Common Traits of Adult Children

  • 42 Replies
  • 16696 Views
*

knucklebunny

  • Guest
Common Traits of Adult Children
« 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!)

*

Serenity_now

  • Guest
Re: Common Traits of Adult Children
« Reply #1 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:
« Last Edit: May 18, 2013, 01:07:32 AM by Serenity_now »

*

Mlf007

  • Guest
Re: Common Traits of Adult Children
« Reply #2 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.

*

knucklebunny

  • Guest
Re: Common Traits of Adult Children
« Reply #3 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!

*

Silverfox

  • Guest
Re: Common Traits of Adult Children
« Reply #4 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. :)

*

knucklebunny

  • Guest
Re: Common Traits of Adult Children
« Reply #5 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.

*

Mlf007

  • Guest
Re: Common Traits of Adult Children
« Reply #6 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.

*

Mlf007

  • Guest
Re: Common Traits of Adult Children
« Reply #7 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.

*

timetobeme

  • Guest
Re: Common Traits of Adult Children
« Reply #8 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!

*

Mlf007

  • Guest
Re: Common Traits of Adult Children
« Reply #9 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.

*

PrettyPictures

  • Guest
Re: Common Traits of Adult Children
« Reply #10 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?"




*

workingonit

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • 3866
Re: Common Traits of Adult Children
« Reply #11 on: May 19, 2013, 03:21:52 PM »
Thank you for your posts here Varja.  That last article was excellent and insightful. 
Before I can live with other folks, I've got to live with myself.  The one thing that doesn't abide by majority rule is a person's conscience.  ~ Harper Lee

*

sandpiper

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • 1804
Re: Common Traits of Adult Children
« Reply #12 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.

*

sandpiper

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • 1804
Re: Common Traits of Adult Children
« Reply #13 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.


*

knucklebunny

  • Guest
Re: Common Traits of Adult Children
« Reply #14 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!

*

Midnight Oil

  • Guest
Re: Common Traits of Adult Children
« Reply #15 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.

*

Learning

  • Guest
Re: Common Traits of Adult Children
« Reply #16 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 at—at 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.

*

knucklebunny

  • Guest
Re: Common Traits of Adult Children
« Reply #17 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.

*

Mlf007

  • Guest
Re: Common Traits of Adult Children
« Reply #18 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!!

*

FindingMyself88

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • 77
  • healing the broken girl within
Re: Common Traits of Adult Children
« Reply #19 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