Body dysmorphic disorder is a sub-clinical condition that is a lot like OCD. Like OCD, it is considered a ‘syndrome’ where the person is fixated on a perceived flaw in their physical appearance. The key difference is that the person with BDD doesn’t consider their imperfections to be ‘bad’ – they simply believe that they are abnormal and need to be fixed.
The exact cause of BDD is unknown, but it is thought that something about the media, social media, or both play a role in people developing this condition. It is also possible that a combination of factors leads to BDD.
Body Dysmorphic Disorder usually presents itself in early adulthood – people with the condition are usually in their twenties or thirties. Those who are familiar with Robert Pattinson will recognize that he fits the bill perfectly – the actor has spoken openly about his struggles with this issue, and how it manifested itself in his life.
The key question is: how can you tell when your partner is suffering from Body Dysmorphic Disorder? Unfortunately, there is no easy answer to this question. It is, however, possible to identify some of the tell-tale signs that might suggest that your partner is experiencing problems with their body image.
They Feel Insecure
Even those who have never had problems with their body image might experience insecurity when they are around other people who do. This is because the way we see ourselves is deeply rooted in social comparison – we compare our looks to those of other people and then choose whether or not we like the way we look based on this comparison. This is not a bad thing, but it is important to realize that comparing ourselves to others leads to feelings of low self-esteem. People with Body Dysmorphic Disorder experience this insecurity on a constant basis. They worry that someone will find out about their perceived imperfections and bring them down. This is why comparing yourself to others is so damaging as it prevents you from truly accepting and loving yourself.
The solution to this problem is very simple: just make sure that your partner feels comfortable comparing themselves to no one. It is perfectly normal for people to feel insecure around other people, especially those who are close to them. The key is in making sure that your partner feels safe in their own skin and knows that you accept them just the way they are.
They Are Obsessed With Skin-Care Products
Another symptom that often goes hand-in-hand with body dysmorphic disorder is an obsession with skin care. People with the condition will constantly wash, scrub, and peel off the outer layers of their skin. This might include lotions, makeup, or other products that are designed to make your skin look flawless. There is no exact science behind which products work better for people with BDD, but they tend to have issues with acne, wrinkles, and dullness.
This level of grooming is almost certainly something that your partner will experience – after all, this is someone who spends the majority of their day in front of a mirror, trying to ‘fix’ their perceived flaws. It wouldn’t be surprising if they developed an obsession with the products that are designed to make their skin look better.
They Have A Perfect Sense Of Fashion
Another symptom that frequently goes hand-in-hand with body dysmorphic disorder is a perfect sense of fashion. People with BDD have a flair and an eye for fashion; if they see a style that they feel will improve their appearance, they will immediately go out and buy it. This might include high-end designer clothes or accessories, or more affordable options found at trendy boutiques.
This is likely something that they have picked up from spending so much time around fashion and beauty-related items- it would be no surprise if they developed a style that was unique to them, and perfectly reflected their passions and interests.
They Believe They Are Not Loved Enough
One of the primary causes of low self-esteem in people with Body Dysmorphic Disorder is the lack of love and affection around them. This is largely due to the fact that they feel that they are not good enough, and that no one will ever love them the way they are. They might believe that their friends and family don’t care about them, or that they are not worthy of being loved.
This lack of confidence and security is what leads them to seek perfection in their appearance – the more they focus on fixing their looks, the more they will believe that they are worthwhile and that someone will fall in love with them. What is more, the more they are bombarded with messages about what they look like, the more their feelings of insecurity will grow. This, in turn, makes them even more obsessed with their looks, as they will feel that no one will ever love them or value them the way they do.
These are all very tell-tale signs that your partner is suffering from Body Dysmorphic Disorder. If you notice that any of these issues are present in your relationship, then it might be time to sit down with them and have a serious talk. It is never easy being the partner of someone who is struggling with their body image, but it is vital that you are there for them, no matter what. The more you show them that you care, the more they will feel empowered to talk to you about their anxieties and insecurities. This is ultimately how you will help them to overcome their problems with body dysmorphic disorder- by simply being there for them.