Elizabeth, a commenter, asked readers of this blog the question:
Do you feel empty inside? I guess what I mean is that I feel like I am missing a piece of the puzzle, everyone else has it except me. I sometimes feel like an outsider or a fake trying to pass myself as a normal person. I don't think others can understand the hurt and pain we've been through.
Here are the answers (shortened a bit in some cases, sorry):
Enilina: That missing self growing up, I remember being mystified by the void within me and would go literally wandering around town by myself (and dog) for miles, kind of in an awake-dream daze. At least it made my dog happy to walk so much. So yeah, bloomed really late in college but even then it took a long time to catch up, still catching up. It's like I don't "get it" for the longest time until something click one day and then I get caught up with everyone else and even get abit ahead. But then I fall behind everyone else again and I have to study extra hard to repeat the cycle.
Chi Girl (daughter of divorced, n-parents): I was a pretty messed up individual and, needless to say, many of my close interpersonal relationships were problematic. I usually choose narcissistic partners apparently to recreate and fix my childhood. I had always felt like an alien visiting a hostile planet until recently.I 've been in Pyschodynamic psychotherapy for one year and finally learned how to feel my own feelings. This continues to be quite an emotional rollercoaster for me. My shrink says that narcissistic people (me) often think of themselves as special or different from everybody else. Each week my shrink likes to report his opinion on the progress or maturity I've made in becoming less narcissistic myself; he thinks I have amazing insight and that he enjoys working with me. Even sticking with my shrink has been hard because I don't really know how to depend on or feel dependent on him even though I like and respect him. Thanks mom and dad!! Also, my parents didn't think it necessary to meet or have relationships with my extended family so trying to learn about them in my 20's and 30's has been painful. The whole clan [paternal and maternal] is narcissistically inclined. I feel like God has played some horrible joke by placing me in this situation to see how damaged I could become. I'm learning to be happy about and to appreciate myself, my current friends while living in the present moment. None of it has been easy, but I guess no one said it would be. Finding my therapist and showing compassion towards myself has helped tremendously. I'm, also, glad to have found your site. It's so good to know I am not alone, which is a major problem for children of the self-absorbed. Many of us have some immature narcissistic traits but are not full blown patholgical or stable narcissists so there is hope for us yet:-)
Liesel Elliot: I've pondered this empty feeling for such a long time. I sometimes look at my husband who was raised in a loving, kind family and I wonder what it feels like to be loved. Oh sure my husband and son love me, and I certainly love them - but I have this tendency to feel emotionally detached. I know that I was not allowed any emotions when I was growing up. When I first arrived at college I cried and cried because I had not been allowed to cry at my parents' house. It was scary then and I felt like I was never going to stop crying, but I realize now that it was probably a healthy thing.I wanted to mention one other thing in regards to the "empty feeling". Many times as a child I would have these episodes of feeling as though I was trapped in a bubble and floating. I couldn't feel. and it felt as though no one could reach me. These episodes always happened when I was terribly depressed and they terrified me, because of course, I couldn't tell anyone what was happening. I know now that it was some sort of dissociative state, but at 15 years old I just thought that all the things my mom said about me were true.Like Elizabeth, my mother would also rant and rave for hours to break me down emotionally, and I think this is connected to the dissociative states. But you know, my mom says now what a wonderful child I was, and how I never gave her any trouble!
Heatherrainbow: Yes. Always the outsider. Always trying to fit in. Always never quite doing so. Always people pleasing and sacrificing of myself. That's probably the part that is missing.
Nina: Ever since Elizabeth asked this question, I've tried to be more aware of what I'm feeling when I'm around other people. By nature, I'm a friendly person who can talk to just about anybody. But in groups, I definitely feel like I don't know the rules of social engagement. Am I talking too much? Not enough? I just feel awkward. Like everybody else knows how to behave, but I don't. I suspect much of this has to do with the space - or the lack of it - that I was allowed growing up. Talking or expressing myself makes me feel guilty because when I did talk, as a child, I was interrupted constantly. Or mocked. But we children of narcissists are human, too, and long for human connection...so when we fail to connect after a lifetime of failed connections....it only adds to our sense of alienation and that empty feeling.