Teen is convinced she's ugly, hides all the time in her room

iVillage Member
Registered: 07-07-2011
Teen is convinced she's ugly, hides all the time in her room
Thu, 07-07-2011 - 3:05pm

Dear all,

My lifelong best friend has a 17-year-old daughter "Phoebe", who I've loved like my own since she was in utero. Over the past year or so, she's become more and more reclusive, not wanting to come out of her room. She'll stay in there literally for days. When she does come out, she always wears a hat and baggy clothes. All she says--when she talks to us at all, which is rare--is that she's ugly ("the shape of my head is hideous", "my nose is ugly", "I have to keep my arms covered", etc.) She says she hates being looked at. The truth is, Phoebe is a stunningly beautiful, tall, willowy, athletic, lovely young woman.

I know there's no point in arguing. I can't make her feel beautiful just by telling her she is. But now that she's finished high school, the problem is just getting wose and worse. She seems to feel she's the Elephant Man.

Phoebe has an older sister, Camille, who does not resemble her at all, and who has done professional modelling occasionally. Camille is gorgeous, and

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-28-1999

I think your friend should be taking her to a psychologist.

iVillage Member
Registered: 02-14-2000

I'm with music - there's nothing you or your friend can do or say to make Phoebe 'snap out of it', especially if she's been like this for a year. She needs to see a professional. You can certainly offer to go along with them for moral support but it sounds like she needs counseling or meds or both.

Avatar for sabrtooth
iVillage Member
Registered: 12-03-1999

This child has a severe emotional/psychiatric problem, and needs help immediately.

iVillage Member
Registered: 01-04-2008

It does sound like classic BDD. It's a form of mental illness

Avatar for suzyk2118
iVillage Member
Registered: 07-30-1997
One of the women at work has a very troubled son (he's bipolar, Aspie, ADHD) and he has done the same thing - he insisted on a puppy to help him and then wouldn't take it outside in fear people would see how big he is (he is about 360 pounds) or they'd see him sweat. He was recently diagnosed with social anxiety disorder and is going through intensive therapy for this. I'd definitely recommend professional help - this doesn't just go away. Best of luck.

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-27-1998

Yep, ITA. This girl needs professional help.