Out of the FOG

Coping with Personality Disorders => Dealing with PD Parents => Topic started by: knucklebunny on May 18, 2013, 12:53:06 AM

Title: Common Traits of Adult Children
Post by: knucklebunny on May 18, 2013, 12:53:06 AM
I've googled the heck out of this but can't find much info... but what are the common traits we share, as adult children of BPD parents? 

From previous threads I see that being "nice" seems to be a common theme, but what else? 

I'm very:

empathetic
NICE :p
open minded
unsure of myself
sometimes overly secure in my looks/intelligence, but other times ridiculously insecure of the same things
artistic
curious/open to learning
rebellious
I have a grand sense of "right" and "wrong", and I will fight for other peoples "rights" more than they will, quite often
paranoid (particularly paranoid that i'm self-deluding)
insecure
impulsive
(overly) objective
easily substance dependent (I have to make a conscious choice NOT to drink or smoke... because I love both)


I'm starting to suspect that these traits could be directly related to my BPD mom... and if that's the case, I'm almost thankful I grew up like I did.  (hah but other times I hate myself for being like I am... go figure!)
Title: Re: Common Traits of Adult Children
Post by: Serenity_now on May 18, 2013, 01:06:01 AM
We're easy prey because we were brain washed by our parent(s) to be People Pleasers

Taught to be numb to our own feelings and intuition

Put on this earth simply to be our parents emotional doormats and indentured servants :doh:

That is until we come Out of the FOG and take back our lives  :yeahthat:

Little to NC sure helps with the confidence building too :yes:
Title: Re: Common Traits of Adult Children
Post by: Mlf007 on May 18, 2013, 01:26:07 AM
Thanks knucklebunny for posting this. I think that we must be long lost twins because the way you describe yourself is the way I would describe myself too.

I feel like I am pretty street smart, I can spot bs a mile away. Not sure if this is because I've heard manipulative, conniving, degrading, sarcastic, vicious language throughout my childhood or if its related to me being paranoid. It's saved me a lot of drama, money and/or heartache so I am thankful for that.

I have a very hard time hearing people say nice things about me, even when others just say thank you, I rationalize to them (and myself) why I don't deserve it. I also have a hard time looking people into their eyes. I get very anxious & weird when I make an effort to, I don't look down so I don't really know what I usually look at when I talk to people.
Title: Re: Common Traits of Adult Children
Post by: knucklebunny on May 18, 2013, 01:40:01 AM
I have a very hard time hearing people say nice things about me, even when others just say thank you, I rationalize to them (and myself) why I don't deserve it. I also have a hard time looking people into their eyes. I get very anxious & weird when I make an effort to, I don't look down so I don't really know what I usually look at when I talk to people.

Holy crap... I'm the same way with "nice things", but the whole eye contact thing really struck a chord.  I have the hardest time with "normal" eye contact, and when I am talking with someone all I do is think about the stupid eye contact and how I'm so damn awkward about it!
Title: Re: Common Traits of Adult Children
Post by: Silverfox on May 18, 2013, 05:57:20 AM

empathetic
NICE :p
open minded
unsure of myself
sometimes overly secure in my looks/intelligence, but other times ridiculously insecure of the same things

artistic
curious/open to learning
rebellious
I have a grand sense of "right" and "wrong", and I will fight for other peoples "rights" more than they will, quite often
paranoid (particularly paranoid that i'm self-deluding)
insecure

impulsive
(overly) objective
easily substance dependent (I have to make a conscious choice NOT to drink or smoke... because I love both)


I'm starting to suspect that these traits could be directly related to my BPD mom... and if that's the case, I'm almost thankful I grew up like I did.  (hah but other times I hate myself for being like I am... go figure!)

This strikes a chord :D. I also have a few narcissistic traits, like keeping impossibly high standards for myself (being afraid no one will like me if I'm not a gorgeous, Nobel prize winning, great friend, best mom person) while holding others to much lower standards.

I have strong principles. I will not eat animals, because I think it is wrong. Even if I were to develop deficiencies, I think I would not able to bring myself to eat animals. Same goes for being fair, being honest... I can get myself into trouble with principles.

I can become very avoiding when pressure hits. When people expect things from outside my comfortzone (I got this amazing job offer a year ago... Once in a lifetime thing and I froze. I turned it down, even when they stated they would love to have me. I thought I wouldn't be good enough). When things aren't easily solved. Or sometimes when I feel like life is just becoming to "big". I draw back, stop calling people, stop socialising, do not fix the problem and wish I was retired and senile so that no one would expect anything from me. Common behaviours: not paying bills even when I have the money, not calling friends, not answering emails at work, avoiding work, etc.

I am very self critical, about everything. I usually feel like I am a bad person. This makes me 1) self centered because I'm oriented on fixing me and 2) depressed, low energy and sensitive to criticism. I can see this and work on it, but it's a big monster to slay. I suspect momster feels like this always, doesn't recognise it and isn't able to work on it.

I totally recognise the paranoid feeling that you may be disordered. I literally reread every post I make here to filter out the crazies. I am constantly worried that people may think I am weird, off, disordered or, worst of all, borderline. No matter how many times people tell me I'm not.., I even have an official diagnosis of not being borderline (tested, certified). It makes me focus too much on my behavior instead of enjoying people around me.

This one is hard, because you have had first hand examples of people who did not recognise their own disorder and the devastation that this brought to their lives. Would you recognise your own disorder?

Thanks for posting this, it's good to view our own "crazies" from time to time and realise that growing up with a pd leaves marks. We can fix them, that's the difference. :)
Title: Re: Common Traits of Adult Children
Post by: knucklebunny on May 18, 2013, 12:43:43 PM
When things aren't easily solved. Or sometimes when I feel like life is just becoming to "big". I draw back, stop calling people, stop socialising, do not fix the problem and wish I was retired and senile so that no one would expect anything from me. Common behaviours: not paying bills even when I have the money, not calling friends, not answering emails at work, avoiding work, etc.

This one is hard, because you have had first hand examples of people who did not recognise their own disorder and the devastation that this brought to their lives. Would you recognise your own disorder?


Ugh, I totally do that avoiding thing... and for no reason.  I literally want to barf when I think about getting my MAIL.  There's no reason for me to want to avoid my mailbox, but I do.   But generally I avoid checking voicemail, paying bills, etc... again, no reason to avoid any of it.

I know what you mean about recognizing your own disorder... even though I know I'm not borderline, etc... I still worry that I might be, but I'm just SUPER REALLY AMAZINGLY self deluded.  I also worry people will judge me on everything.  Way too sensitive to how other people think.  I hate it.
Title: Re: Common Traits of Adult Children
Post by: Mlf007 on May 18, 2013, 01:19:05 PM
I wonder if worrying that you have an undiagnosed PD, particularly Borderline is part of the aftermath of our situations or if this is from being paranoid. I often times see my PD FOO as (maybe) not so bad, but that I am over reacting like a Borderline would. My mother has been diagnosed as bi-polar even though she is an N (IMO) and my MIL is BPD. I am so petrified and I can only hope that I never hurt anyone the way my PD's have hurt me.

My uN mom used to take me to the therapist when I was very young because she (very typical/projection), said it was "I" with all of the problems. However I've been in therapy for years as an adult and realistically I know where the problems are, but I always have this in the back of my mind.
Title: Re: Common Traits of Adult Children
Post by: Mlf007 on May 18, 2013, 01:29:20 PM
I am also a very anti-mailbox person. I hate it, and I know I have to check it once a week or else the junk mail gets to be too much nothing else fits.

Once I let my work voicemail pile up with unheard messages, I had 36 messages by the time I finally decided to listen (and delete) all of them. I got back from vacation and I had so many, I was overwhelmed with all the other stuff I just left them and didn't have the energy to "deal" with the phone for weeks later.

I'm not good at sitting down to 5 or more new emails, I usually just let them sit there unread. But I don't mind getting them and answering as they come in one at a time. It's almost like I feel immediately overwhelmed so I shut down and disengage and stop in my tracks like Silverfox said.

I always thought these quirks were just the way I was, but it's so validating to know that other people who have similar childhoods/abuse are doing the same things. I know in my mind they are self-defeating behaviors but I never connected the dots. Thanks for all of this.
Title: Re: Common Traits of Adult Children
Post by: timetobeme on May 18, 2013, 01:56:38 PM
Great thread!

I am:

empathic
very sensitive to 'right' and 'wrong'
responsible (to a fault - I tend to take on responsibility for 'bad weather' if I don't watch myself)
insecure
low self esteem'
constantly doubting my own judgment
paranoid
feel that I have to 'earn' my right to live by serving others
spontaneous
clever
open minded
accepting people for who they are
organized
conscientious
perfectionist

I am basically a good person except to myself:

I have difficulty accepting myself for who I am, but accepting others is not a problem.
I have difficulty buying something nice for myself, but I love spoiling others and buying nice things for them.
I have difficulty accepting bad days in my life, but make it easy for others if they have a bad day - no sweat!
I have difficulty believing that there are good things in store for me in the future, but I can see everyone else's life changing for the better without difficulty.

On top of all this, whenever I fail, I feel like I deserve to be punished for it (by getting sick, getting into an accident, someone close to me getting sick or into an accident or something else terrible happening). I think this paranoia is a result for having been constantly on my toe, trying to survive and avoid (random) punishment.

Thank god for therapists!
Title: Re: Common Traits of Adult Children
Post by: Mlf007 on May 18, 2013, 04:41:33 PM
 :aaauuugh:

These behaviors are ALL very common to me. I can give many personal examples of each one of them.....which scares me!  This list actually will help me in my healing. I can understand why various interactions and exercises are more difficult than they should be, thank you for sharing Varja.
Title: Re: Common Traits of Adult Children
Post by: PrettyPictures on May 19, 2013, 12:50:26 PM
Most of this thread describes me.

I love artistic things like photography and playing guitar.  I was really into drawing when I was growing up but I lost interest in that.
I'm also a perfectionist and tend to be really hard on myself if I don't get things just right. But I'm pretty sure that comes from the way that my mother would often criticize me growing up.  I was never valued for the kind of person I was inside.  I was valued for outer achievements.

I'm shy around people I don't know very well.  I have to get to know someone really well before I can feel comfortable enough around them to be myself.
I often feel like an outsider.  In my husband's large extended family, there are definitely the favorites.  The people who don't have to make any effort to be a part of the group,  but they get showered with attention.  There are others who make an effort to be a part of the group, but they often get overlooked for whatever reason.  I'm in the latter group.  :-\

I sometimes wonder if I have a PD.  But I think if anything, I simply have the fleas from my FOO's PDs.  Because whenever I catch myself behaving in a way that might be similar to my mother or father's behavior....I stop myself and correct the behavior.  They don't do that.  They just make excuses for their behavior and continue being that way.


Mlf007,   I can spot bs too.  Often I can really tell when someone is lying. It's not something specific that I can point out, it's just a really strong vibe that I get from them.
I have a hard time getting compliments too. It doesn't happen often, but when it does I feel like I don't really deserve it. 
I also hate looking someone in the eye when talking to them. If it's someone that I know really well,  then it doesn't bother me. But anyone else.....it's just so uncomfortable.


I also have OCD, although it's a mild case. I've seen how debilitating OCD is for some people and fortunately I don't have it to that extreme.
I notice that I have it a lot more when I feel like I'm not in control of my environment.  I used to have that problem a lot when living at my parent's house.
My input was never appreciated there. If something was going on that bothered me, like loud music or whatever, I was just told that it's their house and I didn't like it I should move out.  Although my OCD started in childhood, so I don't remember what started it.
It feels like OCD is the brain's way of feeling in control of something when it doesn't feel in control of the environment around it.

And a trait that really bothers me,  is that I often don't trust my own judgement.  I often go to my husband or friends to say "What do you think of this? Or that?"



Title: Re: Common Traits of Adult Children
Post by: workingonit on May 19, 2013, 03:21:52 PM
Thank you for your posts here Varja.  That last article was excellent and insightful. 
Title: Re: Common Traits of Adult Children
Post by: sandpiper on May 19, 2013, 08:10:41 PM
Ditto, thanks to Varja for posting all of those.
I read that book about adult children of alcoholics a few decades ago (I'm sure it's the same one) and it helped a lot.
I've heard PDs described as 'dry alcoholics' since the self-centred and self-serving behaviour has a very similar impact on the families.
There's a book called 'Surviving a borderline parent' by Roth & Friedman which I found really useful. It's a kind of 'workbook' that helps you to go through some of the common issues.

I think some of my issues just come down to the residual PTSD, even though I'm 'recovered', I still have triggers.
The big ones are that I really hate being around behaviours that remind me of the PDs/the substance abuse.

I hate being around people who engage in any kind of substance abuse. It took ages to be able to sit in a social setting where people are drinking and to tolerate it when some people invariably start to become loud and obnoxious. I have drunk excessively at a few points in my life (a year or two at uni when everyone was doing it and thankfully I went to T and was diagnosed with PTSD) and also for about 6 months before I decided to go NC with FOO. I hadn't realised that I was using alcohol to 'numb' in order to tolerate being around them. When I stopped drinking it became a whole lot harder to tolerate the behaviour & my T suggested that I was punishing myself needlessly for getting FOGGED into spending time with them.

I really hate recreational drugs (dope is widely accepted here in many social circles in OZ and a high proportion of Gen Y will take any drug under the sun in open view of their middle class parents and think nothing of it) and I hate being in situations where people are drinking for the sake of drinking. My T said that she doesn't have PTSD and she hates those situations too so she told me not to feel too bad about it. I really liked that T.
Title: Re: Common Traits of Adult Children
Post by: sandpiper on May 20, 2013, 12:02:59 AM
Varja I have really appreciated the hijack.
I've seen a few of these threads over the years and sometimes it's interesting to divide them up into the psychopathology (how we get pushed out of shape) and the personal i.e. what particular strengths or positives we've developed in response to being a child of dysfunction.

I think there's merit in considering both, they form a balance between us developing insight and developing a sense of value.

I could tick a lot of things on those lists you've posted, and in addition to that I could say that as a result of my childhood, I developed a great love of reading which helped to advance my literacy levels and, when I was at school, my reading age. As a result I was always at the top of my class in English and so in some ways, that pushed me into developing an interest in & a capacity for written communication which I might not have developed if I'd been in a situation where I wasn't mainlining fiction during every free moment of my day.

Title: Re: Common Traits of Adult Children
Post by: knucklebunny on May 20, 2013, 12:07:05 AM
There's a book called 'Surviving a borderline parent' by Roth & Friedman which I found really useful. It's a kind of 'workbook' that helps you to go through some of the common issues.

Great Resource - It's in my personal library - and I've about worn it out.

Sorry for the mini-hijack, knucklebunny.

Don't apologize... this is all so interesting to read!
Title: Re: Common Traits of Adult Children
Post by: Midnight Oil on May 20, 2013, 05:05:06 PM
Yep, all these traits describe me. Yet, I still find it hard to believe that my upbringing wasn't loving and good and better than that of other kids, because it often was. And that my adult problems are my own doing.
Title: Re: Common Traits of Adult Children
Post by: Learning on May 20, 2013, 05:12:57 PM
I have a very hard time hearing people say nice things about me, even when others just say thank you, I rationalize to them (and myself) why I don't deserve it. I also have a hard time looking people into their eyes. I get very anxious & weird when I make an effort to, I don't look down so I don't really know what I usually look at when I talk to people.

Holy crap... I'm the same way with "nice things", but the whole eye contact thing really struck a chord.  I have the hardest time with "normal" eye contact, and when I am talking with someone all I do is think about the stupid eye contact and how I'm so damn awkward about it!

Wow I feel like I'll never become good at this and yet at the same time, all I feel like I want is appreciation for things I do and succeed atóat work for example. I frequently catch myself saying, "I don't need my manager to pet my hand and congratulate me for everything I do, but it woudl be nice if..." Then when that actually happens, I avoid it so it's as if I was still never acknowledged. Shameful.

I also thought it really intersting Knucklebunny, that you mentioned in the first post, having that strong justice system and always standing up for people. I'm sooo bad at this. Or good at it. Whichever:) I've definitely had to learn how to catch myself from it because I'll even stick up for people who don't even realize they've been injusticed nor do they care, and then it just makes me look like the crazy one. But I definitely understand where this comes from and it's one I frequently have to monitor.

Funny how children of narcissists are told how selfish, spoiled, hurtful and uncaring they've been their whole lives to find out really they care and have more more than most.
Title: Re: Common Traits of Adult Children
Post by: knucklebunny on May 21, 2013, 12:38:04 AM

Funny how children of narcissists are told how selfish, spoiled, hurtful and uncaring they've been their whole lives to find out really they care and have more more than most.

I think we are more caring than most people because we HAD to be.  We had to cater to the PDs in our lives, or risk huge amounts of turmoil.

I also realized that I'm a PD magnet.  This was actually just something dawned on me the other day while reading about BPD.  My sons dad and many of my (former) "good" friends all have strong BPD and NPD traits... I think it's because I'm an "easy" target since I'm such a pushover and I always give EVERYONE the benefit of the doubt.  I love when people confide in me and trust me... yet I rarely confide in people or trust them.  And then of course since I surround myself with PD's, they end up betraying me (my best friend from childhood had a long term affair with my sons dad... the entire time I was with him.  Another friend routinely stole from me an blamed others.  Another friend got me a job and then got me fired when she was promoted to a position supervising me... which is why I'm jobless now), and until just recently I thought that there really IS something wrong with me and I MUST enjoy playing the victim role and I'm most likely blaming people and avoiding being responsible for my own actions... so it was crazy to realize that it IS me.  It's me because I let these people into my life when I shouldn't have.

I am also way too forgiving.  When I was going into labor I called my mom, assuming she'd meet me at the hospital.  No, she couldn't.  Why?  Because she was going to Vegas the next day, and didn't want to miss her flight.  So she SO KINDLY (ugh) called my EX-boyfriends mom (not my sons dad... a different ex!) and asked her to go to the hospital with me.

Yet, I forgave her.  Or I guess I really didn't forgive her, but I never ever brought it up or held it against her.
Title: Re: Common Traits of Adult Children
Post by: Mlf007 on May 21, 2013, 01:22:32 AM
Welcome Learning,

I love this quote from you, "I've definitely had to learn how to catch myself from it because I'll even stick up for people who don't even realize they've been injusticed nor do they care, and then it just makes me look like the crazy one".

I believe that I am and have been doing this to my DH regarding his BPD mom, my MIL. She absolutely drives me insane bc she is so manipulative, conniving and (secretly) tries to play us against one another. I have to admit that I've just learned that I am an emotional sponge, and I take on his emotions plus mine when we have to interact with her......this makes your comment resonate even more with me. It happens every time and its the ONLY thing him and I argue about, the crazy making....it wears a person out!!
Title: Re: Common Traits of Adult Children
Post by: FindingMyself88 on May 21, 2013, 03:22:33 AM
yep, we all have a LOT in common. I am...(some of these I just copied and pasted)

empathic
very sensitive to 'right' and 'wrong'
insecure
constantly doubting my own judgment
paranoid
feel that I have to serve others to make myself valuable
open minded
accepting people for who they are
conscientious
I always tend to underreact to what people do to me and allow them to run me over (although my T is helping me work on this one
Always doubting whether someone loves me
Always thinking I did something to make someone upset, thus they will never love me again
VERY indecisive
I can say what happened but not how I FEEL about it

Title: Re: Common Traits of Adult Children
Post by: LindaLoo on May 21, 2013, 07:31:38 AM

Wow! Awesome thread!! Thank you for starting this. So insightful!

 I am everything on the list and the 'right and wrong' is me to a tee. I will fight tooth and nail if I believe something is wrong. When I cant fix it I get frustrated and tend to withdraw.

I am nice ( to nice for my own good) , compassionate, open minded, sensitive, worry about others feelings, doubt others care about me, feel ignored, insecure, cant accept compliments, etc........it goes on and on

One biggy for me is caring to much about others feelings. I give to much and get nothing. I have doormat syndrome :(

I go out of my way to make others feel good. This one I want to get over!!!

It weighs me down and I let my feelings slide. Here is an example....

If someone emails me a picture say of their pets...I immediately reply telling them 'how cute' and thanks for sharing, I loved it! I have a overwhemling sense that I must validate and acknowledge.  Yet if I send that same person a picture thats important to me they make no effort to acknowledge. This angers me and then I feel 'why do I try so hard, why am I so nice'

I'm seeing that this world is full of very self centered people and having an N mother has made me super sensitive to the uncaring people. I want to toughen up, stop trying to please all the time, and I'm going to find a way :thumbup:

Wonderful thread! I have read it over and over...
Title: Re: Common Traits of Adult Children
Post by: timetobeme on May 21, 2013, 08:19:40 AM
]One biggy for me is caring to much about others feelings. I give to much and get nothing. I have doormat syndrome :(

I go out of my way to make others feel good. This one I want to get over!!!

 :hug:

I am another doormat - but on my way to stop being one!!!!!

A few weeks ago, my DD told me about a problem her little friend from school had and I caught myself immediately trying to fix it (which required a bit of work on my own agenda and that of my family). That's when it hit me:

NOT MY PROBLEM!!!!!

This is the friend of my DD and I was willing to reschedule things that were important to me and my FOC in order to accommodate her!

That was the first time I really felt that that's what I always do: If I hear about a problem - big or small - someone else is having, I immediately move to help solve it, even if it means I have less time for myself/my own problems. I also nooticed that I have to change things and get my priorities straight: There's nothing wrong with helping the friend of my DD AFTER I
- took care of myself/my own problems
- took care of the things concerning my FOC
- helped my close frineds (if needed)

Most people know these priorities - learned them instinctively growing up - but for me, being an ACON, I was primed to think that everyones problems are more important than my own and that the problems of strangers get the same attention as those of people closer to me - and they all somehow take precedence over my own needs.

I'm working on snapping out of that pattern...

Title: Re: Common Traits of Adult Children
Post by: Mlf007 on May 21, 2013, 12:43:00 PM
I always assume that when someone is upset, angry or disappointed, that its related to ME. I obsess for days over what would be non-issues to normal people about what I did, didn't do, or may have said that would cause the problem. I am now realising that this is prob were most of my issues are coming from, either I begin feeling this way when the most hurt occurs or it ends this way.
One recent example-my neighbor didn't wave at me this past Sunday when I haven't seen her for months and now I am worried that she has been avoiding me on purpose because she must be mad at me. This is crazy, I don't have a relationship with her so how the hell could that be the case, yet I am convinced of it. Who knows, I may sabatage our acquaintance-ship by beginning to avoid her since I believe that she is mad at me.
This is talked a lot about in AA, and It's something that alcoholics do (and apparently I do too). I read that it's an inflated ego, but I feel the exact opposite like my ego is non existent?

Another thing I do is that I cannot ask for help. It's so bad that I almost get angry or offended when others try to help me. I was working on this not too long ago and when my husband was going into the kitchen, I had to remind myself to ask him to bring me a drink when he returned. I was just about to get up and get myself one, which was stupid considering he was doing the same thing for himself. I had been in the hospital for a couple of days in November and when I got out, I had a  2mo old newborn to care for. My husband told my mom it would be a good idea when she volunteered to come and stay with me for a few days while he was at work so that she could help me with my baby and I could get some rest. I was fuming with anger at him and at her. I didn't treat her or him nicely and I insisted after one day that I WAS FINE & didn't need her help. <- how ridiculous!?!

Gift receiving is also challenging for me. For Xmas, my birthday, Mother's Day etc. I always just say that I don't want anything. I really cannot think of anything I want or need when asked. I feel like it would be "high maintenance" to imply that I would enjoy some recognition....and that's so sad IMO. My husband doesn't even get me a card anymore, which I've trained him to do that and my feelings get slightly hurt everytime. I get over it and don't show that Im bothered, but to normal people this would be a no-brainer. Of course, who doesn't want and probably expect some acknowledgement on these special occasions.

I am a mess. I know. I want to appear to be HARD, like I have it all together, like I don't NEED anyone in my life or anything from anyone.... "I can take care of myself" when in reality I DO need/want it.

So much work to do. Thank God for this forum, it's showing me where I need the most work. My T can say these same things until she is blue in the face but until I see it here, as it relates to other people is when I can see it from my perspective/my experiences and from my life. Is that weird?
Title: Re: Common Traits of Adult Children
Post by: knucklebunny on May 21, 2013, 01:06:35 PM
I always assume that when someone is upset, angry or disappointed, that its related to ME. I obsess for days over what would be non-issues to normal people about what I did, didn't do, or may have said that would cause the problem. I am now realising that this is prob were most of my issues are coming from, either I begin feeling this way when the most hurt occurs or it ends this way.
One recent example-my neighbor didn't wave at me this past Sunday when I haven't seen her for months and now I am worried that she has been avoiding me on purpose because she must be mad at me. This is crazy, I don't have a relationship with her so how the hell could that be the case, yet I am convinced of it. Who knows, I may sabatage our acquaintance-ship by beginning to avoid her since I believe that she is mad at me.
This is talked a lot about in AA, and It's something that alcoholics do (and apparently I do too). I read that it's an inflated ego, but I feel the exact opposite like my ego is non existent?

Another thing I do is that I cannot ask for help. It's so bad that I almost get angry or offended when others try to help me. I was working on this not too long ago and when my husband was going into the kitchen, I had to remind myself to ask him to bring me a drink when he returned. I was just about to get up and get myself one, which was stupid considering he was doing the same thing for himself. I had been in the hospital for a couple of days in November and when I got out, I had a  2mo old newborn to care for. My husband told my mom it would be a good idea when she volunteered to come and stay with me for a few days while he was at work so that she could help me with my baby and I could get some rest. I was fuming with anger at him and at her. I didn't treat her or him nicely and I insisted after one day that I WAS FINE & didn't need her help. <- how ridiculous!?!

Gift receiving is also challenging for me. For Xmas, my birthday, Mother's Day etc. I always just say that I don't want anything. I really cannot think of anything I want or need when asked. I feel like it would be "high maintenance" to imply that I would enjoy some recognition....and that's so sad IMO. My husband doesn't even get me a card anymore, which I've trained him to do that and my feelings get slightly hurt everytime. I get over it and don't show that Im bothered, but to normal people this would be a no-brainer. Of course, who doesn't want and probably expect some acknowledgement on these special occasions.

I am a mess. I know. I want to appear to be HARD, like I have it all together, like I don't NEED anyone in my life or anything from anyone.... "I can take care of myself" when in reality I DO need/want it.

So much work to do. Thank God for this forum, it's showing me where I need the most work. My T can say these same things until she is blue in the face but until I see it here, as it relates to other people is when I can see it from my perspective/my experiences and from my life. Is that weird?

Oh my gosh we do have a lot in common!  It's so weird when I read something and think "ME TOO"... thing that i disliked about myself but just accepted as "who I am".

I also feel conflicted with ego.  Deep down I think I have a HUGE ego, but I think I try to hide it... just in case I'm wrong and I'm not as awesome as I think.  I'm an accomplished photographer... won awards/contests, hear constant feedback about my talent, I've had a photograph featured by an award winning screenwriter/producer, etc etc etc... yet when people compliment me I am so uncomfortable and have this nagging feeling of self-delusion.  "They might just be saying that because they know it's what I want to hear"  HOWEVER, on the other hand, it's nearly impossible for me to FEEL like I'm at the top of my field.  If one of my photography-buddies asks a question in a group meeting, even if I KNOW the answer or have valid advice, I am extremely reluctant to speak up, because I'm afraid they will think, "who is SHE to advise ME?". 

I think a big part of that is I'm afraid to look stupid?  Or something along those lines?  If someone comes to me for advice, that's fine... I've done tons of work with people who seek me out for lessons, and I feel confident in my ability to teach and help.  Which is evidenced by the students progress.  But still, it's some weird conflict for me that i don't understand.

I also deeply resent when people try to help me.  I don't need help.  I'm fully capable.  If I ask for help, that's fine.  But unsolicited help is horrible for me.  I noticed it most at a retail job I had, years ago.  I had been there for years, and all of my co-workers KNEW not to butt in or help me unless I asked.  However, new people often tried to be helpful, and it would make my blood boil.  As much as I avoid conflict, I had no problem telling the new person not to "butt in" when I was with a customer or working on a project.  Again, no idea why.

My friends get annoyed with how I am about my birthday.  I don't publish it on facebook because I do not want to get all those "happy birthday!" posts on my wall.  My friends/family who know it's my birthday without the notice on facebook will comment, and even that is slightly annoying, but only because I worry that it'll start a huge influx of nice comments from people.  I think it's the lack of sincerity that I dislike.  "These people really don't care that its my birthday, they only say that because that's social protocol".

I am always avoiding "lack of sincerity".  I hate small talk because I feel like the other person REALLY doesn't care about the weather, and I know I sure don't care, so why be inauthentic and pretend we care, just because of social protocol?  When it comes to a conversation about something concrete, I'm perfectly comfortable and engaged.  I have to feel like people WANT to talk to me.
Title: Re: Common Traits of Adult Children
Post by: Mlf007 on May 21, 2013, 01:37:56 PM
I get most anxious when I am in a position to have small talk. I can chit chat for 30 seconds with the cashier or the waitress but other times I get shaky, shaky voice, hair figeting, picking at my nails, start digging in my purse, I used to smoke, just to not look awkward but in reality I feel so awkward.

I'm also the same way on FB with my birthday and I don't say happy bday to anyone on there. I text or call my close friends on their bday.

My sister and husband was saying, "why don't you want mom to help you"? Put her to work, have her do laundry, the dishes or housework. I just wanted to barf. It would take me half a day to explain how I do things and why they need to be done that way. (Lol) it's not "help" since I would tend to redo it all when she left. I know so selfish, controlling and egotistic....idk I can't help that part. I just want to do it and everything for that matter for myself. I don't complain, sulk or recruit sympathy about it like a BPD would, I just do it and be done with it.
Title: Re: Common Traits of Adult Children
Post by: knucklebunny on May 21, 2013, 01:56:39 PM
I just thought of something else that I do and I wonder if anyone else has experienced it.

I have incredibly vivid/crazy dreams... and most of my dreams occur in the same "places".  Places that I don't have any emotional attachment or particular memories about.  Like my friends moms bathroom... always in my dreams (actually, bathrooms of any sort are really common).  The lunch room in elementary school.  Places I don't know that I assume are just made up in my mind or maybe I've seen them in passing and just don't remember- a particular field, a weird "hobbit" like village, etc...

But this is what i'm most curious about... I experience this weird "dream deja vu" thing where I will be driving down the road (not dreaming but actually driving), and I'll see a house and feel this sudden flash of familiarity, like I've had dreams about it.  Sometimes I can recall the actual dream (a house set far off the road, in a field.  the house is surrounded by a wrought iron fence, and within the fenced yard are tons of tall trees), but sometimes its just a deja vu feeling that I instinctually feel is connected to a dream.
Title: Re: Common Traits of Adult Children
Post by: gary on May 21, 2013, 03:24:01 PM


I also feel conflicted with ego.  Deep down I think I have a HUGE ego, but I think I try to hide it... just in case I'm wrong and I'm not as awesome as I think.  I'm an accomplished photographer... won awards/contests, hear constant feedback about my talent, I've had a photograph featured by an award winning screenwriter/producer, etc etc etc... yet when people compliment me I am so uncomfortable and have this nagging feeling of self-delusion.  "They might just be saying that because they know it's what I want to hear"  HOWEVER, on the other hand, it's nearly impossible for me to FEEL like I'm at the top of my field.  If one of my photography-buddies asks a question in a group meeting, even if I KNOW the answer or have valid advice, I am extremely reluctant to speak up, because I'm afraid they will think, "who is SHE to advise ME?". 

I think a big part of that is I'm afraid to look stupid?  Or something along those lines?  If someone comes to me for advice, that's fine... I've done tons of work with people who seek me out for lessons, and I feel confident in my ability to teach and help.  Which is evidenced by the students progress.  But still, it's some weird conflict for me that i don't understand.

I also deeply resent when people try to help me.  I don't need help.  I'm fully capable.  If I ask for help, that's fine.  But unsolicited help is horrible for me.  I noticed it most at a retail job I had, years ago.  I had been there for years, and all of my co-workers KNEW not to butt in or help me unless I asked.  However, new people often tried to be helpful, and it would make my blood boil.  As much as I avoid conflict, I had no problem telling the new person not to "butt in" when I was with a customer or working on a project.  Again, no idea why.

My friends get annoyed with how I am about my birthday.  I don't publish it on facebook because I do not want to get all those "happy birthday!" posts on my wall.  My friends/family who know it's my birthday without the notice on facebook will comment, and even that is slightly annoying, but only because I worry that it'll start a huge influx of nice comments from people.  I think it's the lack of sincerity that I dislike.  "These people really don't care that its my birthday, they only say that because that's social protocol".

I am always avoiding "lack of sincerity".  I hate small talk because I feel like the other person REALLY doesn't care about the weather, and I know I sure don't care, so why be inauthentic and pretend we care, just because of social protocol?  When it comes to a conversation about something concrete, I'm perfectly comfortable and engaged.  I have to feel like people WANT to talk to me.

Hi  knucklebunny

  We have some things in common that we can talk about and I'll try to address them. I also shoot as well.

Quote
I also feel conflicted with ego.  Deep down I think I have a HUGE ego, but I think I try to hide it... just in case I'm wrong and I'm not as awesome as I think.  I'm an accomplished photographer... won awards/contests, hear constant feedback about my talent, I've had a photograph featured by an award winning screenwriter/producer, etc etc etc... yet when people compliment me I am so uncomfortable and have this nagging feeling of self-delusion.

 All of those accomplishments above will not make a dent in what has already been done to us long ago that robbed or never provided for us of just a natural healthy sense of self.

For me not to say I know what I'm doing with a camera would sound just silly so I do have to admit that much anyway...but that doesn't help how I really feel about myself.

I don't enter contest but some company took one of mine and entered it and it won first place in the world...but that doesn't help how I really feel about myself.

I have flown around the world twice doing assignments for fortune 500 companies making $1750.00 a day plus expenses....but that doesn't help how I really feel about myself.

I had a fashion live in loft/studio on Michigan Ave in Chicago and shot international models and Sears catalogue and did testing for Playboy...but that doesn't help how I really feel about myself.

how I really feel about myself goes much deeper that what my iMac can pump out and send across the airways to anykind of client anywhere in the world.

I have taken the things you talked about in not actually accepting what I can do and stole the word "Humble" because that has some honor to it but that's not really true.

I finally had to find true sense of self in a chair across from a good therapist and she helped me get most of it back but like any injury i will always have a bit of a limp when it comes to a good self esteem.

All the pats on the back feel good and it's kinda like a shot of whiskey that may give ya a little boost but it doesn't last  and we need another shot if we don't get to the bottom of the why.

I also don't care for small talk..not sure exactly why :blush:

having someone jump in and help you is probably seen by you as not just a kind jester but that the person saw in us that we were not capeable of doing it all ourselves.

All sense of self stuff.

Who was it do you think that stole yours ?
Title: Re: Common Traits of Adult Children
Post by: knucklebunny on May 21, 2013, 07:16:41 PM
Gary... thats a great question.  What stole it?  I'm not exactly sure what did it.  I do know that my mom is the only person I know (literally) who has not ever expressed their admiration when it comes to my art.  I won a commission for a local zoological society to supply all prints/mugs/etc for their gift shop a few years ago... pretty big deal for me since I've had no formal training, etc... I was SO SO SO SO proud and excited. 

When I told my mom about it, she said "sounds like a scam to me".

So I never responded to any further inquiries from the society.  I totally just let the whole thing fall by the wayside.

What stole your sense of self, do you think?
Title: Re: Common Traits of Adult Children
Post by: knucklebunny on May 21, 2013, 07:41:11 PM
Urg sorry I keep posting stuff, but another thing...

I can not STAND physical affection from anyone except my son and SO.  And with them I'm extremely affectionate.  Other than that, when people touch me, I want to recoil.  I hate it.
Title: Re: Common Traits of Adult Children
Post by: Mlf007 on May 22, 2013, 12:07:55 AM
I can not STAND physical affection from anyone except my son and SO.  And with them I'm extremely affectionate.  Other than that, when people touch me, I want to recoil.  I hate it.

I'll send you a virtual hug instead ;)

((Hug))
Title: Re: Common Traits of Adult Children
Post by: timetobeme on May 22, 2013, 06:53:08 AM
Hi, knucklebunny,

about those dreams:

I used to have a 'nightmare house' (that's what I called it): A house where every corner was familiar to me, I knew how it looked, felt, smelled... Yet I knew that this house didn't exist IRL.

I was puzzled by that until I was introduced to C.G. Jung's theories about dreams, memories and thoughts and one of his ideas was that the places represent a certain period in a person's life and places that 'belong' to that period.

I considered that and was able to see that this 'nightmare house' was a combination of three different houses I knew well: My grandma's, my BFFs and the church building where we spend a lot of time (activities and all that). Then I was able to determine the period in my life in which these houses played a major part (age 7-10, give or take). After that, all that was left for me to do was think about the things that happened in those years that may still bother my subconscious 15 years later. After having dealt with those issues in daytime - literally bringing them to light - I have not visited my 'nightmare house' again - for 15 years now.

Is it possible that those places in your dreams are also representing a certain period in your life?
Title: Re: Common Traits of Adult Children
Post by: knucklebunny on May 22, 2013, 03:42:18 PM
Is it possible that those places in your dreams are also representing a certain period in your life?

Yes, it's entirely possible... I was watching Bettlejuice a few weeks ago, and I recognized some of my dream places in that movie, which is odd because I don't really have any memories tied to watching it.  I mean, I KNOW I saw the movie when I was younger, but it wasn't significant.  I guess I was about 12 or so... I'll have to put some thought into this and figure out what was going on with me at that period in time.

Awesome info, thank you!
Title: Re: Common Traits of Adult Children
Post by: sandpiper on May 23, 2013, 03:31:12 AM
Wow, timetobeme, that is really interesting about the dream house. I wonder if it's worth a standalone thread, as I have a couple of houses that I dream about two. And that explains a lot, that it relates to a particular period in my life.

When I dream about my grandparents' house, it turns into a fort that rises up above the sea like Rapunzel's tower, and there is no escape unless I plunge off the cliffs into the wild water below. I worked out that the water probably represented my emotions and once I worked through them in T, I stopped having this dream. curiously in the dream, all my cousins would appear walking around the house and the grounds like Zombies, unable to see me or to communicate with me. (that's no dream) If I have the dream again and they start muttering 'Brainzzzzz' I just hope to god I'm armed and I remember the Double Tap. (Nerd reference for those of you who haven't seen Zombieland.)
Title: Re: Common Traits of Adult Children
Post by: ladiLiana on May 27, 2013, 10:02:20 PM
I have many of those traits as well.  I have taken up meditation as a way to heal myself and free myself of some of the bonds that held me down as a child.  Since I grew up 3 other sisters, all wanting to be the queen, and a mother who swore SHE was the queen, I "learned" NOT to draw attention to myself so they wouldn't hate me.  I learned not to be wonderful in front of them, or fabulous, or too good at anything, or dare expect people to do anything for ME.  I hid so they could shine.  And sometimes, I would shine by accident, and then have to deal with their wrath...mean tricks, name calling, the cold shoulder, not wanting to be my sister/friend anymore...stuff like that. 
I too have issues with the mail and the phone.  I will call them anxieties...depending on my state of mind, I can hear a phone ring and get a sense of dread for no reason.  I do not live with my cell phone on my hip because I simply don't like the phone that much.  this makes a lot of people upset, why didn't I text back in 2 seconds?? things like that.
My empathic ability is extreme...far beyond what is normal.  and yet, I do love to help people who are in need.  Unfortunately, the needy ones tend to be demanding, liars, drama queens and kings, lazy, thieves, users.  Not all...but many.  And I am drawn to them like a moth to a flame.  I want to save them...make everything alright for them.  Only to find out they are perfectly capable of doing for themselves, they simply don't want to.  they love misery and it turns out most of their lives are pretty good.
My life is an ongoing therapy lesson.  Sometimes I have to let go of guilt I may have because I actually think I deserve to be treated better than I am, but I feel so guilty even thinking it sometimes.  Lots of self denial because I was taught others should have before me.  But I am getting better little by little!  :)     
Title: Re: Common Traits of Adult Children
Post by: Silverfox on May 28, 2013, 03:30:24 AM
I'm not sure if this is my personality or part of growing up in FOO, but I am too honest. I'll let people know my mind or try discussing things like religion or politics. I never have the intention too hurt people, but just feel like an open discussion is always better for knowledge. So when I ask people about their religion or ask hard questions about the company I work in, I genuinely want to know. People aren't always happy with it.

My emotions are an open book, too. So if I don't like something I have a hard time hiding it. And I feel like I don't have the option of little white lies. I will tell the truth about myself always. Which is not a good thing. It gets me into awkward situations and I wish I could change it. But before I know it, there's me blabber mouthing again....
Title: Re: Common Traits of Adult Children
Post by: practicingacceptance on May 28, 2013, 01:10:27 PM
this has been an interesting thread for me. i am here on OOTF because i am or was a chosen. i have had my suspicions that my mother was a BPD, but never really felt it affected me so much. i was rebellious as a teen, i left home early, i was LC with her and family for a long time until her death. i thought i had moved past my crazy upbringing.

i read this thread because i am having issues with my only adult child. he father was/is unBPD/NPD. he is an alcoholic (medium-functioning). i see so much of myself as a AC. i understand about fleas, that i have them, that my daughter had them, too. i went through the "is it me?" phase. i am pretty sure i do not have a PD or am inverted, what-have-you. now as i analyze the situation,i am trying to understand my D. there isn't a whole lot here on OOTF about AC but it is pretty important as a mother i think.

i only wished that i had removed myself and daughter from the dysfunction way earlier, before she was an adult. i am sorry for those of you that have both parents as PDs. i wish there was some way i could help my D now but it is to late. i understand more and more how important mental health needs to be addressed for our children's healthy growth. none of us are perfect but we all are capable of loving our kids. our culture and society depend on us to make wise decisions regarding our behaviors and responsibilities. especially us, the ACs.

thanks for this enlightening thread.
Title: Re: Common Traits of Adult Children
Post by: knucklebunny on June 15, 2013, 01:03:03 PM


i only wished that i had removed myself and daughter from the dysfunction way earlier, before she was an adult. i am sorry for those of you that have both parents as PDs. i wish there was some way i could help my D now but it is to late. i understand more and more how important mental health needs to be addressed for our children's healthy growth. none of us are perfect but we all are capable of loving our kids. our culture and society depend on us to make wise decisions regarding our behaviors and responsibilities. especially us, the ACs.



This is what I'm struggling with... my son is 6 and I recently went NC with my bpd mom, and while I *know* it's for the best, sometimes I wonder if it's hurting him more to be without extended family than SOME time with a dysfunctional family.  I've opted to stay NC because I'm fairly certain my mom would find ways to sabotage my relationship with my son, or pull me back into the FOG.  She has no filter and seems to think that it's perfectly appropriate to tell a 6 year old about his moms "issues".  grr
Title: Re: Common Traits of Adult Children
Post by: Mlf007 on June 15, 2013, 01:25:24 PM

This is what I'm struggling with... my son is 6 and I recently went NC with my bpd mom, and while I *know* it's for the best, sometimes I wonder if it's hurting him more to be without extended family than SOME time with a dysfunctional family.  I've opted to stay NC because I'm fairly certain my mom would find ways to sabotage my relationship with my son, or pull me back into the FOG.  She has no filter and seems to think that it's perfectly appropriate to tell a 6 year old about his moms "issues".  grr

Knucklebunny. I stumbled onto a great article last night about parental alienation. And how abusive it is for children. A lot of what it was saying can certainly apply to when one grandparent projects their hatred into the ears of children about the child's parent. It is emotional abuse, it is verbal abuse, it is bullying. Maybe you can read about that aspect to find the assurance and comfort you need in order to validate your feelings. Your main goal is to NOT give your mom a grandchild to abuse, but to protect him regardless of her feelings and the guilt she wants you to feel. Emotionally stable and strong children grow up far far better off (even if they only have one normal parent) than those who have a large extended FOO that are all messed up, abusive, and/or PD's.

Don't feel guilty about protecting your son, your mom has planted those little seeds in your head for years now, I promise you. This is why you are feeling so guilty, that's the goal of those seeds they plant years in advance of when they begin to bloom.

This is a common problem with us children of PD's. We feel guilty when we begin to see the FOG. We feel guilty and thus stop our own healing, how dare us to want to protect ourselves and our children from drinking that Kool-Aide, it's so pretty and sweet and it's ALL THAT WE KNOW.

Since you are like me, needing and wanting "proof" to validate your negative feelings, maybe you can research about the pros and cons of only children growing up in healthy families. I've recently started is path because I only have one baby, but I honestly think he will be an only child. The guilt behind that alone is hard, and doubly hard when I have two sets of PD parents in my ears guilting me to produce more  :aaauuugh:
Title: Re: Common Traits of Adult Children
Post by: workingonit on June 15, 2013, 01:33:59 PM

This is what I'm struggling with... my son is 6 and I recently went NC with my bpd mom, and while I *know* it's for the best, sometimes I wonder if it's hurting him more to be without extended family than SOME time with a dysfunctional family.  I've opted to stay NC because I'm fairly certain my mom would find ways to sabotage my relationship with my son, or pull me back into the FOG.  She has no filter and seems to think that it's perfectly appropriate to tell a 6 year old about his moms "issues".  grr

Knucklebunny. I stumbled onto a great article last night about parental alienation. And how abusive it is for children. A lot of what it was saying can certainly apply to when one grandparent projects their hatred into the ears of children about the child's parent. It is emotional abuse, it is verbal abuse, it is bullying. Maybe you can read about that aspect to find the assurance and comfort you need in order to validate your feelings. Your main goal is to NOT give your mom a grandchild to abuse, but to protect him regardless of her feelings and the guilt she wants you to feel. Emotionally stable and strong children grow up far far better off (even if they only have one normal parent) than those who have a large extended FOO that are all messed up, abusive, and/or PD's.

Don't feel guilty about protecting your son, your mom has planted those little seeds in your head for years now, I promise you. This is why you are feeling so guilty, that's the goal of those seeds they plant years in advance of when they begin to bloom.

This is a common problem with us children of PD's. We feel guilty when we begin to see the FOG. We feel guilty and thus stop our own healing, how dare us to want to protect ourselves and our children from drinking that Kool-Aide, it's so pretty and sweet and it's ALL THAT WE KNOW.

Since you are like me, needing and wanting "proof" to validate your negative feelings, maybe you can research about the pros and cons of only children growing up in healthy families. I've recently started is path because I only have one baby, but I honestly think he will be an only child. The guilt behind that alone is hard, and doubly hard when I have two sets of PD parents in my ears guilting me to produce more  :aaauuugh:

 :yeahthat:

My mother caused tremendous damage with my relationship and my feelings towards my father (and actually other people too) because of the things she said behind his back and that I believed because I was a child.  Looking back now, I don't know if a single one was true and I have no evidence that they were but my mother saying them to me when no one else could hear. my dad never knew and never got to defend himself. Her intention was to cause a rift, and it worked.  If she could do that to her own daughter, why wouldn't she do it to a grandchild against the mother...especially with her negative feelings towards me.

If I had a child, I would/will never allow it to even meet my mother, or have anything to do with my sister.

Mlf, was the artice you read on the internet?  If so, would you mind giving me the link?  I'd like to read it.
Title: Re: Common Traits of Adult Children
Post by: Mlf007 on June 15, 2013, 07:42:59 PM
Mlf, was the artice you read on the internet?  If so, would you mind giving me the link?  I'd like to read it.

http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/co-parenting-after-divorce/201304/the-impact-parental-alienation-children

Title: Re: Common Traits of Adult Children
Post by: Tabitha on June 15, 2013, 08:14:06 PM
This is a really interesting post. Like many of you I have a HUGE ego and tiny little self esteem. Years of being criticised at every turn I guess. Funny enough though, I don't play down my birthday, I make it a HUGE DEAL!!! I think it is because that was the only day I felt Ok about making anything about me, without feeling selfish.
Title: Re: Common Traits of Adult Children
Post by: Thorman on May 11, 2017, 09:47:58 AM
Although this thread is old, i just wanted to refresh is for others who are struggling with similar problems. It just occurred to me that i have many of the same problems on this list.
Title: Re: Common Traits of Adult Children
Post by: unnamed on May 11, 2017, 03:02:04 PM
Iím an adoptee.  Raised by an extremely abusive woman, and enabling [weekend alcoholic] man.  I was 3 months old, and they were 40 years old [unhappily married] when they included me in their dysfunctional relationship.  4 years later, they adopted a baby boy who became my little brother.  He grew up to be a homeless alcoholic [heís now deceased as a result]. 

NM was verbally and physically abusive.  She never hugged me, praised me, or said she loved me.  She was always mad at someone for something?  Punished me heavy-handedly and without remorse.  That said, my brother got the worst of it.  During one of NMís violent rages, I saw her smack ENdadís face and throw a plate of dinner at his head.  ENdad passed away more than 30 years ago, and it's been more than a decade since I went NC with NM.

I relate to being an Empath [suffered from "sympathy pains" when ENdad was battling cancer]
I love animals, especially dogs
I love nature
Iím artistic
Highly sensitive
Intuitive
Prefer to give, rather than receive
Don't like being complimented
Despise being the centre of attention, don't like being celebrated [especially my birthday]
Extremely emotional
Struggle with depression/anxiety
Question my purpose in life
Doubt myself to a fault
Almost non existent self esteem/confidence
Insecure
Reclusive
Divorced and single by choice [after being married 20+ years to an abusive-criminal]
Mother of 2 [DD27 & DS25] who I love more than anything

I wonder if "I am who I am," as the result of being raised in a toxic environment, or was I born this way?  If Iíd been raised by my birth mother/birth family [who I have never met] would I still be the same person?  Huge part of the problem, is that I don't really know who I am at all...

So many unanswered questions.