Hi, Hannah. I have a bit of a tough question for you. What do you do when a loved one is a trigger for you? My cousin is mine. I love her with my all, but I've envied her most of my life. She has the body I wish I had despite my fear of her also suffering from a body image issue too. She is so gorgeous, intelligent, skinny and sweet. I feel so inferior to her. I hate it because she's my family and I shouldn't feel this way about a person who means the world to me!
Sorry to hear your cousin is triggering for you. It’s normal to feel envious of people, even family and, believe it or not, often you’ll find they envy things about you too!! But I know It can be hard, especially when it impacts your health.
Try to think of things that you like about your cousin that don’t involve her looks, what movies are her favourite, what music does she like, where does she want to travel. Maybe you could do a fun exercise the next time you see her, write out a series of questions about one another and you both answer without deliberating, see if you both get the same answers, it’s funny when you don’t! See: Kathleen Hanna and Kathi Wilcox play the friendship game Or something along those lines, get to know your cousin beyond your own interpretations of her. You might find out new things about her, even flaws maybe!
You know the saying, “if you can’t beat them, join them” Don’t let this envy turn into a battle/competition because all it will be is you vs you. You say you think your cousin might have body image issues too, who knows, she might feel this pressure to be perfect too. She might feel like she’s letting people down if she’s not sweet and skinny. You might find a real ally in your cousin so it’s worth building your friendship I think!
Hope this helps and sorry for the delayed reply, H xx