Our Stories

If you’d like to tell your story about your experience with ACEs, either post it in a comment, or send me a message — stevens dot j dot e dot 12 at gmail dot com — and I’ll post it for you.

A daughter’s letter to a father who sexually abused her — Marie Warga was prompted to write this when she found out that her estranged father was trying to contact her.

Linda Lee’s introduction to her healing. 

Connie Valentine — Dear Doctor: What you didn’t ask, and what I didn’t tell you. 

6 responses

  1. This information is important because it gives us (those with high ACE scores) insight into our behaviors, actions and thoughts, thus bringing about self-awareness. Awareness, healthy habits, creative outlets, strong social support system and forgiveness all aid in having a better quality of life. Early intervention with at risk populations through social service/community programs are beneficial for the individual, community and society as a whole (http://goo.gl/j3Osui)!

  2. Pingback: Adverse childhood experiences | Free psychology

  3. I score a 9 (genuinely psycopathic father was/is an ancoholic who was sent to prison several times, along with a mother who was physically, psychologically and emotionally abusive)….and yes, I have several health problems, including chronic depression and anxiety. I attempted suicide last year and I’m tentatively trying to get my life back on track. Although I am a high achiever in an academic sense, my personal relationships are almost always with abusive individuals; I have also hit out, of which I am utterly ashamed. I am also prone to attracting bullies in a work environment as I cannot always be assertive when necessary – probably due to not being allowed to express myself as a child, along with not being afforded any privacy and/or a semblance of dignity.

    I am finally trying to end my relationship with my mother. It is never going to be a healthy relationship. I’ve already broken ties with my father, but it’s still an extremely difficult thing to do. At almost 40 years old I am still being worn down by my mother – during conversations the past will be brought up (mostly regarding situations where she either humiliated me, or had been physically violent toward me) and she then goes on to try to justify her actions. On one occasion during my childhood I went mute (purposefully, as it was the only power I felt I had left) and she still claims to this day that I deserved to be beaten because I wouldn’t answer her (each time she says this, I feel abused all over again). It has to stop, but I feel too weak to free myself from her, and the misery the relationship brings.

    As strange as it may sound to some people, breaking ties with her, as well as my father, worries me as I would essentially be alone and this actually fills me with anxiety – admittedly totally irrational, but I feel a deep sense of betrayal removing her from my life. Any advice and/or links to literature that deals with ending a relationship with an abusive parent as an adult would be greatly appreciated.

    • Amanda — I’m so sorry you had to live with such abusive parents. I know others who, in order to take care of themselves, have cut ties to their family of origin. In its place, they created a family of friends. All research indicates that it’s absolutely important to develop a support system — friends, social activities, volunteer activities. I think that in the culture we live in, it’s easier to divorce a spouse than your parents, even though it may be necessary for self-preservation. I’ll ask around about books, etc., but doing a Google search or if you’re close to a good library or large bookstore, a knowledgeable person may be able to assist, too.

  4. This article on Facebook gave me an “Epiphany experience”. It was like “aha” that’s why I feel the way I do. I cried a lot of tears thinking about it. Grew up in a horribly dysfunctional home. Parents were high functioning alcoholics (week-end drinkers). But violent with each other. I witnessed my father beating my mother and a lot of verbal abuse. My mother chasing my father with a butcher knife in the middle of the night and me having to call the police from a pay phone. My father put in jail for domestic abuse by my mother (still have newspaper article about it). They never physically abused me, but I got inbetween them and got my glasses knocked off my face. I was literally their “caretaker” at too young an age. They were divorced when I was 8 yrs. old, but continued to live together off and on “for my sake” until their deaths. I moved 21 times in 13 yrs and thought I was having trouble getting good grades because of that…but now I think I see it was the statement made in the article about stress and brain dysfunction and how I couldn’t physically learn because of the stress I was dealing with as a child. Even when I would study hard for hours, when it came to testing, I couldn’t remember very much. My parents sent me to live with various family members so they could go their own ways and do what they wanted to do. My brother-in-law was too “touchy” with me as well as a renter my grandmother had in her home. My mother turned Schizophrenic by the time I was 19 and was institutionalized for 3 mos. came home a vegetable with lots of medication. My dad took care of her as best he could thinking he was the one who caused it. Then she went to nursing home when he could no longer care for her where she fell and broker her hip…she died shortly after at the age of 64. There is sooo much more, I had a score of 8 on the short ACE test! GOOD NEWS IS, I am a very healthy adult. I do work exceptionally hard at everything I do and I think I have a low level depression that is always with me. other than that…I am fine. Jesus found me at the age of 5 and never let go of me. In 5th grade two of my girlfriends took me to church with them and from that point on when I moved back and forth from Ind. to Ohio I always lived close to that church. The people there loved me and saw to it that I had what I needed spiritually and sometimes physically. (they never interferred with my parents who never came with me). But I believe because of that…I was able to overcome many of the things you talk about…drugs, alcohol, etc. I am praising God for his amazing love for me.

    • Debra, thank you for sharing your story. You expressed it so well, caring relationships will help provide resiliency and trump ACE’s. What a beautiful testimony of perseverance, determination, and faith. Your story teaches us that we need to look at our children and youth through a different lens. God Bless, Jim

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