Genuinely Ugly


Genuinely Ugly


your avatar   Tom (30-year-old man) from London

Can anyone suggest a solution for the following problem? Say you have a face which looks odd (i.e. not mainstream). By that I mean pointy ears, dented nose, elongated head at the back (not the usual round head), and scars on the skin..just a really ugly, odd-looking face. Sound hilarious? Well being a "goblin" in real life is not quite the joke it sounds. Ask a woman - she wouldn't be able to stand it in this fashion-conscious age...and you know when you're genuinely ugly (and not suffering from BDD - Body Dysmorphic Disorder) because you actually get stares from people and jokes about scaring people off. Then again, there's also those people who just blatantly come out and say you're ugly.

What if you have no social life because of it? Ok, some would say "Well, there is cosmetic surgery if you're not happy with certain features." Well what if plastic surgeons can't fix your particular problems? What if they can pin back ears but they can't round off a pointed one? What if they can't cut off the back part of your head?

Well, can anyone suggest a suitable job for this person? Facing the public is just asking for trouble, but doing a back-office type job is still going to invite comments and insults from other workers (those who just love their cliques which always exclude the odd one out).

This may sound tragic and like I'm making a big deal out of nothing, but if you asked anyone to swap lives with me, they would recoil in horror. I try to remain upbeat, and not let people's comments offend me. I do get along with a few people, but it is extremely difficult maintaining any kind of self-esteem or morale when you are faced with this every day. Plus, not being able to socialize because nobody wants you around doesn't exactly help.

Can you suggest suitable jobs where one might not get such a hard time from people, even though this is "chickening-out" or trying to run away from the problem? Thank you.


    Jerry Button, L.M.H.C.

Dear Tom,

Your situation does not sound hilarious and, indeed, it is no laughing matter. You are 30 years old and you are concerned about your work and your social life, and of course, those are major concerns. I wonder though, how things have been and how you've gotten on for the past 30 years. Are there any situations from your past that you can draw on that can be useful to you today?

You wonder about the kinds of jobs which might be helpful to you in your situation. The thing that comes most readily to my mind is to suggest you take up farming. This is not a flip suggestion - you can't be a farmer in London. However, at least in my experience, I think you would find country people more accepting than you would those in an urban environment. Secondly, I think that after you had lived in the country for a while you would become more a part of the environment and less of an odd individual. People would think of you more as Tom and less of a spectacle. If my experience is any guide, it will take quite a while for this to happen, but I doubt it will ever happen in London unless you confine yourself to being with only a very small number of people in very few public places.

I don't know if clothing (hats for instance) or cosmetics (to diminish the affects of the scars) might be helpful, nor whether you've already tried such things. If you have not, you might consider them, as it might draw attention away from your physical imperfections. Most importantly, I encourage you to concentrate your efforts on being yourself. I know this is not an easy prescription, but I think it is the key to your happiness. You seem resilient. You've been dealing with this problem for a long time and although you sound weary, it has not gotten the better of you. If you concentrate on a limited number of people and make it your purpose to get them to see "Tom" when they look at you (and not that "odd- looking" person who is named "Tom"), you'll have gone a long way towards taking the edge off the hurt that you experience when folks concentrate on your physical features alone.

Good Luck!

Jerry Button, L.M.H.C.

This question was answered by Jerry Button. Jerry is a psychotherapist, personal development trainer, workshop presenter and relationship coach practicing in Delray Beach, Florida. He believes that the key to quality of life lies in relationships. His approach to interpersonal and emotional problems is relational and psychodynamic. Jerry is experienced working with individuals, children and families and welcomes challenging opportunities.For more information visit:


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