Experiencing a deep indifference following a great success

  • 9 Replies


  • Full Member
  • ***
  • 161
I don't know if it has anything to do with being raised by a borderline. But yesterday I completed a real estate transaction for which I made a very large profit, and I felt a great deal of indifference when my real estate agent called me to tell me it was officially sold. My girlfriend was super happy and proud of me, while I was deeply indifferent (she found my indifference weird I think). Yet I liked doing this project, it was quite complex and interesting, I learned a lot and innovated a lot, but it's as if I didn't have any joy or satisfaction in reaping the profits of my work/investment. Have any of you ever experienced something similar?



  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • 1035
Re: Experiencing a deep indifference following a great success
« Reply #1 on: May 29, 2020, 06:51:26 PM »
Yes and at this point in life I even think it's kind of healthy. I mean, it's important to acknowledge to yourself you accomplished a goal, but you have to keep steady IMO. Especially if you have to keep working.

For a while I was experimenting patting myself on the back and in a way if I let my emotions get too caught up in things, all heck would break loose.

Especially when money is involved, people will be jealous and new challenges arise when you start to earn more, so it's important to stay really grounded and really centered, and to keep going, in my opinion.



  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • 795
  • When someone shows you who they are, believe them.
Re: Experiencing a deep indifference following a great success
« Reply #2 on: May 29, 2020, 07:23:57 PM »
Yes!  I published a very nice anthology in 2004 and just as it was gaining acclaim in the region, I checked out .... stopped readings, appearances, etc.  I sort of numbed out and have not really recovered.  And, I adore writing.  Really, writing, for me is second nature, therapeutic, creative, all good things, but when a little success came knocking, I was out!  I regret it and do not know how to work my way back.  Feeling foolish over it does not help and blocks present day efforts, which are really minimal anyway.

Congrats on your big sale, btw!  I hope you can come to enjoy that.  Sorry for not offering insight .... I'll be anxious to hear what others have to share.  Thank you for bringing this up.

Ring the bells that still can ring;
Forget your perfect offering.
There's a crack in everything ~~
That's how the Light gets in!

~~ Leonard Cohen



  • Full Member
  • ***
  • 187
Re: Experiencing a deep indifference following a great success
« Reply #3 on: May 29, 2020, 09:31:50 PM »
Yes and I can relate entirely.

I feel it is the direct result of being raised by narcissists and borderlines.

They suck your life force from you, like the dementors in Harry Potter.

All the years, decades of insults, mind games, sabotage, set ups for failure, unspoken rules that a child is just supposed to know, the rages, the violence, the neglect and other abuses you may have suffered at the hands of "others", the parentification yet simultaneously controlling, the unrealistic and unhealthy expectation that you, a child, a young adult, an individual is responsible for THEIR happiness, THEIR moods, THEIR reactions etc...all of it, chips away at our own sense of self, and the multiple traumas numb us out. The most damaging of all just may be the stunting of our individuation.

I can recall mother absolutely despising anytime I tried to be my own person. For who am I if not serving the narcissist? How dare I venture from the edges of her shadow. And the worst trespass was to consider my own feelings, happiness, *joy*, anger, interests, etc...and if any of this jipped her on her narc supply...prepare for punishments. She would mock, ridicule and minimize ANY accomplishment, large or small, that I managed to do BY MYSELF, for she worked against me every step of the way.

All the joy, or capacity to experience joy, was sucked straight out of my marrow. When I was younger, and by default of nature more resilient, I found I was still able to feel muted levels of joy slash happiness. As I have aged, and accumulated more trauma, I have discovered that joy and being proud of something just isn't in me anymore. One of my bosses at work recently gave me accolades and told me how proud I should be of a difficult task I accomplished, and how I was the only one who did it. I smiled the smile, and said the thank you...and nodded the nod...but...

Now in my mid-40s with other competing traumas and stressors I find that even with great accomplishments being realized, like getting a higher college degree, or lucking out on something, that nice feathery feeling just isn't there. It's like an Eeyore reaction, shrug it's over, I did it, now it's done.

Same thing with relief. Many people appear to, as I did when I was younger and bouncy, feel joy alongside relief when something bad has passed. I don't really feel happy relief anymore, just neutral relief, a sense of okay, don't have to deal with that now.



  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • 1755
Re: Experiencing a deep indifference following a great success
« Reply #4 on: June 01, 2020, 07:48:48 PM »
My trauma counsellor called it Anhedonia & said it was a common response.
I think part of it is long term adrenal exhaustion from a life spent jumping through hoops and knowing that no matter how well you've done it will never be right/good enough/make them happy.


Blueberry Pancakes

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • 204
  • You always had the power, you just had to learn it
Re: Experiencing a deep indifference following a great success
« Reply #5 on: June 02, 2020, 04:28:34 PM »
First, congrats to you. Second, yes I have experienced similar. Bottom line is that I believe we might have gotten used to our accomplishments going un-celebrated and even being swept under the rug. It does not feel normal that our behaviors are worthy of praise. 
That is my opinion when I look back upon how my parents belittled my accomplishments and skills. I got used to working very hard and intellectually knowing I had done a good job, but never hearing anything from anyone else about it. It might come down to learning how to recognize your own value and unique talents. Sounds simple, but some of us were not raised with that insight. 



  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • 1785
Re: Experiencing a deep indifference following a great success
« Reply #6 on: June 02, 2020, 04:45:12 PM »
I have had a lot of success in my career but I donít feel successful and I donít take the time to celebrate. Iím simply on to the next thing.

I feel and celebrate for others, but am I able to connect those feelings to my achievements.

I think this is from how I was raised. Any success was minimized, discredited or openly mocked. I learned to hide any feelings of happiness or pride quite early on and I know this negatively impacts my personal relationships.

I think itís a natural outcome of growing up in a PD home.

Itís funnily enough not really an issue Iím working on which says a lot about how deeply this has impacted me.

Iím glad you have someone to celebrate with and for you. Congrats on your amazing achievement. Hereís to many more!



  • New Member
  • *
  • 8
Re: Experiencing a deep indifference following a great success
« Reply #7 on: June 05, 2020, 01:04:13 PM »
Yeah, I have the same thing. I DO think it's related to being raised by a borderline because lack of emotional response is a defense mechanism. I don't get very excited about successes and I also don't get very sad about tragedies either. I was also wondering if there's something wrong with me because I've recently lost a loved one and was able to get over it so quickly--just brief sadness for a couple days and that's it. Some might view it as being unhealthy but I view it as resilience.



  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • 35
Re: Experiencing a deep indifference following a great success
« Reply #8 on: June 17, 2020, 04:15:12 PM »
Sorry about the long post, not trying to high jack yours, it’s just rare to meet people with the same thing.

I am experiencing something similar, I used to be quite ambitious and when I got away from my family I became driven and focused in reaching my goals but successes would barely register, a small ping on the radar for checking a box on my long list, then my a Nmother realised that she was loosing control so she dragged me back by the hair and for the next five or so years every new failure and attempt at independence destroyed felt like my soul was being chipped away and successes barely got more than a smile from me.
Anyway now I am trying to rebuild my life but it’s hard, and my chest is empty, despite my efforts I have not been able  to get the same feelings when I am focused back, and I am not sure where my heart went but it’s likely lost or she has on table thinking it’s a good idea.
 There was one hope that still registered but I am letting go of that to.

There is this quote that I often think about: “Damaged people are dangerous because they know they can survive”

Part of me wishes that I still had my innocence and naive side, that’s why I clung so hard to that last hope.

The truth is I am ambivalent when it comes to what happen, I know I am incredibly strong, resilient and that there is very little that I can’t achieve or that can phase me on the other side I wish I did not have to suffer this much to get like that.
I think very rationally, I can read people from a mile away and catch up to manipulation really quick, on top of that emotions no longer cloud reality anymore, well unless it’s about animals lol, I still love them.
I am unlearning my stress responses and removing triggers from everyday stuff but I don’t think that the clean and pure joy can come back, I am not sure I ever got it since everything was always tainted.
I will try to see if I can train it like with the triggers thought.

Yeah like freedom77 said it’s like in Harry Potter, your soul gets broken like only abuse from family can break it, but then you get a new life out of it and there is no return policy..

The real question is what to do with it when what normal people enjoy taste like ash in your mouth ?

The answer is take you pick.
We likely need bigger accomplishments, things that we want to get based on our own desires not based on what normal people think is desirable, for it to register properly to us.
So if monetary gain doesn’t do it for you, you said you like the project for what you learned and the innovation.
I can get excited when I learn or design something interesting That’s my thing  most people would prefer instead to get a drink with friends, I can’t care less about that.

I have been told that genuine and safe love, the “ride or die” kind can help, not sure how much thought .

« Last Edit: June 17, 2020, 04:26:41 PM by Bella »



  • Full Member
  • ***
  • 161
Re: Experiencing a deep indifference following a great success
« Reply #9 on: June 22, 2020, 07:09:53 PM »
Thank you very much for your answers. I talked to my dad recently (he's not a PD) and he said: with all the success you've had this year and with the girlfriend you have, I hope you're finally starting to be really happy, even though I know your mother damaged you! @Sandpiper, I immediately thought of the adhedonia you mentioned. I also have a second real estate project going on (it's less risky and will be very profitable), but it's in its early stages and a real estate broker had contacted me with a pre-qualified client, I explained all the details of the project, sent him the official documents and he said: wow you're really smart. He called me back a week later to make me an offer. The offer is not bad, I know I can get a little more, but the real estate broker was surprised that I was indifferent to his offer. Yet when he had considered me smart, I felt a great joy (limit like complimenting a child, I was happy all day long). Afterwards I had a flashback of my uBPDm walking around the house calling me an idiot when I was a child.     

I talked to my psychologist about it (and about the leads you gave me with your posts). He doesn't think it's anhedonia, he would have noticed how I talk about my abuse experiences with great detachment and with little feeling. He told me that when I tell him my story that he is the one holding back his emotions and that this is common among people who have experienced abuse in childhood and who are functional today. He also told me that 75% of hight achievers in my country have experienced abuse as children and that it is not uncommon for some of his clients, often in the middle of life with a cancer diagnosis, to tell him that he is accumulating milions and that it gives them no joy or satisfaction. 

@Freedom77, @Blueberry Pancakes and @GettingOOtF and @Wolf you were right, the fact that our successes are always minimized at all times by PD parents can also explain why we have learned to be indifferent to our successes (a defense mechanism). My psychologist also made me realize that I had to accomplish a lot to make my parents proud of me (including my father who is not PD) and that now I may have to do more and more to be proud of myself.

@Bella, thanks when I read your post I had a childhood flashback. I was 8 years old, my uBPD and her two brothers were there (low level losers), I have no memory of what they said, but I feel humiliated. After I had been in my room, I swore to myself that I would never end up like them and I swore to myself that I would do everything I could to get out of my social class and have what they were always talking about and didn't have: money! That's when I despised their behaviour and having a lot of money was like a way to get back at them, since they envied people who were successful, that was the reasoning of an 8 year old child  :stars: But it remained ingrained in me. @Bella you're right, basically I don't think that without this history of abuse I would really be looking for economic gain.

@Amadahy, I don't like to be publicly acknowledged, I'm embarrassed by it, maybe it's the same for you. But congradulation for your anthology!!