True Beauty


Write a new post in response to today’s one-word prompt. 


LeeAnne was quite enamored with her own reflection. She found dozens of reasons  to go past any reflective surface, where she paused to admire herself and make sure everything was as it should be.

She was a pain in the neck. Those who had the misfortune of having to live with her and watch her intense love affair with herself were thoroughly fed up. Something needed to change. Her mother, who had watched LeeAnne’s growing fascination with herself, was convinced that Lee understood as a newborn infant that she was unusually pretty.  Maybe that was because so many people told her so.  It wasn’t long before she would lower her eyelids over her violet eyes and allow her dimples to wink off and on in response to some stranger’s awe of her great beauty.

Little brat. She used her appearance whenever she could to avoid doing chores she found distasteful, beneath her dignity as the reigning family beauty.  How she pulled it off was a mystery to everyone.  She never screamed or threw a temper.  She just smiled her entrancing smile and walked away, and someone else would end up doing her work.

One day, the rest of the family had a meeting without their queen. She wasn’t informed. What they decided was to remove every mirror from the house; to cover any shiny surface that could reflect Lee’s image. No window was to be left uncovered after dark. They even went through her handbag while she was in the shower, removing her mirror. They removed the visor mirror from her car. They were ruthless and thorough.

The day after the Mirror Project was completed, there was a mighty wail coming from Lee’s bedroom.
“Where is my mirror?  WHAT?? There’s no mirror in the bathroom!  Wait, who took the mirror from my purse?  I’ll call the police!   How can I get ready if I don’t have a mirror?”

While she grieved over the loss of her own reflection, the rest of the family ignored her. Mom, Dad, older brother and younger sister all went about their business as if The Queen were not there.

Her sobbing and crying having no effect, she resorted  to threats. “I’ll move out!  I’ll get a place where I can have mirrors on every wall!  In fact, the walls will BE mirrors!  How could you do this to me? What have I done to deserve this?”

Running her brush through her hair, she dressed quickly, grabbed her face kit, and ran out of the house. The drive to her job was tedious–no vanity mirror in the car.

Shoving her way through the revolving doors, she ran to the women’s bathroom to finish her beauty routine and was horrified to find—-you guessed it—NO MIRRORS!  She even dared to peek into the men’s room.  No mirrors there, either.  No mirror in her desk drawer, no co-worker who would loan her one.

Her day was ruined.  She had no idea how she looked, and it was all she could think about. At lunchtime, she raced to the nearest department store’s cosmetics department, knowing there were always mirrors there.

But not today.  The sales girls just looked at her blankly when she asked for a mirror.

“I must be dreaming,” she thought.  No one could possibly have removed mirrors in all her usual preening places.

What she didn’t know was that the people in all those places were just as sick of her narcissism as her family was, and they had happily agreed to remove mirrors.

Not one single person told her how pretty she was that day.  No one commented on her shiny hair, her beautiful eyes, her dimples, her radiant smile.  She was just like everyone else.  It was horrible.

It took about a week for her to get the point. Because she had no mirrors in which to admire herself, she began to see other people. She even started conversations with her co-workers, asking them about their boyfriends, husbands, children. There was a softening in her eyes that made her truly lovely, and not just beautiful. Even at home, she no longer spent her time on her hair and makeup. Instead, she enjoyed conversations at the dinner table with her family, who behaved as if this was normal.

She had lots of time for introspection, and she decided she wasn’t very pretty at all.  She was so full of herself and her appearance that she hadn’t bothered to acquaint herself with aspects of her character that needed some attention.

The day she went to her family and said, “I’ve been horrid, haven’t I?  How did you put up with me?  I’m so sorry!”  was the day the mirrors began to reappear. Lee was surprised to see her reflection in the bathroom mirror, but she didn’t pause to admire herself.  She brushed her teeth, washed her face, and went to bed. Less than five minutes, compared to her usual hour.

As she grew older and age began to leave traces on her face and skin,  she welcomed the changes. The only regrets she had were over the waste of her first 20 years, which had been spent in front of a mirror.

She only wished that her family had “cured” her sooner.

Friday Counseling Issues: Abandonment, Part 5


A person who has been abandoned, whether physically or emotionally, tends to develop habits of self-harm. Usually, these habits involve substance abuse: Alcohol, drugs, cutting, sexual promiscuity, obesity. Because he believes he is not worth loving, he doesn’t care much about taking care of his health.



The tendency to try to bury the hurt and fear under alcohol, food, sex, or drugs is very strong. Of course, doing so only creates more problems and makes healing slower and more complicated.

Along with self-abuse comes the need for constant, excessive reassurance. This need is not, of course, restricted only to those who have been abandoned. We’ve all known people who seem to need to be told often and with feeling that they are ok, that they are loved, needed, look wonderful, have talents and gifts, and so forth. And we all know how draining it is to be in the position of the one who must always give the reassurance that is demanded, without ever getting anything back. The inevitable result of such a relationship is that sooner or later, the one who is always required to give reassurance will drift away to find a healthier relationship. Once again, the abandoned person’s self-perception is validated; she is not worthy of being loved, of having friends, of being cared for. In a twisted kind of way, she feels kind of good about being proven right.

Some who counsel in this area believe that abandonment and narcissism are closely related. That’s an interesting theory, and makes some sense to me. The truth is, when any of us focus on our misery to the exclusion of anything else, we are truly putting ourselves and our needs first and foremost. “No one else loves me,” goes the inner monologue, “So I will focus on loving myself.” Because no one wants to be around a person who is fixated on his own value, needs, appearance and popularity, he is quickly abandoned again. It’s a circular pattern, like a snake eating its own tail.

Self-esteem becomes part of the dialogue here as well, in psychological realms. If you’ve been following my Friday Counseling Issues posts for some time, perhaps you’ve already read how I feel about the whole concept of self-esteem. If not, you can go here. Scroll down to the bottom–I think there are four posts–and read to the top. My position is not popular in today’s mental health arena, just so you know ahead of time and won’t be too shocked 🙂

Next week, we’re going to look at some ideas to help yourself if you have abandonment in your history.