Inauthentic lives........downplaying our strengths...

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fairyslipper

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Inauthentic lives........downplaying our strengths...
« on: February 09, 2015, 06:49:46 AM »
I was wondering if this rang true with you also. Do you find yourself when with others, especially pd'd family members, downplaying your gifts....dumbing down your conversations......acting like you don't know things, when you really do for fear of being seen as full of yourself or bragging......meanwhile they drone on and on about all of their superficial accomplishments  :stars: For some reason, lately I have really been noticing how much I do this. Like I want to hide or protect certain aspects of myself. I know it was a conditioned response. My dad made it clear I was not college material.........when I would say things about wanting to be a doctor...pediatrician at the time my mom would chime in with how depressing that would be for a job day in and day out.....my art work was always criticized by my mom and so many other things......so there was this battle going on inside.........when people would accidentally find out I did certain things and compliment me, immediately I would hear her or their snide comments........it was like there was the out of the house truth and the family truth. I don't know if this is making any sense........but it was so crazy making. So this year, I want to really work on being me whatever that means........really work on unearthing the real person inside. WHY should I hide things I am good at? That serves nobody. Just curious how many of you could sort of relate to this. Thanks!

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Anamiame

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Re: Inauthentic lives........downplaying our strengths...
« Reply #1 on: February 09, 2015, 07:14:41 AM »
My Dad used to always tell me that I would never be as good as him.  I remember thinking that I didn't want to be him.  I went into a completely different field just because of that.  I do downplay for the reasons you stated and it really isn't important to me anymore.

However, with my children, I always told them that I wanted them to be better than me.  That I would be a successful mom if they used their full potential to be the very best 'them' they could be.  They're doing it too.  Now the problem is, my kids go to my alma mater's rival and they rub it in all the time.  :-/

Re: Inauthentic lives........downplaying our strengths...
« Reply #2 on: February 09, 2015, 01:40:36 PM »
Yes, I do that too. I learned to stay in the shadows, to never let anyone pay too much attention to me. Because even good things became questionable when it was me doing them. Other people are well read; Cat is a bookworm who should get out more. Other people are lively and expressive; Cat is overdramatic and should calm down. Other people are quiet and serious; Cat is shy and should learn how to lighten up. Other people are hardworking and well-prepared; Cat is overly anxious and should learn how to relax. Other people are relaxed; Cat is lazy. Other people have a right to their own likes and dislikes; Cat inexplicably refuses to see the light and learn to love herbal tea. Other people are adaptable; Cat likes anything other people like and should learn how to know her own preferences. And on, and on, and on. It wasn't even consistent. It was really and truly like this: as soon as it was me doing something, my FOO felt moved to hint at corrections and criticisms. Only hints, implications, very subtle. But I still got the message. So there this idea within me: anything that is NOT me - anything that I DON'T feel like doing and that I would NOT feel drawn towards, that's probably what I ought to try and do.

Also, if someone paid attention to me in a positive way, that meant I was in their sightline... which was bad, because what if they'd later feel the need to let off steam and express their pent-up aggression towards someone, and oh hey, here's Cat?

This reminds me of this thread on scapegoats I started recently. Anamiame and Fairyslipper, do you think you were your FOO's scapegoats? I'm asking because I'm wondering if all of that might be a part of that particular role.

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Anamiame

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Re: Inauthentic lives........downplaying our strengths...
« Reply #3 on: February 09, 2015, 06:06:53 PM »
My sister always felt she was the scapegoat.  But yes, no matter how hard I tried, it was never good enough and I was the 'goddamnedspoiledbrat'.  My oldest brother did not invite me to his wedding because, "No one likes you.  I know your friends and they have told me they can't stand you.  You always have to be the center of attention and this is my wedding.  No one wants you there anyway."  The funny thing is, I am really shy and I got in trouble for that when I was young so I had to put on a front of being outgoing when I was really terrified.  I HATE having my picture taken and I freeze if I'm ever the focus of attention. 

As for the double standard; my Dad used to reward us with money for good grades.  I was so excited one year because I got 5 A's and 2 B's and the B's were in PE and Home Ec.  Dad was calling us in oldest to youngest.  My brother came out with ten bucks; Kim came out with 7, Elesa got 8 Doug got 10 and it was my turn.  Guess what I got?  Grounded for two weeks for the two B's because, "You can do better than that."   

So I do think the silent scapegoat does exist and yes, I think it is part of CPTSD. 

OMG, I just thought of something--in everything I just wrote, I did not include my mother.   Annnnnnnddddd, panic!  I was her target.  She never did to the others what she did to me.  Don't get me wrong, she got them as well, but not like me.  There's a book called, "A Child Called It."  Believe it or not, the summer going into 7th grade she never spoke to me and would tell my siblings things like, "Tell IT to go to bed." 

So as the family role?  Maybe not.  But with my mother?  Yeah...definitely.  Dang....

Re: Inauthentic lives........downplaying our strengths...
« Reply #4 on: February 09, 2015, 07:19:44 PM »
Anamiame, your family is creepy.  :blink:  "It"?! And she didn't even talk to you directly? I honestly don't know what to say.  :hug:

It does sound like a Scapegoat / Lost Child combination, which I say as someone who knows very little indeed about such things... but still, if THAT doesn't qualify as "lost", then what does?

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Anamiame

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Re: Inauthentic lives........downplaying our strengths...
« Reply #5 on: February 09, 2015, 07:29:01 PM »
Hey Cat:

She did the "it" thing to all five of us at one point or another--so I don't get the corner market on that one, LOL.  She was an alcoholic, but I think that was a cover up to mental illness. 

Yes, my family was creepy to say the least.   No one would believe it if I were to write a book.  When I went to her funeral, I took my son with me because well...I needed someone to protect me.  I just don't 'live' there in the craziness anymore.  So sure enough, one of my siblings went off into a rage like what we grew up with.  I got up and walked out with my son.  My son's eyes were HUGE and he was without words and in shock.  Stupid me though...I KNEW to not put myself in a position of dependency with them.  I didn't get a rental car and was dependent on my sister to take me back to the hotel.  So we were 'called' back in. :doh:  I told them that I don't live like that anymore.  I told them that I didn't want anything of mom's if it was going to bring dischord into my home.  That night we were supposed to go out for dinner and we decided not to go.  Being sick really can be beneficial at times.  LOL

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Kizzie

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Re: Inauthentic lives........downplaying our strengths...
« Reply #6 on: February 09, 2015, 08:22:17 PM »
So much of recovery is learning to take care of ourselves isn't it, of taking ourselves away from crazy (abusive) behaviours.  When my F passed away I was terrified to go to his service and to get swept up into all that so we stayed at a separate hotel, didn't go to the family gathering the night before, and on the advice of some wise people at OOTF I just kept moving during the service and saying to myself "This is just one day and it will end."  And it did, a few psychic wounds but basically intact because we limited our exposure. 

FWIW I don't think you were stupid to let yourself get into a position where you were dependent on them.  We forget when we're away from them that we have to manage them and that's more as it should be, a more normal approach to life.  I think it says a lot about not being on guard as much and that you are relaxing into life as you should be able to.  :hug:
« Last Edit: February 10, 2015, 12:11:10 AM by Kizzie »

Re: Inauthentic lives........downplaying our strengths...
« Reply #7 on: February 09, 2015, 08:55:34 PM »
That's a good way of seeing it - you're starting to assume that people act normally, which is good, right?

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Kizzie

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Re: Inauthentic lives........downplaying our strengths...
« Reply #8 on: February 09, 2015, 09:04:05 PM »
Yes exactly  :yes:  At least I hope that's a good thing lol   :bigwink:

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marycontrary

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Re: Inauthentic lives........downplaying our strengths...
« Reply #9 on: February 09, 2015, 11:15:50 PM »
You know, this is a really good thread.

I downplay my strengths because being around obnoxious narcissists all my life, I have zero desire to come off life they do. I mean, it looks so low rent and obnoxious. Oh God, being around the professor ivory tower class...total old tyme double meat double cheese shitte sandwiches. And you know what??? They don`t know crap...it is all a ploy to look good. This is no joke. No wonder why higher education is a disaster.

And the few upper class narcs. OMG. Run for the hills. Man, I swear they can see my BS detector from a hundred miles...total haters, LOL! I am a walking narcissistic injury to these people. I don't even have to say a word. They know I know they are full of BS.

I mean, there just isn't any reason to brag and brandish an image. It is so low class. Show a humble man that keeps it under obvious wraps and quietly shows me his inner jewels nonchalantly....and I would be so on him so quick...a man like that is so HOT. People in general who are like this are very, very special people.  I knew some people like that in rural west texas and also here in latin america. Beautiful people.

 

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Kizzie

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Re: Inauthentic lives........downplaying our strengths...
« Reply #10 on: February 10, 2015, 12:30:28 AM »
Just speaking for myself here but IMO not all of those of us with a university education are obnoxious, ivory tower narcissists. N's are in every walk of life and run the gamut from no education to lots of education. I don't have any love or time for those who brag or posture either, but so far I've found them in every avenue of life and every corner of the world.

And just to bring this back to FairySlipper's original post, I think she's talking about having a healthy sense of pride in ourselves, something I'm all for after wrestling with a really loud and obnoxious Inner Critic for so long (ghosts of my NPD FOO). 


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marycontrary

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Re: Inauthentic lives........downplaying our strengths...
« Reply #11 on: February 10, 2015, 01:20:34 AM »
Yes, back on track...a healthy sense of pride is a really good thing when it's part of busting up shame and unworthiness.

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Kizzie

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Re: Inauthentic lives........downplaying our strengths...
« Reply #12 on: February 10, 2015, 02:22:42 AM »

                 :thumbup:   :thumbup:  (two thumbs up  ;D)

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C.

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Re: Inauthentic lives........downplaying our strengths...
« Reply #13 on: February 10, 2015, 08:30:37 PM »
Yep.  With my family it's always indirect.  Anything I say is up for debate and the scientific majority (mom, dad and brother) let me know if what I said is "right" or "true".  Any statement I made must be backed by a literary source.  Recently, when I applied for graduate school both of my parents told me that I probably wouldn't get in.  What were they thinking?!  They didn't believe in me and thought it'd be easier to hear it from them first?  I did get in though and pulled straight A's for a full year.  I think that was really a eye opener for me.  I realized my potential and that they never believed in me, so I hadn't for a long time either.  Graduate school was where I finally learned to believe I was smart.

But still, around them I've learned to be quiet.

But it sounds like you're aware and ready to embrace your talents.  Wonderful!

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Whobuddy

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Re: Inauthentic lives........downplaying our strengths...
« Reply #14 on: February 11, 2015, 12:12:39 AM »
Yep.  With my family it's always indirect.  Anything I say is up for debate and the scientific majority (mom, dad and brother) let me know if what I said is "right" or "true".  Any statement I made must be backed by a literary source. 

LOL, I thought it was only my family that required sources in order to converse with them. And M would grill my friends until she exposed the limits of their knowledge. How embarrassing.

Now when you are quiet around your family, you can be confident that you are very smart and quiet.  :yes: