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Topic: Husband with body dismorphia disorder by proxy

3 posts, 0 answered
  1. Kmh158
    Kmh158 avatar
    3 posts
    1 February 2020
    My husband suffers from body dismorphia by proxy, meaning that the dismorphia is about others not himself. His dismorphia has been fixated on my nose since we got married 8 years ago. I ended up having 4 rhinoplasty surgeries throughout that time. I’d never really liked my nose at all but I’m happy with how it looks now so have told him no more surgeries. He’s booked in to see a psychiatrist and is accepting that this is his issue, not something I need to fix. I’ve been researching BDD and there’s not a lot on the by proxy version. Anyone else have any experience with this?? It’s really hard being the person he’s got the dismorphia about. He’s also got depression and anxiety which I think is made worse by the BDD by proxy. Just after some advice if there’s anyone out there with any experience with this.
  2. Croix
    Community Champion
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    Croix avatar
    9201 posts
    2 February 2020 in reply to Kmh158

    Dear Kmh158~

    Welcome here to the forum. I guess even if people are not familiar with that particular conditon some general principals may still apply.

    Irrespective of the BDD if both your husband and you agreed that your undergoing rhinoplasty was desirable and now you are happy with the result then from the point of view of your own well-being all is OK. This does not mean that it might not have adversely encouraged him, I would not know.

    As he has depression and anxiety it is very desirable for him to get specialist assistance in any case, and this is happening with the forthcoming psychiatric help. It is excellent he realises he has an issue. May I suggest you take part to give your version of events if that is possible. Although you mention BDD unless that is an existing professional diagnosis it may turn out to be something else related to his anxiety or depression.

    Having a visit may also be a method of learning how best to support your husband. Refusing further surgery after you were happy with the result was very sensible.


  3. therising
    Valued Contributor
    • A special award for members who go above and beyond to support others here on the forums
    therising avatar
    1493 posts
    3 February 2020 in reply to Kmh158

    Hi Kmh158

    So sorry to hear you're going through such stress. I know the following may sound incredibly simplistic and I by no means intend to take away from the complexities you face but some people are incredibly sensitive to sensory information.

    • Some find it difficult to tolerate certain things they visually observe
    • Some find it difficult to tolerate certain things they hear. Some can't even enter a shopping centre because of the combined noises that accumulate
    • Some find it impossible to taste and tolerate certain foods such as ones high in sugar

    You get the gist.

    A heightened sensitivity to certain sensory inputs can be deeply challenging.

    So, what to do? For some people, they find it helpful to become sensitive to other things, as a distraction. So, for someone who's got a thing about noise, they might enter a shopping centre with headphones on, focusing on their favorite music. For someone who cannot help but focus on a particular feature a person has, they might practice shifting their focus to another feature, one that gives them pleasure. This would take a lot of practice if the goal is to eventually stop focusing on what they regard as an outstanding or disturbing feature. This could take months to master.

    Simply telling someone to stop looking at a particular feature typically won't work. You know yourself that if I gave you an image of a landscape and said 'Whatever you do, don't focus on the cloud in the top right hand corner', what are you naturally going to do.

    Suggest to him the idea of refocusing as a possibility and see if he thinks this is a practice that holds possabilites.

    Good luck :)

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