THE BLOG

When Women Hate Their Bodies Men Suffer Too

03/18/2010 05:12 am ET | Updated Nov 17, 2011

Sometimes men bear the biggest brunt of women's negative body image (NBO).

If she suffers, he suffers.

Body image expert Sarah Maria, author of Love Your Body, Love Your Life has worked with women and men to overcome their negative body image (NBO). She deals with the root causes and their consequences -- how their past experiences, memories, and repetitious self talk impacts how they deal with themselves and others in daily life, and in intimate settings, where NBO is often triggered.

Sarah Maria worked with one woman, Tawnya* (Name changed) who was thin, fit and exercised compulsively. Tawnya had tremendous anxiety about weight gain. When she got her breast implants the plastic surgeon said, "If I were you're husband I'd be glad you were doing this." But this wasn't the case. Her husband was happy with her body and happy with her. Tawnya hoped that the implants would make her feel more beautiful....

They didn't.

Even though she had been married to her husband for 30 years and had two grown children Tawyna had anxiety every time her husband glanced in the direction of another woman. She imagined that he didn't love her and would have an affair, even though there was no evidence of this and he had been faithful and attentive.

When Tawnya would get unreasonably jealous a vicious cycle would begin. Her husband would tell her to get over it and become irritated. Which in turn she would take as rejection and become frightened. When she'd break down sobbing he'd get more irritated. Her husband's frustration over the years was that nothing he did affected any change for Tawnya so why bother? He felt not only that he couldn't do anything but that he wanted to give up.

Sarah Maria worked with Tawnya to re-frame her feelings and actions. First, she suggested that instead of asking for approval and love Tawnya express her feelings saying something to the effect of: "I'm feeling anxious. Not because of you and what you've done, but because I'm feeling threatened." By expressing her anxiety Tawnya's husband didn't withdraw further or avoid dealing with her fearing that she would go into an an emotional tirade. He was then able to just sit and listen to her while she shared her feelings. By giving him something to do (listen) he felt connected to her and she, in turn, felt heard and didn't have the usual meltdown. So the dynamic shifted.

Soon after she began to work with Sara Maria Tawnya decided to get her implants removed saying, "They don't feel naturally a part of me anymore." The interns at the plastic surgeons' office thought it was weird, but she wasn't fazed by that. She had made her decision and felt confident of it.

Even though she no longer had large breasts, and was heavier than she was used to Tawnya felt happier and better about her body. She practiced yoga and continued to work on improving her relationship with her husband. "It comes down to loveability," says Sarah Maria. When you start to change the internal dialog the external reality changes and a new, more positive shift in experience happens.

Sarah Maria is the author of Love Your Body, Love Your Life. The book outlines her 5-step process for helping you feel great in and about your body and yourself. Click here to purchase your copy and begin to love your body today. To learn more about Sarah Maria and her work, you can visit her website at http://www.sarahmaria.com and http://www.breakfreebeauty.com.

Susan Harrow is the author of Sell Yourself Without Selling Your Soul. She runs a Media Consultancy where she helps everyone from Fortune 500 CEOs to celebrity chefs, entrepreneurs to authors grow their business through media coaching and the power of PR. For more information please contact Susan.