Feeling Like Damaged Goods

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Nightbird

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Feeling Like Damaged Goods
« on: April 29, 2019, 02:17:19 PM »
Hello Tribe,

Iím not new here, but itís been quite a while since Iíve posted. I guess I just need to reach out to others who get it. Iím 50 years old. I have an elderly BPDm who is a classic queen/witch and a sweet, elderly enDad who has his head in the sand. Need I say more? Thatís why Iím here--because you understand.

Last night I had dinner with a lovely couple. The woman was telling me about her mother, who had recently died. It was obvious that the two had been very close. As we are from the same ethnic background, she was inquisitive about my mother. She was drawing parallels between us, you see. Normal human thing.

But I donít feel like a normal human. Iíve done the therapy, read the books, made the art. Iíve visited this forum in all its incarnations for over a decade. But under the surface, I still feel like a freak, a fraud.

I canít get close to people because I have to either pretend I have a normal-if-quirky family (which I did last night) or dump ice water on a lighthearted evening by bringing up my motherís mental illness and abusiveness.

The people I was with are quite well off, but I donít envy their material wealth--I envy the simple normalcy of their family relationships. And yes, I know ďno family is perfectĒ but thereís an ocean of difference between not perfect and batshit crazy. Again, you guys get it--Iíll skip the mortifying details, and they are mortifying. 

More than anything I want to be free of this burden of shame. I get by, but itís always there, that missing piece.

You know?


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11JB68

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Re: Feeling Like Damaged Goods
« Reply #1 on: April 29, 2019, 02:27:12 PM »
I get it. I think lots of us here Do.
Simple questions like what did you do for x holiday...can be awkward.
I tend to answer honestly but with minimal info, quickly followed worth a question about their holiday.
Get them talking about themselves.

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openskyblue

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Re: Feeling Like Damaged Goods
« Reply #2 on: April 29, 2019, 02:33:32 PM »
Oh, gosh, I'm sorry you are having to bear this burden -- and I hope you can find a way to put it down. You certainly don't deserve it.

I think many of us struggle with some version of this -- the smile and nod while you feel yourself curling up into a fetal position inside. I think people mean well, mostly, and are trying to find a connection with you when they make these my family-your family parallels. But it can be very painful to hear someone characterize your mother as being a sweet old lady when she just last week wrote you out of her will and told you she always liked your sibling better anyway. Sometimes I feel like we of the non-PD tribe with PD family members and spouses walk around in a perpetual state of TMI -- too much information that isn't appropriate to share with anyone but a best friend or a therapist. Then we are stuck in situations like your dinner and feel like frauds, failures, or freaks. Ugh.

Shame is a heavy weight on the soul. For me, letting myself grieve when I need to about the family I don't have helps. I let myself feel sorry for myself. I do nice things for myself, as if I am getting over an illness. I wait for it to pass. I wish I didn't have to do this, but I just do sometimes -- about my mother and my exhusband. We deserve so much more.

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Nightbird

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Re: Feeling Like Damaged Goods
« Reply #3 on: April 29, 2019, 02:36:46 PM »
I get it. I think lots of us here Do.
Simple questions like what did you do for x holiday...can be awkward.
I tend to answer honestly but with minimal info, quickly followed worth a question about their holiday.
Get them talking about themselves.

Thank you for replying. I definitely know what you mean about getting people to talk about themselves. I am the *best* listener. But as the years go by, I find I'm growing tired of always being the listener. The talkers seem to seek us out, and I come home feeling like a sponge saturated with the stories of others.

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openskyblue

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Re: Feeling Like Damaged Goods
« Reply #4 on: April 29, 2019, 02:39:26 PM »
I believe in subject changing, like I've made it a competitive skill.  If things go south, I just start talking about hobbies. Hobbies get everyone talking --- me included.

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Nightbird

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Re: Feeling Like Damaged Goods
« Reply #5 on: April 29, 2019, 02:45:32 PM »
Oh, gosh, I'm sorry you are having to bear this burden -- and I hope you can find a way to put it down. You certainly don't deserve it.

I think many of us struggle with some version of this -- the smile and nod while you feel yourself curling up into a fetal position inside. I think people mean well, mostly, and are trying to find a connection with you when they make these my family-your family parallels. But it can be very painful to hear someone characterize your mother as being a sweet old lady when she just last week wrote you out of her will and told you she always liked your sibling better anyway. Sometimes I feel like we of the non-PD tribe with PD family members and spouses walk around in a perpetual state of TMI -- too much information that isn't appropriate to share with anyone but a best friend or a therapist. Then we are stuck in situations like your dinner and feel like frauds, failures, or freaks. Ugh.

Shame is a heavy weight on the soul. For me, letting myself grieve when I need to about the family I don't have helps. I let myself feel sorry for myself. I do nice things for myself, as if I am getting over an illness. I wait for it to pass. I wish I didn't have to do this, but I just do sometimes -- about my mother and my exhusband. We deserve so much more.

I'm crying but in a good way--your understanding and compassion is such a relief to me, thank you.

What you wrote about the "perpetual state of TMI" is spot-on. I feel obscene just by association. It's like what I've read about people who have survived torture, how the shame of what happened to them alienates them from the rest of humanity, even though it was not their fault.

I will definitely take your advice to be kind to myself right now. I'm always amazed at how much it helps to hear these things from others. It's the difference between knowing you have a book on your shelf and having someone actually start reading it aloud to you. It makes you actively hear it--thank you!


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appaloosa

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Re: Feeling Like Damaged Goods
« Reply #6 on: April 30, 2019, 03:11:11 PM »
You might also be surprised by how many others also have dysfunctional families! Sometimes I think people are hoping to find parallels to their own non-normal situations. When I'm asked questions about my family I just state the facts without elaborating. I'm estranged from most of my FOO. Very often, the person I'm chatting with has a similar story.  And if they seem uncomfortable, change the subject as someone else suggested. You have nothing to be ashamed of, and there's no need to try to hide the facts, or fabricate a make believe scenario, any more than you would need to do if you had a health issue. It just is what it is.

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FeelAlone

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Re: Feeling Like Damaged Goods
« Reply #7 on: May 01, 2019, 01:53:17 PM »
Nightbird, I so get it! However, I have been able to move into a place where I realize, know and embrace, that it is not me, but them. Yes, I too have read the books, been in therapy, etc. etc. and when this latest round of terrorism began, I started to think, "well, there must be something wrong with me. After all, this is my own Mother treating me so horribly. I must have done something to deserve this"! With a huge amount of support from my husband, a great therapist and my few friends that knew what has gone on, I am fully over my sister and mother's nonsense and realize I have nothing to be ashamed of. I am a good person, a loving and giving person: albeit flawed like all of us but that is just being human. I did not make them the way they are and they have chosen not to deal with their own personality disorders! Keep loving yourself and giving self care. Always work towards getting rid of your shame  :sadno:. It is not yours: you can let it go with the other things you have given up as you have grown up and realized that you can only be responsible for your behaviors.

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broken

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Re: Feeling Like Damaged Goods
« Reply #8 on: May 01, 2019, 03:00:52 PM »
Oh boy do I understand, Nightbird.  You & I are close in age.  I realized the dynamics in my 40s.  Maybe if Iíd known 2 decades earlier I could have packed up and moved far, far away.  But the missing piece you speak of would still be missing. 

Iíve gone thru the steps also, and I continue to do all I can.  I have no more patience for finding a therapist; I know more from experience than any therapist ever could (only about NPD specifically, no other disorders at all).  Forums help because when it becomes too triggering I can walk away, but talking and supporting others who are just discovering what it means to be the adult child of a narcissist seems to be the best therapy for me.

I find myself wondering if it will get any easier after she passes away.  She is much too old to go NC now.  You didnít mention your PDMís age? 

Sometimes I am in a place where I can accept that this is who I am, the adult who survived a traumatic, abusive childhood.  But the bad days and angry moments seem to come along with no rhyme or reason, which is upsetting because it means I lack control over my own emotions.  I hide it well, but it isnít fair, this invisible black hole. 

Yes, I understand.

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Nightbird

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Re: Feeling Like Damaged Goods
« Reply #9 on: May 01, 2019, 11:13:16 PM »
Nightbird, I so get it! However, I have been able to move into a place where I realize, know and embrace, that it is not me, but them. Yes, I too have read the books, been in therapy, etc. etc. and when this latest round of terrorism began, I started to think, "well, there must be something wrong with me. After all, this is my own Mother treating me so horribly. I must have done something to deserve this"! With a huge amount of support from my husband, a great therapist and my few friends that knew what has gone on, I am fully over my sister and mother's nonsense and realize I have nothing to be ashamed of. I am a good person, a loving and giving person: albeit flawed like all of us but that is just being human. I did not make them the way they are and they have chosen not to deal with their own personality disorders! Keep loving yourself and giving self care. Always work towards getting rid of your shame  :sadno:. It is not yours: you can let it go with the other things you have given up as you have grown up and realized that you can only be responsible for your behaviors.

Thanks so much for your response--it sounds like you've really done the hard work to move forward with your life, which I applaud!

You said you can now embrace that "It is not me, but them." I totally agree with and understand this idea on one level, but on another level I feel that who I am and how I am is directly, irrevocably linked to being raised by an emotional terrorist--my PTSD reminds me of this daily. Again, this is probably just a particularly bad spell. I'm pretty sure menopause isn't helping any either!

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Nightbird

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Re: Feeling Like Damaged Goods
« Reply #10 on: May 01, 2019, 11:25:12 PM »
Oh boy do I understand, Nightbird.  You & I are close in age.  I realized the dynamics in my 40s.  Maybe if Iíd known 2 decades earlier I could have packed up and moved far, far away.  But the missing piece you speak of would still be missing. 

Iíve gone thru the steps also, and I continue to do all I can.  I have no more patience for finding a therapist; I know more from experience than any therapist ever could (only about NPD specifically, no other disorders at all).  Forums help because when it becomes too triggering I can walk away, but talking and supporting others who are just discovering what it means to be the adult child of a narcissist seems to be the best therapy for me.

I find myself wondering if it will get any easier after she passes away.  She is much too old to go NC now.  You didnít mention your PDMís age? 

Sometimes I am in a place where I can accept that this is who I am, the adult who survived a traumatic, abusive childhood.  But the bad days and angry moments seem to come along with no rhyme or reason, which is upsetting because it means I lack control over my own emotions.  I hide it well, but it isnít fair, this invisible black hole. 

Yes, I understand.

Thank you, Broken. I so agree, "it isn't fair, this invisible black hole."

My BPD mother is in her mid 80s. In some ways, her and my father's passing will just lead to a new chapter of awful as I will have to deal with a hoarder house--maybe not quite as bad as the one being discussed on a current thread, but close. So I see an awful lot of my 50s being spent cleaning up their physical mess, after having spent my childhood and young adulthood trying to manage the emotional mess.

Thanks again--just hearing "Yes, I understand" means the world to me. Sometimes I feel so alone.

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Nomoreblind

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Re: Feeling Like Damaged Goods
« Reply #11 on: May 04, 2019, 02:23:54 AM »
Hello Nightbird.   I am reading your post because of the "damaged goods" title.  I come from a family where my mum and dad are not perfect but have given me and my brother a lot of love.  That's what I retain from my childhood and still now they help in their own ways.

 A couple of years ago I thought I've married "damaged goods".  H did not have giving and loving parents.  Giving material things with ties, yes but not the sort of giving where you give freedom, let go without gilt tripping your adult child.  So that your child can be happy independently from you.  This process is what selfless patents do and actually end up enjoying, because they know they have given their all to their kids under their roof, now they are around in support role when needed, rather than control roles. 

It is not up to you to be ashamed.  It is not your cross to carry.  People who are closed to you, with "normal" parents get it.  You could simply say to this type of person, I wish I could have such a cherished relationship with my mum. My H adores my mum.  M knows he got the material things from his M but not the things that don't cost - love.  Some mothers are unable to be accountable grown ups.  Do not cover up for yours.  That's what you have been brain washed to do in childhood.  You no longer have to.  Let go of this weight.  You are on this forum because you see clearly through those mind games now.  Some mother's make kids to serve them and for them to have control over other human beings lives.  That is sad not to realise children stay little just for a while and then fly the nest.  I am taking about Mother's in their 70's or 80's trying to control their kids lives.  If an adult child is not being physically (addictions or violence) or emotionally abused, we should trust they are able to lead their lives the way they wish.  If your mother has not gone through that separation process or fights it, it's her choice and the consequences and shame should be hers, not yours.

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KeepONKeepingON

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Re: Feeling Like Damaged Goods
« Reply #12 on: May 09, 2019, 10:22:36 AM »
Hi Nightbird,

I really get what you are saying. It's really hard to nod and smile and pretend that your relationship with your FOO is ok when it really isn't and never was. I have told some friends about BPD mother's abuse, but generally I don't as it's a very uncomfortable topic for me. And sometimes it's hard, as I feel like most people have a good relationship with their mothers.

I am sorry that you have to deal with this - it is really hard.

Maybe when you get these feelings, it's time to do some self care and to nurture yourself.

Hope you are feeling better.

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Lillith65

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Re: Feeling Like Damaged Goods
« Reply #13 on: May 11, 2019, 06:14:25 PM »
Oh goodness, Nightbird, I have very similar feelings. Most of the time I smile and nod and if I am asked directly then I reply that I am not in touch with my family.

We are not damaged goods, we just had the misfortune of being born into dysfunctional families. It is bad luck and no reflection on us.

I also try and focus on the fact that we have greater understanding and empathy for others experiencing difficult families. We may also develop tremendous resilience and strength.

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JenniferSmith

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Re: Feeling Like Damaged Goods
« Reply #14 on: May 11, 2019, 09:56:03 PM »
I recently listened to a podcast episode that might resonate with you, OP ... its a woman telling her story of her upbringing with a mother with serious mental health and alcohol problems and an absent father. She talks about how her childhood was so complicated and strange that she struggles with how to share anything about it with others now that she is an adult.

Here is a direct link to the episode - its called The Secret Room podcast, episode #70 if you want to listen to in a podcast app. http://secretroom.libsyn.com/70-i-left-my-mother-homeless

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doglady

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Re: Feeling Like Damaged Goods
« Reply #15 on: May 12, 2019, 10:30:23 PM »
Hi Nightbird
From a stranger across cyberspace, oh boy do I feel you.
Similar type parents, similar ages and stages, plus the whole hoarding thing. Plus the waxing and waning of the damaged goods feeling.
You sound like a decent and sensitive person whoís been through a lot in lufe. And itís exhausting. And itís demoralising that it sometimes feels like itís something we canít ever really be free of, this feeling of shame and difference. etc. I live with this too (and in a small community where everyone *thinks* they know everything and feels compelled to *help* by pointing it out.
All I can say is please know that you are definitely not alone. And, as much as possible, treat yourself with compassion, like a true best friend would.
Best wishes.

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wallflower

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Re: Feeling Like Damaged Goods
« Reply #16 on: May 28, 2019, 09:12:24 PM »
Your title resonates. I also haven't been on here for a while but HPDmom was here today and all the awful feelings come flooding back. Yes, I am damaged. I've had to learn to keep my mouth shut when around seemingly "normal" people. I'm also still learning that my "story" isn't something that needs to be continually playing in my head or stated to others and to quit feeling sorry for myself. Instead, I try to remind myself that I survived pure hell that most people cannot understand. There is no reason to be ashamed. Be proud of your endurance and perseverance and strength. Be proud of the special character that you have formed despite and maybe because of all the agony. I do believe that what we go through does make us special in many ways.

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spring13

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Re: Feeling Like Damaged Goods
« Reply #17 on: May 29, 2019, 10:41:00 AM »
Nightbird, I am so sorry that you have had to deal with so much. Like others here, I too understand the feeling of shame. I think we all know there is nothing to be ashamed of, but it is hard to shake our Ďtrainingíóby our disordered parents and by societyóthat there is something wrong with us if we are not close to our parents.

I have a friend who calls her mom almost every day. I always felt bad that I never wanted to talk to my mom that much (I am NC now, but I dutifully called once a week for many years, and dreaded how I would be treated on each call).

I have been surprised that a few times when I opened up to people, others would reveal similar Ďskeletons in the closet.í But I have also been shamed by people who donít understand.

I hope you are feeling better and remember that you are not alone and you have done nothing wrong. And you are not Ďdamaged goodsíóyou are a strong survivor!