Blogs are brief, to-the-point, conversational, and packed with information, strategies, and tips to turn troubled eaters into “normal” eaters and to help you enjoy a happier, healthier life. Sign up by clicking "Subscribe" below and they’ll arrive in your inbox.
[No unsolicited guest blogs accepted, thank you]
Self-objectification is common among people who turn up in my office. It involves internalizing “an observer’s perspective” about ourselves. More specifically, body self-objectification is an unhealthy way of viewing our bodies through the values of others or of society. “Self-objectification is associated with increased risk of poor body image, depression, and eating disorders” and, when studied, “was most consistently and positively associated with neuroticism, perfectionism, and narcissism across multiple studies.” (Carrotte, E., & Anderson, J. R. (2018). “A systematic review of the relationship between trait self-objectification and personality traits.” Personality and Individual Differences, 132, 20-31. DOI:10.1016/j.paid.2018.05.015).
Of the three traits listed above, neuroticism and perfectionism are the ones I see in most dysregulated eaters. Neuroticism is seen in a personality tendency toward guilt, shame, anxiety, self-doubt, and self-deprecation. Neurotic clients do a great deal of putting themselves down, feeling insecure about decisions, ruminating about the past, obsessing about the future, worrying about doing things right or wrong, feeling guilty or second-guessing when they’ve done nothing wrong, and often feeling ashamed or defective to the point of believing there’s something defective or wrong with them.
As to perfectionism, many of you know all about that. You may not need to be perfect in every way but pick out certain areas of life in which this must be the case—parenting, cooking, your job, cleanliness, or how you dress. You believe that doing something to a T will give you approval, keep you safe from harm, make the future go well and that not doing so will lead to rejection, shaming, or abandonment.
While these traits are not always self-destructive, when coupled with believing that you must look just so to be valuable and loved—fit, trim, thin, or hot—they can generate body self-objectification. When this happens, you value what others think of your body more than what you think of it. Moreover, you pick out certain people’s opinions to value. One person may tell you that you look great and another that you don’t, and you’ll likely internalize the latter’s negative perception rather than the former’s positive one.
Allowing yourself to be objectified makes you feel like an object, valuing form over function, distrusting your view of yourself, obsessing on how others think you look, and yearning to hear praise for your appearance. Remember, you are not an object, so don’t let yourself be objectified. No one can objectify you if you don’t allow them to do so.
APPetite on Facebook
By accepting you will be accessing a service provided by a third-party external to https://www.karenrkoenig.com/
This website is owned and operated by Karen R. Koenig, M.Ed., LCSW. It contains material intended for informational and educational purposes only, and reasonable effort is made to keep its contents updated. Any material contained herein is not to be construed as the practice of clinical social work or of psychotherapy, although adherence to applicable Florida States, Rules, and Code of Ethics is observed. Material on this website is not intended as a substitute for medical or psychological advice, diagnosis, or treatment for mental health issues or eating disorder problems, which should be done only through individualized therapeutic consultation. Karen R. Koenig, LCSW disclaims any and all liability arising directly or indirectly from the use of any information contained on this website. This website contains links to other sites. The inclusion of such links does not necessarily constitute endorsement by Karen R. Koenig, LCSW who disclaims any and all liability arising directly or indirectly from the use of any information contained in this website. Further, Karen R. Koenig, LCSW, does not and cannot guarantee the accuracy or current usefulness of the material contained in the linked sites. Users of any website must be aware of the limitation to confidentiality and privacy, and website usage does not carry any guarantee or privacy of any information contained therein.