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Old 05-12-2007, 03:26 PM   #1  
Going the rest of the way
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Default Okay, so maybe I do have fishbowl complex... ;)

The best way I ever heard self-consciousness described was the "fishbowl complex": the feeling that everything we do is under constant scrutiny (ie: everyone is gathered around the fishbowl, watching us swim around). Fishbowl Complex seems to strike many of us hardest in our teen years, when we think that every laugh anyone makes as we walk past must be about us, or every time anyone whispers nearby, they must be whispering about us. Etc. I'm aware that being overweight has given me a bit of a fishbowl complex, but it's funny to be reminded of it now and then:

I was in the change room at my work gym a few days ago, and this tiny, toned, sculpted woman was looking at my legs. I immediately thought "oh, man, she's disgusted by me. She's looking at my legs and thinking they look like fat sausages. She's thinking that if she were my size, she'd be too ashamed to go out in public. Wow, I must look like a sea cow in her eyes." Etc. etc. etc.

"Excuse me," she said, and I bristled up, thinking, 'a-ha! she WAS staring at me.' I tensed, waiting for her to overstep her boundaries. So, imagine my surprise when she asked, "What brand are your pants? They're so cute!"

Here I thought she was looking at me and thinking I was fat, when she was actually thinking 'wow, those pants are awesome. I wish I had a pair!'

I thought I'd post this here because I think a lot of us have a bit of this fishbowl complex thing going on due to our own self-consciousness. Yes, sometimes people are staring at us, but it isn't necessarily for the reasons that we think!

Have a good weekend, everyone.
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Old 05-12-2007, 03:40 PM   #2  
I have less blubber!
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OK So I accidentally posted like 8 times and my original post got deleted..But to sum it back up...

I have a terrible fishbowl complex too. I think everyone notices my weight, acne, hair, body name it, I am paranoid about it.

But experiences like yours make me snap back to reality and realize I am not the center of the universe..No one really cares. People aren't the cynical judgmental beasts I imagine they must be

Last edited by sockmonkey70; 05-12-2007 at 03:45 PM.
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Old 05-12-2007, 03:40 PM   #3  
I have less blubber!
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I think my mouse got stuck LOL...Sorry!!
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Old 05-12-2007, 03:49 PM   #4  
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yeah I feel the same way also. I don't really like to go anywhere without my makeup and I am really self-conscious about the way my body looks!
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Old 05-12-2007, 04:15 PM   #5  
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I have the biggest "Fish Bowl Complex" in the world. Sometimes I'll sit inside my house, and not go out because I think my neighbors are staring at me . The weather is getting nicer, and it makes it harder, because I can't wear a jacket. Sometimes I get nasty about it. I really don't mean to, but I do. For example: Me, and my sister took our kids to the park the other day. As we walked into the park three women were leaving, but starring at us really hard. So I said outloud to my sister "Why are they staring at us? That is so rude to stare at someone. Their supposed to be mature adults".........LOL!!!! I didn't mean to but I have such a bad fish bowl complex that I go to extremes sometimes
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Old 05-13-2007, 02:04 AM   #6  
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I still have the "they're staring at me and laughing about me" reflex, so I guess this will take a while to get rid of... but at the same time, I'm not sure if it's a weight problem only--the bane of being afflicted with Tourette's is that, well, people do laugh at you, because you're having all those tics all the time, not because you're overweight. ^_^;

But this is a nice anecdote in any case. It shows that what goes within other people's heads isn't always what we imagine it is.
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Old 05-13-2007, 01:09 PM   #7  
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Ah yes. It's sort of like when you have a bad hair day and you think everyone you pass by is looking at it-- but then when you go out, you don't judge the hair of everyone you pass by (at least, I certianly hope you have something better to do than that!).

That experience would certianly make you question your point of view... and I'm glad you shared it with us so we can all think about it!
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Old 05-13-2007, 01:35 PM   #8  
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Oh man-- Other then my weight, I am convinced that everyone is always looking at my eyebrows !!! They're really BIG naturally, so if I fall behind on plucking, I'm convinced everyone is talking about how gross they are ! I know exactly how you ladies feel.
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Old 05-13-2007, 10:12 PM   #9  
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I totally have a fish bowl complex too. Especially at work where everyone is thin and well put together and I always think they're judging me for my hair fliping up where it's not supposed to or for me being too heavy etc. Recently I got my hair permantely straightened so that's made me feel a little more secure but I still know I'm probably being ridiculous to think these things.
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Old 05-13-2007, 10:20 PM   #10  
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I used to jump to the same conclusions but then my roomate in college was a psych major and she told me something I found really interesting and chose to believe whether or not it's actually true. We are all self-absorbed human beings. As such we assume that everything around us is about us. The laugh, the smirk, the look, it's all about us. The thing is...everyone is thinking that about themselves. So the next time you think "she's laughing at me" think that maybe you looking at her when she laughed has caused her to think "omg, she's staring at me".... i don't got me to chill out about those things
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Old 05-13-2007, 10:21 PM   #11  
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I like the "fishbowl complex" term! I think I'll incorporate that into my vocabulary. I sure do have fishbowl complex... The feeling of being overly-self conscious. It really only happens to me when I feel guilty about something, like if I go get a pizza and bring it home, I feel like all my neighbors are watching and staring at me, judging me, wondering if I was going to eat the /whole/ thing myself... But in reality, very few people care And the ones that do really aren't worth your time!
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Old 05-14-2007, 02:22 PM   #12  
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I totally have the fishbowl complex also..especially at the grocery store.. See my DH eats really unhealthy but of course I feel like people are looking at the things in my cart and thinking they are for me and saying to themselves no wonder she is fat...
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Old 05-14-2007, 04:58 PM   #13  
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Yep, I'm definitely living in a fish bowl world also.
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Old 05-14-2007, 06:19 PM   #14  
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That's a great story. It is good to remind ourselves that usually, we are the only ones obsessing over our own weight.
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Old 05-14-2007, 06:56 PM   #15  
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I love this thread and thank you for posting your anecdote!

nomorefatpants, that's a great point too, about how self-absorbed everybody usually is.
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