Beating the monster in the mirror

by Annalisa Lista - 2015.06.16

They are 'bastards' who control you and drain your energy. This isn't a description of criminals or attackers, but common objects: mirrors. They are perceived as serious threats by those suffering from body dysmorphic disorder, suffered by those who have excessive fear of their physical defects. It's a disabling condition that leads to the adoption of extreme and masochistic behaviour, such as wearing disguises, a constant need for reassurance and, above all, an obsession with one's own reflection. The condition has been analysed in one of the few studies on the subject, carried out by a group of researchers at City University in London. Some sufferers look in the mirror for hours on end, some think they look like a monster, some find themselves disgusting, others believe their own ugliness is contagious and don't leave the house, while others can't answer the phone because they feel paralysed by their own image. Some feel they aren't worthy of having a friend or companion. These are the most common behaviours that emerged from the analysis. They determine social exclusion in all its forms, including severe forms of schizophrenia.

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