Do you feel like damaged goods?

Am I damaged goods, Nicole Mathieson

Do you feel like damaged goods because you have a painful history?

I have so many clients who think of themselves as ruined or damaged. They can’t imagine that this darkness could be anything other than shameful, something to hide, or to have to admit only when you know someone well enough not to scare them away. In fact, the darkness is still with them, and in some way defines how they feel about themselves and their lives.

Can you relate to this?

I can. I felt like the trauma that I had experienced in my formative sexual endeavours made me a bit of a cross to bear for my partner. Why would he bother to love me with these “special needs”?

But I think this way of thinking is doing more damage to us. We don’t need to be pure images of perfection, instead we need to embrace our pain points and change the way we see them.

Here’s why:

Our pain has shaped who we are.

Without our pain, we would not be like this. We would not know ourselves in this way. We would not be strong like this, or fired up on this front. We would not have this limit, this edge, this boundary to guide us.

You can’t go back to a time before your suffering. Your job now is to reframe your experience so that it makes you bigger, stronger and better.

I want to share a couple of personal stories with you that illustrate, in my experience, why our struggles and lowest moments are in fact the things that help us connect more not less.

Meeting my man


I was 23 and backpacking when I met my husband – a Scotsman – in Edinburgh.

We connected immediately over a cup of tea on the sofa. As we got to know each other, I found out that he had recently recovered from a break-down (we are talking – bright young man dropping out of uni with only a week to go kind of melt down).

Yet for me meeting him, I knew this was a man who knew himself. He had been to the depths and he had had to take responsibility for himself. He had had to find a way to pick himself up, put one foot in front of the other and make his way back into life.

What I noticed and liked was that he knew himself. he knew his needs and was unfaltering in honouring them. It was really attractive.

I remember thinking “I have a lot to learn from this man”, and believe me, those words have rung true!  I am still learning from him 23 years later!

Indeed, his pain, his hardship, his capacity to go to the depth of his darkness and be whole with it so that he can move on from it is one of the factors I attribute to our success as a couple. It was definitely something that in my eyes held him apart from any other man I had ever met.


My sexual pain


Several years ago, I was faced with a libido crisis that was challenging the well-being of my marriage and I could not hide from any longer. The last thing I wanted were issues around my sexuality. It was an area where I was shameful and blocked.

One of the main reasons I did not want to face the sexual realm is that I knew I had trauma. Issues that needed a lot of care. It made me feel overly sensitive and needy which filled me with dread at the thought of addressing my partner.

But the avoidance was killing our relationship.

So I turned towards it. I gently communicated more openly and honestly with him about what was going on and my particular needs. And it wasn’t actually scary.

It was a point of connection and healing for both of us. He embraced his role in my healing and I softened and opened more as a result.



We are all different. And isn’t that a beautiful thing!!

We all have different needs, different sensitivities and different angles we need to approach but that does not make us wrong.

We need to stop looking at ourselves through a prism of some “marketing dudes” view of normalcy and accept what we have.

Your pain does not need to be a force that separates. It could be the force that brings you closer, deeper and more intimately bonded with the one you love.

The first step is turning towards it and accepting it.


And so, my message to you and your darkness and your shame is that;

You are not damaged goods.


Feeling and acknowledging your darkness and pain is part of knowing yourself and growing as person.
It creates strength.
It activates your attraction dynamic.
Without it, you are just a brave face. Be brave with your darkness. Don’t deny it as ugliness.
Turn towards it, hold yourself lovingly in all of it.
Own it.

Become whole and you will feel a whole lot more content, present and attractive as a result.

You going there, knowing that place within and finding yourself
Is your richness
Is your grit
Is your wisdom
Is you
So over to you

How can you open your heart to your hidden, dark, shadiness? (journal, share, therapy, meditation)

How can you allow yourself to be whole?

How can you open to others who are in the rawness of it right now?

If you liked this you might like this post on Attachment styles or this one on Repair.

For more help getting past issues in your relationship get my Love List for all the best books, videos and resources to help you thrive in love.

Need more support? Book a discovery call with me.




  1. reginald ventura on October 3, 2014 at 11:56 am


  2. Alana on October 3, 2014 at 8:08 pm

    Nicole, this is beautiful. In my experience, the times when I have chosen to be present in my pain are the times when I have discovered great truths about myself. I find journalling is my first point of call when I have some hidden darkness I need to explore. x

    • admin on October 13, 2014 at 7:55 pm

      Thank you Alana, I agree journalling is such a lifeline when it comes to processing tough patches. And it is awesome when you are feeling inspired. Journalling is just great all the time!!

  3. Ngaire on October 21, 2014 at 8:13 pm

    Love this post Nicole!! You are a beautiful writer, and have inspired to me to journal more about my ‘damaged’ goods (perceived!!). Thank you for sharing xxxxxx

    • Admin on November 5, 2014 at 8:34 pm

      Thanks Ngaire, damage is where you have honed your pearl. Your pearl is shining brightly,

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