Core Belief #16 - I am damaged



I spent some time thinking about today's core belief. I struggled a little with the meaning of the word and how that shapes our perception of the belief and ourselves. One of the things I thought about was the victim mentality. This mentality is very dangerous to anyone trying to overcome something, especially addiction. My personal take on this way of thinking is that a person believes that the 'bad' things that are happening are happening to them, meaning, they have no part in the things that are happening. I think it could be argued that the victim mentality is a core belief on its own and one I may try to unpack at a later date. For now, I will set that aside and concentrate on another version of this way of thinking, which is equally as damaging, in my opinion.

One of the things that unconsciously keeps us going every day is the belief or feeling that we have some sort of purpose in our lives. I have heard it referred to as the 'thing' that gets us up in the morning. Why do we continue to trudge through what sometimes feels like a treadmill of life when it feels like we are going nowhere? Purpose. The 'thing' that keeps us going is different for everyone and everyone has their own personal reasons for why that 'thing' is so important to them. The problem with today's core belief is that it has the ability to negate a person's purpose. If we believe it, then we may not feel capable of having a purpose, and, as I said before, a person's purpose is part of our driving force of life.


I am damaged


Damaged. Noun; injury or harm that reduces value or usefulness. To hold this core belief, we have to have experienced repetitive harm that, over time, slowly diminished our perception of our self-worth. Does the definition lend to the idea of a victim mentality? Injury or harm can feel like something that a person would feel as a result of an action done to them by somebody else. The phrase could be said in another way too; I have been broken; meaning, somebody broke me. While I can see this side I don't think this core belief originates from a victim perspective. Here is why I do not believe feeling damaged and feeling like a victim is the same thing.


There are many ways someone can begin to feel as though they are broken or damaged. One of those ways is through our own experiences of negative choices and events in our lives. If through our eyes we keep seeing our actions resulting in negative reactions, it is only natural to begin thinking we are doing something wrong. If we do something wrong long enough, it is also natural to begin thinking something is wrong with us, that we are broken, that we are damaged. While we can perceive things as happening to us, from a core belief standpoint, I don't think a person with a damaged core belief would blame another person or thing for those occurrences. I believe the difference would be in how that person frames their statement when they explain why they feel broken or damaged. Someone who says, "I don't know why I keep making mistakes" or, "I can't do anything right" or, "Everything I do, fails" is blaming the outside world for their misfortunes. They are feeling that the problem is within themselves. Someone with a victim mentality will say something like, "I don't know why this keeps happening to me" or, "They won't ever let me get ahead." This can definitely be a core belief, but the power is placed on someone else so the person can walk away feeling not responsible for the undesired outcomes. The difference is in ownership.


I am competent


While the victim will have to change the way they see other people, the person who feels damaged has to change the way they see themselves. Everyone feels broken at some point in our life. If we make a couple of mistakes in a row there is no way not to feel like we are simply not working correctly. Fortunately, like most anything with moving parts, we are fixable and it begins with believing we can not only be fixed but that we can fix ourselves. It's okay to feel broken once in a while, but we have to be able to acknowledge that feeling broken is never the end game. In fact, it could easily be argued that one must be able to acknowledge they are broken before they can properly begin to fix themselves. How else could we know where to start? Once we recognize there is something wrong, we can finally begin the process of mending, healing, and fixing what we see as wrong with us.


Competent. Noun; having the necessary ability, knowledge, or skill to do something successfully. We may all want to be the best at everything but sometimes just being competent is enough to win. By winning, in this case, I mean being successful in whatever that means to us individually. For sobriety, being competent means having the ability to make the right choices, to know our worth, to choose ourselves over drinks, and to walk a path free from substances whose sole purpose is to damage us. I am competent means we have the skills to live the life we want to live. It means we know we have the tools available to us to succeed. It means we have the ability to choose how our life plays out.


We are not damaged, and we are not victims of alcohol, drugs, behavior, or life; we are active participants and we are succeeding because we are badasses.