Archive for March 25th, 2010

I was talking with someone the other day who was describing another person as seeming very sad and insecure. The person then said, “I hope she isn’t damaged goods.” I asked what was meant by the phrase “damaged goods.” The person said, “You know – abused as a child.”

Let me be very clear – I am not damaged goods! I am an amazingly strong and resilient person, and most people couldn’t dream of surviving half of what I did. I might have a bunch of issues to work through, but those issues do not make me “damaged goods.” That term implies that I am broken beyond repair, and yet I wouldn’t even be here if I wasn’t amazingly strong. Just because another person cannot understand the demons I have faced down does not give that person the right to label me or any other child abuse survivor as “damaged goods.”

An online friend once wrote a poem asking, “Am I broken? Or am I bad?” If he was broken, he could be “fixed,” but he if was “bad,” then he wasn’t even worth fixing. I assured him that we broke ourselves to survive the abuse, but that doesn’t make us “bad,” and it doesn’t make us forever broken. We have the power to heal ourselves.

Calling someone who has been abused “damaged goods” takes away their power if they internalize this message. Nobody else has the power to permanently damage me. Only I can do this to myself if I choose to believe that I have limitations. The truth is that I have no limitations. I have the ability to be as emotionally healthy as I choose to be. Yes, it is very hard work, but how dare anyone try to limit my potential! Don’t let anyone else limit yours, either. You are not damaged goods – you are a valuable diamond in the process of rediscovering your worth.

Photo credit: Lynda Bernhardt

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