We All Want Something Beautiful: Trying to Gain Self-Esteem by Proxy
There is a beauty bias in our culture. People, who possess beauty, get more advantages and more opportunities than the esthetically challenged. Being the beautiful one in a relationship also has clear benefits, but what is it about a pretty face that makes us take such a drastic leave of our senses?
Society puts a high premium on beauty. Beauty sells products, people like to look at it, and it makes us feel good. We like beautiful things. Obtaining and maintaining beauty is a billion dollar industry. We all want to be beautiful. People try desperately to become it. We exercise to extremes, starve ourselves, go under the knife, take drugs and supplements, spend billions on cosmetics and creams, all designed to make, or keep us beautiful. The fact that we go to these extremes means something. It means that beauty is really important to us.
Beauty symbolizes wealth, vitality, health and goodness. But if we’re not beautiful, or we don’t believe we are, what then? Those of us who have grown up feeling not good enough tend to seek beauty in our partners.
We seek out the beautiful, with the unconscious hope, that we can gain beauty through proxy. We hope that we can take part in their world of advantage. We hope to experience the opportunities that their beauty provides, because the fact that they have chosen us means that there must be something special about us too. It also feels good to be with someone that other people want. There is a guilty pleasure in being envied, which adds to our confidence.
Generally, beautiful people are attracted to beautiful people. When we see an unattractive male with a beautiful female, I have a friend, who always says, “Wow he massively overachieved.” And we all laugh. But we’re all thinking the same thing. “What is she doing with him?” “He must be rich, or famous….(insert large penis joke).” But whatever the reason, seeing two people that don’t line up esthetically sets us off, because beauty generally begets beauty. So if we don’t feel beautiful and we are partnered with someone beautiful, it legitimizes our own beauty.
You Make Me Feel So Ugly
One of the tricks of dysfunctionally beautiful people is to use their beauty to control others. If you can teach someone that they are nothing without you – you’ve gained power over them. There is power in beauty. Being with someone whose beauty makes them popular and shower’s them with attention, can create, even in the most secure partner, feelings that they don’t like or recognize.
Stunning model and actress Irina Shayk is probably best known for her five year relationship with European footballer Cristiano Ronaldo. They were often referred to as the most beautiful couple in the world, appearing on several magazine covers together, including the one above.
Earlier this year, the couple split after Shayk found compromising text messages from other women on Ronaldo’s phone. Later she would comment that being with Ronaldo made her feel, “so ugly.”
How could a woman who is superbly gorgeous, who has graced the cover of every major magazine in the world and starred alongside Dwayne Johnson (the Rock) in the movie Hercules – feel ugly?
The Disfunctionally Beautiful
Dysfunctionally beautiful (DB) people learn early, that beauty is a commodity that can be used to manipulate others. It’s another weapon in their arsenal. From an early age they’ve begun the process of using their beauty to get what they want.
Some of us figure out our talents in childhood, for some it’s throwing a football, dancing, or painting… and we grow up honing these skills. For the dysfunctionally beautiful, their ‘skill’ is obvious right out of the gate, they can sense it in the way adults react to them and by the time they reach adulthood, they’ve become masters at using their looks to control others. By this time it has become so natural to them, they do it without even thinking.
Beauty is their lure, it draws people to them and through experience, the DB’s of this world, know that, as the beautiful one in the relationship, they have a license to behave anyway they want, with a large probability that by making you feel more insecure, you’ll overlook it, because you don’t want to give up all the things their beauty means to you.
Economics teaches us about supply and demand – beauty is always is demand, so there are always buyers, which means that DB people have more options when it comes to partners.” If you don’t like the way I’m behaving I can leave and find someone else who will.” And they can and do so, with ease and we know this – we fear this. So we readily make excuses, rationalize and minimize their bad behavior.
DB people know that losing them is a very real fear that insecure people have. Which makes them perpetuate their partner’s insecurity further. Ending a relationship with a DB is so much more than just an everyday breakup, because you have so much more riding on the relationship than they do. It’s become so much more than just companionship. Insecure people allow their identity to get tied to the relationship – with this person I am beautiful and all things related to that –without them, who am I?
My long term Narcissist was beautiful, model beautiful. His beauty meant a lot to me. It validated me as a person, because if I could win such a prize, that must mean that there was something good about me, that no one else saw. It meant that everyone who ever doubted me, or hurt me, was wrong. It meant that I was worthy, that I was beautiful, that I deserved beautiful things and if you couldn’t see what he saw in me, it added to my mystery. It opened doors for me. It gave me confidence.
It was borrowed confidence I quickly learned, because with that kind of beauty, paired with extreme Narcissism there are always other women reaching out, trying to take what was mine and a Narcissist is always reaching back for more supply. The moment he walked out, he took my identity with him. I had no idea who I was, because everything that I had become was all wrapped up in him.
Without his beauty who was I? Insecure people seem to have a belief that they need permission, they need their feelings and beliefs to be authenticated and validated by other people. Without him showing the rest of the world that I was special, I felt lost.
It was the beginning of the biggest awakening of my life. It forced me to figure out who I was all on my own, but more importantly, it sent me on a journey to discover my own specialness. I didn’t need anyone else to validate me, that who I was, was entirely up to me and dependent upon me alone – no one else.
I can’t say that Cristiano Ronaldo is a Narcissist. He is a world famous, ridiculously wealthy, attractive professional athlete. He has wealth, beauty, fame, talent, admiration and respect – everything anyone could ever want. I think what Irina Shayk meant by her comment, was that his star was bigger than hers and he used it to his advantage. It over powered her and she felt lost underneath the weight of his celebrity.
Sometimes the things that we want the most can be the most unhealthy for us. In a cruel twist of fate, I thought that my Narcissist’s beauty would make me feel beautiful too, but it actually made me feel the exact opposite. Like Shayk, being with my Narcissist, I realized in the end, made me feel ugly. I learned that just like self-worth, you can’t gain beauty by proxy, because beauty is an inside job.
Subscribe to our mailing list and receive our weekly posts right to your inbox and like us on Facebook to receive our weekly quotes, quizzes and updates.