Got Your ACE Score?

What’s Your ACE Score? (and, at the end, What’s Your Resilience Score?)

There are 10 types of childhood trauma measured in the ACE Study. Five are personal — physical abuse, verbal abuse, sexual abuse, physical neglect, and emotional neglect. Five are related to other family members: a parent who’s an alcoholic, a mother who’s a victim of domestic violence, a family member in jail, a family member diagnosed with a mental illness, and the disappearance of a parent through divorce, death or abandonment. Each type of trauma counts as one. So a person who’s been physically abused, with one alcoholic parent, and a mother who was beaten up has an ACE score of three.

There are, of course, many other types of childhood trauma — watching a sibling being abused, losing a caregiver (grandmother, mother, grandfather, etc.), homelessness, surviving and recovering from a severe accident, witnessing a father being abused by a mother, witnessing a grandmother abusing a father, etc. The ACE Study included only those 10 childhood traumas because those were mentioned as most common by a group of about 300 Kaiser members; those traumas were also well studied individually in the research literature.

The most important thing to remember is that the ACE score is meant as a guideline: If you experienced other types of toxic stress over months or years, then those would likely increase your risk of health consequences.

Prior to your 18th birthday:

  1. Did a parent or other adult in the household often or very often… Swear at you, insult you, put you down, or humiliate you? or Act in a way that made you afraid that you might be physically hurt?
    No___If Yes, enter 1 __
  2. Did a parent or other adult in the household often or very often… Push, grab, slap, or throw something at you? or Ever hit you so hard that you had marks or were injured?
    No___If Yes, enter 1 __
  3. Did an adult or person at least 5 years older than you ever… Touch or fondle you or have you touch their body in a sexual way? or Attempt or actually have oral, anal, or vaginal intercourse with you?
    No___If Yes, enter 1 __
  4. Did you often or very often feel that … No one in your family loved you or thought you were important or special? or Your family didn’t look out for each other, feel close to each other, or support each other?
    No___If Yes, enter 1 __
  5. Did you often or very often feel that … You didn’t have enough to eat, had to wear dirty clothes, and had no one to protect you? or Your parents were too drunk or high to take care of you or take you to the doctor if you needed it?
    No___If Yes, enter 1 __
  6. Were your parents ever separated or divorced?
    No___If Yes, enter 1 __
  7. Was your mother or stepmother:
    Often or very often pushed, grabbed, slapped, or had something thrown at her? or Sometimes, often, or very often kicked, bitten, hit with a fist, or hit with something hard? or Ever repeatedly hit over at least a few minutes or threatened with a gun or knife?
    No___If Yes, enter 1 __
  8. Did you live with anyone who was a problem drinker or alcoholic, or who used street drugs?
    No___If Yes, enter 1 __
  9. Was a household member depressed or mentally ill, or did a household member attempt suicide?                        No___If Yes, enter 1 __
  10. Did a household member go to prison?
    No___If Yes, enter 1 __

Now add up your “Yes” answers: _ This is your ACE Score

__________________________

Now that you’ve got your ACE score, what does it mean?

First….a tiny bit of background to help you figure this out…..(if you want the back story about the fascinating origins of the ACE Study, read The Adverse Childhood Experiences Study — the largest, most important public health study you never heard of — began in an obesity clinic.)

The CDC’s Adverse Childhood Experiences Study (ACE Studyuncovered a stunning link between childhood trauma and the chronic diseases people develop as adults, as well as social and emotional problems. This includes heart disease, lung cancer, diabetes and many autoimmune diseases, as well as depression, violence, being a victim of violence, and suicide.

The first research results were published in 1998, followed by 57 other publications through 2011. They showed that:

  • childhood trauma was very common, even in employed white middle-class, college-educated people with great health insurance;
  • there was a direct link between childhood trauma and adult onset of chronic disease, as well as depression, suicide, being violent and a victim of violence;
  • more types of trauma increased the risk of health, social and emotional problems.
  • people usually experience more than one type of trauma – rarely is it only sex abuse or only verbal abuse.

A whopping two thirds of the 17,000 people in the ACE Study had an ACE score of at least one — 87 percent of those had more than one. Eighteen states have done their own ACE surveys; their results are similar to the CDC’s ACE Study.

acescores

The study’s researchers came up with an ACE score to explain a person’s risk for chronic disease. Think of it as a cholesterol score for childhood toxic stress. You get one point for each type of trauma. The higher your ACE score, the higher your risk of health and social problems. (Of course, other types of trauma exist that could contribute to an ACE score, so it is conceivable that people could have ACE scores higher than 10; however, the ACE Study measured only 10 types.)

As your ACE score increases, so does the risk of disease, social and emotional problems. With an ACE score of 4 or more, things start getting serious. The likelihood of chronic pulmonary lung disease increases 390 percent; hepatitis, 240 percent; depression 460 percent; suicide, 1,220 percent.

(By the way, lest you think that the ACE Study was yet another involving inner-city poor people of color, take note: The study’s participants were 17,000 mostly white, middle and upper-middle class college-educated San Diegans with good jobs and great health care – they all belonged to the Kaiser Permanente health maintenance organization.)

Here are some specific graphic examples of how increasing ACE scores increase the risk of some diseases, social and emotional problems. All of these graphs come from “The relationship of adverse childhood experiences to adult health, well being, social function and health care”, a book chapter by Drs. Vincent Felitti and Robert Anda, co-founders of the ACE Study, in “The Hidden Epidemic: The Impact of Early Life Trauma on Health and Disease.”

 

What causes this?

At the same time that the ACE Study was being done, parallel research on kids’ brains found that toxic stress physically damages a child’s developing brain. This was determined by a group of neuroscientists and pediatricians, including neuroscientist Martin Teicher and pediatrician Jack Shonkoff, both at Harvard University, neuroscientist Bruce McEwen at Rockefeller University, and pediatrician Bruce Perry at the Child Trauma Academy.

When children are overloaded with stress hormones, they’re in flight, fright or freeze mode. They can’t learn in school. They often have difficulty trusting adults or developing healthy relationships with peers (i.e., they become loners). To relieve their anxiety, depression, guilt, shame, and/or inability to focus, they turn to easily available biochemical solutions — nicotine, alcohol, marijuana, methamphetamine — or activities in which they can escape their problems — high-risk sports, proliferation of sex partners, and work/over-achievement. (e.g. Nicotine reduces anger, increases focus and relieves depression. Alcohol relieves stress.)

Using drugs or overeating or engaging in risky behavior leads to consequences as a direct result of this behavior. For example, smoking can lead to COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) or lung cancer. Overeating can lead to obesity and diabetes. In addition, there is increasing research that shows that severe and chronic stress leads to bodily systems producing an inflammatory response that leads to disease.
For more information about that aspect, check out the interactive graphic COLEVA — Consequences of lifetime exposure to violence and abuse. Here’s a screen-grab of the home page of that site to give you an idea of how extensive the research is.
Fortunately, brains and lives are somewhat plastic. The appropriate integration of resilience factors born out of ACE concepts — such as asking for help, developing trusting relationships, forming a positive attitude, listening to feelings — can help people improve their lives.
For more information about the ACE Study, check out the CDC’s ACE Study site.

Here’s a link to the long questionnaire (200+ questions).

_______________________

What’s Your Resilience Score?

This questionnaire was developed by the early childhood service providers, pediatricians, psychologists, and health advocates of Southern Kennebec Healthy Start, Augusta, Maine, in 2006, and updated in February 2013. Two psychologists in the group, Mark Rains and Kate McClinn, came up with the 14 statements with editing suggestions by the other members of the group. The scoring system was modeled after the ACE Study questions. The content of the questions was based on a number of research studies from the literature over the past 40 years including that of Emmy Werner and others. Its purpose is limited to parenting education. It was not developed for research.

Rains wants everyone to know that the resilience questions are only meant to prompt reflection and conversation on experiences that may help protect most people (about three out of four) with four or more ACEs from developing negative outcomes. A secure early childhood is helpful, but not necessary. A higher number of positive experiences is not necessarily more protective. He regrets that the questions have taken on a life of their own and that people may have misinterpretted or misunderstood their experience of risk and resilience, based on the ACE or “Resilience” questionnaires. For more information, he suggests reading this article on ACEs Too High — Putting resilience and resilience surveys under the microscope.

RESILIENCE Questionnaire

Please circle the most accurate answer under each statement:

1.  I believe that my mother loved me when I was little.

Definitely true         Probably true         Not sure         Probably Not True        Definitely Not True

2.  I believe that my father loved me when I was little.
Definitely true         Probably true         Not sure         Probably Not True        Definitely Not True
3.  When I was little, other people helped my mother and father take care of me and they seemed to love me.
Definitely true         Probably true         Not sure         Probably Not True        Definitely Not True
4.   I’ve heard that when I was an infant someone in my family enjoyed playing with me, and I enjoyed it, too.
Definitely true         Probably true         Not sure         Probably Not True        Definitely Not True
5.  When I was a child, there were relatives in my family who made me feel better if I was sad or worried.
Definitely true         Probably true         Not sure         Probably Not True        Definitely Not True
6.   When I was a child, neighbors or my friends’ parents seemed to like me.
Definitely true         Probably true         Not sure         Probably Not True        Definitely Not True
7.  When I was a child, teachers, coaches, youth leaders or ministers were there to help me.
Definitely true         Probably true         Not sure         Probably Not True        Definitely Not True
8.  Someone in my family cared about how I was doing in school.
Definitely true         Probably true         Not sure         Probably Not True        Definitely Not True
9.  My family, neighbors and friends talked often about making our lives better.
Definitely true         Probably true         Not sure         Probably Not True        Definitely Not True
10.  We had rules in our house and were expected to keep them.
Definitely true         Probably true         Not sure         Probably Not True        Definitely Not True
11. When I felt really bad, I could almost always find someone I trusted to talk to.
Definitely true         Probably true         Not sure         Probably Not True        Definitely Not True
12.  As a youth, people noticed that I was capable and could get things done.
Definitely true         Probably true         Not sure         Probably Not True        Definitely Not True
13.  I was independent and a go-getter.
Definitely true         Probably true         Not sure         Probably Not True        Definitely Not True
14.  I believed that life is what you make it.
Definitely true         Probably true         Not sure         Probably Not True        Definitely Not True

 

How many of these 14 protective factors did I have as a child and youth? (How many of the 14 were circled “Definitely True” or “Probably True”?)   _______
Of these circled, how many are still true for me? _______

1,428 responses

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  2. I took the questionnaires at a training at work. I have experienced traumas unlisted in the narrowed 10 ACE questions. I don’t want to even think where I would score. I had to leave the room for a bit to gather myself. I almost went to my office, abandoning the training. I decided to return for me. That said, my resilience factor was quite high. It is reflected in my positive life experiences of long-term, gainful employment, home ownership, 2 kids in college, married 25 years, etc etc. I have worked hard to be where I am but it is only by the grace of God that I am able to write this today.

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  4. When I was ten, my brother was killed in a car accident. I know that had a very negative impact on my life, but there were no questions that adressed that type of trauma.

    Like

    • Hi, Kelly: In the intro to the ACE questions, there’s this:

      There are, of course, many other types of childhood trauma — watching a sibling being abused, losing a caregiver (grandmother, mother, grandfather, etc.), homelessness, surviving and recovering from a severe accident, witnessing a father being abused by a mother, witnessing a grandmother abusing a father, etc. The ACE Study included only those 10 childhood traumas because those were mentioned as most common by a group of about 300 Kaiser members; those traumas were also well studied individually in the research literature.

      The most important thing to remember is that the ACE score is meant as a guideline: If you experienced other types of toxic stress over months or years, then those would likely increase your risk of health consequences.

      I would definitely count the loss of your brother as an adverse childhood experience.

      Like

  5. I find the questionnaire to determine ACE score adequate but I find some of the questions to be lacking. For example question 8 only asks about a parent using alcohol or street drugs. My mother was a prescription drug addict. Diazepam, Lorazepam, anti-depressants. Having a parent high on these drugs all the time and having fits of daily rage is NO better than an alcoholic or a heroine addict. This question should include parents that used prescription drugs that didn’t do the job they were intended to do. Question 7 only asks if the mother was abused. What about a father that was abused by the mother? My mother psychologically abused my father. She yelled at him, called him names, she threw stuff at him and when he as at work she blamed him for everything. He couldn’t do anything right in her eyes. Question 7 shouldn’t just ask about the mother being abused. Sometimes it’s the dad that is abused, just in a different way and it certainly carries an impact on the child.

    Like

    • Hi, JJ: As the introduction to Got Your ACE Score notes:

      There are, of course, many other types of childhood trauma — watching a sibling being abused, losing a caregiver (grandmother, mother, grandfather, etc.), homelessness, surviving and recovering from a severe accident, witnessing a father being abused by a mother, witnessing a grandmother abusing a father, etc. The ACE Study included only those 10 childhood traumas because those were mentioned as most common by a group of about 300 Kaiser members; those traumas were also well studied individually in the research literature.

      The most important thing to remember is that the ACE score is meant as a guideline: If you experienced other types of toxic stress over months or years, then those would likely increase your risk of health consequences.

      Like

  6. I scored 5 or 6 ACE’s i am not sure how to answer to the 6. question(divorce). My parents are still together although they sleep in different rooms and as child i wished my parents were divorced because they were beating and screaming each other almost every day.

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  7. Very interesting and informative. Your ACE questionnaire does not take into account abuse and violence from an older sibling 4 years older or traumas that happened so young that people do not remember because they blacked them out to survive or the trauma occurred too young.

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    • I very much agree with you because that is my situation. I do in fact believe that childhood trauma has an impact on every relationship I’ve been in in my life with a male.

      Like

  8. So I hit a very solid 4 or 5 but much closer to 5. Not the end of the world but I got a rock solid 0 on the protective factor score. what does that mean?

    Like

    • Hi, James: It means that you had a significant amount of trauma in your childhood that may affect your health and life course. It also means that it may be useful to build protective factors into your life now, since you didn’t have many as a child.

      Like

  9. I am genuinely interested in your work. Feel strategies to test further, maybe not throw a chance at the second chance, can we take away the “I want to give up” to more often give back. If you have gone through it I can teach a way to get through it. Company with us let’s show dedication. Sorry , if you never receive this.. your work made me want to stand up for what I believe in. Susie. I give you major props!!!! Where can I find your articles?

    Like

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  12. Hello,

    I scored a 2 for certain, maybe 3 on the ACE test and a 14 on Resilience Test. I’m currently having a very long struggle in finding a new position and there are some days where I do wonder if I will bounce back or if my life will ever improve. Some of my work issues are from childhood – I’ve chosen an industry where critical bosses abuse their employees.

    The kind of ACE issues I had growing up come from being the Daughter of a Narcissistic Mother (we are called DONMs and there are many books from credible PhDs and websites on the subject). As a child I attended Catholic school and grew up in a wealthy community. I was alternately dressed up and paraded around, told I was wonderful in public and then belittled, insulted and undermined at home. My Dad was a medical doctor, well respected, wonderful man, extremely hard working. I get my good qualities from him and my issues with trust, self doubt, internal pessimism from her. The verbal and emotional abuse occurred behind closed doors and when I later spoke about it, I was invalidated, dismissed and left to suffer in silence.

    I sought counseling from a supposedly well respected and highly competent therapist and things actually got worse. He was not a progress/solution oriented therapist and as I discovered years later, had his own emotional and financial breakdown while he was treating me. He should have had his license suspended. Finding a qualified therapist who can actually address these issues successfully is another journey entirely.

    I hope you will expand your studies to include DONMs, and those who are lower on the scale who suffered emotional and verbal abuse behind closed doors and were later invalidated when sharing their story.

    Like

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  14. I am new to learning this information. I am looking for something you wrote referenced by Forthcoming 2015. I cannot find it. Thought it was a book but searched and cannot find any title or book by you.

    I am ACEs 8, 9 if I count a prison time for a family member for not paying child support. Resiliency as a child 8 and as an adult I have recognized my issues and surrounded myself with great people and believe my adult resiliency is much closer to 2.

    I am new to learning anyone cared about adults who suffered childhood abuse. I began reading about brain damage suffered by people taking impact like motor vehicle or concussion. It opened my thoughts to what happens to a brain with child abuse. I found myself in the stereotypical writings.

    I remember. Everything. At 8 yrs old I did address my memories and everyone involved got quiet. Not having my memories addressed just put them back into my head with a heading of one more thing to keep to myself. This is the first time I am seeking help – scheduled for Eye Desensitization.

    Thank you for helping us to understand why we are not normal, or that we are far more normal than we realized.

    Like

    • When I started my emotional recovery, I began to realize that the adults never acknowledged what happened, and so, therefore, it was a long road to learn how to acknowledge for myself, my own pain. It was like because they ignored me they taught me to ignore me. Please read up on abused adult children of narcissistic parents imparticular. I think you would probably resonate with resources for adult children of alcoholics as well. Just my humble opinion.

      Like

    • Dear Michelle, after 20plus years of talk therapy and meds, which helped some, I did not start to heal until EMDR. Now I’m 6 mos in and committed to continuing. My therapist is very astute and learned re early attachment trauma. My advice is make sure your therapist is also. Best wishes! Leslie

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  15. I came across the ACE questionnaire via another website that examines how much privilege one has or had. I decided to take the questionnaire, fully knowing that the score was going to be pretty high. I scored an 8 with 4 on resilience. I’ve managed to essentially block out my entire childhood from memory; so that I could concentrate on my career and the present. Intellectually I knew that perhaps this was not the best way to deal with trauma; but it was the only way I could cope at the time. Now I am a well educated, upper middle class male; yet I hardly feel like a success. No one really knows who I am; probably because I hardly know that myself. As I get older, I find myself growing increasingly rigid and perfectionist, especially towards myself. Every decision I make and how I see people are becoming increasingly more black or white. My moral compass now permits next to no deviation and while people can sometimes appreciate what they assume is moral clarity; they’re not so keen when I hold them to the same moral standard as I hold myself. I can feel myself disconnecting from daily life in general, choosing instead to engage in activities I can wholly control. I do not feel comfortable around other people because I find myself being hypersensitive and questioning their motives and actions almost constantly. My anger issues I thought I grew out of are starting to make a resurgence. I know that I am not coping well and that things are getting worse. I have immersed myself in my work; but that will be ending soon, with my retirement near. Quite frankly, I find that frightening…I have no idea how I’ll handle not being able to lose myself in work. I realize that I will most likely need therapy; but I have no idea where to start, what to look for, or even what I need. My current coping skills are simply not sufficient and I really don’t want to deteriorate to the point I was in when I first started my journey to adulthood.

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  16. I only have a 1 on the ACES, and my resilience is very high. I should be as happy as a clam, but I’m not. My one ACE is from my father was depressed and killed himself when I was 2. My mother remarried when I was 4. My parents were all teachers and cared about kids a lot.

    I am 50 years old. When was 5 I learned that a person such as myself could not exist. So I had to pretend to be a completely different person. If that’s not abuse, what is?

    Today I know that I can exist.
    I am transgender.

    Like

    • “If that’s not abuse, what is?”
      I apologize for this totally emotive exclamation.

      What I meant is that it’s total invalidation of a person, and should be considered abuse, just like all the rest of abuse. It causes C-PTSD just like all the rest.

      Like

      • Laurian – You can do more than exist, you are inherently as worthy and deserving as anyone on this planet and this website.

        And, you don’t have to apologize for anything – for being who you are or your “totally emotive exclamation”. I read it and instantly knew what you meant.

        All the best to you.

        Like

  17. ACE = 8
    Resiliency = 1

    Depression, isolation, neglect, failure, struggles with poverty, homelessness, and debilitating illness.

    So… yea.

    Like

  18. 4 on ACE Test. All 14 on Resistance Test. Loving, Caring and Sensitive has been a huge problem in my life. Trying to constantly fix myself. Hide my insecurities, etc. Finally after punishing myself for 55 years I think I might be beginning to love myself. I was taught at a very young age I was not important or loved. Which may have been ok if I didn’t have 7 different family members doing it to me. I had/have a very hard time with relationships because if your original family doesn’t care or love you Who Can?

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  19. I think my ACE is 8 or 10. Dad was in jail a lot and was a felon but I can’t pinpoint prison time, though my memories aren’t in a neat timeline. I don’t recall mom ever being beaten but we knew he’d kill her or us at a whim. He had a game where he’d take a knife and try/pretend to stab you with it. He’d laugh it off like “I got you” but I’m pretty sure we all thought he’d actually kill us.I dissociated a lot as a kid and am just now trying to put feelings to those events. In college I drank a lot to forget. I did smoked some weed every now and then. I’ve struggled with self-harm since I was 13 (I’m 30 now) but it’s been 5 years since my last cut. I’m in a masters program now. Successful at work. Pretty healthy minus the mental health. I’m not on meds and have been able to set up some healthy coping mechs.

    But man I struggle a lot. I feel like I’m losing the battle. I know I need connection with people, and I have people who say they love me, but I’m so terrified of it. It’s negatively affecting my relationships as I move from dissociation to reconnecting emotionally. I’m trying to learn how to bridge the gap but have grace for myself as well. I want to have family and a safe place but that seems impossible. I’m only 30 but feel like I’ve lived several lifetimes. In the past couple weeks I’ve realized that my past affects me way more than I thought. I had no idea and it’s super discouraging.

    Liked by 1 person

  20. Wow. This is a little scary. 10 out of 10 on ACE. 5-ish on RESILIENCE. Some of it was a bit vague for me to be sure on the answers. Approaching 50 really fast. I am experiencing a small amount of hypertension (basing this on medication prescribed), but otherwise in fairly good health. My friends know I have some… quirks… but they just accept me for who I am. Probably why they are friends. One of my psychological “tricks” I developed over the years involves drinking. If I want a drink, typically a beer with dinner, that is fine. If I ever feel I NEED a drink, I won’t have one. It has probably kept me safer than I realized. Now, if I could only give up smoking…

    When I was seeing a court ordered psychiatrist as a child due to… events… his first words to me were “I read your file and I am surprise you haven’t killed yourself yet.” I walked out and never spoke to him. Based on this article, that statement makes a lot more sense to me now. I still think it was very inappropriate to say to a child. Luckily, I did get some help later on in life by finding someone I could talk you.

    I truly believe I have broken the mold that was cast for me. I moved out of state, and started over. Probably one of the best things I could have done for my long term wellbeing. So, just a note to some of the others with high scores. You CAN overcome. Find someone to talk to.

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  21. 5 on ACE, 1 on resilience. If you ever do revisions to any of this, I recommend a question about people who lost a parent (dad got sick when I was 7 and died when I was 9). I am highly educated (2 master’s), highly functional (college dean), and morbidly obese and have been for over 30 years. I escaped the Appalachian poverty I grew up in by joining the Marine Corps. I describe myself as a self-made man who had a lot of help. A lot of my childhood was dysfunctional, much of it due to lack of parental education (mom 5th grade, dad 9th grade). I was lucky in that I was smart. But I was sexually abused at 4 by a much older female relative, then again several times more by male relatives as I grew. I had times as a child that we did not have food – I do not mean you looked in the cabinet and there was nothing you wanted – I mean there was no food, period. I grew up in areas, both city and country, that were unsafe and I faced physical danger (the word bullying is bullshit) a number of times in my life. I had a high school counselor talk to me about working for the city as a trash collector or maybe, if I could work up to it, work in the coal mines. By the time I took standardized tests in 11th grade and blew the rest of my class (750 students) out of the water, I was so discouraged and burnt out on education that I did not even listen when my counselor changed her tune. I have a number of health issues at the age of 58 – two hips replaced, degenerative disc disease, right foot doesn’t work, high blood pressure. Throughout my life I have dealt with my mother’s Alzheimer’s, my son and wife almost dying at his birth (and him being somewhere on the autism spectrum while highly intelligent). I have had numerous financial setbacks, hospitalizations, and other difficulties. But the Marine Corps gave me strength, and I have an amazing wife (who now has Parkinson’s) who has loved me and supported me for 33 years. I have been in therapy numerous times, and have learned all of the anti-anxiety/anti-depressants that my body will not tolerate. Life is hard. You fight back. Sometimes you lose. Sometimes you want to die – I think the eating is my own slow suicide. But I have people who need me, and I need that outside motivation. Thanks for having a space I can write this all down. (PS, as an adult, I learned my father was a serial child molester. Life goes on).

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    • Thanks for sharing your history, Frank. I’m so sorry that you suffered so when you were a child, and so glad that you’ve continued fighting and figuring out ways to nurture yourself. Donna Jackson Nakazawa, who wrote Childhood Disrupted: How Your Biography Becomes Your Biology and How You Can Heal, also lost her father when she was young, which set her down a path of chronic disease. It might be an interesting book for you to read.

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  23. I an ACE of 4/5 and a resilience score of 7. I was alcoholic (stopped in 1977) and smoker of 10 years (quit in 1979). I have a question about traumatic adult life experiences in addition to the childhood experiences.

    I had five life changes in seven weeks in 2007, a horrible discovery in 2008, and a rock-your-life experience in 2015. I am now on mood meds but wonder what my chances of getting off them will be. In the past three years, I started my own business and even filed for a patent. I took up martial arts and that helped some. Also joined a local orchestra and have started doing some writing.

    I have a degree in journalism. Still, I have trouble connecting with people for long-term friendships even though people like me, I just can’t seem to feel a connection. Is there anything that can help this disconnection?

    Like

    • Speaking from personal experience, Lianne, traumatic life experiences are more difficult to recover from if you have a high ACE score, so it’s important to understand that the recovery time is longer and will take more nurturing. And then, even when you recover, it’s important to understand that recovery needs constant feeding and tending to grow and thrive. So, the more practice you have at making connections, the easier they will get. It’s just like playing the piano: you have to learn, then practice, practice, practice to stay at a level where you’re playing well.

      Like

    • The only thing that has helped me connect to others, is learning to heal the disconnect I felt within my own self. The disconnect between my mother and I, I believe caused me to dissociate from my own self. As I have learned to heal from within and even love myself, I am able to create loving relationships.

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  26. Hello, so I have a ACE score of 6, resilience of 9. Still 9 today, possibly up to 11 maybe. I have spent a large part of my life reviewing, accepting & forgiving a lot of what happened during my childhood and early teens and subsequently managed to process past memories with a new perspective, It has been tough, and I went through years and years of my life with little to no contact with most of my family. We now all have, after more conversations that I can count, open & positive relationships with each other.

    I personally struggle to accept that I will forever be a product of somebody else’s emotional drama that happened to me as a child, I wore a ‘poor me’ badge for so very long, and I don’t feel that pity & sympathy helped me to create a life for myself.

    My mother, step farther & biological father respectively are people after all, they could have done a far far better job, and if I could have had different parents, I would but I can’t so my way of processing is to learn about their journeys and learn how to build my own personal barriers. I am currently writing a book which is helping me to air my feelings and emotions and hopefully put to bed the experiences.

    I am not an alcoholic, I probably drink a bit too much wine, but certainly not every day and I do not take anti-depressants. Trusting people to not abandon me in relationships and trusting that I am actually what someone would deem as ‘enough’ is very hard work; I worked a very stressful job which made me ill for a very number of years to try to prove that I was ‘enough’ and just because my upbringing was poor doesn’t mean that I had to forever spend my life wearing that as a badge.

    I guess my reason for commenting is that I would like to think that for everyone who has had a very difficult introduction to the world that with time, a lot of perspective and striving for a better understanding of self, one can achieve great things.

    I hope to continue my journey and the same for you fellow slightly broken people too. Hear is to the future of each of us, not the past.

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  27. I scored a 9 on ACE and a 10 in Resilience. I was born and raised in the Los Angeles area (with two years in Idaho after my mother attempted suicide). I started drinking my sophomore year of high school but quit on my own during my junior year as I saw too many family members suffer from alcoholism. I had three different families throughout my childhood take me into their homes to try and help me (hence the higher resilience scores).

    I admired the family aspect about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons) and joined at the age of 18. I surprisingly have a positive attitude and look for the bright side of any challenge. I don’t drink, don’t smoke, don’t take illegal drugs, and do not abuse prescription drugs. I am never depressed and don’t experience anxiety. I have been overweight but have dieted down to about 15 pounds over where I should be. People often comment that they are shocked that I appear to be well-adjusted considering my childhood. I consider myself extremely lucky in a lot of ways and feel that I am the person I am today because of the challenges I faced as a child.

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      • Jane, thanks for your empathic and supportive responses to so many people connecting with this site. As a co-developer of the resource that came to be known as the “Resilience Questionnaire” I ask that you please share that there is no validity to a Resilience Score summing the 14 statements following the “Got Your ACE Score?” post. The questions were only meant to prompt reflection and conversation on experiences that may help protect most people (about three out of four) with four or more ACEs from developing negative outcomes. A secure early childhood is helpful, but not necessary. A higher number of positive experiences is not necessarily more protective. I regret that the questions have taken on a life of their own and that people may have misinterpretted or misunderstood their experience of risk and resilience, based on the ACE or “Resilience” questionnaires. For more info I suggest another acesconnection resource: http://www.acesconnection.com/blog/putting-resilience-and-resilience-surveys-under-the-microscope Mark Rains, PhD

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    • I hear you. I have found that when it comes to faulty beliefs over the will, the beliefs are so much stronger. I suppose it has to do with neural wiring and neural associations in our brain. We can think positive thoughts all we want, but until we change those beliefs we will continue to struggle. When I was a child and up until my mid-thirties, I really believed I was bad, wrong, and defective. Once I figured out how to deal with my unconscious beliefs, slowly my perceptions of self-changed and life became so much more manageable and even happy. Positive thoughts don’t undo what has been done. If we grew up feeling unworthy because of childhood abuse, then unconsciously we believe we are unworthy. That is the issue we need to undo, in my humble opinion. Far too many of us are walking around on this planet not living the lives we deserved because somebody who was supposed to love us, screwed up. No way, that is not fair.

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      • Lisa, you wrote that once you found how to deal with your unconscious beliefs, you were able to heal (or something like that – my memory is terrible). How do you do that? I understand how early experiences wire up neural pathways that will guide the rest of your life, but if they are leading you in wrong directions, how can you change them? My therapist does CBT, which is pretty much just telling yourself that your fears and beliefs are irrational so you can dismiss them. Nice idea, but even when I know these things are irrational, it doesn’t take away the sickly panic I feel. Now that I have a diagnosis, I can look back and say to myself that all those crumby jobs I settled for because I didn’t think I could get anything better, the lousy friends I clung to because I was so shocked that anyone – anyone at all – would deign to speak to me, and I can tell myself that it wasn’t rational. But how do I know what is when I now know that my very ability to judge such things if off-kilter? At the hospital they told me to triangulate – get opinions from a few different people to check if your ideas are rational, but I don’t really have any friends to talk to, only a daughter, who is very helpful when she’s not being defensive, and a wife who is Dr. Jekyll one day and Mr. Hyde the next. I know my unconscious beliefs are bad, but I still can’t shut them up or shut off my amygdala. Is there something you do that helps?

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      • Dear Paul:

        I’d suggest finding an on-line support group for men who had a traumatic childhood. In person would be better, but that’s pretty hard to find or set up. I’d give suggestions, but my area is extreme childhood sexual abuse.

        CBT isn’t everybody’s cup of tea. You might do better with an eclectic therapist – somebody who has studied lots of different things and then you can experiment and see what helps.

        I stayed far too long with therapists who were not helping me because I thought it was my fault, I wasn’t trying hard enough to get better, etc. The truth was they had no idea what was wrong with me but didn’t face up to it. I’m still a little pissed off.

        Let us know how it goes!

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      • Just as relationships damage us, relationships are the path to healing. I would encourage you to continue to seek for vulnerable transparent relationships to speak into your life. It was my wife’s relentless tenderness towards me during the first 12 years of our marriage that helped me “rewire” the damage caused by an ACE score of 10. She also “carefronted” me with Socratic questions. I went from 34 years of MDD and hearing voices to healing. No more depression and no more voices now since 1994. She was my “surrogate” brain and I owe my life to her. I now work as a psychotherapist with children who have experienced severe trauma.

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      • Much the same experience. Since the will is out of our conscious control, we have to resort to other means. I have begun FasterEFT – see all the videos on you tube and look up the site online.

        Good luck.

        Like

    • Almost matching scores…. just wanted to tell you it can get better. No longer have the constant impulse to do so, and have learned to nurture myself. Don’t give up!

      Like

    • Hi Violet, may I ask, what in your opinion was more more upsetting,
      1) Thinking a/b the sufferings of the high ACE score probs
      2) Thinking a/b the sufferings of the low resilience score probs?

      Like

  28. My ACE score is 9 and my resiliency score is 10. My bio father took off when I six months and I was born into an alcoholic family. As long as I can remember I’ve always felt external and left out. My step dad was great but I feel my younger sister was favored more. My mother was very physically and mentally abusive to me as far back as when I was three years old. She had an exclusive temper and I remember it vividly that young. When I was older CPS was called twice due to visible shaved to my face and then another time a black eye. I lied well at school because I was embarrassed, but of what??? My mother beating on me? YES! sad for any child to feel that way or it’s their fault. but she never touched my sister that way. She died at 40 from drugs and alcohol four months after my maternal grams died from a worn out alcoholic body. I was 18 and a high school senior. Never had my mom for those important blossoming years. My mother body shamed and restricted food. Today I’m a recovering alcoholic with food issues but I see a therapist regularly. I still don’t open up and be vulnerable and shares my truths with people. I had wonderful loving affection the first five years of my life from family and family friends but never from my mother. I don’t have very close relationships for fear of abandonment. I don’t blame my mother because I know her childhood was no better, just wish I could have understood that before she died and was so lost the last five years of her life. Instead I was angry and resentful and didn’t talk to her, she wasn’t part of my daily life in the end. I also was victim of inappropriate touching and even drugged by someone I trusted. Still haven’t had courage to address or talk with anyone about that. First time was when I was 12 up until about early 20s. I have great support for my addiction and that has helped me tremendously. I will always have issues but at least I can identify why I feel and do what I do.

    I am an emergency room RN that is in school full time finishing my bachelor’s. I try to show as much compassion as I can for the patients struggling with drug and alcohol abuse. It’s hard and daily battle out there to stay sober. I’ve relapsed myself. It’s shameful but it’s not, it’s reality. I really enjoyed this article and information.

    Liked by 2 people

      • I have found that a lot of people who have suffered from childhood abuse are very compassionate toward other people, much more so and maybe compulsively so than most people. Maybe when we suffer so much we are more sensitive to others and more motivated to help. To me it feels kind of desperate, but that might be because I have had few friends for a very long time. I was a teacher until recently – a profession people go into for the compassion, not the pay. My therapist says that fully 1/3rd of her patients are teachers, and my psychiatrist told me not to go back to teaching.

        Still, the compassion I see in most people I have met who have a depressive or anxiety disorder is a credit to them. They hurt so much, but they don’t lash out, they reach out.

        Like

  29. I scored 6 on the Ace and 7 on the resilience. I do take antidepressants and have had issues with drugs in the past but now I am pretty much an alcoholic.

    Like

  30. There are so many stereotypes in society especially in the mental health field. Im thankful of my adverse experiences. I think they make me a stonger person. Its the people with zero adverse experiences that i actually worry about. They tend to be narcissitic and have no empathetic abilites. Its okay for people to be imperfect. Its all in how you deal with yours and others imperfections. Harping and stressing on people over there imperfections is not the way to go. I would worry that you would have conservative doctors who would use this information to cause further harm families. I fear that this could be used to tear children away from mothers instead of helping families in need. There are too many who make assumptions and snap judgements about others. People are way too critical of each other in our society. That is the real problem. Even if a child grows up in a n adverse household doesnt mean they want to be stolen from r family memebers. That solution is ALMOST NEVER the right solution and i hope health care providers are aware of that fact.

    Like

    • It’s a pretty safe bet that people who become narcissistic have ACEs. All the people in the ACEs movement are pretty clear that separating children from parents traumatizes everyone. So, keep spreading the word!

      Like

  31. Well, that’s not surprising to me, I scored a nine on the ace and didn’t bother with the other one. Interesting, though. I’m a recovering addict and alcoholic so I’m very aware of all the affects my childhood had on me. There is a light at the end of the tunnel!

    Like

    • It is so awesome to begin to see that science is backing up what so many of us have known for so long. Childhood programming programs adults for life until we awaken and begin appreciating the wounds others taught us to deny.

      Like

      • I just finished reading a new book (2017) called “Born Anxious” that goes into that science as well as some of the problems in society that make things worse, and a bit of what to do about it. It’s well worth a read. I have found that the better I understand the science, the more it takes away the feelings of guilt and shame, things you need to jettison to heal. But I’m early in that process, having only been diagnosed at 48 when my problems likely began when I was 9. Still, the more you learn about how minds, brains and hormones work (especially stress hormones) the better equipped you are to understand yourself and the people around you.

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  32. Pingback: Why we Need to Know about the ACE Study.

  33. My ACE score is 5. My score of protective factors as a youth was 10. They were all definitely true. They all still exist today.

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  34. Pingback: Overcoming you Own ACEs and Breaking Generational Hurt | Renewed Hope Parenting

  35. Pingback: 7 Things You Should Know About ACEs | Renewed Hope Parenting

  36. I scored 8 on ACE and 1 on resilience. I’m 48 and live in the middle of nowhere Midwest. I have sever depression and anxiety, PTSD, OCD, ADD, possible DID (we are exploring this), damage to executive function of my brain, a facial tic, an eating disorder and many medical problems. I’ve been getting counseling most my life and been through treatment. I’m currently on three different meds for depression, anxiety and my tic.

    I have a disability hearing on June 7 because I can no longer keep a job or even somewhat function. Where I live, there just isn’t very good resources for help for me. It’s hard for me to believe I can ever have any kind of functional life (I hate the word “normal” because it’s relative. What’s happening to me is normal for all the things that have happened to me.)

    What would you say to give hope to someone like me? Because right now I’m only staying alive for my child.

    Like

    • Hi, Peggy: I suggest joining ACEs Connection, the companion social network to ACEs Too High, and asking the nearly 15,000 members if there’s someone in your area who can help you. Depending on where you are in the Midwest, there’s a lot going on in integrating trauma-informed and resilience-building practices based on ACEs science.

      Like

    • Peggy, if you have not seen a therapist that uses EMDR or CBT as a treatment model I would suggest trying one of them.

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    • I also scored an 8, and have experienced severe depression, ptsd, and dissociation. I also saw many different therapists over the years who taught me many skills but delivered little relief. but since I’ve been seeing an advanced integrative therapist, my emotional dysregulation has been resolved, I experience only mild depression, and I’ve been able to release the rage and fury that seemed to hold me hostage. I talk to my ait therapist weekly via phone since there aren’t any locally trained clinicians. Worth every penny. Saved my life. Aitherapy.org

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    • sounds like you are caught in a vicious cycle, and perhaps time to consider something totally different from the counselling and treatment you have already had. For yours and your Childs sake, check out on youtube Abraham Hicks, Release technique with Lester Levenson/ Larry Crane/ Kris Dillard, and Matt Kahn. Release technique is an easy method to use to shift how you are feeling, Abraham Hicks and Matt Kahn are explaining to you how our mind has us believing negative things about ourselves and what you can do to start changing those thoughts.
      wishing you good health and healing as your journey on.

      Like

    • I would say that it’s never too late to start over. Maybe those people weren’t there for you as a child, but seek out supportive and loving people now. If you want therapy, there are now online options. Tell yourself that you can move towards the life you want, that you deserve it. You need to tell yourself positive, loving things, at least as many times as you heard negative things, so don’t worry about not believing them right away. Keep in mind that every thing you accomplish is a step in the right direction, is erasing a little bit of the harm you’ve suffered.

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  37. I scored 6 on first ace test.

    How many of these 14 protective factors did I have as a child and youth? (How many of the 14 were circled “Definitely True” or “Probably True”?) 12
    Of these circled, how many are still true for me?14

    Like

  38. Pingback: Well, that went off in an unexpected direction… – Narcoleptic Aspie

  39. Pingback: What are the ACEs? – Linn CAN

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  42. Ok did this..so my ACE is 9 and my Resiliency is 3..So what does that mean? I was in 13 Foster Homes growing up and find myself, sabotaging relationships, when they stay the same, or I get bored..it’s linked to the pattern I had as a child, always going away into another home..but never staying long enough to be vulnerable and open up to develop relationship. I moved again..then go back home..bullying started..and the cycle repeated again..and I see that reflecting into my relationships. Now I just want to avoid relationship as I’m damaged.

    Like

    • Tracey, you aren’t damaged. You are stronger than you think. I thought for years that I would never find a solid, healthy relationship, but I have. I’ve had some stinkers along the way, but in the end I found someone loyal, true, loving and truly kind. It starts with you. Focus on learning to love yourself, to raise your self esteem and confidence. Little tiny things that you do every day to achieve this will build up. Be self aware. You know you struggle with relationships, so that’s your starting point. Take it one day at a time. I used to push people away or think I was bored too, I was addicted to the drama, It took me a long time to recognise the self sabotaging behaviours and to stop doing it. I also explained to my partner what I was doing when I caused problems and luckily he understood. You’ve had some real crap in your life, but you’ve survived. Don’t let that stuff define you or ruin your life for one more second. There is always hope.

      Liked by 1 person

    • I was like that in my 20s… Every therapist told me at that time, and I didn’t believe it, that it is great I have insight and can recognize the patterns. I’m saying to you now. It is great you’re recognizing the patterns. You will over come. It may take a long time, but keep on working on you. ♥️

      Like

    • Hi Tracey, My ACE score is 8 and my resiliency score is 2. I have tried different kinds of therapy, but the most helpful thing I have found is ACA – Adult Children of Alcoholics. There may be a local chapter near you but there are also online groups. ACA is much different than the other 12 step fellowships. “The most wounded people on the planet are welcomed with open hearts, minds, and ears.”
      You can look for groups at the ACA official website. Good luck!

      Like

    • Tracey, everyone gets damaged by life in some way or another. That’s just life (and for some reason the old song “Damaged Goods” by folk singer Christine Lavin is now stuck in my head). But we keep going. I doubt you are so damaged you can’t keep going, but you might be right in thinking that you need a break from romantic relationships for awhile. We put so much emphasis on romance these days that they can become much more stressful than supportive sometimes. I’ve seen a lot of people go through divorce, and it’s very damaging. The more ordinary break-ups can be just as bad. It might be good to just give that aspect of your life a rest for a little while and draw support from good, solid friendships, until you start feeling like the time might be right again.

      People who have anxiety and/or depressive issues often overreact to minor things people do, interpreting them as hostility when they really aren’t. I read about this in the book that led me to this website, called “Born Anxious,” and I see a lot of this in my own relationships – as much with friends and family as with my wife. Maybe you have this, maybe you don’t. It’s something to think about, though. People often think they know what other people are thinking, and we’re probably wrong as often as we are right. That’s why it’s good to talk to people. Best of luck!

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  43. This is a very interesting article. It makes me wonder if a study can be done on inner city minority groups to contrast the study. I firmly believe the environment you grow up in marks you for life. The resilience questions particularly about those who cared, education, and spiritual connections definitely can offset the negative factors. Looking over my childhood I’m thankful for the balance and where I landed on the spectrum with regard to how stress impacted me. This is amazing and a must share.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Irene, I just finished reading a book that goes right into what you are saying. Growing up in a high-poverty, high-stress neighborhood – or any environment that causes chronic stress – can actually alter the genes that make your stress hormones, which makes people more sensitive to stress. It’s called stress methylation or stress dysregulation, and the book is called “Born Anxious.” The book just came out this year, so you might not be able to find it in a library just yet. I found it at my local Barnes & Noble, but I was looking for it because it was recommended to me by someone who has an adult son with MDD. The book is really good.

      Like

  44. Pingback: Addiction doc says: Stop chasing the drug! Focus on ACEs — people can recover. « ACEs Too High

  45. Do we have a facebook page? I myself have a very high score but fighting my way to “normalcy.” And does anyone know of a good source for info about the long term effects of being born addicted?

    Liked by 2 people

    • You can do it. I scored 8 on the ACE, and if you’re like me and other adults with childhoods like that, you will likely always be messed up because “normal” for you and the rest of us isn’t even CLOSE to what people who are actually normal experience.

      But that’s OK. You don’t have to be that normal. You need to be aware of the possible effects on your life that this may have all had and recognize signs and behaviors that it’s affecting you adversely. You then need to have some self-care tools to deal with that stuff. All of that Good Will Hunting “it’s not your fault” talk is real. It’s not your fault. Or mine. Or any other kid who grew up as a victim. You’ll never be normal, but you can be OK.

      Good luck.

      Liked by 2 people

      • She’s right. We’ll never be normal.

        To distinguish my PTSD, acquired beginning when I was an infant, I refer to it as Developmental PTSD. Be sure to mention this at every single doctor’s exam/visit. They need to be educated. Whether it’s asthma, sinuses, migraines, bowels, heart and vascular problems, obesity, stomach disorders, arthritis TELL THEM it is due to d-PTSD. I have a print-out I use for docs. Believe me, they are clueless. They see the body and mind as separate entities, but you are one, holy, indissoluble person.

        Don’t forget ADD, ADHD, depression, or any mental dysfunction. Any inflammatory disorder or autoimmune disorder (I forgot to mention skin problems like psoriasis). Your body carries all this stuff so your mind can cope and beyond your consciousness, your mind chooses the best path for “getting rid” of the problem. That doesn’t mean the damage to your body isn’t real, it’s just that you have to begin to become literate in your body’s very own language.

        In case anyone has suggested it, you are NOT lazy, stupid, or a failure. Each of those is a name with a wounding experience behind it. Don’t let anyone judge you since you already do that yourself! Most of our problems, if not all of them, come from being/feeling abandoned. It’s an automatic problem.

        Good luck on educating the people around you.

        Liked by 2 people

      • Your handout sounds so useful. Would you like to share it with others? If you posted it here, we all could copy it and use it for our doctors and dentists and other health care providers. Think of the amount of influence, we, as a group, could have!!!! And I am sure many people would post it on their blogs or websites. If you decide to do this, I would be so grateful, as, I am sure, many others would be.

        Like

    • How did you ask the question? I can only see a way to reply to other people’s questions but not a way to ask one. I want to ask if the death of a parent earns a point. I have 6 points right now but that is the thing that still hurts the most. I hope you find good help, Louise.

      Like

      • Although it’s not included as one of the 10 ACEs that were studied, death of a parent definitely is an ACE, Rebecca. There are many other ACEs that have been added to subsequent ACE studies (racism, bullying, involvement with the foster care system), and some of the 10 ACEs are proxies for others, such as witnessing a father being abused or a sibling being abused.

        Like

      • I think the death of a parent for anyone below the age of 16 ought to be worth 2 points. There is a lot missing from the ACEs list, but it’s a good start.

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  47. Pingback: Pediatrician develops whole-child assessment tool that includes ACEs questions « ACEs Too High

  48. I’m really grateful I found this. Even though I don’t really like talking about my childhood it still feels good to have confirmation that it was serious and that I am not a patsy for not “getting over it by now”
    I have an ace of 6 and a resilience score of 7. I am 25, about to graduate with a BA in English education and working on adopting 2 wonderful little girls from foster care. I am going to break the cycle of abuse that started with my great grandfather and hopefully help my girls do the same for their cycles.
    Thank you for posting this.

    Liked by 2 people

  49. Pingback: Healthy & Lasting Love Through Healing Our Inner Child – Femme Intuitive

  50. Pingback: Anxious parenting: Parenting with ACEs « ACEs Too High

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  52. Hi. I am a sociologist who has just learned about ace. It seems that few of us are aware of ACE effects on our field: in research, in teaching, and in policy. Are there any other sociologists out there?

    Like

    • Hi, Dennis: You’ll find some sociologists on ACEs Connection, the companion social network to ACEs Too High. I’ve sent you an invitation to join. It’s free. There are just over 14,000 members (and growing!) from across sectors, from all 50 states, and 47 countries.

      Cheers, Jane

      Like

      • Hi Jane,
        Thanks for your reply. Would you be able to add to add a category for social science or sociology in your category list?
        Dennis

        Like

      • Can you be more specific, Dennis? btw, this isn’t my category list; it’s from the CDC-Kaiser Adverse Childhood Experiences Study! Other surveys and studies have added other categories, e.g., the Philadelphia Extended ACE Survey, which added racism, bullying, involvement with the foster care system, witnessing violence outside the home, and living in an unsafe neighborhood.

        Like

      • Is the companion social network exclusively for professionals? We just gained emergency custody of my 15 yr old stepson who is at risk. Looking for practical, affordable on going advice.

        Like

  53. Hello, my name is Anne.
    I am an ACE 3 and (just found out) resilience 9, but today I am here for another reason:
    I am also a design student and since I have personal experience and find it striking (in the most negative way) how little is known about the outcomes of the ACE study amongst the people around me. I chose to develop a (fictional) awareness campaign about the lifelong impact of ACE on peoples physical and mental health for my next university assignment.
    My task is to create easy to understand, yet short and factual material, that catches people’s attention and introduces them to the study and the fact that everybody is involved somehow.
    So besides consuming all sorts of information for preparation, I figured the opinion of trauma survivors are probably the most valuable source. If you like to help me and have a minute I would really appreciate if you could respond to some of the following questions:
    How did you found out about the ACEs study? (How) did it help you?
    What do you consider the most important thing to know? or else: What would you want people to know? Anything else you want me to know? Anything you want to ask me? You’ll reach my fb when you click on my name; every opinion and suggestion counts for me and is highly appreciated!
    (And of course, no information will be published.)
    Thank you so much for taking the time.

    Like

    • Hello,
      I am also a design student with ACEs and I’d be more than happy to help you with your assignment. Here are the answers to your questions:

      1) How did you found out about the ACEs study? (How) did it help you?
      I learned of the ACE study through the audiobook, “Childhood Disrupted.” It helped me do determine that only only was my childhood hard, but it was much harder than the norm; I was not making it out to be worse than it really was. My ACE score is a 5, but I have a resiliency score of 11. Also, it was soothing to know that I am not alone in that the ACEs are still causing problems for me today, especially when it comes to being happy, dealing with anger, and maintaining romantic relationships (knowing how to love myself and others)

      2) What do you consider the most important thing to know? or else: What would you want people to know? Anything else you want me to know? Anything you want to ask me? You’ll reach my fb when you click on my name; every opinion and suggestion counts for me and is highly appreciated!
      (And of course, no information will be published.)
      Thank you so much for taking the time.

      I think it is especially important for parents to know how much ACE affects their adult-children later in life. I’m sure if my parents knew just how had ACEs were correlated to suicide, depression, autoimmune diseases, etc., they would have made better choices while they were parenting.
      Also, I think it is important for adults of child trauma to have resources on learning how to cope and heal so that their health isn’t negatively affected.

      Good luck and if you have anymore questions, feel free to email me at flauren1@umbc.edu

      Like

    • Hi Anne. My name is Russell. I’m happy to help you with your fictional awareness campaign too. My ACE score is 6 and my Resilience Questionnaire score is 8.
      (1) How did you find out about the ACEs study? I first found out about it from the book “The Body Keeps the Score” by Bessel Van Der Kolk, M.D. (pp. 144-148 in the hardback). Then I really found out much more about it from the book “Childhood Disrupted” by Donna Jackson Nakazawa.
      (2) (How) did it help you? I am still reading the book “Childhood Disrupted” right now (on chapter 6 – Beginning Your Healing Journey), which led me to this website to take the Resilience Questionnaire. Your question is a really good one! I’ve had so many ahas from this book already! I guess the first big one was to learn of the profound link between ACEs and disease, as well as behavioral and emotional problems later in life. And the higher the ACE score the more likely that is to be true. It helps to explain why my mom died suddenly of pancreatic cancer at age 67 and why my dad got dementia at age 60. Very fortunately for me I am extremely healthy (age 48 and have never had any health problems nor have I ever taken any prescription drug), which I know flies in the face of the research for someone with an ACE score of 6. I also believe that I’m here to do something special with my life and have had some pretty amazing spiritual experiences in my life which completely counteract my earlier years of feeling lonely, misunderstood, depressed, and suicidal. I have the Avoidant Attachment Style, if you know what that is, and I’m a true loner (I’m guessing you do but if you don’t you would love to learn about Attachment Theory too). When I was younger I struggled with depression and overeating. Fortunately for me I was a good athlete and relieved my depression, overeating, and pent up anger by pushing my body really hard with exercise rather than drinking, smoking, doing drugs, gambling, etc. I also was very strict with my diet and worked hard in school to get good grades. My greatest problem has been sustaining an intimate relationship (before I knew about all of this info)! I haven’t been in one for 11 years now but I’m hopeful that I can have a securely attached one in the near future. I have spent the past 20 years learning about myself and other people through numerous personality systems which has really helped.
      (3) What do you consider the most important thing to know? The most important thing to know is whether you have high ACEs or not. If you do, then there is a very good chance that you are going to have one of the following problems in life: self-esteem problems, behavioral problems, emotional problems, psychological problems, health problems, relationship problems, financial problems, addiction problems, and parenting problems with your own kids.
      (4) What would you want people to know? That it is possible to rewire your brain for alleviate some of the problems in (3) above and that if you have a high ACEs score you will need to do the hard work on yourself to transform your life. But in doing so you will also be a role model for helping other people with high ACEs to change their lives.
      (5) Anything you want to ask me? Do you know your attachment style, Enneagram type, Myers-Briggs type, and character structure style/type? If not, figure those out. They will help you understand yourself better. Have you read “The Body Keeps the Score” or “Childhood Disrupted”? I’m just curious. By the way I’m a numerologist and astrologer too. The name “ANNE” is a 6-1-7 Name Chord. Look that up online when you get a chance (http://www.nameaning.net/numerology).
      I hope you get lots of responses and good luck!
      Kindly,
      Russell

      Liked by 1 person

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  56. ACES – 9 Resilience – 4 What does this mean for me? Attachment trauma? NPD child victim? Co-dependent? C-PTSD? [I hope not]. As late as 3 yrs ago, my mother left a v/m whilst I was on my first vaycay in 8 yrs and alone in Cuba; instructing me to drown before hanging up. I’m 53 and have been ‘no contact’ for 2 yrs and trying to heal. Finally coming to terms with bad programming, gaslighting, love bombing, guilt manipulation, boundary violations… all from my only blood relative.I am very high functioning, high IQ, logical and truly a real empath. I attract Narcs like flies and as a result abstain from dating and self-employed 15 yrs at home because I cannot deal with all the Narcs – my codependency natural feeder. I raised a son who is 23, I did the opposite as best as I could and he is an amazing young man who went to University and has a great soul. I did that right for the most part, but close relationships with men and business execs has been a total disaster for me. 3 yrs ago I took a chance on a client and became his CFO full-time; it was a great relationship before he became my boss but then he started with the gaslighting, love bombing and narc/psychotic traits at me to the point we would fight until I cried… I felt totally betrayed when he let me go. I am glad I got away because Narcs never change and never get better, so moving on is good ! Peace & Love to all

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  57. I have an ACE score of 5, a resilience score of 3. Yet I’m fine. I have forgiven, I have healed. Never underestimate the power of Jesus Christ to heal, to deliver, and to make a person feel cherished and loved.

    Liked by 3 people

  58. Aces: 8
    Resilience: 8

    Headed to a doctorate and professorship while smoking 1 cigarette a day, abstaining from most alcohol, a super stoner, healthily communicating in my long-term relationship, and crying many mornings about whichever petty stress is existing in my immediate environment.

    Weeeeeeee particle physics and yoga FTW.

    Aka: treatable. ACES sore of 8 be damned.

    Liked by 1 person

    • 39yo man, ACE 9, R 9. Heading for a Master’s in counseling, 1-2 cigarettes a day, occasional stoner, prrrrrretty healthy communicator (sometimes I can be too sensitive), cry at touching commercials and songs. Wine drinker. Dragged out of poverty to a solid…lower middle class (but the needle’s moving). Century-ride cyclist.

      In counseling, we also talk quite a bit about IQ scores as a resilience factor. PhD is a pretty good indicator. Keep kicking ass and pushing forward. Don’t forget to relax a little after you get your paper. Self-care is important and therapy is good for everyone.

      Like

  59. thanks for the encoragement. I certainly understand the desperation from a number of posts. I am currently participating in a MBSR 8 week program and reading In An Unspoken Voice: How the Body Releases Trauma and Restores Goodness by Dr. Peter Levine and both are completely invaluable. I strongly believe it is possible to heal from trauma. One of the original obstacles for me was discovering that trauma was the culprit or root to my issues in the first place. For the longest time I didn’t understand what was wrong with me. Dr. Levine points out that our survival mechanisms function much like that of higher primates in the wild, who experience mass amounts of trauma regularly and yet you won’t find a tiger taking a timeout to have a panic attack. His research and insights are healing in and of themselves. Healing and blessings to us all.

    Liked by 1 person

  60. ACE score 7
    Resiliance 2, now maybe 4 as an adult.

    Adhd for 30 years, but diagnosed only a few years back.
    Bipolar diagnosed 13 years ago.

    I lost all faith and hope years ago, dunno if anyone can help me anymore. I keep going with a pretense, hypothetical hope that I might one day be happy. I can never recall any part of my life as a happy time.

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  61. ACE – 10. Resilience – 1.

    I feel broken. I am actually breaking from the inside out. It’s like I don’t have enough strength to hold myself together. I just want to let go.

    At least now I know why I feel like this.

    Like

    • I feel exactly the same and I am 70 yrs old because my scores are pretty close to yours. You are precious and I know you will pull through. If I have, so can you cuz I’ve been through it ALL, and seen more crappy things in my life than most people. You are a better person than most people because of this. Bless you.

      Like

  62. This is every enlightening study. I just heard about the ACE’s test as it relates to chronic illness on a TED talk and looked for the test.
    I have ACE’s score of 6 and a Resilience score of 2 and I have several chronic issues.

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  63. Hi Sheryl,

    The different types of trauma and the times we experienced them (childhood vs infancy vs traumatic experiences our ancestors lived through, for example) are only just beginning to be recognized, especially as they affect our risk for PTSD and other health problems.

    I’ve been researching the role of life experiences that include ACEs and that also look at events from pregnancy and infancy, such as what you describe. These are – as Jane Ellen says too – hugely impactful even if not included in the ACE study.

    I have started a blog series about some of the research. And while my focus is on chronic illness, early events of all kinds affect risk for different types of health issues including relationships / behaviors / emotions / mental health etc, just as you have experienced. This post and it’s two sequels introduce references and some of the research – as well as opportunities for healing from the effects of such early experiences, even as an adult.

    https://chronicillnesstraumastudies.com/causes-chronic-illness-part-1-insights-type-1-diabetes/

    I hope that helps and wish you all the best on your journey!

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  65. I find it odd that trauma from severe childhood illness is not considered in the ACE score. I was born prematurely, spent the first month of life in an incubator and then went on to develop seizures that resulted in temporary loss of life on no less than 3 occassions as a toddler. The seizures were triggered by fever and so my parents became hypervigilant and would often plunge me into ice baths. I also endured a traumatic spinal tap with my hands tied to my feet, along with other invasive procedures and testing. I, unknowingly, suffered from symptoms of ptsd for my entire childhood, unable to leave my parents side for even sleepovers with friends. As an adult if I get sick I have severe anxiety and panic attacks. I am having trouble finding information on this type of trauma. Surely, this adverse experience should be considered, particularly as it relates to future medical experiences.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi, Sheryl: I don’t think there’s any doubt that severe childhood illness is an ACE. As is noted in the info at the top of Got Your ACE Score?:

      There are, of course, many other types of childhood trauma — watching a sibling being abused, losing a caregiver (grandmother, mother, grandfather, etc.), homelessness, surviving and recovering from a severe accident, witnessing a father being abused by a mother, witnessing a grandmother abusing a father, etc. The ACE Study included only those 10 childhood traumas because those were mentioned as most common by a group of about 300 Kaiser members; those traumas were also well studied individually in the research literature.

      The most important thing to remember is that the ACE score is meant as a guideline: If you experienced other types of toxic stress over months or years, then those would likely increase your risk of health consequences.

      Many subsequent ACE surveys have added questions — such as racism, experiencing bullying, witnessing violence outside the home, involvement with the foster care system. There’s little doubt that experiencing a severe childhood illness, loss of parental attachment right after birth, and involvement with a non trauma-informed medical system should be added to the list.

      I’m so sorry that you had to experience that trauma when you were a child. There’s no doubt it’s affected your quality of life as an adult, and I hope that you’re able to find ACEs-informed people to help you heal.

      Like

  66. I scored a 5-6 because I wasn’t sure if constant criticism was verbal abuse if it didn’t include yelling/bad words. Always assumed I got off lightly in my childhood because I wasn’t sexually abused and so dismissed everything as being acceptable enough.

    Then I did a ‘mindfulness’ course, I suddenly decided to see a psychologist who specializes in eating disorders. Been going to individual sessions for about a year and a half and realize all the repressed anger I have towards my parents. The main thing I have figured out is that I don’t like feeling ‘small’ or ‘unimportant’. It is quite a trigger for me. A few people are starting to get confrontations as I realize my boundaries.

    In terms of health effects, apart from the 25 year eating disorder, I have had thryoid problems (eventually resulted in a total thyroidectomy), type 2 diabetes and heavy menstruation -all hormone related. I also have never really had ‘proper’ friendships/relationships where I might be in a vulnerable position/potentially face rejection. I won’t allow it. live alone and want to. I have had obesity surgery, which doesn’t work if you have an underlying eating disorder.

    I am starting to feel a lot of anger lately, rather than tears. My parents are still alive, and I have dared to tell my brothers/mother how I feel about being abandoned (twice)and neglected. Still deciding on whether/when to tell my father.

    Anyway, this survey really helped me. All this stuff has had physical manifestations., and my health problems aren’t just bad luck/lack of discipline.

    Liked by 1 person

  67. ACE 9 well probably 8 the abuse my mother was fights from neighbors not her husband–she was mentaly ill, tried sucide a dozen times, spent months every year in asylum, threw anything and every thing at my head (learn to duck early). Beat me to bleeding then soaked me in ice water so my step dad wouldn’t know– he still doesn’t know. She’s queen of narcissim. I’m 60 now so she doesnt throw thing at me anymore but she belittles me in every way possible. I went no contact recently.

    Resilience 7. I had a wonderful Grandmother. Wihtout her love I might as well not be alive. She was my salvation.

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  68. ACE – 9, Resilence – 2
    Thanks for this.
    I am pleased to say that even with these scores I’m doing ok (6.5 years of therapy has helped).
    However, on my maternal grandmother’s side there are 6 grandchildren (myself, my brother, and 4 cousins – my uncle’s sons) all of whom would score 8 or 9. My brother died at age 27 as a result of drunk driving. My oldest cousin is on parole from a federal penitentiary. His brother is dying of cirrhosis at age 38. His twin killed himself at age 16 on Christmas Eve. And the youngest cousin, who by all appearances is high-functioning, is actually frighteningly controlling of his family, forbidding all interaction outside their home unless approved by him.
    We are a testament to the long-lasting damage wrought from C-PTSD.

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  70. Aces-9
    Resilience- 3

    Without having combed the existing research I feel: Something is missing to this study I think it has to do with head trauma. Somewhere in this equation there is more to be found. For those with repeated head trauma or significant head trauma in a single instance there could be more of a psychological impact. This psychological impact leads to more statistical medical health impact. The ACES scores wouldn’t separate the two groups of people, and therefore one group may far better in long term studies than another group.
    Also, those with disfigurements or handicaps caused by abuse. I believe this would further concentrate the health risks associated with this type of childhood experience. Food for thought.

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  72. I had ace factor of 4. Resilient factor was a 3…didn’t have much contact with outside world and moved constantly( went to 27 different schools from K-12 and some of the 27 more than once) what does this mean? Still have no outside support and just got out of another abusive marriage.

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    • Hi, Rosanne: Some subsequent ACE surveys are adding other types of ACEs. Moving a lot when you were a child is one. I would think that when you move a lot, it’s very difficult to create and establish your support network. When you’re at one school for a while, it’s more or less built in to the environment, but when you’re an adult, you have to work at it. Maybe joining some interest groups or a faith-based community, if you’re so inclined, can help you start down that path.

      Like

      • I am starting Grad School soon getting an MSW in Social Work. Can’t leave the people still suffering in the conditions I grew up in and I hope I can make a small change in the world 🙂

        My story is like thousands of others and I just want to help children/adults out now!

        Liked by 1 person

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    • If you don’t have other ACEs not listed in the original ACE survey (such as being homeless, moving often, witnessing siblings or peers being abused, witnessing other family members being abused, living in a war zone, etc.), then you didn’t have as much toxic stress during your childhood as others. And, depending on what resilience factors you were given, you had a pretty good start in life.

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  77. Ace Score, 4
    Resilience. 8
    Yet not sure if I did it completely correct.. I will add my Ace Score I’m sure is higher as my situation had many different factors which were not listed. I have suffered with Auto immune disease since I was 27 I think and I’m now almost 54. Also have other issues medically and mentally. Managed to grow into an adult.. Good mom to 2 children ect. To much to write here except will say I always felt much of my issues possibly came from the stressful upbringing I had as a child for pretty much my entire childhood into my teens.

    Like

    • The ACEs survey is only meant to be applied to events that occurred before the 18th birthday. That being said, 4 is already high enough to have adverse effects.

      Like

    • Hi Bridget,

      I have a story very similar to yours – ACE scores 6 & 8, autoimmune disease (rheumatoid arthritis), severe depression for decades. I recently began seeing a functional medicine physician who did extensive testing – genetic, hormones and food sensitivities (not the ones a conventional doctor will do) and recommended a course of treatment which included a radical overhaul of my diet, adding supplements and improving my self-care habits.

      Not only do I feel significantly better physically (still a way to go), I also lost unneeded weight and emotionally I am feeling stronger.

      Perhaps you can find someone in your area who uses functional medicine and can support you on your journey.

      Like

  78. I have an ACEs score of ten. I have nine protective factors from youth and twelve that are still true to me. I am a devoted mother to two children. I am a successful employee for the federal government with one year of college education. I want to go to college to become a neuropsychologist because I believe that teaching children begins with understanding physiology. I am told that I cannot do this because I do not have a college education. I need to sleep to be successful with this goal. How can I achieve this goal while experiencing the effects of toxic stress?

    Respectfully,
    Misty Moore
    505-503-5280

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Misty,

      Keep building on all your already tremendous strengths. One step at a time, just as you’ve already done to get where you are. If you need help with sleep and it’s trauma related, make yourself a priority in this one particular area and start trauma-based therapy to heal. Then or as soon as you’re ready, continue with / go back to college. So you can then train and add your precious and valuable and much-needed skills in the field of neuropsychology. There are no time limits to education and following what pulls at us

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  84. Wow! This is very interesting to me. Especially regarding autoimmune diseases and increased inflammation. I scored a 7 on the test and although I had a rough start to life I was able to earn a college degree, work, marry, have kids and a home. However this all went downhill after the birth of my 3 rd child when I was diagnosed with my first autoimmune disease. I’ve been living in chronic pain for 7 years to no avail and I’ve refused pain meds because of my parents addiction. I guess I’ve found the why to questions. Just need to figure out step one of healing.

    Liked by 1 person

      • Thank you for sharing the book and author. I can’t wait to read it. Who knew so many of my health issues were related to my childhood? I had no idea. I am looking forward to healing.

        Like

    • Hi Meranda,

      I have a story very similar to yours – ACE scores 6 & 8, autoimmune disease (rheumatoid arthritis), severe depression for decades. I also have a successful marriage, four wonderful adult children, a degree and work I love.

      I recently began seeing a functional medicine physician who did extensive testing – genetic, hormones and food sensitivities (not the ones a conventional doctor will do) and recommended a course of treatment which included a radical overhaul of my diet, adding supplements and improving my self-care habits.

      Not only do I feel significantly better physically (still a way to go), I also lost unneeded weight and emotionally I am feeling stronger.

      Perhaps you can find someone in your area who uses functional medicine and can support you on your journey.

      Like

  85. I did not have an easy childhood. Im 18, living on my own, life is looking a lot better, but it’s still a challenge. My ace score was 9, resiliance was 8. Is that a good balance? I mean most of my childhood was positive, I just had to deal with more stress and more negatives than most kids. I think im doing ok. I do drink sometimes, I have tried a few drugs, I dont smoke, I’m a hard worker and im trying to go to college. I still sometimes feel damaged though

    Liked by 1 person

    • Just want to say I wish you the best and I respect your resilience and hard work. Many kids have it WAY WAY easier (my score is a very solid 0). I think anyone with a 9 who is a hard worker with ambitions for college and living on their own is a hero. So, respect, and I wish for your continued resilience and that you can create a much more calm and peaceful adulthood. Please grab all the support and resources you can.

      Like

    • Dear friend, I am sorry to hear of the experiences you had. My ACE score was a 5. I grew up in a home with a violent abusive older brother (who my parents unfortunately were not able to manage), yet I was fortunate to also have a Christian upbringing and a great group of friends and Christian family who encouraged me and created a lot of stability. For this reason, my resiliency score is 10/14. I too accepted Christ growing up, and that has forever changed my life. I would encourage you to find an evangelical church and maybe get involved with a twelve-step program (more than anything to meet people who care about you and with walk your journey with you). Also, don’t concentrate on what your scores are. You sound like a strong and determined individual. I pray that you will not get sidetracked or burdened by addictions. One last thing: from a Christian perspective, we are all damaged, but God comes in and heals us when we ask Him to. It doesn’t matter what your ACE score is. God is our resilience, and He can make the the most successful individuals from the most broken people there are. May His grace anoint your life, and may you too come to know the peace, joy, love, and hope that comes from trusting your life into the hands of the One who died for our sins, sicknesses, and hurts. May God bless you and may those that read these words also be blessed!

      Like

    • You have had a very challenging start to life and I admire your courage and willingness to change your life going forward. The fact that you know about this now allows you to completely rewrite your future.

      There are many paths to a healthy, happy and fulfilling life – self-care and self-nurturing are at the top of the list.

      You’ve got this.

      Like

    • My ACES score was 8, resilience 5. I am 50+ years old, have 2 undergraduate degrees and 1 graduate degree (totally self- and scholarship-funded), I’ve been happily married for 30 years and have 3 amazing kids. I’m successful in my professional and personal life. And to this day, I occasionally feel damaged. However, I quickly realize how blessed I am to come as far as I have, and remember that my experiences have given my insight, empathy, and wisdom I’d have gotten no other way.
      My childhood experiences don’t define me, what I do with them does.
      All the best

      Like

      • Thanks for your comment, Sheila. I think your experience shows how important resilience factors are in neutralizing ACEs. Your last sentence is another version of a slogan that the ACEs initiative in Arizona uses: ACEs can last a lifetime; but they don’t have to.

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  87. To Jane Ellen Stevens:

    Yes, there is hope. The beginning of creating hope, and then a satisfying, happy life, is learning about the effects of what happened to you. When the abuse and its consequences are out in the open, you can shed the burden of guilt and denial and other emotions and behavior patterns that keep your body and soul reacting to your childhood.

    After a while, you will find that you can identify the things that keep you bound to the past and start changing them. I have been working on a horrible childhood for almost thirty years now. AT 79, I expect to live another 10-15 years and to enjoy my children and grandchildren, volunteer work I love, and the internal peace and calm that eluded me (no wonder) all those years.

    You have started off on the right track!!!

    Liked by 1 person

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  89. I am so happy to have found this website! I just happen to run across “Childhood Disrupted” by Nakazawa. I was speechless! She wrote this book about me! I majored in pyschology back in the late 80s and had never heard of this. Family members always say “its a miracle you turned out so well considering….” but I didnt. I mean, I held it together and faked it enough to function, get good grades, have friends and date. Graduate college, marry and have kids. but i was never really “alive”. At times I felt good, but mostly i was going thru the motions. Began drinking at age 14 and lost my virginity. Partied way too much in my younger days. Never had big dreams or goals. Now at age 49, i am divorced, struggling with finding work i like that will pay the bills. Been on antidepressants for about 20 years. Have Hashimotos, severe anemia, very high inflammation, chronic back pain, low energy…etc. I can’t believe this is all tied together. My ACE score is 7. I am scared I am going to get cancer or heart disease any day now and leave my little girl without a mommy….is there hope for getting better?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Rayne. I am an old family physician working mostly with prisoners and community methadone patients. Lots of high ACE scores which contributed to substance use and offending. The really profitable approach is to combine EMDR (rapid resolution of intrusive traumatic memories) and ACT (mindfulness and values connection). Find someone who can help you get access to these tools.
      Dr Hugh Nelson

      Liked by 1 person

    • Please read The Body Keeps the score by Bessel Van Der Kolk. It will inform you of the many ways to resolve your trauma. Talking therapy did not work but Sosomatic experiencing, Neurofeedback and TRE have done. It has only taken 2 years of work and I am really present in my life.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Rayne,

      There is hope.

      I recently began seeing a functional medicine physician who did extensive testing – genetic, hormones and food sensitivities (not the ones a conventional doctor will do) and recommended a course of treatment which included a radical overhaul of my diet, adding supplements and improving my self-care habits.

      Not only do I feel significantly better physically (still a way to go), I also lost unneeded weight and emotionally I am feeling stronger.

      Perhaps you can find someone in your area who uses functional medicine and can support you on your journey.

      Like

  90. I just scored a ten on the ACE test and a 2 on the resilience test. I know for a fact that my childhood experiences led me to my life of dealing with depression, addiction, and the inability to function in society. Thank God people are finally looking into this!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I scored 5 on the ACE and 5 on the resilience test, that tells me how hard your life must have been. Hope your life gets better even at very slow pace. Let us not give up hope. Hug

      Like

  91. Hi. I have a lot of “Not Sure” scores. When I was a child there was no physical or sexual abuse (unless you count spanking, but back in my day even kids thought spanking was “par for the course” and I didn’t feel especially traumatized by that.) What I felt truamatized by was raised voices and swearing or verbal insults. We were an upper middle class family but my mother was very sick (she ultimately died of cancer when I was 16). I was very timid as a child, and so was ridiculed by adults as well as (of course) other children. In my day (I’m 50 now) parents and teachers expected kids to “fight their own battles” and if they did step in to comfort you or help you it came with a huge stigma that you were too needy, not functioning at an age-appropriate level, etc. There weren’t a lot of resources for or knowledge about the fearful child.

    Now I am too often still a fearful adult. I’m happily married with no kids of my own (I’d worry too much about bringing them into a world that still has so much hate, intolerance, instability, etc.). My main problem is I am often intimidated by the job market, because it is so aggressive and competitive. I trained as a librarian, NOT just because I am “mousy” but because I love to help others evaluate information, but I wasn’t able to stay in it because of both the job market at the fact that there are no more “mousy” librarians. Today’s librarian needs to be extroverted and able to multitask and “think fast on your feet”, deal with difficult people, etc. just like people in every kind of job. I feel like a bum that I struggle with keeping jobs – I try to be a hard worker, to take initiative without overstepping my position, to take responsibility for my own professional development even though that gets expensive when you have to pay your own way to courses and workshops, and to be kind and helpful to everyone and to use professional courtesy, but I’ve had a lot of bully bosses and ultimately never was able to get to a better work environment, perhaps because my skills weren’t as sophisticated as the better libraries wanted (eg. I didn’t have the experience with grant-getting, technology that the better libraries wanted, although I tried to seek these skills with the time and money available to me). Right now I’m recovering from stage 2 breast cancer, but my prognosis, unlike my mom’s, is excellent – thank goodness. I want to work once I’m recovered, and feel that I should, but I’m scared that there’s no where I fit in. My question is, do others in this discussion group have job problems related to their childhood experiences of not feeling safe or accepted. Please share if you are willing to.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Hi Francine. Yes, I can absolutely relate. While I’m not timid, I’ve always felt “different” than others. I’ve learned to love this about myself and seek out work that’s a fit for my natural disposition. I work for myself and I take on work that suits my personality, which usually means project based work lasting one week to 6 months. It doesn’t provide the stability of a permanent role, but since I’m not accustomed to stability sometimes that can be a blessing. More often than not I’m successful in these roles and they offer me something permanent which I’ve only just recently learned doesn’t work out because companies are usually set in their ways and unwilling to approach things with enough flexibility for me.

      At the end of the day, God has taught me to love who I am and He has restored me to my former, pre-trauma self which means my heart is finally soft again. I now accept and love myself for who I am. I don’t need to fit into society’s idea of who we should be. I only need to be myself and keep loving in a world that doesn’t make that easy.

      Wishing you all the very best! If you’d like to join the private group I’ve created for ACE survivors, I’d welcome your input! sam at happily contented dot com

      Liked by 2 people

    • Francine I feel for your story. I work in technology and want to suggest that you look into technology-related careers that take advantage of your strengths. There are jobs in Information Architecture that might be a great fit for you. Often tech jobs can be done remotely or with less people interaction than you described in the evolving library job. Not all bosses are bullys and I think you might be able to translate your skills into the new world of technology–and likely with better pay and better job prospects going forward. Look up Information Architecture on Google and start from there. And of course you will find great books on IA…

      Like

    • Even though “spanking” was common … all the research I’ve seen seems to indicate it did harm. And the additional harm was that the violence seemed to be “normal” so we had no language for our bodies to express to anyone what was happening. I found reading Alice Miller’s books very enlightening as to why so many people find it hard to acknowledge the impact of being hit, threatened and humiliated as a child by the people we were biologically dependent on for our lives and belonging. Then, after having read Bessel Van der Kolk’s book, I’ve finally felt hope that I can help my body feel fundamentally safer than it ever has before. It’s also helped me understand why cognitive behaviour therapy and other psychology often left me feeling more lonely and distressed. I’ve found a trauma-informed psychologist who is EMDR qualified and also booked into a trauma-informed yoga session. I know it will be a case of trying different things to see what helps – I’m just so glad to finally feel hope and be able to put words to my body’s experience

      Like

  92. Pingback: Putting resilience and resilience surveys under the microscope « ACEs Too High

  93. ace score 9 my mom was in a position she couldnt protect me. She is now my best friend and I know about domestic abuse. She divorced my dad and is still afraid of him. Resilience is 7/14 but I have a very optimistic outlook. The only thing I have trouble with is feeling because I’m numb. Other than that my life is how I made it. I believe I may had went through hell growing up but, I stood up for myself when I taught myself. When others told me I couldn’t or tried to make me feel bad. I felt sorry for them. They are bullies and they are so miserable they want to see others the same. I have no hate for anyone. Don’t let anyone have the power to change you. They don’t like you oh well. Be yourself and nothing is impossible once you put your mind to it. Surround yourself with positivity and remember once you are an adult no one unless you let them can harm you. I was abused all my life and I vowed as an adult no more. I couldn’t stop it as a kid but as an adult I choose my path no one else.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Your comment really inspired me. I went through a very tough childhood. For some reason I can not forget about all the bad things happened to me. Even a small unhappy event can trigger all the bad memories. I know it is bad but can’t stop it. I will stay positive and take control of it…..

      Like

    • Thank you for your post Precious. I was given the ACE test in my Functional medicine doctors office 2 days ago & scored an 8. The test overwhelmed me & I cried for most of the appointment. I have been walking around in a fog for the last 2 days. I do believe our adult lives are what we make them no matter what our childhoods were like. Thank you for reminding me of that with your post.

      Liked by 1 person

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  96. Maybe I am minimizing here but I feel like the ACE questionnaire= human existence. I feel most people would have a score, if not one 3 or above. I felt detached as I went through the questions and answered them. The research makes sense but I do not feel emotional towards it. I do not feel any vindication in why I act or do the behaviors I do or have done. For a long time, I tried to do everything the “right” way and shit still ended badly. People would always say “you’ve turned out so well despite…” But I did not feel like I had turned out well based on how I felt inside and the things I thought about. I am sure my parents loved me but they had scores as well so that probably trickled down in their parenting. My kids have very low scores compared to me but a score nonetheless. I don’t know how we could prevent the human condition? We can understand it maybe, try to rework systems based on the research to better help with resiliency. For me, Prozac is helping. Therapy did not. But who would I be without my experiences? What would we read? How about art and music? Adversity leads to creativity and wisdom. Some of the most beautiful people I have met have had the shittiest lives. Just a perspective, maybe just me trying turn positives out of negatives again.

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    • Yes, there’s the question of: what’s unavoidably part of being a vulnerable mortal, and what’s preventable. I think the research is vital because it highlights that much of the trauma that is being perpetrated today is preventable. I answer this as a parent who survived childhood violence and then struggled with how to not hurt my own children when I was frustrated or frightened about their behaviour. What I’ve found so far is that the more we can mourn and nurture our own wounds, the more open hearted we are about taking full responsibility for not perpetrating violence towards our children or others. Does this add a perspective?

      Like

  97. It’s funny I scored high in both tests. I am happy to know I have some resilience. I almost have literally two different childhood, one before 10 with my grandmother, I was cared for and loved and the other after 10 with my mother and stepfather with physical violence, criticism… and much more.

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  98. Ace score 10. 1 probably true, 1 definitely true. I am in bad shape. I am now 47 years old and my life as been full of abuse and sadness none stop. I have no money, made bad choices, have pretty much dig a hole for failure for myself all my life. On the verge of becoming homeless with an autistic child and no help or place to go. I don’t know what to do anymore.

    Like

    • Anonymous, I hear your plea… I pray that you will find the strength and faith to step out of your circumstances and sense of powerlessness, and reach out for help that must be out there, somewhere. Even if it’s a hotline or shelter, a place of worship or community center; pin your hope on the certainty that you deserve a better life; and that the support, friendship, and love are out there for you. Keep looking. May peace and light lead your way…

      Like

  99. Pingback: Just one year of child abuse costs San Francisco, CA, $300 million….but it doesn’t have to « ACEs Too High

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  103. Ace score of 9 only because my mom wouldn’t press charges on my daddy for beating her, or he would have gone to prison because he put her in the hospital. Resiliency 14. My parents were extremely toxic, fought, did and sold drugs, held guns to each others’ heads in front of me in a very small town. Daddy quit drinking and left my mom because she didn’t take good care of me and my brother, and she wanted to stay high and drunk and had a violent temper. I stayed with her for two nights when he left her. I was 12 and didn’t want my mom to be alone. First night she got drunk and didn’t pick me up from a school function, the next night she dragged me down the hallway by my hair. Daddy rescued me that night, and I didn’t have any contact with my mom for 9 years. Daddy remarried someone who emotionally abused me. She told me my mom didn’t want me. My step mother forced me to clean up after everyone when I got home from school. Dogs’ feces and urine, dirty dishes, dirty clothes even though she didn’t work. She did nothing. I felt like Cinderella. Now I am 35 years old with 2 precious little boys. My mom got me addicted to crack shortly after I reconnected with her. I was able to quit that, but kept drinking and have been to jail twice for assault, first time against my oldest son’s father, second time against my mother. My oldest son lives with his daddy right now. Working on getting my anger issues under control. I finally quit alcohol and marijuana. Doing much bett r. I’m engaged now and go to church, bake for the bake sales and try to volunteer. I stay at home with my 3 year old. Once he gets in school, I want to finish college. Just hope I can get better psychologically so I don’t put my kids through the things I went through. My boys are a gift from God and the reason I want to get out of bed, to see them smile. I never wanted to have children BC I was scared I would be a bad mom like mine was. But I see what I’ve done wrong in the past and working hard to not make those mistakes again. One day at a time putting God and my family first.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Jada you will be fine because you KNOW. And those boys are gifts given to you so you will truly know good things when you see them. NEVER let them take second place to your past. Bless you.

      Like

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  105. Hi there, I just wondered if you could shed some light on the resilience scale. To what degree does it reduce your risk of developing physical or mental health issues? Thank you!

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    • This particular scale has not been validated to show that these resilience factors reduce particular risk of chronic health issues. However, research into individual types of resilience factors have been shown to make people healthier, including good nutrition, enough sleep, living in a safe place, living with safe people, have strong social connections, exercise, volunteering, having people who care about you and love you in your life, and mindfulness.

      Liked by 1 person

  106. Pingback: Information on child trauma, resources to get help

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  109. Hello!

    I’m a strong Supporter of this research and would love to help progress the effects of it in any way possible. I have been working on building a youth program over the last two years and have been incorporating the resiliency aspects in part of the interactive training. I wanted to know if there was a way to collaborate and help maximize the effects of the program as we branch out to more schools and help add to the data that supports ACE’s, resiliency and creating lasting change! Would love to help in any way possible, thank you and Merry Christmas!!

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  114. Hi Nichole,

    I, too, have found that I have to go very slowly is better (the Somatic Experiencing approach by Peter Levine uses the phrase “slower is faster” which I have found to be very true as a client and also as a therapist.) I have also found that pushing at all (let alone pushing hard) doesn’t work well and can lead to side effects / increases in symptoms or emotional distress etc.

    It sounds like you have a good person to work with and other options. The ways of working with prenatal / birth / early childhood events are especially focused on slow and in small increments if you ever look into them.

    best to you!

    Liked by 2 people

  115. ACE score of 6, but a lot of bad things happened that were not included in the survey. My “real” score is probably 10-11, depending on what would count.

    Resilience score of 0

    My mother resented having me (according to my father, she actually tried to have me aborted, but I survived), and in hindsight, was clearly mentally ill herself. My father supposedly got injured in a car accident before I was born, and developed bad anger issues.

    It all culminated in an incredibly violent childhood. I have 3 siblings, and all have anger issues as well. There was never a day I wasn’t beaten or in a physical altercation of some sort, and the sound of yelling and fighting was constant background noise. Often I would be attacked with objects such as hammers, baseball bats, or scissors.
    I was diagnosed with ~7 concussions in my childhood, but that’s only when I was taken to the doctor. I am certain there were more. I would usually go to school with gashes, bruises, cuts, swollen fingers and so on.

    Both of them were estranged from their families, so I never got to meet my grandparents or any other family members.

    Additionally, my parents were very verbally abusive. I was constantly yelled at, and called terrible things. They were not physically affectionate either, neither parent ever hugged or kissed me, not even once. Really the only good thing I can say is that they made sure I was fed, clothed, etc.

    At school the teachers would yell at me for daydreaming in class (now I know I was dissociating), and I was constantly bullied by my classmates. I went through school friendless, before I failed out.

    I’m the only one who didn’t have any anger issues, I haven’t gotten angry since I was a small child. I think that’s why I was the target for so much of the rage. I was totally alone, and didn’t know how to do anything other than retreat inwards.

    Eventually I broke down and tried to kill myself, saw a psychiatrist. I was diagnosed with schizophrenia, OCD, anxiety, and depression.

    I’ve been seeing a therapist since then. For a long time I was unable to feel emotion, but it’s been coming back to me slowly. When I was a child I was always just trying to survive, and make it to the next day. So it’s only now that I’m really feeling bad about everything that happened. Now I feel incredibly lonely, sad, and very very vulnerable. And the worst part is that I realize that nobody is there for me, no one was ever there. As an adult I can get along with others, but I’m close to no one. It’s honestly still surprising to me, all these years later, that people don’t hate me and start insulting me when they see me.

    Physically, I’m a wreck, I have RA and struggle to do simple things. I have horrible chronic pain and don’t remember the last time I had a good night’s sleep. I’m in school again, and am halfway to a degree, while also working. I don’t know where my energy comes from.

    I’m actually kind of bummed out that I probably won’t be living as long as others, but I’m still in my 20’s so I’ve got a long ways to go.

    Sorry for long post, wanted to vent a little.

    Liked by 3 people

    • You’ve survived, you’re in your 20s and have a deep understanding of yourself and your past that many people don’t acquire until much later in life. Your figuring out ways to improve your life; I’d say you have a good shot at living out this slogan that the Arizona ACEs consortium repeats often: “ACEs can last a lifetime, but they don’t have to.”

      Thank you for sharing your story.

      Like

    • Dear Anonymous, thanks for sharing your story, I just wanted to reach out and give you a hug, be it virtually…. So much pain for one person. I have a high score too, and here in my 30s, I can tell you that it’s finally getting better and I’m so glad I stuck it out! I did so much work to move past the sense of unworthiness my upbringing left with me. Actually I’ve been really mad the past couple years that the work isn’t totally finished yet, that I am still dealing with repercussions of a traumatic youth, wtf. But your message sort of jolted me to remember, if I really think back, I can see I’ve come so far from where they left me…. I know you will too, I’m sure because I see you fighting for your education and betterment, despite the pain. God speed to you, Crystal

      Liked by 1 person

  116. I notice that the test places a heavy emphasis on mothers or stepmothers or maternal figures being harmed or beaten or abused. I’m wondering about how it affected me that my mother was the violent one. I understand she came from a very strict home, where punishments were swift and physical, but I don’t know how to answer the questions about mothers being slapped or beaten. I answered “no” since she never was, but I’m afraid my score is higher than the test showed because of my watching my mother’s violence and depression. Any ideas? I too suffer from obesity, abysmal depression, anxiety, disability, and the like. I live in hell, but am expected to smile through everything because misery is forbidden in this awful culture of surfaces.

    Liked by 1 person

    • There are, of course, many other types of childhood trauma — watching a sibling being abused, losing a caregiver (grandmother, mother, grandfather, etc.), homelessness, surviving and recovering from a severe accident, witnessing a father being abused by a mother, witnessing a grandmother abusing a father, etc. The ACE Study included only those 10 childhood traumas because those were mentioned as most common by a group of about 300 Kaiser members; those traumas were also well studied individually in the research literature.

      The most important thing to remember is that the ACE score is meant as a guideline: If you experienced other types of toxic stress over months or years, then those would likely increase your risk of health consequences.

      Liked by 1 person

  117. Hi Nichole,

    Congratulations on how much work you’ve done and how much you have changed your life. It’s so wonderful to witness.

    You mention that much of your early trauma has been difficult to access because it happened in infancy.

    I’ve found that the somatic therapies (such as EMDR), which bypass our conscious / cognitive knowledge to work with the ways in which trauma is held in our bodies, can help address the effects that come even from events experienced very early in life, including as far back as prenatal life and birth events.

    It is also possible to work even more specifically with effects from this time period (which in addition to abuse could include having been adopted, living in foster care, issues around conception, even things like the impact of parental loss of loved ones very early in our lives – which can affect how parents are able to attune to their little ones etc).

    You can find one place to start with an organization that focuses on prenatal and perianatal experiences. Here’s their directory of practitioners around the country and in the world:

    https://birthpsychology.com/find-a-practitioner

    Hang in there and keep going! I too have been working for many years on long-standing effects (even as mine were very subtle) and it continues to get better even if the process can take much time.

    Like

    • I have tried EMDR. It has helped up to a point. Everytime we push to access anything before kindergarten it’s black. My last experience with EMDR had really bad side effects because we pushed too hard I think. I know some of that trauma impacts some things in my life. It would be nice to reprogram that part but I think we are going to focus another direction.

      Like

  118. What if you never had a non parental adult help raise you because your family just didn’t know any, and not because you were getting abused?

    How is the last question a sign of mental health or lack/presence of abuse? Having different philosophical beliefs on life does not mean you have mental illness or abusive childhood. Fact is, you don’t have to be abused to recognize that life isn’t always what you make it because you can’t control all of reality.

    Do they tell blacks who suffer from racism that “life is what you make it”, even while there is nothing they can do to change their situation?

    Like

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  120. I believe the ACE score can go way over 10. When I add ACEs I experienced not on the list it would go over 15-20. When I add the resilience list, which I would definitely add more ways to it, my number is very high. I also thought to add the number even if the action was limited to a narrow window of time. Therapy, foster care, and defense mechanisms are huge resilience contributors. I see more resilience factors I had as I go through my Dialectal Behavior Therapy.

    Liked by 1 person

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  122. On further reflection, I wonder if anyone else has found these 2 statements from the resilience survey – so-called “protective factors” – to be troubling?

    4. I’ve heard that when I was an infant someone in my family enjoyed playing with me, and I enjoyed it, too.

    10. We had rules in our house and were expected to keep them.

    Like

      • Yup, that’s it Valkyrie. I looked at #10 strangely; some of the rules I was forced to follow in my house would not translate into ANY form of resilience-builder or protective mechanism.. quite the opposite. I’d have called them cruel & draconian…

        Liked by 1 person

      • For me, it triggered so many questions; DID she love me (if I’d ask her), did I FEEL that she loved me; did I believe BACK THEN or NOW that she loved me, etc etc. Guess that’s what happens when I (we?) develop grossly analytical tendencies at a young age, questioning the veracity & doubting the truth of nearly everything and everyone that enters our lives…

        Like

  123. ACE 10
    PTSD (anxiety, depression), PMDD (premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder)
    41 years old
    I have been in therapy for almost ten years. I have done CBT and EMDR (EMDR has been life changing for me)
    I have finally figured out medications for my PMDD and continue to face challenges associated with my past history. A majority of my trauma was prior to age 2 so there is really limited memory. The abuse continued until I was about 17 years old. It is my understanding that the worst was when I was an infant.
    This makes it very difficult to fully address in a therapeutic setting. I fear everyone. I fear everything. I am hyper vigilant in my life and everything I do. I have never had a successful relationship and have struggled just to get through each month, every month.
    I refuse to give up though. I have begun accepting I am who I am and that will not change. I have come so far already, from a person who was close to going to jail and hanging out with drug dealers to five months shy of my masters degree and just sent two boys to college. I am a survivor and will never give up the fight.
    I just wanted to share.

    Liked by 1 person

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  126. This information has touched me GREATLY. THANK YOU!!!!!! By the way i scored and 8 on the ACE EXAM. This score is troubling to me but NOT SURPRISING.

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  130. Dear Happily Contented:

    I too am putting together a Facebook page. I would be glad to merge our two pages. I think one support page would be better than two! I have a description written if you would like, and am trying to make the group — what is it called? — the most private of the options to guard confidentiality. I would be happy to give up this project! Jean

    Like

    • Hi Jean.
      Hope you were able to access my message on facebook eventually! As I mentioned to HealingPilgrim below, while I would more than welcome the opportunity to collaborate, it seems like we might be offering different types of support based on where a survivor is at in their journey. I’m focusing on empowering people to share their stories transparently and remove the stigma surrounding shame. SEEN & HEARD is the business I’m building hence the same name for the fb group.

      Look forward to your thoughts on how we might work together. You know I’m a very big fan of all you’ve done here and am so grateful to have discovered you and your work.

      Like

    • Hi Happily Contented,
      Thanks for sharing about your scores and business. I’m also glad to hear about the Facebook group. But since Jean just launched another private FB group last week (Hope for ACEs Survivors), I wonder if it wouldn’t be more useful to direct all ACE survivors to a single group instead?

      Liked by 1 person

      • Hi HealingPilgrim. I didn’t realise Jean had launched a group, but I feel we’re potentially working on different sides of supporting ACE Survivors. My focus is around the business I’m building called SEEN & HEARD which supports empowering full transparency around the shame of childhood trauma. Jean is interested in creating a secret facebook group, which I also totally understand. I feel they might appeal to different people at different stages in their healing. Rest assured if there’s any way for us to collaborate I will welcome the opportunity as I’m a big fan of all Jean has done here.

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  134. 8 ACE, 14 Resilience. This explains why most of my disorders are manageable with only lifestyle adaptations and not necessarily medication, and why I seem to have “turned out okay”, despite the lasting effects of trauma. I feel lucky now that I have that second score; never really did before that.

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  138. Wow–the information is good and helpful. Grateful I am completely sober. I score a 9 using standard additive scoring. What is most impressive are these comments–so much generosity and wisdom plus hope. Thanks!

    Related helpful NPR articles:
    http://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2015/03/02/387007941/take-the-ace-quiz-and-learn-what-it-does-and-doesnt-mean

    http://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2015/03/02/377569413/can-family-secrets-make-you-sick

    I have heard this expression, “You are only sick as your secrets.” Even the researchers admit being overwhelmed by recognition by the sheer sense of suffering as evidenced by study results. I have been able to have compassion and not look further to family members ofr support, because I feel they simply do not have the psychological or emotional resources. What a relief!

    Liked by 1 person

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  140. ACE: 9 Resilience: 2

    I struggle with severe post traumatic stress disorder, OCD, depression, disordered eating, and a weight problem due to the limited types of food I can eat.
    I had troubles with connecting with people as a child and as I am now my mind is constantly telling me that any stranger on the bus is likely to hurt me. Life is very scary, but medication and counseling have started to help.
    I haven’t spoken to my mother in five years, and I think that helps too.

    Like

    • I am not sure where to comment on this. I had a score of 9on the ace and 6 on the resiliance. i am not sure what this means. But, I am now beginning to realize how badly that all the abuse did effect me. I am going to be in much prayer and seeking answers. if anyone is interested in contacting me my email is happychristianlady1218@gmailom. thanks
      

      Like

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  142. ACE: 4, Resilience: 7, so not bad, yet still, struggling with depression, anxiety, low self-worth, insecurity, chronic pain and relationship issues through all my adult life. Finally, decided to do sth abou it and started my healing journey few years ago, learning all I could about brain development, PTSD, attachment, etc. Things that help me most: yoga, meditation, mindfulness, writing, CBT, EMDR, self-care.

    Thank you for all tools and resources this website offers!

    Liked by 1 person

  143. On the ACE test I got 5 .
    On the true def true not true test I got an 8.. I don’t see anything explaining what this may or may not mean other then I assume it’s not healthy. Which I would understand from how I did grow up. I hope they can put this into a system to help children sooner rather than later.

    Like

  144. My score was 10. I’ve been in therapy for 3 years now. Started EMDR about 6 months ago in addition to my counselor. I joke that it’s taking a village to help me. My severe depression and PTSD are getting to be less severe, but things still trigger bouts of suicide ideation. I won’t do that to my son. I won’t leave him, but there is a part of me that feels overwhelming sadness on a regular basis. I still have a long road ahead but I’m facing my demons a little at a time. I’m worried about my health. Do people who seek treatment become physically better?

    Like

    • I too have very high scores on low resilience and high ACE. My adult life has been pretty confusing and sometimes unbearable. What helped me enormously was discovering yoga. I met a teacher with whom I resonated and he supported me in my practice and interest in yoga. It has been a transformative experience, it has grounded me on my life path and it has given me tools that i couldn’t have imagined.
      I found this book very helpful by Bessel van der Kolk, The body keeps the score.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Yes Karen – you can heal. I scored high too – an 8. I was in therapy for five years in my early 20’s after a suicide attempt and it was enough to make me functional but not at peace. Within the last four years I went through MBSR (mindfulness based stress reduction) followed by mindful self compassion training. These changed my life profoundly. I’m 45, and for the first time in my life I’m at peace and authentically happy (most of the time). The big lessons for me were that WHY doesn’t matter because abuse isn’t personal – I was an object and hurting people hurt people, and that I can love and forgive others and myself – which was a concept I really didn’t get. So I was able to forgive myself for the unhealthy ways I dealt with my pain and eventually even forgave my mother and father and others who were sick and harmed me. I’m now a mindfulness teacher (I studied it at UCLA) and work with abused kids who are hopelessly caught in the system because they’ve been taken out of their homes and live in group homes, residential facilities, etc because I don’t want them to lose as much time as I did healing the heart and brain. You can do it. There’s hope – thankfully our brains are changeable and our hearts can be rediscovered and cherished. Much love to you, fellow survivor.

      Liked by 1 person

    • No Karen please don’t do that to your son. My wife did that in 1998, our daughter was only 2. It has ruined my life and I don’t think I’ll ever be the same again. I would have to write an encyclopedia to tell you all about it. You have no idea what you would do to your son if you ever did that. My wife’s score might have been around the same as yours. 3 months after I met her, her dad committed suicide. Suicide brings suicide. Endemic.

      To leave you on a positive note I shall say that we only become physically better if we let go of the past. And for this to happen we sometimes have to go through our past, in your own words you say ”face your demons”. I write songs.

      I am very close to my lovely daughter and I hope you can do the same thing with your son, HE NEEDS YOU.

      Like

  145. Thank you, I have done my own research into child abuse and the impact on the brain. I didn’t have anyone to talk to about it, so I did research. I realized that my brain was pumping chemicals constantly to perhaps assist me in survival. As a child these particular chemicals weren’t appropriate for my age. So I concluded that parts of my brain did not receive the correct chemistry, there by causing, if you will, brain damage. The Mental health environment call it Clinical Depression. and PTSD. It’s brain damage!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Debra, thank you for sharing this. I’m pretty sure that, because I was on high alert all for SO many years, and my brain had no opportunity to develop in a healthy and functional way, it took a serious pounding. FYI, I’m now reading An Abbreviated Life. It’s a memoir in which the author (with high levels of ACEs) explains how her therapist said that her brain might not have been damaged so much as altered. Maybe so, but it’s hard to believe that mine is not actually damaged / chemically unbalanced and rewired – especially when I’m knee-deep in dissociation.

      Like

    • It’s still a good idea to seek our a professional to discuss what you know. It’s their job to stay current and to know ways to deal with this. It’s not only the brain that’s affected by such chemicals. It’s the body, emotions, and of course all of these are connected in many ways as well. You can help treat this from either or both ends–body and mind/emotions. Learning to deal with how your body has been affected through various forms of relaxation training, yoga, tai chi, qigong for health, etc. all can contribute to changing that chemistry now. And working from the other end, seeing a therapist for some form of therapy that is specialized to the treatment of abuse results can help. My idea is to use everything available, to tackle the problem from all angles, even including vitamins and herbal supplements! Everything that validates you and helps you feel better is good, including your own research if you learn how to use the research to change how you feel, how your brain works, and how you act. It’s all good! It’s more than brain damage. It’s damage to a whole person in a whole way. So, the treatments should also be “holistic” and allow you to view yourself as a whole person. If you haven’t availed yourself of help like this, you may be surprised how much it can change that body chemistry, however gradually.

      Like

      • I agree Jill, especially about the holistic approach.
        Just yesterday I took my first Qi Gong class! I’ve also been practicing Iyengar yoga, I swim, walk meditatively and try to eat healthily. The art / painting that I practice (on my own & facilitating with others) is both cathartic and a balm to my soul. I’m pretty sure that these outlets – for creative expression and finding stillness and sometimes joy – are, to a large extent, responsible for keeping me afloat.
        Check out the book called The Brain That Changes Itself.

        Liked by 1 person

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  147. My ACE was 8. I couldn’t calculate the Resilience score as I have no personal memory of childhood. I learned in college that means sexual abuse. It would be great if there was a study update to include folks like me. My sisters and I have dealt with severe depression and PTSD. I think my reliance score would be very positive. I just turned 60 and want to help others overcome. If I can, anyone can.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It doesn’t “mean” sexual abuse. It could mean a lot of things. Abuse comes in many guises, as does memory issues, and the brain is extremely complex and unique to the individual.

      Like

  148. Wow this is an eye opener. I really had a stressful life and I think I have ptsd. I’m having relationship trouble and can’t understand why.

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  150. My ACE score is 5, my resililcence is zero. I am 49. I am waiting for clothes to dry then checking myself into a hospital for major depression, BPD, chronic PTSD. I can’t go on any longer. I can’t feed myself. I have kids.

    Like

    • You probably won;t see this until you get back. I hope the hospital is helpful to you and that you get some of your needs met, along with a plan for when you are home again.

      Major depression coupled with PTSD is the pits. I wouldn’t take the BPD too seriously, as it might evaporate when you have dealt with the depression and PTSD. Many people — not all of course, have found this to be so.

      Sending good thoughts to you

      Jean

      Like

    • You are brave. The journey begins. And teh journey toward healing continues throughout a lifetime. I still do things to calm mysself—tai chi, qigong, yoga. They all help. Whoever wrote the recent essay here on forgiveness knows that’s a big one, too. After you take care of yourself, you may have room to explore the body and mind issues that linger, but you are taking the first and best step to getting immediate help.

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  153. It definitely seems to me that we could use an ACES support group. Someplace where we could encourage each other, share resources and things that have helped us.

    Is there something that I could do to help?

    Like

  154. Thank you so much! I first learned of this study when reading The Quincy Solution. I was trying to navigate the family court system. I do hope that this study becomes a tool for all involved with children (as a preventive tool) and adults (as a healing tool). ❤

    Shannon

    Like

  155. I am very glad I found out about this study. I have been in and out of therapy, on and off meds and definitely have a score above 4. I am in Connecticut and really want to know more about this and if there are any new techniques, coping skills, etc that are useful. Even any online groups for support would be amazing. I would torally volunteer fir any studys being done as well. I want to beat this!

    Like

  156. Is there a study or information of what can be done to derail and perhaps reverse the effects of ACE while the child is still young (7 and 4)? My 7 year old has started play therapy. I am raising my granddaughter (4) and am wondering if play therapy should be implemented for her as well. What other things could be implemented?
    I too would be interested in a Facebook group.

    Like

    • Hi, Shannon: For some ideas and to link with other caregivers, you can check out the Parenting with ACEs group on ACEsConnection.com, a social network for people who are implementing practices based on ACEs science. There are more than 11,000 people on ACEsConnection.com, and nearly 200 in the Parenting with ACEs group.

      Like

  157. My advice would be to get as many of your parts as possible on board, and ask inside if any part is against the idea, and for what reason. Work with them, and then give EMDR a reasonable try. Also, ask if the EMDR therapist has worked with others with DID, cause the approach sometimes needs to be modified.

    Good luck!

    Jean

    Like

  158. Dear Kevin:

    I think it will happen, but it’s in the organizational stage now, and will be fro at least a couple of weeks.

    We are all in the same boat, regardless of our scores, and so all will be welcome.

    Jean

    Like

  159. Oh Nikkie,that is fantastic!!!!!!

    Do you have a FAQ, how to post rules etc all written up? If not I can send you the one I use and you can change it to suit your needs.

    Do you know how to set up a closed Facebook group? I have a friend who just did it and she could guide you or me through it.

    What else do we need to do, besides publicity?

    Are you an old hand at groups? On line or real life? I think on line groups are easier to moderate/lead.

    Jean

    Could we do this in this group, as it might get others interested in joining, or they could give suggestions all through the process.

    Like

  160. ACE score 8
    Resilience 3.

    Age : 26

    My mother had Skizofrenia. So basically me n my siblings need to handle ourselves. I need to cook, clean, n prepare things for school myself. Except my father paid for the fees.
    In school, i basically had no friend, n i one of the bullied victim. My father never seem to care for me. Everytime school do events that needed my parents to come, i cant seem to make it happen. N i will just sit silently until it finished and the teachers will asked me to go back home (if parents come i can go back home with them.so basically all children already went home with their parents).
    And my brother had been raped me repeatedly since i was 10 (if i’m not mistaken. I cant seem to remember the details). This same brother also keep repeatedly punch and hurt me. Also my younger brother and my mother. Until i was accepted to university on my 20th. On the same year, my mother died. The problem with me n my mother is that she seems never to love me. It looks like she hate me so much. But i just cant understand why.
    And my father also tried to rape me (i cant seem to remember how many times).
    My father died in 2014. When he died, i got kick out of home by my brother. So i live on my own now.

    I once saw an acted of murderer trying to kill someone and it took me years to calm myself.

    I know i have trauma. I know i need to heal myself. Because i cant seem to believe in myself or even hoping for future now. So. Please wish me luck for healing myself ^__^

    Liked by 1 person

    • Your story is very sad. I’m sorry for what you went through and for what you’re going through. I hope you find the help you so desperately need. I know it’s out there. Just keep looking and never give up. You’re worth it.

      Like

    • Wow! You are very brave to survive all you did survive. You are already a “survivor,” but can be so much more. Get help. There must be some resources where you are for mental health help. If there are none, you can try churches who often help people in everything from shelter to food to counseling. Once you have a good person to talk with in person, keep on telling your story until you understand it and also understand you have survived the worst, and are now a stronger person than most people, and capable of empathy for others who have suffered in similar ways. You will need help to heal. Don’t depend just on yourself. Find some people who are kind and maybe who have some training to help others. Keep looking until you find the right helpers. You will have many helpers like this throughout your life once you know how to look for and find them. Yes, I wish you good luck and my heartfelt hope for your full recovery. I already know you are a survivor!!

      Liked by 1 person

    • Feyhan, my wish for you is to be patient and loving towards yourself, forgiving and open to a slow and steady healing. It might not be easy some (most) days, and hard to imagine a future that is anything different than your past; but if you can take one day at a time, hold onto even the tiniest glimmer of hope, and find the support that is hopefully out there for you, I believe that you can learn to deal with the trauma.. even if it takes a lifetime. Blessings to you, Amit

      Like

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  162. My name is Juia.
    I’m 47 yr old
    My ACE score was 9
    My Resilience score is 2 I suffer from Complex PTSD and Dissociative Disorder.
    I began EMDR 6 weeks ago, so far no change. Any advice?

    Like

    • Hey Juia! You’re a courageous woman and I feel for you; I suffered under the bleakest shadows of dissociation / DD for about 35 years. With an amazing therapist who counseled me as I emerged from the deepest shock and grief of it, I’ve worked hard to overcome through my own inner fight, resilience and patience. It felt like coming out of a closet/coma… (I’ve been dealing with PTSD too; times 2 – because of a near-death accident 7 years ago.) I wish for you to find the strength, determination and self LOVE to heal yourself…some day. Much love to you!

      Like

  163. My ACE score is 7 and my resileince score is a 5 at best. I’m 42 years old and am still struggling to come to terms. I voluntarily attended Anger Management class when my children were younger once I realized that I was perpetuating the cycle of anger and fear that I lived with as a child. DBT and CBT therapies haven’t done much others than to help me some what manage my panic disorder and to help stop my self-injerous behavior.
    While this is great, I’m still dealing with all of the issues that sent me to therapy. Nightmares, flashbacks, negative thoughts, panic attacks to the point that I rarely leave my home. The depression is leveled out but still there all the time. My anxiety is nevertheless under a 6 out of 10. That’s without taking my weight, blood pressure, smoking, Crohn’s disease and prediabetic status into account.
    I’m at a loss as to what to do, I live in a small town and have restrictions on who I can see because of health insurance.

    Like

  164. My ACE is 4. I think. Maybe 5…
    I’d say I’m at a 5 for resilience.
    But I’d like to see a ranking such as this divided up into smaller age-ranges; say birth-3, 4-6, 7-10… At least for me, there were monumental shifts over all those years, before – and after – I reached 18.

    Like

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  171. Is there an online support group? If not, is there any reason why we couldn’t do it?

    I could do the tech part, but hesitate to also volunteer to moderate. The tech part would not be through acestoohigh.com because I don’t know their system and have a very slow learning curve.

    Like

    • There isn’t an online support group through ACEsTooHigh, Jean; it’s a WordPress site, so doesn’t lend itself to a group. Some people started a private online support group on Facebook, but it needed moderating, and that’s quite a commitment, so it didn’t get off the ground.

      Like

      • What a shame. I wish I didn’t have so many projects, or I would offer to moderate. It’s fairly easy to do, as long as you have clear rules. If somebody else would like to moderate (and organize the group from scratch) I would be glad to help with the rules and the general FAQ.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Dear Healing Pilgrim

        Could you do the organizing? For now

        1.Keep track of pple like you who are interested.
        2. Post every now and then on ACES too high to get more pple, hopefully
        3. Let me know when you get to about 10.

        CAn do?

        Jean

        Like

      • Hi Jane and Jean,
        It sounds like Jane will take the lead in running this Facebook group which I’m happy to support, as time allows me. I think it might prove to be a great way for outreach.
        Please let me know how I can help, and if it would be best to take this organizing discussion offline – from ACEs I mean 😉

        Like

      • Hi Jane,
        Is that private FB group still online? I searched and didn’t come up with anything other than the ACEs Study. See below, Nikkie offered to moderate; that’s wonderful. If she’d like, I’ve offered to co-moderate.

        Like

  172. Hi Cheryl,

    It can be a real eye opener to learn about these links to autoimmune illness for sure. You’ll find many ideas for treatment in Donna Jackson’s Nakazawa’s book that she refers to in this blog post as well as throughout the comments when you have time to look through them (along with a lot of encouragement).

    Trauma therapy specifically also seems very appropriate for working with chronic illnesses of all kinds, some of which Donna also mentions in her book. I have a blog page describing a few types of therapy approaches for different types of trauma and links to help find a therapist in your area. And it absolutely makes sense that you might have PTSD following surgical interventions and so much of what can occurs with medical interventions. That could be a place to start as working with any type of trauma tends to help address other layers from other types as well.

    http://chronicillnessblog.com/find-a-therapist-for-healing-from-trauma/

    Like

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  174. Age: 38
    ACE Score: 9 (possibly 10)
    Resilience Score: 6

    I am just getting to the healing portion (Part 2) of “Childhood Disrupted” and found this site. My mom was murdered when I was 13 and before that constantly abused at the hands of my stepfather. My father struggled with drugs through my life and ended up overdosing when I was 30 and pregnant with my son. I then was diagnosed with a rare autoimmune diseases that her affected my eye sight and nervous system. I’ve been through so much and have always tried to push on but the past couple years I feel like I’ve hit a wall. I am disconnected and overwhelmed.

    I do not know where to begin. Therapy? What kind? I want to be a better mom to my 8 and 6 year old. I feel like I may even PTSD after having two eye surgeries in 2015 that were really stressful. I never thought to connect any of this to my childhood just always figured I had some really bad luck. I want help now so I can be a better mom and my kids see a strong, positive mom and not a stressed out disconnected one.

    Like

    • Cheryl, please find a therapist who understands trauma, PTSD and uses EMDR in treatment. My score is 7 and that’s made a big difference. Also, read the book, ComplexPTSD by Pete Walker. Guessing you might also have “emotional flashbacks” where you feel small and powerless. Good luck and on the days you cannot do it for yourself, do it for your kids – that’s what I had to do to keep going sometimes.

      Like

  175. I would love to know. More about this! I would love to work with children and families to help them overcome and have better health and lived.

    Like

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  178. FORGIVENESS. I know it is difficult to forgive someone that you don’t think deserves it, but forgiveness isn’t really about the other person. Forgiveness releases the reasons you hang onto resentment and anger, like a hot coal. When you release it, you stop the continued injury and begin healing. Forgiveness is also continual, because it is a state of being. Yes, being forgiven feels great too, because being forgiven leads to forgiveness of self. That’s the really important part so we stop beating ourselves up.
    I didn’t always know this for myself. I needed help. I found a wonderful soul-centered therapist who provided me a safe place to first release all of my unfelt emotions, mostly grief. She showed me how to be in the present, which allowed me to see the past as a memory and not a continued event. We talked about forgiveness and I began by forgiving one person in my present; not to his face. Then I forgave myself for hanging onto the hot coal of anger. What really matters is that afterwards, things truly got better. He seemed to treat me different, but the truth is I felt different about myself, which attracted better treatment and quit seeing myself as a victim. He can treat me badly still, but I now choose to let my anger go after I feel it. I had to forgive him several times until one day his behavior became just an annoyance to me and I could immediately move on. Everything takes practice, even forgiveness.
    I did forgiveness exercises about my step-father and a wonderful thing began to happen. I held resentment over the hard labor he used to make me do. Forgiveness enabled me to look at my life and see a time when what I learned through that hard labor, kept me warm during a freezing Maine winter. Wow, I actually learned and invaluable lesson from his bad treatment. The labor was still more than a child my age should have to do, but one day I thanked him for teaching me those skills, because they saved me many years later. He said he thinks he could have went about it better, but he really appreciated me saying so. I was amazed and touched and forgave him for some other things when I hung up the phone. Then, I forgave myself some more for hanging onto the anger so long. The truth is, one the original traumatic event is over, it is ourself that keeps the pain going by hanging onto negative feelings. It kept me from appreciating the silver lining. Do I wish trauma never happens? Sure! The reality is, trauma happens and we can choose to stop feeling angry and resentful. It is your choice only. For some people it is as simple as that. For some of us, it needs to be learned. Forgiveness was what worked for me. I hope it helps someone, or many, here.
    Thank you for reading. Lots of love and gratitude to you.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I love your comments. I also found forgiveness a primary turning point in my own growth from a background of abuse and childhood trauma. It takes a lot of thinking through things to come to that point of real forgiveness. I credit all my helpers in life who helped be get to that point, from wonderful employers I had as a young woman to therapists I found while attending universities, and even some of the philosophy classes I took, as well asa few choice religious discussions and events (primarily, books by Thomas Merton like his autobiography, The Seven Story Mountain, and my appreciation of the previous Pope’s act of visiting the man in prison who had intended to assassinate him in order to forgive him–I am not Catholic, by the way, but these influenced me tremendously). There’s the concept of forgiveness, and the actual heartfelt motion of the body/mind. However you come to that point, it is a powerful healer, I agree, and releases you from so much of the self-harm we inflict on ourselves quite naturally once we have been harmed by others. It’s important to separate what was wrong–being harmed, the actions and behaviors of harming–as distinguished from the person(s) who inflict harm, too. Forgiveness needs also to be just. I think we need to recognize what was and is wrong in what happened, in order to do work in the world to help prevent future harm to others.

      Liked by 1 person

  179. 8 ace score
    8 resiliency
    5 are still the same
    I would love more information or resources to be able to not only understand more but assist with not letting these events effect my relationships today

    Like

    • There’s more information on ACEs 101, and there are several good books, including Childhood Disrupted: How Your Biography Becomes Your Biology and How You Can Heal, by Donna Jackson Nakazawa. Other books by Gabor Maté and Bessel van der Kolk are good, too.

      Like

  180. My ACE score is a 9 and my resilience score is a 0. Last therapist I went to told me I’ve had so much happen to me there is no chance of me ever finding any happiness. I do not want to believe him. But so far I can not prove him wrong. I am 54 years old, I am 10 + years clean and sober. My mother and the man she says is my father has abused me and my children so that my 27 and 29 year old children refuse to speak to any of us. Their last question to me was, dad why do they hate us so much? I have no idea why I don’t drink or drug any more. After 11 years of marriage I discovered my father in law got my wife his daughter pregnant with her first child. Instead of telling the truth, her and her father divorced me to keep their secret. The courts just said because I said I was a recovering alcoholic there was most likely no incest, but they would not prove it either way.
    Why is it people come up with all this information and will not help others unless they can make lots of money from their misery ? What an ugly world we live in.

    Like

    • Drop your therapist and get a new one! Fast!!!
      Your former wife and her family are toxic and, by divorcing you, have given you an opportunity to live life on your terms including incorporating the new information and techniques that you have for living. I know it’s hard. I know you loved her, but they may have given you the best gift ever.

      The thing that has helped me the most is to always look for the beauty and the good. Savor the taste of the ice cream. Be grateful for a beautiful sunset. Be generous with thanks and look for reasons to give it.

      You’re doing great! Remember that. You. Are. Doing. Great! You are so far ahead of so many people in similar circumstances. Just keep putting one foot in front of the other…

      Liked by 1 person

    • You need to be around better people, and you need a better psychologist. Those who wrote you off or treat you poorly need to be removed from your life. They are too toxic to make your life better. If they choose to treat you better then you can reconsider. A psychologist doesn’t put you in a position of feeling like you cannot get better. You can get better. If you are a stubborn man then being stubborn work for you. Refuse to give up on yourself and your wife. Refuse to give in to the negativity. Some medicine for depression would probably help you a lot. Because this issue has gone on so long you have a hormone imbalance. You can’t make the issues with your hormone imbalance go away without medicine. And finally, believe in yourself when no one else does. Asking angels to guide you, which I highly believe in, to keep you company. This way you’ll never be lonely again. When they are near they give you tingles so you know they’re there. I still need help now and again but after a few years of help made all the difference for me. If I can do it so can you. You are investing in yourself, the best kind of investment ever.
      Blessings,
      J

      Like

    • Michael…you can get through this….seek a therapist who specializes in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT). Highly relevant and a double bonus if the therapist also specializes in Addiction and Childhood Emotional Neglect (CEN). Abuse does a number on the limbic system–believe it or not there’s some good material on this on youtube. You can recover. It is a process. Call a state help line if you can’t find a therapist in your area, someone will help you. I’m rooting for you.

      “Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is a short-term, goal-oriented psychotherapy treatment that takes a hands-on, practical approach to problem-solving. Its goal is to change patterns of thinking or behavior that are behind people’s difficulties, and so change the way they feel.”

      Like

    • I admire your resolve. There once was a time I was determined to make it despite my own personal baggage but the struggle has been too hard for too long and I am now resigned to the emptiness. I am left to trudge through my days while I wait for my body to realize that the rest of me is already gone. Sending you blessings, I wish you all the strength and success I never had.

      Like

      • Willowed1, I still believe in you. I believe in you. I don’t know your pain, but I believe your brain and heart are still intact and your small choices like reaching out to bless others is your calling that can heal you.

        Like

      • Never give up! When it all seems too much, when you are at the end of your rope, tie a knot and give yourself permission to just exist, relax, and breathe. HANG ON!

        From a life time of trauma my coping skill of choice has always been to “check out” in other words to disassociate to take a trip and never leave the farm. Some days it’s all I can do.

        It’s my firm belief that we are here, and have survived til now, to help each other, so that we can learn, grow, share our burdon and hopes.

        For years I was in therapy for adult trauma and refused to ackowledge childhood trauma (ACE 6, RES 4).

        Recently I went to a therapist to learn to cope with my sons mental health issues (lives with me and is bi-polar), only to discover my own fingers pointed back at me. I am 68 and have just discovered that by being “super woman” and never wanting to show my soft underbelly to talk about my assuredly “f’d” up childhood I have successfylly used monumental amounts of energy to keep my deep wounds hidden and thus perpetuated that legacy in my own child.

        I want the proverbial buck to stop here. The legacy of “f’d up ness” stops here. I will no longer remain unconscious. By acknowledging and releasing this gigantic balloon filled with hurt that I have been trying to keep submerged… I free up all 68 years of energy i expended.

        You can heal, I can heal. Each morning I say to myself.,,, Whether you believe in God, or not (substitute your own higher power)universal consciousness, or whatever…..

        The light of God surrounds me. The love of God enfolds me. The power of God protects me. I am the perfect embodiment of Gods divine love.

        I am more optimistic and positive than ever. I use my time hanging at the end of my own rope, to do whatever brings me joy. By healing my self and recognizing, acknowledging and being kind to myself, I allow healing and kindness to flow outward…It can’t help but be contagious to others I interact with especially those I am around every day.

        By healing ourselves, we heal each other and our world. Spread the word! The only thing that matters is our relationships with each other and our love.

        Like

  181. By my late 20s I had begun to feel pretty good. I had several years of therapy under my belt, was on my own and about to start a new life with my wonderful boyfriend of 7 years. I thought I had pretty well overcome the childhood trauma. Now 15 years later I’m starting the healing process all over again. I began to feel re- victimized and traumatized when my children reached the age that my traumas began. I was seeing them at that vulnerable age and getting angry and hurt at those who let me be victimized at that age. It was strange how the pain started bubbling to the surface all over again. I have broken the cycle and my children. Have a better life than I ever did. It is hard to find balance as a parent when you didn’t have a normal upbringing as reference. I constantly question myself . Has anyone else experienced the same re-victimization like me when they had children? I haven’t met anyone else who could relate or even understand.

    Like

    • It’s not unusual to be re-traumatized by childhood experiences when you’re older, either because you’re seeing your children at the same age you experienced some of your trauma, as you say, and also because you have more life experience and may be ready to take on things that you couldn’t understand or deal with when you were younger.
      If you’re interested in asking this question to other parents, join ACEsConnection.com, our companion social network, and go to the Parenting with ACEs group.

      Like

  182. I have my 7 year old grandson. He has multiple diagnoses including substance in utero, physical, sexual, and emotional abuse, PTSD, ADHD, and there’s a suspected traumatic brain injury. He is delayed in all areas and is scheduled to get a neuro/psych evaluation in march. He can be very violent, argumentative, disruptive, and destructive. He has no friends and is unable to understand that others have feelings too. He frequently crosses the boundaries of others. He also has tried hurting my 13 year old dog. Could your program help him? He scored an 8 on your resilience test.

    Like

    • Theresa — Depending on what part of the US you live in, there may be programs and schools that have integrated trauma-informed, resilience-building practices based on ACEs science. Check out NurturingParenting.org, also the Parenting with ACEs group on ACEsConnection.com, our companion social network.

      Like

  183. I noticed in the ACE test was mainly about how adults treated/affected a child. I feel because of that it didn’t give me accurate results. The majority of my childhood trauma was because of abuse from my sister whom is 2 years older then I.

    Like

    • There are many other types of trauma that cause toxic stress, including bullying by an older sibling, and many others. As mentioned in the introduction at the top of Got Your ACE Score, the ACE Study focused on only 10 types. There are, of course, others.

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  184. Can anyone recommend an effective treatment for someone with a high ACE score and reilience score? I have tried CBT and it hasn’t helped me very much. I struggle with severe social issues and I am very isolated which causes many problems in my life.

    Like

  185. ACE 7
    RESILIENCE 11
    STILL TRUE 1

    My childhood sucked, lost my dad at 6, my mom was verbally, physically, emotionally abusive. I was sexually abused by a brother, uncle, brother in law, and strangers. I never felt loved or wanted, I had no one to turn to, i spent many years looking for love in all the wrong places. With therapy, a positve attitude, and education, I turned myself around. At 49, I’ve never been married, never had kids, still single, trauma/ drama free, and happy. I still have anxiety, panic attacks, Diabetes (strong fam history), a loner at times. I work as a nurse in mental health today and see the effects of childhood trauma on a daily basis. Part of me says, I escaped why can’t they? Another part wants to hold them and take away all their pain. I tell them about my childhood, and get asked how I did it, my response is always the same prayer and a positive attitude. I wouldn’t trade any part of my childhood, it’s made me who I am, a strong, independent person.

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  186. ACE score 10
    Resilience Score (from youth) 9
    Resilience Score (as adult) 12
    The research is very interesting and does ring true for me. It does make me wonder if having such a high score & the health conditions I face could be related.

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    • Initially, I put myself down as an ACE score of 3. Then… I really thought about it. Three questions I’d initially said “no” to…. they were really yes responses. Especially #9 — my father’s adult-onset epilepsy wasn’t really a mental illness, but the depression, to the point of near-catatonia, that resulted from it? Hell, yes. And 40 years after the fact… this is the first time I’ve ever really thought of my father as having been mentally ill. And he was. Seriously mentally ill. If someone could’ve explained depression to me when I was a child, it probably would’ve saved me a world of pain.

      So, ACE 6, Resilience (youth) 8, Resilience (adult) 13.

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  188. ACE – 5-7, depending on what is meant by “often”.
    Resilience – 2.

    I did fine in school, because my parents were hyper-focused on my school performance, and basically nothing else. My performance reflected on them as parents and people. My performance created status for them.

    But I did suffer from depression and anxiety. Entirely apart from my parents’ issues, we were utterly isolated, because we were the literally the first in our ethnic group ever to live in our state. Literally the first.

    I am probably gifted in a number of ways, which has kept me from being an utter failure. But I have not done well in any career, other than teaching. I am not married, and have not had long-lasting or deep relationships. I am trying to be a writer now, and write about some of my experiences. But doing so is so painful and isolating that I can barely stand it.

    I also have asthma and eczema, chronically. I am probably very close to being addicted to alcohol.

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  189. ACE Score: 7
    Resiliency score: 3

    I wasn’t sure how to apply the Resiliency score. It seemed from the intended use that it should apply to me as a parent. Although I can only guess at what my son believes, it is an unfortunate score nonetheless.

    What initially interested me in the ACE score was the correlation between COPD and a person’s ACE score. I have been diagnosed as having ILD and I never in my wildest dreams thought that there would be any correlation between my childhood issues and my lung function! I do have many other issues, though. Social anxiety disorder, major depression, impulse control, inability to maintain close relationships, frequent sexual encounters with different individuals, abuse of pharmaceuticals, control issues, etc.

    I am seeing a psychiatrist who has told me many times that she is worried about the level of trauma that I have experienced – both in childhood and in the military. I am a person who buries his feelings rather than dredge them up (too painful) so we have not made the progress we would like.

    I have been a very successful person, with a doctorate degree, a very satisfying job and extraordinary financial rewards. And yet, it still seems as though I am looking for a “well done” from my father. It all seems hollow.

    Unfortunately, that will never come. As my awareness of ACE increased, I felt that I should simply stop communication with him, as Dema did. It felt as though a great weight had been lifted from my shoulders. I stopped expending the energy it took to stay angry at a person who did not care and would never change. One year later he committed suicide by gunshot.

    I am working hard on having a positive outlook and eliminating my cynicism, but it is hard to change a life-long mind set. I have used every maladaptave coping mechanism in the book and, of course, those have only hurt me more.

    Being more open to discussing my issues is helping a great deal, but I recognize I have a very long way to go.

    Sorry for the long post. It does feel good to talk with others who have experienced childhood trauma, though.

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    • Thanks for telling us your story, Rex. If childhood adversity isn’t dealt with in childhood, it will indeed fester. That’s just one reason I launched ACEsTooHigh.com, and our companion social network, ACEsConnection.com. I’m 68 today, and still reverberating from the chronic shocks of childhood. But since I started this healing journey in earnest, I’ve made great progress, and I’m thrilled about that. And I understand that it’s a daily endeavor. I used to be angry about that; now I embrace it, because I’m taking care of myself every day.

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    • Rex, your statement is very moving. You seem to have a lot of self-knowledge. I have a suggestion for you:

      The best thing I’ve found for counteracting the ACEs in my past is to help people in the present, especially those who are weak. I feel like I am righting the universal balance, putting good in the world in spite of the harm I experienced — the sense that while I could have been defeated by my past and now do more harm or simply do nothing, I rebel against the harm, neutralize it, have the last word, vanquish some of it.

      In my case, I volunteer with shelter animals and disadvantaged kids, but it could also mean helping impoverished old people, mentally retarded or mentally ill people, people in prisons, etc. Anyone who is helpless, as you were when you were a child. I love the feeling this provides me. It is empowering and curative. You don’t even have to put in many hours to get this feeling. And it’s not a feeling of cynical pride or a transaction where I do something rotely to get something for myself: it feels like sincerity, like kindness, like how the world should be.

      I’m suggesting this to you in particular since you have been financially successful so you probably have freedom to do this kind of work now. I believe it’s lifesaving both for me and for those I try to help.

      Peace!

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      • I absolutely agree with Teri. Helping others has been very healing for me (my ACE score is 9 not counting the multiple family breakups and foster homes). When I was working in northern Uganda, I came across a boy living in the streets who had been burned over 35% of his body. As someone who had been given up by mother at age 11 to veritable strangers, I could identify with this boy who was all alone and had no one who cared for him. Long story short, we became friends, I took him for a surgery and later brought him to the US for long term medical treatment at Shriner’s Hospital in Boston. It changed his life but it also ended up changing mine. NPR ended up doing a story about us and if you’re interested, you can listen to it at http://www.snapjudgment.org/opiyo.

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  190. Ace score: 5
    Resiliency score: 5
    Age: 34

    Current issues:
    – severe anxiety
    – mild ocd (used to be much worse)
    – moderate hypochondria
    – occasional binge drinking (much worse in my 20’s)
    – Issues with impulse control
    – strong desire to be “successful”

    Now onto the positives! My rough childhood in many ways has made me very resilient because my hardships have taught me that I can overcome anything. Despite having a shitty childhood I have a wonderful adult life. I’ve been happily married for a decade to an intelligent, kind, hilarious man. We have two beautiful boys that are deeply loved & well taken care of. I’m fortunate to be able to do what I love for a living and we are immigrating to New Zealand in a few months!

    What helped me?
    – Being conscious of toxic thinking habits and replacing them with constructive feedback
    – Forgiving those who hurt me because they were victims of abuse too
    – Regularly practicing self-compassion and gratitude
    – Regularly facing fears
    – Fostering healthy coping skills like exercising everyday, eating well, meditating, doing crafts and writing
    – Keeping up to date on health checkups, and seeing a therapist
    – Cultivating a healthy social support network
    – Making every effort to move as far away as possible from the toxic cesspool and people I grew up around

    Granted, a lot of it boils down to luck, but also sheer will. Our politics and the fact that corporations are valued over humans doesn’t help.

    What we need is
    – Free, easily accessible contraception (lets reduce abortions, FAS, unwanted children, crime, etc.)
    – Everyone should have access to basic human rights i.e. food, shelter, quality education, healthcare (including mental health), etc. You can’t become a productive/healthy member of society without having basic needs met. And for those who are fiscally conservative, these tactics would save billions of dollars in the long run!

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    • Ace score: 6
      Resiliency score: 9

      I’ve spent the last five years with a therapist who practices EMDR so I could be comfortable with my childhood trauma. It has made an incredible difference in my life. I have suffered from severe anxiety and depression. I have Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis, two back surgeries and countless other medical issues all stemming from an abusive and neglectful childhood. There is hope out there. I volunteer as a Patient Advocate to help those who are vulnerable and it warms my heart. People like us who have suffered really need to find a way to calm the terror and insecurities. My life is much more peaceful now.

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    • Yes Sucks doesn’t it. Ace 10, Resilience 0.
      It means you have to give yourself credit and appreciation for every little thing you do, find a way to connect to others, and make peace inside yourself. Thats how I take it anyway.

      Liked by 1 person

  191. I am commenting off another person’s post, in which they said, “I don’t like the name of ‘resilience’ for the second scale, by the way — it would be better named ‘resources available.'”

    I feel that resilience has to do with persevering DESPITE lack of resources. In the resilience questionnaire, there are 2 questions that DO seem to point to the inner strength of a person, the questions that say, “I was independent and a go-getter” and “I believed that life is what you make it.”

    When I did the Resilience questionnaire, I understood why the questions were asking about “other resources,” such as teachers, family members, etc. But I also was wondering…. “Hey, what about the fact that I worked my butt off and used my inner strength? What about MY strengths?”

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  192. I guess I was a fortunate child. Ace 0, Resilience 14. Being a product of immigrants may have contributed to this. Of all my friends, my parents were the most trusting towards me. They were extremely proud of me and my siblings, having accomplished what they lacked in education. And because of their trust and respect I could never do anything that would disappoint them. I married a person of similar background and we have 4 amazing children.

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  193. Ace 5 Resilience 10
    Graduated university. I based most of my answers excluding my father as he was abusive towards be after he left. In the neighbourhood I was considered the good kid. My mom was the person the kids came to with problems. I am still referred to as the good daughter by one of my late mom’s friends.

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  194. ACE 8, Resilience 9: sometimes I wonder how I function every day. But then I remember that those rules and the need to escape the situation as a teen made me fight to be better. 2 semesters shy of bachelors, worked my up to a very reasonable position and salary in a company I’ve been with for 14 years (Forbes top 100), married 21 years (not without issues tho), two awesome kids, involved in community. However, the greatest improvement I have made was in the last 5-6 years when I discontinued speaking to my mother – the biggest cause of my ACE score. The toxicity had to go. Now my cholesterol is down and I’m no longer on the meds, I’ve reduced my antidepressant/antianxiety prescriptions to one, weight is slowllllllly going down. But I whole heartedly believe that my childhood and upbringing – matched with the hereditary issues of depression and violence – have been the greatest cause of my on and off health issues over the years. Here’s to overcoming!

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  195. ACE score 7
    Resilience score 12

    College dropout but do have an AA. History of depression and substance abuse but not currently. Weight fluctuation throughout my twenties, right now on a downward trend. I’m about to turn 30. Just got married. Love my work but not where I work. Kinda loving life right now. Kids eventually… Past few years have actually been the best of my adult life. Through choices I made to be better.

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  196. My ACE score is a 3. My resilience is a 14. I believe my mothers ACE score would be higher than a 6 but less than an 8 and my guess is her resilience score is no where near as high as mine. My resilience score is mostly attributed to her even though she is a life long sufferer of depression, but I believe she made a conscious decision to make that a reality. As a health care professional, I am a little disheartened by the lack of evidence base correlating at all with heredity and environmental factors. Many diseases, including depression, heart disease, copd, etc are preprogrammed Into our DNA. My mother has major depressive disorder. I also have it. My daughter has recently been diagnosed at age 16. We are all medicated and high functioning with anti-depressants.

    This may not be a popular opinion, but there comes a time in everyone’s life where it is time to stop blaming your childhood and/or your parents for your current state of health. Mine came at 35 which is way too damned late. I would encourage anyone reading this to seek help for medical and/or psychiatric conditions up to and including GP assistance and counseling. It is a choice to take control of your future. Make it today.

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  197. I am 63. My father died when I was 2 1/2. Mother became severely depressed. Moved back to home state with her overbearing and very strict mother. When I was 5 she remarried a man who made sure we girls felt like we were worthless. At 8 I was struck by a car and put into a coma. Many surgeries later, I walked out of the hospital with the loss of a kidney and my child hood memories including any of my father. At 12-14 I was sexually molested but 3 different people. And I wonder why I have fibromyalgia, depression, obesity, horrible sense of self worth personally – though the two things that have been positive are I feel very confident in my career and there is no doubt that my kids have grown up knowing I love them unconditionally and have been and always will be there to listen when they need it.

    I truly believe this research is very on point. I got a 4 and then an ace of 4. The top portion would probably have been more if I could identify better with the questions.

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    • ACE 5, Res 2, I am 68, today is my mothers birthday (she died when I was 13). Witness to much emotional abuse and physical abuse of my two older brothers. Taking the survey made me sick to my stomach. I have depression, obesity, PTSD, heart attack, married three times to weak and emotionally unavailable men, In my family we were taught to verbally abuse each other (I was not abused myself physically) but was made to participate in and encouraged to verbally abuse my siblings. Molested by a stranger when I was 4, raped when I was 29.

      I recently began seeing a therapist who pointed me to the ACE study. I noticed that after I began uncovering the early childhood trauma I began having an issue with boils. I think the boils are releasing childhood trauma as symbolic of hidden abuse not spoken of (I had nobody to tell and why should I?) I have been in therapy for a long time and just now discovered this wonderful information. This gives me profound hope for healing the wounds or at least mitigating the affects.

      I send healing to all who tread this path with me. We are legion! No one has a perfect childhood, but some of us survived in spite of our circumstances. Stop trying to hold the ball under the water,,, and lance the boils.

      I wish us all healing and ease.

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  198. My ACE Score is 10. My resiliency score is only a 4.

    At 30 years old I am obese, have a myriad of physical health issues and also deal with addiction, depression and have attempted suicide more than once.

    That said I’m also several years sober and manage my depression pretty well. My health has definitely gotten worse.

    It’s crazy to see the increase rates of heart disease, divorce and other things. My wife is my rock and she alone makes my resiliency much higher. This is very educational and also a little frightening.

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    • Congrats on your sobriety! I know what you mean about this information being frightening. At first, it just depressed me. But now, I am using the information to get my butt moving on my healing. It is scary, true, but I am determined to improve my situation.

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      • You can’t take care of yourself. You can’t make yourself do anything positive when depressed and in this state. No sleep. Living with safe people…. that ship sails early in life.

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  199. Pingback: Does Marijuana Kill Brain Cells 2015 Ford | Purathrive review

  200. I scored 5 on ACE and 10 in resilience. I was sexually abused from the age of 8 and on and off until 18 once at 27 by my father. My mother was very strict and we used to get beatings and they weren’t all deserved. She was physically abused from age 8 by her father for standing in front of her mother to protect her from getting another beating. He kicked babies of of her and even smothered at least one. I got a beating for something when I wasn’t even home. My mother was beaten occasionally when I was a kid. He started drinking in the army at age 24as a dare. But as all evenings out had a bar and you had to pay whether you drank or not, a lot of people started drinking. It got more frequent over the years and more hitting mum, he was even arrested by military police on more than one occasion but as he was a nice man and had paedophiles friends high up the chain he didn’t stay there long. He wrecked the house when I was about 8 or 9,and when i was a new mother at 18 I was visiting my mother and he was drinking, he threw a shoe at mum to get her attention and she threw it back and it hit him so he tipped her chair over and then all hell broke lose.we stuck up for mum and one of my sisters threw a camp bed at him, he locked me and my baby daughter out on the balcony and the sister who the the bed ran to the phone for the police. He was home within an hour. Over the years he abused others and I didn’t know until my late 20’s but in my 40’s a sister and niece asked me to back them up in going to the police and I agreed. They were both in self destruct mode, my niece was drinking a lot and sleeping around even with other women’s husband, so was her sister who she confided in. I also rang mums friends whose daughter he abused and she ended up running away from home, doing drugs and alcohol, getting raped twice by strangers and one by her uncle and was in a bad way, told her what we were doing and she rang her daughter to come back to our town for the police statement. She agreed. Since then she had changed her life around, it’s clean and has a job with authority. So he told police it started when his uncle advised him at age 14. in 1966 when he was away with the army Paedo ring got him. He abused a Senegal girl age 6 then 2 years later started on me and worked his way through some of my sisters and friends. I found out last year he’d abused a friend but I didn’t remember her staying over and she never stayed again. He got 5 years in prison, did less than 3 but didn’t serve for me because it happened in Germany but he was under British law, they said complaints commission said it didn’t count. How is that supposed to make a person feel, that they don’t count. I was and am still gutted and the bastard died not long after my mum. I hated having to give him a big when we left or did birthdays so I stopped going to mums when he was there. If I went to see her and she was out i’d tell him is come back later, I wouldn’t stay in the house with him on my own.. She divorced him in 2011 but we couldn’t relax because she lived right across from her old house, always the fear of seeing him. My nephew left it slip where she lived and he came round one night banging on the door, he was drunk. We hated going to the local supermarket in case we saw him. We used to get really agitated. 3 of my sisters stuck by him and my eldest daughter and they even visited him with their children and grandchildren in prison. We was on paedo register and they had him in their houses. I now suffer from rheumatism, osteo arthritis, sciatica and fibromyalgia with recurrences of pain from singles!

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  201. ACE 6 – Resilience 9. I’m 26 so I’ve been healthy so far but I do drink and in periods of increased stress I do smoke (only started after 20 because I wanted to make sure it was a mature decision and there was never peer pressure).

    I was more likely to have violent outbursts when I was under 16 but because of the violence at home I developed a strong non violence attitude and I am now unable to get angry in situations where people get angry and yell. The only emotional outlet that may occur in such a situation is to start crying but usually I stay calm until it’s over and then cry. As a result a lot of my friends have commented they can’t even imagine me being angry because I am always so calm.

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  202. I also think it should include issues related to adoption. Loss of birth parents – especially birth mother – is the very definition of trauma to an infant or young child. How well they “bounce back” from those events depends on the individual. Circumstances of course – number of placements, abuse in foster or adoptive homes, but just the abandonment of an infant alone is life or death for that child. Sensitive children can be caught in that flight or fight response for a long time. I believe another Yale study showed that resiliency is at least partially determined by which type of a certain chromosomal allele you have (they found 3 varying kinds).

    Liked by 2 people

    • As I see it, the ACE test question about abandonment by a biological parent encompasses adoption, which is why I answered yes to that question. You don’t say, but I’m assuming you’re adopted, too. Did you search and find your birth parents? I did – quite the emotional roller coaster ride, and the reunions were far from perfect, but I am grateful to have more insight into my biological makeup. By the way, the book about ACE, “Childhood Disrupted”, mentions the chromosome-resiliency connection. If you haven’t read it yet, I highly recommend it.

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    • I could not agree more. My feelings of abandonment have never been resolved, even after reuniting with my birth mother. And I’m now 61 years old.

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  203. I am curious why your charts of adverse effects for ACE scores mostly stop at <4 ? Was there any statistical significance in adverse events if someone with higher scores? I would be interested in knowing the breakdown of health issues in people with higher scores. From your data it looks like 15.2% of women had scores over 4.

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  204. I am 56 and 8 were probably true for me as a child. I have managed to manage depression that I began to notice during high school.

    My current score would be 10 for true or provably true.

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  205. I don’t understand why sibling abuse (less than 5 years age difference) is not considered an adverse event. Sibling sexual assault is overlooked, and under accounted. My brother was 3 years older than me, and he had complete control due to the family environment. Your scoring system is faulty.

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    • Please read the top of the post of Got Your ACE Score. There are many other types of trauma that were not included in the ACE Study. Subsequent ACE surveys are adding other types of trauma. Sibling abuse is one of them. It is indeed considered an adverse event, and there are studies of the consequences.

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      • It seemed to me that that was when you witnessed traumas being done to siblings, not siblings being the perpetrators. Also, I don’t know why the age gap has to exist at all.

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      • Experiencing an older sibling abusing (bullying, incest, etc.) you is considered trauma; I think the age gap exists because siblings closer in age will have conflicts anyway, but it’s a size/power/development issue when there’s a wider age gap. Someone smarter than I am (a researcher who’s looked into this) can give you a definitive answer.

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    • If you felt traumatized by it, I don’t think the age would matter, I would count it as an ACE. But, I think the reason for the gap are two-fold. 1) It’s not uncommon for siblings close in age to “experiment” with each other. This is likely a mutual experience without much consequence, but experiences can vary. If the sibling was that much older than you than they were likely far too old to have been “experimenting” with a much younger sibling. 2) In the absence of the first scenario, you would be surprised how many adults don’t realize how truly bad it is for an older sibling to have abused their power as the older sibling and to bully or sexually abuse their younger siblings and how some adults don’t recognize the great harm that often causes people. This experience might be written off or buried or seen as unimportant because the abuse came from the hands of another child. Hence the reason to point out if there was an older child in the home, that child by virtue of their increased cognitive abilities due to age was in a position of power and could inflict harm on someone younger. Unless the younger child was mentally or physically impaired, a year or 2 difference is not as likely to be an issue of abuse/bullying.

      And your’e right, there just isn’t much discussion on this problem area. There is far more discussion about bullies in schools than the bully child in your own home.

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    • I had the same experience starting when I was 9. My brother was 12 and already in his growth spurt, so he was quite a bit larger and more physically powerful than just about any 9-year old. The physical difference between 9 and 12, because of the puberty growth spurt, is probably just as big as a 5-year gap at other ages, so the 5-year gap is probably just an arbitrary cut off. I had a methods class when I was getting my MA, and saw how social and psychological sciences end up making arbitrary distinctions based on statistical data that might apply to most people but not to everyone’s case. I was hoping to ask the people who run this site about this cut off, but my case manager certainly took the situation seriously.

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      • Perhaps that 5 year figure is an average and so there are many instances of 4, 3, 2, and 1 year gapsm, as well as 6 and more.

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  206. My ACE score was a 6 and Resilience a 3. There are other things that I’ve dealth with that don’t make the “common” trauma cut, though- several of those being that my mother was abusive towards my father, I watched all of my siblings being abused, and grew up very isolated (home schooled, had no friends, etc).

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    • There are more recent ACE surveys that are taking the other traumas you experienced, as well as more. They all have an effect. I hope the resilience factors that were given you in childhood are helping you to heal.

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      • My Resilience factors had mainly to do with school and rules. We were home schooled so (obviously) our parents cared about our education and we had a LOT of rules. I had a very “Duggar style” upbringing. My parents were very religious and very strict. Unfortunately, they were also very abusive. We were also really isolated- until I left home I had never been to a doctor, a dentist, had never ordered for myself at a restaurant, shopped for myself, etc. I didn’t know how to communicate with my peers because I hadn’t had friends and didn’t grow up “normally” so we had nothing in common. Being out in the “real world” was an incredible shock to the system. I was painfully shy. I started self-injuring (I had no one to punish me so I punished myself) and thanks to a friend that happened to be a counselor I got help. I attempted suicide several times and had to be hospitalized. Ironically, my last two attempts should have been fatal and because I didn’t die when I was told in no uncertain terms that I definitely should have I thought that perhaps was meant to be here for a reason.

        Thank you for your reply and for caring ♡

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  207. I found this pretty depressing — ACES 6, resilience maybe 2 if I’m being generous, because I was told that as a baby I briefly had a grandmother in my life who was kind to me, but I don’t remember anything about it.

    I don’t like the name of “resilience” for the second scale, by the way — it would be better named “resources available.” I would venture to guess that those tend to be inversely related for most of us. That is, the horrible childhood we had is not completely unrelated to being unloved / abused / not watched out for / not nurtured etc. If people had been watching out for us, providing emotional or other support to us, providing physical or emotional safety, we wouldn’t have been at the mercy of ALL this crap right? Maybe just part of it.

    “Resilience” might often be the _result_ of having been lucky enough to have the resources described in the second questionnaire, but that’s not quite what the questionnaire is measuring, is it?

    Also, there’s something about the word “resilience” that implies some kind of merit or superiority — “Well, I had a hellish childhood, but I’m RESILIENT, unlike all those other poor slobs with their chronic diseases and their depression and their struggles with attachment and trust and forming basic human relationships for which they have no template and no models.” I don’t know. Maybe thinking about all this stuff — about how my life has been crap from the beginning and I didn’t have much of a chance, ever — put me in a horrible mood and I’m responding accordingly.

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    • I think the term “resilience” refers to our own quailties that allow us to adapt and survive, precisely because we may have had some of the resources available to us in childhood (ot later) as suggested in the resilience questionnaire.

      So, it’s really about semantics. Your “take” on what the questions are about is perceptive–the questionnaire does probe for childhood resources that were available to us. But the term “resilience” is also apt, as our own greater adaptability or resilience is the RESULT of having had those resources at some point.

      Psychologically speaking, resilience is what we attain when we are at last able to internalize external sources of support or any “available resources.”

      Does the term “resilience” now make more sense in this light to you?

      I include a good many years of therapy post-childhood in my own available resources that have led to greater resilience. So, I don’t think “available resources” stops at childhood’s end. Later, we can take steps ourselves that help us make use of resources for understanding, recovery and survival.

      I think people should not think of their current conditions of health or “dis-ease” as indicated by a test score and difficult or abisive childhood as permanent, but as a starting place from which we can now make efforts to obtain resources that may have been lacking in the past.

      It does require efforts to avail ourselves of resources and, sometimes, long-term efforts over many years. But we can take first steps or continuing steps every day to improve our own outlook and outcomes.

      It really is never too late to alter how we are experiencing our lives. For those of us who suffered stressful and abisive childhoods, there are also physical ways to improve our adaptability and ways to “unlearn” stress responses.

      Whether you begin from the physical side, or the psychological side, to work on things I don’t think matters. Just begin and keep on beginning. We are mind-bodies and help in one area spills over into other areas. ‘the damage appears in a holistic manner (mind AND body) and so can recovery occur in a holistic manner.

      I personally owe a lot to a friend who taught me some yoga when I was in my twenties, to therepists over the years, and more recently, to tai chi teachers, from all of whom I learned to de-stress and replace negativities with positive internal feelings and thoughts and images.

      There are many, many, many ways of recovery available to us all. We do have to choose to seek them out, though.

      It’s not like changes can occur overnight, either, but we can work with where we are now and go from there.

      I wish everyone on this page the opportunities to gain greater resilience with all the resources available and the courage to support themselves and others in their efforts.

      If there is anything positive that can result from such damage, it is that those so damaged can often much more easily empathize with others who’ve suffered abuse and neglect.

      It is a rare ability to be able to imagine how others may feel who’ve had such difficulties. Empathy is not always culturally acceptable. But I also don’t think it helps to just TELL others to get help and “be positive,” as we each have to find our own way to the light. Still, we can all be supportive and understand how difficult life can be for those so damaged in early life.

      There is a wealth of empathy, experience, and wisdom here that can be shared. We are the people who can hear these stories and understand them without turning away, and offer support instead. It’s a brave group of people because, of course, the experiences we’ve had are “shaming” and difficult to communicate.

      ACE 4-5 (I was abused physically and sexually by my dad and had a 6-year long illness as a teen for which I had major surgery at age 19 and almost died); Resilience 10

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  208. Why isn’t being bullied in school part of the ACE questionnaire?? Jesus — you’re talking being verbally & physically abused, insulted & assaulted by groups of your peers, over *years*. You can’t tell me that it’s somehow “separate” from all other types of trauma, especially given how most parents still respond with stupidities like “you need to develop a thicker skin” or “just ignore them”.

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  211. This information is very helpful to me. It certainly validates the craziness I felt in my household as a child. My trauma score was 9…I struggled with anger, self destructive behaviors as a teen, and low self esteem. I’m so much healthier today but those negative thoughts still come up and compete for my attention. I’m learning more each day about self acceptance and that most of my life, I’ve been my worst enemy…😈

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  213. I’m confused by the standard of what sexual abuse is defined. The abuser according to this has to be 5 years older. I’ve heard ad read otherwise. It also depended on who the abuser was in relation to the victim. How about the age it began and duration. I had a very sarcastic father that physically abused my brother and was verbally abusive towards me ,him and my mom. I was sexually abused by my brother from 9 to 12. My ace score was 3 and resilience 14. So explain that.

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    • The ACE Study definitely did not include all types of trauma that children experience. It what you experienced was traumatic and ongoing, it created toxic stress that affected you. However, strong support, such as what you seem to have experienced from your high resilience score, goes a long way to helping you survive and heal.

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  216. I am 44 and found this information insightful and I suffer from several autoimmune diseases; Crohn’s Disease, Sjögren’s syndrome, lupus, as well as fibromyalgia, which is not classified as an autoimmune disease. I was also born with glaucoma which means I’m legally blind and have been all my life. As well as degenerative disc disease.

    My mother isn’t in the same age group as my peers. My mother was 31 at the time of my adoption (more on that later) and my dad was 38. I was born in September and adopted in 1971 at 3 months and 4 days after my birth because my adopted mother had an emotional break. (Today if she were to attempt to adopt she would not be allowed)

    As a kid I suffered terribly with my stomach… and was nearly always a nervous wreck. My mother was raised very strict as such so was I and was in near constant fear of my mother wrath, even if her anger was not “triggered” by my behavior.

    The older I got (folks divorced when I was 11 or 12) the worse the emotional, mental and physical abuse got. Family saw the way I was being mistreated but no one dared cross my mother. By this time the physical abuse amped up, she had no one to talk with but insisted I needed mental help… She had a handful of diamond rings and often I received backhanded slaps across my face or where ever she could get to me. I was beaten with a thick leather belt IN FRONT OF MY ENTIRE CLASS in 4th or 5th grade… why? Because I was not wearing a bra… (At age 9 or so I had to start wearing one) she discovered this faux pas because she was doing laundry and noticed that there were 3 of my bras… I only had 3… The teacher tried intervening but my mother threatened to smack her with the belt and have her fired. (She is from a formerly very powerful family who had ties to the mafia) This was not the last time I would be beaten in front of my peers… notice I’ve not said “friends”… I was not allowed to have friends inside the house nor was I allowed to go into anyone else’s home. I had never had sleepovers nor gone to any… “Friends” we’re few and far between because of my mother until my maternal grandpa and stepgrandmaw move closer to us.

    I wasn’t aware that my mother was a drinker… that didn’t change much… ha! I was drinking in high school… literally… in classes. Vodka and juice… I was also smoking cigarettes (Both parents were smokers) I never smoked pot… her anti-drug method was: reach in her purse, remover her .38, place the barrel beside my head and would say, “if I ever catch you having anything to do with illegal drugs I will blow your MF’ing brains out for you!” (I live in Washington state… legalization is awesome!)

    Does any of this play into my health, I really can’t say… I do know that my youngest son (19) has many of the same autoimmune problems I suffer with including severe stomach pains. My oldest (24) he is starting to suffer from some joint and back stuff but thus far no autoimmune problems.

    As far as genetics… adoptions in the 1970’s was nowhere as detailed as those of the last 10-15 years. So, unless I win the lottery (gotta play to win, might be why we haven’t won… we don’t play) my adoption records will remain sealed… if hurricane Katrina didn’t distroy them… I won’t know anything about where I truly come from or what’s in my DNA.

    Again, does the emotional, mental and physical abuse I and so many other experienced effect my/our health… Seems plausible… but I feel that there’s more to be learned about ACE.

    PS… I broke the cycle of abuse

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    • I have a very similar experience to yours…adopted young from one neglectful and abusive house into another abusive house. I have kids now and I also have Sjogren’s and Social Phobia. I am fascinated by what we pass to kids. I feel like I work so hard to give my kids the love and support I never had. But I see the same tendencies in them to be a copy of me and my ex, who also went though a devastating childhood. So I have been researching genetic memory too. I found 23 and Me really helpful. I will do the Ancestry App one day when I can afford it. Adoption records being closed in Louisiana and born in 1977, I hit roadblocks too. But I feel like we can sidestep them through Ancestry a bit now. On another note, I got my medical genetics from 23 and Me and I have a tiny minuscule little marker for Sjogren’s, considered a genetic low risk. So my experiences must have aggravated it to the point of blooming. I wonder if my daughter and son have a slightly higher risk genetically now. Wanna get their genetics done and see where their autoimmunity markers are.

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    • Yes, it does affect your health, undoubtedly. In addition, as you experience life, your cells physically change. Your children inherit cells from you, so your life experiences may also affect their health as well. Build their resilience and yours through forgiveness and learning to look at your story with a positive spin. It will benefit healing.

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    • The ACE questionnaire is meant to be taken by adults to assess what happened to them as children. However, some pediatricians are asking teens to fill out the questionnaire to assess how many ACEs they have, because toxic stress can have an effect on health when you’re an adolescent.

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    • I’d say sit down in a quiet place and decide for yourself if you should take it or not. You know best what you can handle. And you already know what has happened to you: this will just make it seem official. You might also want to make a plan to get support if you take it and totally freak out.

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  223. As I read these lists of factors, I reflected with gratitude on the supports in my childhood. As well, I was drawn to reflect on people I know with more trauma-related childhood challenges and fewer supports. I had an ACE score of 1 and a resiliency score from childhood of 12. I wasn’t sure exactly how to reword the questions for adulthood, but I came up with 12 or 13.

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  225. I see now that I didn’t have any protection people during my childhood. For the most part I have taken years of therapy that have helped. However, sometimes something sets it off for me and I get so frustrated, because I an right back there again, experiencing it all in my head. I do wish I can get to where I don’t trigger anymore.

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  226. It’s the same concept of PTSD. I was diagnosed with PTSD in 1997. The questions mostly focus on family. I was sent away to school at age 10, because I am Deaf. There is a lot of what I endured at the school for the Deaf.
    Would be interesting to know what my score would be if I took the test with different questions.

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  231. I had a high ACE score, emotional and family mental health, but high in resilience. My grandmother was a loving person and somehow I knew my mother loved me even though she was depressed.

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  233. Although I scored a 7 on the ACE, and only 1 on the RESILIENCE Questionnaire, as a 65 yo adult, I have learned to cope and to get through life. As a child, I don’t think I believed that Life is what you make it, but as an adult, I know that to be true. It concerns me that I may be at risk for inflammatory diseases, and I know I participated in risky behavior as a young adult. So far, though, I have been very healthy. I think that with proper mental health care, more people would learn the coping mechanisms needed to overcome a troubled childhood. I started seeing a psychologist at age 16, and met with other psychologists through my 30s, as needed. Too bad our society looks down people who need mental health services.

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    • Thank you for your reply. I scored a 7 on the ACE test too and I have been having a really hard time trying to overcome my troubled childhood. I have been considering getting mental health help but I was reluctant due to having that documented in my history and the societal views associated with it. Thank you for your comment. I shall try to get an appointment this week and set that up.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Nikiitasha, please don’t worry about what other people will think. They will only know that you have received mental health services if you tell them, and it is nobody’s business but your own. Although I started seeing a psychologist when I was 16, it wasn’t until I was 30 that I ever spoke of my childhood molestation. I needed to admit it to myself, and I needed to find the RIGHT psychologist, before I was able to tell. So, if the first one doesn’t seem to be the right one for you, don’t give up. Keep searching until you find the right doctor. Good luck to you, and know that you have a much right to be happy and comfortable in your own skin as anyone else. For some of us, it just takes a bit longer to get there! Love and happiness to you!

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      • I was scared too. I’m a 9 1/2 and a 5. I finally went to therapy again and I’ve adjusted to being ok with always being in therapy. Unfortunately, I just learned I have chronic pain. It helped me realize I don’t know how to properly take care of myself. Everyone else, sure, but not me. Two quotes helped me. The first is anon: “Self care is survival, too.” The second is Buddha: “If your compassion does not include yourself, it is incomplete.” Simple words, but they ring so much truth. Truth has helped as well. Every person that speaks the truth breaks the stigma. I found that every time I spoke the truth, it broke the part of me that is filled with shame. Silence, secrecy, and judgement is how shame survives. (That one is by Brene Brown, she’s wonderful). It was such a strange validation to break the silence. Not everyone will respond. There is no right way to respond, but I believe that they try. Maybe they have a mental illness they haven’t come to terms with, or they know someone who is hurting from a mental illness and don’t know what to say.

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      • What you deal with in a therapist’s office is much like in a law office–the consultaitons are private unless there is any threat of harm to self or others. And the laws are very specific regarding that. More importantly, you’ll need to realize that finding the right therapist is a lot like finding the right doctor or teacher–it can take trial and error. Trust your own instincts as to whether any particular treatment is truly beneficial for you. You’ll know. Don’t discount all the other possible means of help as well. It’s not mentioned here, but I know there are “survivior” workshops and group therapies available in many places. And a lot of different physical and spiritual approaches that can also be very helpful. Even vitamins can help! You’re the one who can best manage finding your own ways of dealing with the residues of childhood trauma. It’s a kind of commonplace, but once we are grown, we become, in effect, our own fathers and mothers. To whatever extent we can achieve that, we can provide ourselves with support that might have been lacking earlier. So, taking steps to find help is one way you are being supportive of yourself. Keep at it. And trust yourself and your own responses to the forms of help available. Look at all of Veronique’s replies here, too, as they are very helpful and she is a therapist.

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    • Donna – I agree with you wholeheartedly. I have exactly the same score as you in both tests. The result of my childhood was 2 abusive marriages, one forced abortion and one suicide attempt. I got little or not help and have refused anti-depressants on several occasions. In the end, the key is to ‘let go’ and to cease being angry – just walk away! My family is highly dysfunctional and I have cut all ties with them to save myself. My biggest ambition was to sever the chain of abuse and bring my children up in a happy, loving environment. I’ve been rewarded by a third very happy marriage in which I’ve been blessed with two lovely daughters who have grown to be smart, loving, balanced and emotionally intelligent human beings. I remain avoidant and still sometimes struggle with life and social gatherings, but I know I have done the right thing. I no longer feel like the world is ‘against me’. I used to feel bitter about my family but now I realise that their absence during me raising my children was an absolute blessing – because I wouldn’t have been able to raise my girls in the environment I wanted for them if my family had been involved. I’m glad they’re gone!

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      • Monica, I am so glad that you are happy, with a loving family. Although I have never managed a stable marriage, I am well loved by the people I work with, I have a son who EVERYONE tells me is “such a nice young man,” and know that I need no one but myself to have a good life. I use to wonder what was wrong with me that no one loved me, but I realize now that I had to love myself first. And, yes, I had to come to terms with my contradictory feelings about my family, too. I gave myself permission to dislike the brother who had molested me, thinking for so long that I HAD to love him because he was my brother. I have learned to step away from a mother who is a narcissus, and to communicate with her only by phone as much as possible, as she is less toxic that way. And, like you, I realize now that being mostly raised by my grandparents was a blessing in disguise. I felt rejected by my mother, but know now that my inner strength and morals are due to the grandparents who loved me. These ACE scores might show our scars and flaws, but it’s not set in stone that we will always feel wounded. We are who we choose to be, and I choose to be a strong, warrior woman. My favorite quote has always been, from Shakespeare’s Hamlet, “To thine own self be true. And it shall follow, as the night the day, thou shall not be false to any man.”

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    • There is another way to look at mental health services and it is a healthier viewpoint for all of society–not just those who need services. Today our society (parents, teachers, and other influencers) model unhealthy habits of thought and we adopt those habits as children. When we encounter adversities as children or adults our habits of thought are only as good as we know how to make them. Now that science knows which habits of thought lead to better outcomes (resilience, happiness, better physical, mental and behavioral health, better relationships and higher levels of success) all children should be taught how to use those habits of thought.
      Seeking mental health services simply means that your life failed to provide you with the habits of thought that will allow you to deal with your situation alone. There is absolutely no shame in that nor is there anything wrong with you. You simply need more information and mental health services is a way to obtain the information you need.
      It’s really no different than checking safety ratings by Consumer Reports before buying a car when your car is no longer serving your needs. You want to make sure you get one that will work well.
      If your habits of thought aren’t serving you well, you want to learn about habits of thought that will serve you better. It’s wise to do so.
      In the larger picture, now that we know (via science) the types of thinking that lead to success, teaching ALL children how to use them should be a high priority of every school.
      Healthy habits of thought isn’t telling someone what to think. It is creating psychological flexibility so an individual can adopt the habit of thought best suited to the unique circumstances of their life on a moment-by-moment basis.

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    • I scored a 6 on the ACE and a only 5 on the Resilience questionnaire although I have trouble remembering much of how I felt at 18 (now 50). It has also been my experience that with effective mental health counseling, I was able to learn healthy coping skills- as well as the recognition of healthy relationships. My focus has been on a strong spiritual identity and a lot of really hard work! It is what has motivated me to return to school in my 40’s to pursue a career in mental health counseling. I have confidence that society will continue to heal as we value and implement the education of resilience and the practice of mindfulness in early childhood education.

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    • Technically, it is, Rachel. It’s just not the way the question was worded in the original ACE Study. Most people don’t lose a parent to death before they’re 18. This was getting at the most common way children lose a parent.

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      • The ACE questionnaire needs to be updated to include: 1 – maternal death at birth. Mothers do die in childbirth. 2 – maternal death prior to the age of 18 due to cancer. This is a growing medical acknowledgement. Pregnant women do suffer from cancer. Cancer hospitals now have programs that involve the pregnant mother, her husband, and their older children in preparing for an uncertain future. If it is known that the pregnant mother will die, the family is given counseling to prepare for the mother’s death. Depending upon the age of the fetus, a decision must be made as to terminate the pregnancy or wait it out or treat the cancer. Family preservation is a cohesive plan of action if the mother dies. This is did not happen when my mother was dying of cancer at the same time while pregnant with me. She died of cancer 3 months after my birth in 1956. No one offered to help keep our family together. Instead, the Catholic priest told my father that “the baby needs two parents” and I was given up for adoption. My father kept his four older children. My mother’s very early death had a profound and lasting effect upon me and my siblings. … I do realize that parents die from many causes prior to a child’s 18th birthday. That is why we have so many half and full orphans in the world. AIDS, other diseases, famine, flu, crashes, earthquakes, floods. Be realistic. It is very important to more people than just “Most people don’t lose a parent to death before they’re 18. This was getting at the most common way children lose a parent.” That point of view is very exclusionary. There are more half orphans and full orphans than what is shown on the ACE test. And we DO exist in America.

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      • Thank you for your reply, Jane. I’ve thought of some other things that are not on the list. Besides having a parent that died, I also experienced severe school bullying and childhood illness accompanied by invasive medical procedures. My ACE score is either zero or one (it’s hard to say for sure whether my mother was officially depressed) yet I am a mess as an adult. On the other hand, I wonder about the inclusion of some things that are on the list. Like, is it really an ACE for my four year old that his teenage siblings (my stepchildren) smoke a lot of marijuana? They don’t do it around him. Just playing devil’s advocate a little here. This is all really useful stuff to be thinking about.

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      • There are several newer ACE questionnaires that add bullying and childhood illness with medical procedures/surgery. And, yes, unfortunately, it’s an ACE for your four-year-old if his siblings smoke a lot of marijuana, even if they don’t do it around him. If they smoke a lot of marijuana, they’re using it as a coping mechanism for something that is troubling them.

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    • This is a shortened version of the test. Question #6 is intended to cover loss/absence of a biological parent in ANY way. They just want you to be aware that divorce is considered part of that. This is why the question states separated or divorce since death is also a source of separation. The wording can be misleading though. A better wording found on longer versions is: “Before your 18th birthday, was a biological parent ever lost to you through divorce, abandonment, or other reason?”

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  251. I see there are many comments and this question may have already been addressed but I did not catch it.
    Can you offer me resources or advice on how I can go about talking to my doctor, and to which doctors, about this so that I may attempt to treat this in relation to my health and especially my life performance. Is there a precedent for this? Should I search for a professional that is familiar with the study and applications?
    I feel like I get much less done and struggle more to meet my potential (which is often described as mental illness or adhd) and I’m curious how I can translate this, in connection to my trauma, medically.

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      • My ACE score and Resilience score were both high. I grew up in an alcoholic home and witnessed abuse. I work in Behavioral Health here and we are using our traditional medicine to get better. With out prescribed medication but with natural healing. We are teaching our young children how to identify emotions and tell them they are normal. What we have lost through historical trauma and when the western influence came here(missionaries, diseases,..) and taking our children away for school resulted in loss of our ancestor’s teachings on how to live a healthy life. We are now teaching utilizing our Elders as tools to re-teach our ancestors way of good living. We use talking circles in each gathering because talking it will help heal us. Keeping it inside is making us sick.

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    • Definitely true, if it happened sometimes. Rarely, so as not to make much of a difference in your life….I’d say probably not true. This is meant more as a guideline to understanding how resilience factors can make a difference in your childhood, and to increase awareness of how incorporating resilience factors can help create a healthy life now.

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  253. Hope this becomes public knowledge so that everyone who comes into contact with a child will realise what a difference they can make to an individual’s life.

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  256. We are currently raising our three year old grandson as foster parents. He was removed from his parents who are both drug addicts. The boy was shaken repeatedly by his mother, accidentally hit by his mother, and for 18 months lived in a very toxic environment where there was a great deal of yelling and put downs. It’s actually a miracle that he lived through some of the things he endured. He is quite delayed with his expressive speech although his receptive speech is very good. He walked at 23 months but since he has been with us has developed at a rapid speed. At 18 months I witnessed him being the nurturer to his father who was likely going through withdrawal symptoms. He has bonded extremely well with us, gives lots of love, and does seem to enjoy being part of a healthy family unit. Even from a not very verbal three year old he seems to convey this by wanting group hugs and wanting his close people to be together. His parents have been absent from his life for eight months. Termination of parent rights is in the works but it terrifies me that ultimately a judge decides whether the child is reunified with his parents or gets adopted or a guardianship. We are dual licensed and will absolutely adopt our grandson if that opportunity presents itself and knew how critical living in a healthy household was to a child BUT reading about ACES makes it that much more critical. Prior to reading about ACES I just thought that statistics seem to indicate that children who grow up in a toxic home will more likely follow in the same bad patterns. Again, after reading about ACES that is very much confirmed. Our grandson’s score would be anywhere from 4-7 based on what I know. It’s hard to say what his answers would be on some of them but I tried to base it on what I know or what I’ve been told by others.

    My question is this. After spending the first 18 months of his life in that kind of home and now the last 19 months in our home, attending a school two days a week and loving it, going out and experiencing the world far more, and witnessing a loving home how much damage is done and how much can be undone? Any help you can give would be very much appreciated. The little guy deserves the best and we’re trying to get all the services he needs and to make sure he feels loved, safe, and is in a stable home.

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    • Ma’am, I’m sure you didn’t mean anything by it…but I score a 10. It has certainly been a struggle however I am a functional productive member of society. Not everyone wants to continue the cycle. You can’t blame your failures and such on your past. It is about acceptance and taking ownership…to do anything not to be a victim but to be a survivor.I am glad your grandson is safe. I just wanted to put that out there.

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  258. Thank you so much for this article. I’m a survivor of childhood trauma and this article has explained so much to me about my self prior to being recently diagnosed and medicated. I scored an 8 on the ACE. Does anyone know more about the resiliency score?

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  259. I scored four or five on the ACE but also high on resiliency factors. Sometimes I look back in my childhood and can hardly believe I have made such a good life for myself. I’m a work in progress, to be sure, but still moving forward at 51. I’m so glad we are learning to help children overcome harm.

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  260. A comment on why men have lower ACE scores than women, perhaps it is because men have been socialized to “suck it up” and not complain. So perhaps there is more denial and repression among men.

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    • I would say it’s also likely due to the fact that females are marginalized in society, more so in the past, and females are much more likely to have been sexually abused that males.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I tend to disagree. The marginalization of females has largely come from their being protected and kept in safety. While this is obvious discrimination (education, banking, etc) it also has buffered women from hardships such as dangerous occupations, death in war and many other dangerous and violent events. The boys and men have also faced marginalization since they faced sex discrimination in being the ones expected to take care of all of those dangerous events, wars, etc. and were much more likely to die in the process.

        From an ACE point of view it is important to consider how boys and girls were treated as children and I think a good case could be made that during childhood it is more likely for the girls to be protected and the boys to be expected to suck it up.

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  262. Thanks so much for an excellent article. I am new to the ACE information but being a therapist it is very pleasant to see my world view confirmed via this research. I have seen over the years the impact of trauma and its connection with old childhood events. Therapy that helps work integrating that story is always helpful and gives people more access to joy and peace.

    I do have a question or two. I would love to look at and analyze this data. Are there online sources that give you access to the raw data?

    The other question I have is related to the ACES numbers. It seems that, in general, women have higher ACE scores than men. But men die earlier from nearly every major disease. Men die from accidents and suicide at a much higher rate. Wouldn’t the theory predict that since women have higher ACE scores they should be more prone to early death, and death from cancer, heart disease etc? The fact is that it is men who are dying more often and earlier than the women. It is also a fact that ,men’s longevity is about 5 years shorter than women’s. Most seem to attribute this to risky behaviors of the men but doesn’t the ACE idea predict that the higher scores would also predict more risky behaviors? This puzzles me.

    Thanks for any help with this and thanks again for a fascinating article.

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    • Hi, Tom: You’d have to go to the CDC to access the raw data. If you go to the CDC ACE Study site — http://www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/acestudy/ — you can find all the 60+ publications from the study (and more in press). After looking at those, if you want to contact them, there’s contact info on the site.
      You can also join ACEsConnection.com, the companion social network to ACEsTooHigh.com, to see what others are doing to integrate this knowledge into their work.
      I can only guess at why women live longer….they tend to turn their response to stress inward, and so there’s more immune system damage, so a lot of damage, but not instantly lethal. (See Donna Jackson Nakazawa’s book, Childhood Disrupted: How Your Biography Becomes Your Biology and How You Can Heal — she gets into this.) Men tend to turn their responses outward, so engage in more violence and more thrill sports. They also use guns for suicide (more lethal).
      That would be something to ask some of the ACEs researchers, whose names you can find on the publications on the CDC site.

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    • Hi Tom,

      This is such a great question you put out there about why there seem to be such differences in health for men and women in response to ACEs.

      As a physician turned trauma therapist I having been exploring the role of ACEs in long term physical health and chronic illness. I am beginning to wonder if the effects of early trauma show up in different ways in different people / situations / groups etc.

      For example, I see the long term effects as showing up for some individuals as behavioral changes (addictions to food, substances, work, exercise, hoarding, etc).
      For others, it may show up more as an emotional symptom or mental illness (depression, anxiety, bipolar and possibly contribute to schizophrenia, autism etc as well).
      And then for still others it arises as a chronic illness (MS, chronic fatigue, Rheumatoid arthritis, heart disease etc).
      I see all of these illnesses as the result of nervous system patterns and physiological responses to trauma (and not as conscious choices or responses to purely “negative thinking” etc).

      I’ve also started wondering whether men’s physiologies generally (if not always) default towards response patterns to trauma related to fight/flight, as Jane Ellen alludes to. This could lead to behaviors that are higher risk or chronic illnesses such as heart disease that can have higher rates of sudden death; whereas women’s physiologies may default more to the state of “freeze” and to experience more health issues such as autoimmune diseases (which generally occur at higher rates in women).

      This field is rich with science that can help us keep asking these kinds of questions that feel so filled with curiosity and new kinds of solutions, perspectives, non-blaming attitudes, and treatment possibilities.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Hi Veronica – Thanks for a fascinating post. I am betting you are correct that there are some reasons beyond our present understanding that play out in how we respond to stress. The work of Shelly Taylor on stress is a good example where she found that men and women were fundamentally different in their response to stress with the males more likely to fight/flight and the females more likely to do what she named “tend and befriend.” That is, women move more towards interaction while men are more likely to move towards action/inaction.

        Have you noticed any sex differences? I’d love to hear more from you about what you are finding.

        I think the masculine risk taking is at least partly related to the testosterone flood, male/male competition, and precarious manhood. All of these play a role in men’s behaviors and I am guessing they may also be involved in how their stress manifests in their body.

        The other piece of this is the likelihood that men have under-reported on their ace scores. Due to the provide and protect role and precarious manhood men are much less likely to admit to trauma and abuse. That would explain a great deal.

        All sorts of interesting twists and turns and we know so little now. Makes it fun to guess and work on it! I’d love to hear more from you about your observations if you have the interest. If you want to find me you can go to tgolden.com and there is an email address on the contact page.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Hi Tom,
        Your phrase “reasons beyond our present understanding that play out in how we respond to stress” seems to hit the nail on the head about this issue. I’ll be in touch via email.

        Liked by 1 person

    • I understand that men do indeed need more advocacy in our culture. I’ve done academic research on welfare reform, where men are hardly ever considered the “deserving poor” compard to women and children.

      However, your view of the greater protection afforded women and children misses the double-edged sword of protectiveness, since greater protectiveness can also render those protected more vulnerable and seemingly “weaker.” That means they can be taken advantage of by those who consider, or need to consider, themselves stronger and more powerful.

      A lot of abuse is about power, in fact. Men are taught to desire physical strength and dominance by many cultures, including our own. When we see women pursuing sports as in the recent Olympics, we see a culture changing, so that those prevoiusly considered weaker are beginning to strengthen and yet still find themselves, as many Olympics reporters noted, still find themselves viewed as secondary to males, including athletic husbands, or women’s sports as less than male sports.

      There are, then, two sides to protectiveness. So, while men may die sooner and from more accidents and suicides (anger and violence as more acceptable forms of expression for men may be only one factor here, as well as the risky behaviors you mention), women and children are much more often abused. Those are the facts.

      This doesn’t mean men don’t also suffer abuse, nor does it discount the need for attention to the traumatic experiences and results of those experiences for men. The awful suicide rates of verterans are one such area where a culture’s definitions and prescriptions for men to be strong can lead entire institutions to ignore help desperately needed, as well as cause men to ignore their own needs and vulnerabilities.

      It’s not really a matter of who needs help more than who else. It’s more a matter of both/and reasoning. We need to help both men and women.

      I don’t see it as a contest, though I can see how that view can develop when men’s needs are so underserved. As they are.

      While the socio-cultural tendencies are to protect the vulnerable, defined in different eras of our own history as widows, women, and children, often excluding men, that does not decrease the actual vulnerabilities of ALL groups, which are also often supported by a set of cultural practices that render them less powerful socially.

      There may also be genetics to consider, since males do die at greater rates than females from fetuses to birth and onwards, even before cultural conditioning begins to set in.

      Not all illness or risky behavior is caused by trauma, then. Causes for men’s greater degrees of illnesses, deaths, and other are complex and not only releated to who suffers more abuse in childhood. There are many cultural factors, including those which socialize men as the “protectors” of others and others as “protected.”

      I have to say, though, that from my own experience, abuse which young boys and men may suffer can be particularly brutal and brutalizing. However, there are also lifelong forms of damage which result from the abuse of children and women who may have a lesser ability to fight back and who are similarly expected to “suck it up” as in not tell anyone about their abuse.

      So, again, really, I don’t see this as a contest over who suffers more abuse or whose results of trauma are more damaging. We need to embrace awareness of ALL forms of abuse and suffering and damage, rather than discount anyone else’s. Does that make sense to you?

      I think I’m saying that it is good to be an advocate for men’s needs, but that it is possible to advocate without discounting the suffering of others (who you see as preotected and who, in fact, are not perhaps as protected as they are culturally deemed to be, if the facts of abuse rates are also considered. Is it possible for you to be an ally for women and children as well as an advocate for men? That’s what I would hope for in advocacy, especially as you do work in this area.

      Liked by 2 people

  263. Pingback: Discussion Guide: Chapter Three | The Zorgos Reader

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    • Anita,
      So did I. And I am as surprised as you, not just at being here but also at doing this well for myself.
      With only an occasional struggle,I usually manage to forget and suppress the past.
      I have been doing this for many years, mostly almost subconsciously.
      But I am here, because I am a fighter.

      Liked by 1 person

  265. Why is question n° 7 only about women? In my personal case, the one who got assaulted often was my father. I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one.

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    • As mentioned in the explanation about ACEs above the questionnaire, there are many other types of childhood trauma — watching a sibling being abused, losing a caregiver (grandmother, mother, grandfather, etc.), homelessness, surviving and recovering from a severe accident, witnessing a father being abused by a mother, witnessing a grandmother abusing a father, etc. The ACE Study included only those 10 childhood traumas because those were mentioned as most common by a group of about 300 Kaiser members; those traumas were also well studied individually in the research literature.

      The most important thing to remember is that the ACE score is meant as a guideline: If you experienced other types of toxic stress over months or years, then those would likely increase your risk of health consequences.

      Also, some newer ACE surveys are including other questions, such as racism, bullying, witnessing violence outside the home, and involvement in the foster care system.

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    • I had the same question Arlen. I went back and looked at the original questionnaires that were used and the question was only asked about males assaulting mothers or step-mothers. This is a serious mistake and omits men who are nearly half the victims of domestic violence. I am guessing that the questions were designed in the early or mid 1990’s when the public awareness of domestic violence was just beginning and most assumed that women were the only victims. i suppose they can’t alter the questionnaire at this point but I hope future versions will remedy that sexism. BTW if you are interested I wrote a report for the state of Maryland about male victims of domestic violence and how and why they have been ignored for many years. You can see a copy of it here http://whitehouseboysmen.org/maryland-report-male-victims-of-domestic-violence

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      • As mentioned at the top of the Got Your ACE Score? page, There are, of course, many other types of childhood trauma — watching a sibling being abused, losing a caregiver (grandmother, mother, grandfather, etc.), homelessness, surviving and recovering from a severe accident, witnessing a father being abused by a mother, witnessing a grandmother abusing a father, etc. The ACE Study included only those 10 childhood traumas because those were mentioned as most common by a group of about 300 Kaiser members; those traumas were also well studied individually in the research literature.

        The ACE co-founders, Drs. Vincent Felitti and Robert Anda, are well aware that there are many other types of childhood trauma. And there have been subsequent ACE surveys, such as the Philadelphia Urban ACE Study, that have added more questions.

        The most important thing to remember is that the ACE score is meant as a guideline: If you experienced other types of toxic stress over months or years, then those would likely increase your risk of health consequences.

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      • http://www.americanbar.org/groups/domestic_violence/resources/statistics.html

        According to this American Bar Association report, on specifics of domestic abuse, of all types, it is stretching it quite a bit to say that “nearly half” are men. Clearly, women and children are a higher percentage of victims of all the types and forms of abuse.
        Here’s just one summary of the whole report:

        –Of the almost 3.5 million violent crimes committed against family members, 49% of these were crimes against spouses.
        –84% of spouse abuse victims were females, and 86% of victims of dating partner abuse at were female.
        –Males were 83% of spouse murderers and 75% of dating partner murderers
        50% of offenders in state prison for spousal abuse had killed their victims.
        –Wives were more likely than husbands to be killed by their spouses: wives were about half of all spouses in the population in 2002, but 81% of all persons killed by their spouse

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  266. ACE score of 7. I started getting recurrent pneumonia when I was 4 years old, had about 30 of them in childhood. Now I have an immune system that is overreactive and not normal in ways that don’t fit a specific disease patter. Cholinergic urticaria, elevated T cells, elevated complement, high TNFa, high NK cells, skewed cytokine ratio. To add to the toxic stress, I lived with smokers. Didn’t stop smoking just because I had pneumonia.

    What I’m most interested in is how