-30-2011, 05:11 AM
Oh ssp :gimmehug :gimmehug

There is so so much more to you than your appearance. We all love you here and what you look like never crosses my mind. Actually that's a lie. I picture a sunflower when I see your name. I picture a a blackbird when I see rafferty's etc.

Could you let him see your Facebook if you're on Facebook?

And that story of dermalines was amazing. Don't deny yourself a wonderful opportunity. Although saying that I'm not sure id allow any of you see me. So I understand in a way,

It's hard to have someone judge your appearance, but he will see past all your insecurities because he knows the real ssp. He knows your lovely personality.

I would tell him how upset you are at the idea of allowing him see you. Does he know you have an eating disorder?

I know you're distressed about this. But this man sounds like a true friend. Don't deny yourself all that fun of showing him around! You're worth more than that. X

12-30-2011, 06:01 AM
Sunshine, i agree with Molly and derma line.

You stating that you've been communicating with him for a year, shows volumes. Obviously there has been some sort of trust formed between the two of you. If by showing him a picture of you changes that in anyway, you will see his TRUE character come out.

We already live with so much regret because our EDs take away so many fabulous opportunities, don't let this be one of them. Things could go fabulously and a better friendship, intimate relationship, whatever it shall be..could spark. Worse comes to worse(god forbid it) and he does not want to meet, this can be you taking a step in the right direction of taking healthy risks. I know that I am afraid of any risks at all, do to failure, but one that could change friendship, love and life is one worth taking.

Good luck to you, whatever you decide to do. I will be waiting to see what happens :)

12-30-2011, 06:04 AM
There is so so much more to you than your appearance. We all love you here and what you look like never crosses my mind. Actually that's a lie. I picture a sunflower when I see your name. I picture a a blackbird when I see rafferty's etc.

Aww Mollywolly!! That's exactly something I'd expect you to imagine :)

Sunshinepoppy, let me tell you a story of my own.

A year ago my perfect job came up. I'd spoken to the adviser on the phone and he seemed lovely, really encouraging. I'd talked a little bit about how I love being outdoors, travel etc. I completely denied the fact that I am actually quite overweight and desperately unfit. The me I had described to him was my "true" self, one without any influence of an old ED or self-doubt or any of the stuff I don't like about myself. What I'd described to the adviser was the pure joy of my hopes and dreams.

So the night before the interview, I was terrified. I felt sick, I didn't want to go. I knew he'd have formed an opinion of me being healthy and slim and fit. I knew I'd let him down.

There's this technique I've learned which I talk about a lot -- feared fantasy. It sounds a bit lame but it's basically about imagining / writing down (or act out with a trusted friend... but I've never done that) the other person reacting in the very worst way possible. So for me, that feared interview would have gone:

ADVISER: Midnight, I'm really confused. I thought you were this fit, slim, healthy, happy girl, but you're ugly and really fat. You were sweating walking up the stairs just now, for goodness sake. Look at the state of yourself, why would I possibly hire you?
ME: You know what, that's actually really unfair. It's true that I'm a bit unfit and overweight but everything I said was true. Fitness can come with time, and I work really hard. I am more passionate about the subject because it's a challenge to me. It's wrong to judge me on my appearance because I've got so much more to offer. There might be parts where I struggle, yes, but the achievements will just mean more when they come.

You know what? I showed up to the interview and the adviser did look a bit surprised. He gave me a sideways glance as I walked in, a bit breathless and sweating from climbing the stairs. If I hadn't effectively defended myself against it the night before that glance would have crushed me. I just tried to focus on my breath though, and show myself as being the "same" person as I'd been on the phone. Whatever happened it worked, he relaxed and became really friendly again. I was offered the job within an hour of leaving the interview even though I was certain I'd disappointed him. There have been lots of times when that unfitness has caused problems, big ones. But I just have to accept that, that's the reality of being me.

I'm not going to lie and say that nobody ever judges us on our appearances ever, because unfortunately they do. But most people are more than happy to overwrite that initial judgement very very quickly when they see that lovely personality come back. You know, if you met him and were really anxious about being judged on your weight, you wouldn't be the you he's been talking to, you'd just be someone anxious about your weight. He might feel "tricked" and resentful -- just because that anxiety would have been absent from your other conversations. But if you can just take a deep breath, swallow your fear (somehow... it isn't easy, I know), acknowledge yourself as you are then go back to being the person you've been with him in your communications, then if he is nice he is more likely to accept you for anything, and in the unlikely event that he doesn't then that's his problem anyway.

Besides, all of this assumes that being overweight is inherently "bad", which it isn't. So screw all that :cheesy

12-30-2011, 07:27 AM
Besides, all of this assumes that being overweight is inherently "bad", which it isn't. So screw all that

:muhaha :muhaha :muhaha

Seriously, thank you for telling your story. I guess I could try your feared fantasy thing. It is sort of hard to imagine how any conversation might go... I can talk to my T about it.

this can be you taking a step in the right direction of taking healthy risks.

I will try to hang on to that idea. It is true.

I picture a sunflower when I see your name.

That is so sweet! :love

I would tell him how upset you are at the idea of allowing him see you. Does he know you have an eating disorder?

He does not know I have an eating disorder. You think I should tell him of my insecurities? I have this dread of suddenly being an overwhelming, needy person. While we are close, we never really talk about very deep things. Suddenly pouring out the deepest things of my heart seems weird. But sisserbell (I see bluebells with your name, BTW) is right. It could open up a new intimacy.

But I am wondering if telling him of my insecurities is really the right approach. Maybe if I don't make a big deal about it, it won't be a big deal to him. I dunno.

Thank you all for your input and encouragement.

12-30-2011, 08:10 AM
Hey, I finally got hold of some pictures of myself. You shared your picture, so I thought I would return the gesture. You can also see my beloved Subaru. :P

Would this be good? I figure if he feels the need to comment, he can talk about my car. (Obviously one of the pictures is of me and my car.)

There, getting that out has made me feel better and more confident. What do you guys think?

12-30-2011, 09:18 AM
I think yes.

I don't know if I would lay the whole insecurity thing down straight up. Maybe you would feel more ok doing that at a later point. ? It depends how private you are.
Its ok to have needs and insecurities. If it was me then would want to pace myself.

I also agree with doing it over the internet. :yay

Run through worst case scenarios with your t and keep a firm eye on the fact that you dont deserve to hide yourself or be ashamed.

12-30-2011, 09:34 AM
I agree. I like it.

(also yes if you never talk about deep or personal stuff then maybe don't explode your insecurities and ed ramblings out too soon :sarcasm )

Also- totally random story- but I had a three year old lil girl in the car yesterday. And she got toy makeup for Christmas (it's still real though and she had blue eyeshadow all over her cheeks and a glitter unibrow, but I let her since she was happy and thought she was a princess) anyways.
We're driving along and she opens her vanity case and looks in the mirror. And says 'Molly ... I love myself'.

And she just sat looking in the little plastic mirror at her glitter unibrow and said she loved herself.

And I just thought wow.

Anyways hope it works out ssp! Let us know how it goes :)

12-30-2011, 01:46 PM
Sunshine, I like your idea with the picture of you and the car. If it was me, I would send a picture with my dog or in a scenic place, to place focus on something other en myself.

I agree with Molly. I think you should work out the positives and negatives yourself and not share right away with him before you get a response. I would hate for you to put yourself all the way out there with all your insecurities and he notnrespond positively right away. Even though his is a great step, sending him a picture, I wouldn't just leap right away and share everything.

Hopefully anxiety and nervousness hasn't kept you up or your thoughts racing.

12-30-2011, 01:47 PM
I think that is a good approach. Just take a deep breath and go for it. I have sent pictures and was cringing the whole time, but I have never had a bad response. This man has spent time with you for a year and has affection for you. I doubt he is going to run screaming and if he does, then his intentions were less than good, obviously.

diamond in the rough
12-30-2011, 04:13 PM
I just wanted to wish you luck! I bet it will go well! Like others have said, you are more than just your appearance. Plus, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. I know that is cliche, but people can be beautiful at any weight. I have know beautiful people of all shapes and sizes.

Good luck!

12-30-2011, 06:24 PM
ok... worst case scenario... it would take a while, but he just never mentions vacationing in the US again. I doubt there would be anything worse. As I said, he is a kind person. I guess he might say he pictured me differently. I am not sure what I would say to that. Maybe... We all get interesting ideas about what people look like and frequently we are wrong. Or perhaps... That is the way the internet is, always surprising. Any body else have an idea of a nonchalant response?

I really think those two things are the worst things that could happen, unless I have greatly misjudged him. Which I don't think I have.

I am getting close to pushing the send button. I figure I would send it while he is asleep.

OMG!!! I just thought of the true worst case scenario!!! What if I just never see his icon on chat again? What an awful thought. I would be devastated. But, well, it would tell me something about him I hadn't known before. And I have a friend here in real life who could be a support to me if that happened. Now that that idea popped into my head, I am twenty times more apprehensive. The idea is far-fetched. It is highly unlikely. Oh surely it won't happen. Agh!

12-30-2011, 11:33 PM

I am sure that does up the anti a lot but I do think you are doing a truly great job and that it is better to be prepared for any and all eventuality.

It is extremely unlikely from what you say.

And it WONT say ANYTHING ABOUT YOU and WILL JUST BE SAYING A LOT ABOUT HIM that you didn't know. So it wouldn't be this friend x that was doing it as you would then know that friend x was not who he appeared to be.

So maybe ground yourself in who you are.
Who is sunshinepoppy. Have affirmations on hand. And this is sure to be a non event.

Good luck. :cheesy

12-30-2011, 11:40 PM
I did it. :surprise :scared :zoinks

12-30-2011, 11:42 PM
Go you! :cheesy:cool:yay:balloons:balloons:balloons:stars

The thing is that you are not hiding and shaming yourself anymore and havnt put your life on hold or pause.

Fabulous job!

no think of some good distractions. ;-)

12-30-2011, 11:50 PM
just finished reading this thread, and i just wanted to say congrats!

what a huge, brave step :):)

escape needed
12-31-2011, 01:08 AM
Well done you - that sounds like a very brave step to take :yay

12-31-2011, 08:00 AM
Thank you :hugon dermaline, morae & escape needed :hugoff

Your support is wonderful to have. :love

Now I have sent it and I see his icon is there in chat. So my crazy worst case scenario has not come about. But I should talk to him. I mean, we talk every day. I am afraid though. This is all assuming he even got the email yet... he may not check that account frequently. Urgh. I should just talk to him and get it over with.

12-31-2011, 08:03 AM
talk to him!!!

hey there mr german friend... [insert what you usually talk about].

it's no big deal. you just sent him a pic. normal.
you're just saying hello. normal.
everything is ok. normal.


12-31-2011, 08:10 AM
It's true, that awful feeling when you email something really really important and every minute until you get a response is suffocating. Well done anyway. I hope you get to talk to him about anything to put your mind at rest x

12-31-2011, 08:18 AM
Haha, yes, everything is normal.

We just spoke briefly. He is on his way out to a ski lodge for New Year's Eve. He got the email and the world did not fall apart. I am strangely still upset. Still freaking out. Well, I guess this will pass. I still wish I could hide, but the cat's out of the bag now. I still hate my appearance. :cry I am very unhappy, I think because I feel like I have lost something. There is no longer even one person in the world who could possibly think I was normal. I liked him not knowing because i knew he imagined someone not as huge as a whale. I felt like I could be the old me, the one before all this ED behavior caught up with me. I guess I am still the same me under all this weight. I am going to start a thread in self esteem now, to cope with this.

Thank you all for your support. :lubdub

12-31-2011, 08:23 AM
:hugon sunshinepoppy :hugoff. I will look out for that thread. I hope you won't mind me commenting on it, because accepting myself at my current weight has been a very hard thing for me to do this year. I'm not being dismissive of how hard it is to come to terms with one's own weight, it has been an excruciating journey. I'm not dismissing how upset you must feel with this, and if there's anything I can do to help, I will.

12-31-2011, 08:29 AM

it's hard to put yourself out there ssp. it's hard. and you did it. quite an achievement i'd say!!! :yay totally out of your comfort zone. it was hard, you were scared, but the world did not crash down. and you are still you :love

i think i can kinda imagine the feeling that you're having. well i'm trying to. you know that feeling after you show someone a piece of your artwork, or something you made. or when you share a secret with someone. or reveal something. and even though they were nice about it. or well they didn't throw rocks, you still feel... idk... exposed.

kinda naked and vulnerable. you are glad you did it, but still feel a little vulnerable.

and sometimes i think about the scene in alice in wonderland. you know when she eats the eat me?! and gets really big?! and then she gets really small? well she was still alice through that whole thing. big or small. she was alice.

if you shrunk to the size of an earwig tomorrow, you'd still be ssp.
if you grew to be the size of a blue whale tomorrow, you'd still be spp.

----> anyways. good luck with your new thread x

01-01-2012, 04:54 PM
Everything is perfectly normal, we had a nice long chat as usual. No change.

:hugon MidnightTide :hugoff

I always welcome your input. I value what you have to say. Thank you for following along and lending your support. :gimmehug

:hugon mollywolly :hugoff

Thanks fo your help! :gimmehug

01-01-2012, 05:33 PM
Great news!

01-01-2012, 07:25 PM
I completely get what you were saying about having someone that saw the true you and not just the physical you. Inside, I am a fun loving person who rides roller coasters, would drop everything and hop a plane to another country, loves to ride horses and so much more. However, my outside size prevents me from doing a lot of these things. I like internet friendships because I feel like I can talk about these things without them seeing my size and being skeptical that I could do these things. I can be me, unencumbered by my size. However, I have found that most people are more accepting of my size than I am. I have (safely) moved a few internet friendships into the real world recently and it has been very positive.

I wonder if your size is the effect of you not liking yourself rather than the other way around. If you had self love, you wouldn't isolate yourself and keep this barrier between you and the world (and between you and the true self you wish to be). I know that on some level being so large works for me because I can put things off and tell myself that it wouldn't work out anyway because I am so large. Do you think you do this?

01-01-2012, 10:12 PM
I wonder if your size is the effect of you not liking yourself rather than the other way around.

Well I certainly disliked myself long before I gained all this weight.

But I think my untreated bipolar had a HUGE amount to do with the development and maturation of my ED. I remember using food and thinking This is a good thing because it addresses my extreme distress... calms me down and makes things tolerable. I would be prostrated on the floor, in agony, and food helped. It tamped down the out-of-control emotions that are the unbelievable misery of untreated bipolar. Then I woke up one day, after being put on mood stabilizers, with this huge body and a killer set of habits. Since then, it's been like trying to move a huge boulder with my bare hands, just way too much for me to do.

I don't think self-hate sparked the ED. But now the two feed off each other. I can't seem to develop any coping skills to replace food because I have this immovable belief that I don't deserve any self care, I don't deserve recovery, I don't deserve any good things.

I might use my weight to stop sexual advances towards me. That is possible, because I never learned to say no and never learned how to choose good people. The result was any random asshole could walk up and ask me out and I'd say yes, then get tangled up in some awful relationship. So not having assholes constantly trail me around is a relief. I am also very scared of sex. For someone so promiscuous, that is an uncomfortable state of affairs. So I am no longer promiscuous now that I am unattractive to men.

This is a very good question, one that I am going to think about.