"I Hate Myself": Megan"

"I Hate Myself": Megan"

 

Michelle says her 13-year-old daughter, Megan, spends 90 percent of her time looking in the mirror and picking herself apart.

"Megan is obsessed with the way she looks," says Michelle. "She's just constantly fighting that image."

For nearly two years, Megan has been saying negative things about her body every day. "I think that my eyebrows look like bushes of trees on my fat head," she says. "I hate my nose because it's too big. I hate my stomach because it's too fat."

Michelle worries because Megan is constantly
comparing herself to her older sister and tries to dress like her. "She hasn't found what makes her tick, what her favorite thing is or what she really likes," says Michelle. "I don't really know what Megan's talents or gifts are. I want to find them."

Megan's self-hatred has taken its toll on her family. "The whole family has gotten to the point where they said, 'Enough. Either change the way you look or accept the way you look, but something has to stop,'" Michelle says. "It's very heartbreaking to know that she's not happy with who she is."

 

Dr. Phil asks Michelle to expand on her feelings about Megan's problem. 

Growing emotional, she replies, "I want her to be happy with who she is, because she's a beautiful person inside. And I think she knows that; she just is constantly comparing herself to her sister, her friends at school and she never compares."

When Dr. Phil asks why Megan compares herself to others, Michelle says, "She's so busy trying to do all the things that everybody else is doing, she doesn't find what it is she truly loves to find her identity in that."

"Do you think you've contributed to that?" Dr. Phil probes.

"I think so," Michelle says. She explains that when Megan first started complaining about her body, the family thought she was looking for compliments. "Now it's gotten to the point where we're just so fed up, and don't know what to do anymore, that we've just said, 'Yeah, that's right, Megan. What do you want me to do?'"

"But you understand that's not the answer," Dr. Phil points out.

Michelle agrees, but admits that she doesn't know what the answer is.

 

Dr. Phil points out that while Megan's negative body image is not Michelle's fault, Michelle shouldn't reinforce her daughter's perception. "Telling her, 'OK, you're fat and ugly' doesn't help,'" he says. He also observes that Michelle has a tendency to be protective of Megan, and may not be pushing her to achieve her goals for fear that she'll fail.

"That is true," Michelle says. "I feel like she's tried so many things and been rejected so many times that that's just adding to this 'I don't like myself.'"

"Do you have a definition in mind of what you think success is in raising your daughter?" Dr. Phil asks.

Michelle admits that she doesn't, and Dr. Phil asks, "Then how do you know whether what you're doing is the right thing to do or not?" He tells her that part of her definition for success could be helping Megan to discover her authentic self.


Dr. Phil explains that children tend to confuse body image and self-image. "If they have a bad body image — they don't look like all of these media stars — they think they're less than," he says. "If they think they're less than, then they have a personal truth that compromises them."

 

In Megan's video diary, she expresses frustration with her body: "I hate my stomach because I'm too fat, and I've tried to diet but it doesn't work. I've even told my mom I hate myself so much that I want to kill myself or I'd rather die."

"Tell me why you're saying that type of thing to yourself," Dr. Phil asks Megan.

"Because I think I'm fat and I don't really like myself or like my body that much," she says.

He notes that Megan often looks up to supermodels and compares

herself to them. "If you use that as a way to measure how you look against those images, that's not fair, because those people don't really look like that," Dr. Phil says.

As a surprise for Megan, Dr. Phil brings supermodel and actress Daisy Fuentes on stage. He asks if Daisy had always looked glamorous.

"Oh yes, I was born looking like I belong on the cover of a magazine," Daisy jokes. She explains that although she didn't get teased for the way she looked, kids did make fun of her Castilian accent. "I found that it just helped me to weed out the people who made me feel bad about myself," she tells Megan. "I had to find within myself a way to just not burst into tears, and I find that that still helps me today. Find the things that make you feel good about yourself."

"How do you measure your self-worth?" Dr. Phil asks Daisy.

Daisy says, "I think it's important just to be a positive force in people's lives ... and to just really give as much love as I can. But I can't really do that unless I feel OK with myself ... Being in this business, I have met many people that are beautiful people, gorgeous people, and it really does come from the inside. I've also met a lot of beautiful people that are not so pretty, that are quite ugly, and that comes from the inside."

"What do you hear her saying?" Dr. Phil asks Megan.

"That you shouldn't judge people from the outside but from the inside?" she says tentatively.



Dr. Phil tells Megan that she also shouldn't judge herself. "Do you get that you've got to be your own best friend?" he asks. "You haven't discovered yet what it is that you want to do with your life ... but there's something inside you that makes you special."

As another surprise for Megan, Dr. Phil tells her that he has arranged for her to accompany Daisy to New York City for a photo shoot for a new line of clothing that Daisy is designing for Kohl's. Megan will also receive lessons from a makeup artist and she will have a stylist put together clothes for her.