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Re: Comments on Appearance in Therapy

Posted by Dinah on June 1, 2004, at 21:53:42

In reply to Comments on Appearance in Therapy, posted by Miss Honeychurch on May 31, 2004, at 20:20:02

Well, you all know that my therapist has negative countertransference about my appearance, and so does mention it whenever he gets a chance.

He also compliments me from time to time on an outfit or on bright colors. I guess he thinks they look cheerful and may reflect my mood.

He comments more on the pictures of younger me that I bring in every once in a while. He always seems surprised that I once looked not half bad. But most people do. I look so different in my younger pictures that most people don't connect it at all to the person I am now, and are thus surprised.

I never ever make physical comments about anyone's looks, hair color, hairstyle, weight gain or loss, etc. I've got this internal code that to comment on such things isn't terribly polite. Well, maybe things like hair style. I might say, I really like that outfit. Or you got your hair cut (or you shaved your beard). It looks nice! To me, complimenting someone on their weight loss implies that you thought they previously were overweight. And ditto on most other looks comments. I would never dream of mentioning even the most obvious hair color changes. I stick to a generic "You look chipper (happy, glowing, nice, whatever) today if they look better, and polite silence implying that I don't notice if they look worse.

But I've got lots of silly internal rules about politeness that don't really match those of the outside world.




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