Chances Are You're Not "Damaged", Just Broken

Chances Are You're Not "Damaged", Just Broken


Damaged goods. I can't tell you how many times I've heard a man use this phrase to describe a woman in their life.

In fact, there's a couple I know who've been married for well over 20 years now but, according to the husband, only the first five years have been good (to him). He's even told me in a session (one which his wife was not present for) that if he could do life all over again, one thing he would do differently is not choose her to walk it out with. Hey, it might be harsh, but you'd be amazed how many married people—male and female alike—have said the same thing to me. Anyway, when I asked him why he felt that way, he said it was because she was "damaged goods".

When I asked him to explain to me what that meant, his response was, "Deep down, she's a good woman. But there is so much dysfunction on top of it all that it takes too much energy to get to it. It's draining. She's draining."

When I asked him to give me some examples of where he was coming from, he had plenty. She has serious trust issues. She's extremely insecure. She's got a mean jealous streak. She's addicted to being unhappy. Her overall view of men and sex are toxic. She's got unrealistic expectations. She's a game player (meaning, she's a manipulator). She always wants to be forgiven but rarely forgives. She's controlling. In her mind, she's never wrong. She's got a pretty serious Jezebel spirit going on (two informative articles on the topic are "Married to Jezebel: It's All About Control" and "25 Traits of a Jezebel Spirit"). Like I said, his list was long.

Although I know some of you are probably already seething and tempted to click out of this piece because you can't understand why a husband would "bash" his wife in this way, let me make two points first. One, do you think it would've been better if I shared how some wives talk about their husbands? I don't. Whenever anyone feels this way about their spouse, it's sad. There's no gender-specificity to it. And second, I'm a woman and what he said didn't offend me in the least. For one thing, I used to have some of those issues myself (insecure, unrealistic expectations and not the best forgiver). Secondly, I have done enough self-work and also worked with other individuals to know that we don't come out of the womb with these types of issues. Life happens and sometimes it leaves wounds (or even really deep scars) behind. And third, although the husband sees his wife as "damaged", I don't.

The word that I actually prefer is "broken".

I already know. Some of y'all are like, "That's basically splitting hairs, Shellie", but I don't think so. When someone is damaged, it literally means that so much injury or harm has come to them that they don't have the same amount of value or usefulness anymore. And honestly, that might be a part of the reason why some of you read what that husband said and you felt some type of way about it. Maybe it wasn't his wife's issues that bothered you so much as the label he put on her as a result of them. That because she has so much internal conflict and drama going on, while she still may have some "good" to her, what she is more than anything is damaged. Although he might have seen a lot of value in her in the beginning, so much has happened that it appears that she has lost a lot of her usefulness; at least in his eyes.

Meanwhile, me over here? I view things a bit differently. It took a while to get to the point and place that I'm about to share with you, but words cannot explain how freeing it is to not rely on another flawed human's perspective when it comes to establishing my own personal validation. What I mean by that is, when it comes to knowing my worth, one of my favorite verses in Scripture is, "For You formed my inward parts; You covered me in my mother's womb. I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; marvelous are Your works, and that my soul knows very well." (Psalm 139:13-14—NKJV)

I'm not saying that humans can't provide insight into what some of our character weaknesses and flaws are (of course, they can). However, what I am saying is the difference between fellow flawed folks and how God and I see me is while humans may chalk my "stuff" up to being what makes me damaged, I know that's not nearly close to being the case.

God made me and what he made was good. Very good. So no, no matter what is going on within, no matter what life threw my way that resulted in me having areas that need to mature and/or heal, my value remains the same.

I am not damaged. For a season, what I may be is broken. How are those things different? When something (or one) is broken, that means they are "not functioning properly". I can definitely attest to the fact that I've had moments—seasons even—of being that kind of individual. The last heartbreak I had, it had me so broken that it was a wonder how I was able to work on a daily basis (I'm not kidding). Some days, all I could do was cry—no, sob. I can't tell you how many times I looked up at the ceiling and begged God to let me get at least three hours of sleep where I didn't see "him" in my dreams.

To this day, on certain levels, I'm still trying to see "the moral to the story"—which is really more like the method to the madness—of that part of my journey. However, my pain hasn't reduced my value. Just because I had days and sometimes even weeks when I wasn't my best self, that didn't mean that I wasn't useful.


A pearl earring that has come out of its setting may not be working properly (it may be broken), but that doesn't mean it's still not a pearl (it retains its value). Same goes for a broken woman. Or man.

It might not be the most popular opinion on the planet, but I personally believe that a lot of us have a hard time hearing about ourselves and/or doing the work that's required to heal ourselves and/or our relationships either because we believe that we are nothing more than damaged or we think others only see us as that way. Yet the first step to accepting where we are so that we can make some positive changes is to remove the word "damaged" and embrace the word "broken".

All of what I just said, that's just what I told the husband who vented to me about his wife. Words have power and so long as he was declaring how much his spouse had lost her value, the more he was going to actually believe it. Instead, by incorporating the word "broken"—to her and the marriage—it's a reminder that things may not be functioning at 100 percent right now, but this is just a season. And, since it once did function well, surely there are things that can be done to restore it.

Now do you see why I think "damaged" and "broken" are worlds apart?

The first word, don't let anyone make you feel like you are that. You will always hold immense value. And, as far as brokenness goes, the Persian poet Rumi once said, "The wound is the place where the Light enters you" and, as author Munia Khan once said, "Sometimes a broken heart can mend something else's brokenness". I don't know about you but both of those sound pretty valuable to me.

Featured image by Getty Images

Want more stories like this? Sign up for our weekly newsletter here to receive our latest articles and news straight to your inbox.

Halle Bailey Talks 'The Little Mermaid' Backlash & Having A Forever Best Friend In Sister Chloe

Halle Bailey won our hearts alongside her sister Chloe when their cover of Beyoncé’s “Pretty Hurts” went viral when they were just teenagers, and from there they have become Grammy-nominated artists as the group Chloe x Halle thanks to albums like Ungodly Hour and The Kids Are Alright. Now, their fans have more to look forward to as Halle will be starring as the Disney princess Ariel in the live-action remake of The Little Mermaid.

Keep reading...Show less
The daily empowerment fix you need.
Make things inbox official.
The Power Couples In The Zodiac & Your Money Match Based On Astrology

When it comes to power couples in the zodiac, there are instant matches that make for love and financial compatibility. Some zodiac signs work better together than others, and considering financial challenges tends to make or break relationships--finding your money match is important. Not only that but there are certain signs in the zodiac that can enhance your financial world, just by being in it. Planetary energy in certain areas of your birth chart can provide higher success rates and opportunities, and compatibility energy varies by degree.

Keep reading...Show less
The Do's & Don'ts Of Having Sex On The Beach

I’ve never actually tasted a 'Sex on the Beach,' but I certainly have imagined doing it. In fact, I’ve had a lot of sex fantasies, but this remains to be one at the top of my list. However, I continue to harbor some fear because it seems that beach sex is no easy feat.

Keep reading...Show less
The Evolution Of Serena Williams

It is like witnessing magic when you watch an athlete do what they do best. To see a mere human soar in the air over to the other side of a bar or to witness someone run at a speed quicker than a human thought. A basketball player defying gravity just to get a ball into a hoop. A ballerina turning their body into a top, spinning and spinning without fatigue.

Keep reading...Show less
Lori Harvey On Dating With A Purpose & Not Compromising Her Peace For Anyone

Lori Harvey’s dating life has consistently been a hot topic on social media and now the model is shedding light on some of her dating do’s and don’ts. In an episode of Bumble’s new “Luv2SeeIt” content series, the SKN by LH founder sat down with the series' director, producer, and host Teyana Taylor and disclosed some quote-worthy thoughts on dating and relationships.

Keep reading...Show less
Exclusive Interviews
Former Beyoncé Dancer Deja Riley On Changing Her Career For Her Mental Health

Former Beyoncé Dancer Deja Riley On Changing Her Career For Her Mental Health

"I felt like I was not enough. And my mental health is important. So when I started feeling that way, I knew that it was time to shift."

Latest Posts