Agony Aunt

Patricia Marie, MBACP qualified counsellor is a member of The British Association of Counselling and Psychotherapy, practising in Harley Street, Essex and Scotland. She has many years experience of dealing with domestic violence, relationship problems, bereavement, depression, addictions, post traumatic stress and many other emotional issues. If you have a dilemma, please email

I hate my appearance

Posted by Patricia_Marie
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on Friday, 07 November 2014
Dear Patricia Marie,
I am writing to you because I don't know where to turn.  I hate the way I look.
I have a dreadful birthmark across one side of my face and also a misshapen nose.  I feel like everybody stares at me and laughs, even though I try and turn away and never look directly at people as I can't stand the shock I see in their faces when they look at me.
I was born with this, and I know by now at the age of 41 I should have learnt how to deal with it, but I haven't.  I have become so introverted, and hate ever going out, and at times feel suicidal.  I don't have the money for cosmetic surgery, and make up doesn't seem to make much difference.  I only have one close friend, and of course she tells me to take no notice and that I am lovely inside, but I just can't bear it.
Is there anything that you could suggest?

Patricia Marie says...

In a world obsessed by perfection, those living with facial disfigurements often find this a struggle. One of the biggest problems people with birthmarks experience are psychological, including low self-esteem and crippling shyness.

It's all about how you choose to see yourself. Your friend means well when she says you're lovely on the inside, but everyone is unique and beautiful on the outside too - although many have difficulty accepting themselves in this way. Nevertheless, there are those who feel their flaws define them and would feel neither the same or complete without their familiar blemish.

I am wondering what is happening in your life at this present time for your imperfections to have become of such significance and so problematic to you? I believe you could benefit from having some counselling, which may help you begin to learn to love yourself because of your uniqueness, and not in spite of it.

Furthermore, because your feeling seriously depressed, I would suggest an urgent chat with your G.P, who could consider referring you to a cosmetic surgeon through the NHS. Whilst you feel surgery may be the answer for you, I would still recommend you consider all options before making such an important decision.

The British Association of Counselling and Psychotherapy have a directory where you can find a qualified registered therapist in your area.

The Birthmark Support Group is a fantastic organisation that offers support for anyone with a birthmark. 

Have a dilemma? Please email  Please note, while Patricia cannot respond to all emails, she does read them all.

In need of further support? Patricia Marie offers a counselling service in Harley Street, contact details as follows
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