What ACEs/PCEs do you have?

What ACEs do you have?

There are 10 types of childhood trauma measured in the CDC-Kaiser Permanente Adverse Childhood Experiences Study. (There are many others…see below.) 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 experiencing divorce of parents. 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 — racism, bullying, 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, involvement with the foster care system, involvement with the juvenile justice system, 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, depending on the positive childhood experiences you had (see below).

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 know your ACEs, 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 more than 70 other publications through 2015. 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. Thirty-six states and the District of Columbia have done their own ACE surveys; their results are similar to the CDC’s ACE Study.


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; attempted 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. Prior to the ACE Study, most research about effects of abuse, neglect, etc., involved poor people of color who live in the inner city. And so the notion was that it was inner-city people of color who experienced abuse, neglect, etc., not white middle-class or white upper-class people….that somehow white people of means were immune from the kinds of problems affecting people who were poor. That’s not only ridiculous, but it was just another way to perpetrate racism and classism. The ACE Study quashed that notion. So, it’s not that I’m saying that the ACE Study is credible because it was done on white people, I’m saying that the ACE Study opened the door to an understanding that ACEs are at the root of nearly all problems of physical, mental, economic and social health in humans, no matter where in the world those humans live. The ACE Study and the other research that makes up ACEs science provided an opening to a better understanding of the constructs that make up our notion of why people suffer ill health — physical, mental, economic, social — and that includes systemic racism. )

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 damages the structure and function of 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 child psychiatrist 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.

In addition, toxic stress can be passed down from generation to generation. The field of epigenetics shows that we are born with a set of genes that can be turned on and off, depending on what’s happening in our environment. If a child grows up with an overload of toxic stress, their stress-response genes are likely to be activated so that they are easily triggered by stressful situations that don’t affect those who don’t grow up with toxic stress. They can pass that response onto their children.  

Fortunately, brains and lives are somewhat plastic. Resilience research shows that the appropriate integration of resilience factors — 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 ACEs science and how it’s being used, go to: PACEs Science 101.

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).

For more information about PACEs science, go to PACEs Science 101.


What are PCEs — positive childhood experiences?

Although there is still much to learn about ACEs and how to prevent and mitigate their effects, we also all know that childhood experiences are not limited to those that involve adversity. All childhood experiences matter. In the last few years, researchers have started to examine the impacts of positive childhood experiences (PCEs) on children and adults.

In 2019, a team of researchers — Dr. Christina Bethell, Jennifer Jones, Dr. Narangerel Gombojav, Dr. Jeff Linkenbach and Dr. Robert Sege — found a dose-response association between positive childhood experiences and adult mental and relationship health among adults who had experienced ACEs, irrespective of how many ACEs they had. This means that it’s really important to have positive childhood experiences, no matter how much adversity you have in your life. And if you have a lot of adversity and a lot of positive childhood experiences, you are less likely to suffer the consequences of ACEs. However if you have no positive childhood experiences and few ACEs, the consequences of the ACEs are more likely to appear. Positive Childhood Experiences and Adult Mental and Relational Health in a Statewide Sample: Associations Across Adverse Childhood Experiences Levels | JAMA Pediatrics.

To find out what positive childhood experiences you have, answer the following questions. How much or how often during your childhood did you:

  1. feel able to talk to your family about feelings;
  2. feel your family stood by you during difficult times;
  3. enjoy participating in community traditions;
  4. feel a sense of belonging in high school;
  5. feel supported by friends;
  6. have at least two non-parent adults who took genuine interest in you; and
  7. feel safe and protected by an adult in your home.

In terms of research, these are still early days, says Dr. Robert Whitaker, director of Research and Research Education at the Columbia-Bassett Program and professor of Clinical Pediatrics in the Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons at Columbia University: “This area of PACEs research is emerging, but the boundaries of that research have not really been defined, particular as complement to the well-established body of research on resilience.”


From  “Brains: Journey to Resilience”, Alberta Family Wellness Initiative.



“PCEs may have lifelong consequences for mental and relational health despite co-occurring adversities such as ACEs,” noted Dr. Christina Bethell in Positive Childhood Experiences and Adult Mental and Relational Health in a Statewide Sample: Associations Across Adverse Childhood Experiences Levels. Bethell is professor at Johns Hopkins University in the Bloomberg School of Public Health and founding director of the Child and Adolescent Health Measurement Initiative. “In this way, they support application of the World Health Organization’s definition of health emphasizing that health is more than the absence of disease or adversity. The World Health Organization’s positive construct of health is aligned with the proactive promotion of positive experiences in childhood because they are foundational to optimal childhood development and adult flourishing.”

However, in terms of integrating what we know about PACEs, we have enough information to continue integrating the science into our work. If we want to change individuals, organizations, communities, and systems we need to talk about both positive and adverse childhood experiences — PACEs — and how they intertwine throughout our lives….

  • At the individual level, learning about ACEs helps us understand why we behave the way we do, and that our coping behavior is normal…a normal response to abnormal circumstances. Learning about PCEs provides direction to heal. The key concept about PACEs is that learning about both, together, can help improve our health and well-being. It gives us hope.
  • At the organizational level, staff and leaders can use knowledge of PACEs to create healing-centered work environments and programs in all sectors.
  • At the community level, educating the public about PACEs can provide hope and foster the development of innovative ideas about how to support families, organizations and communities. Understanding the interplay between positive and adverse experiences offers opportunity for engagement with all sectors. Communities can use this new lens to create mindful, healing-centered, research-informed approaches to prevent adversity and encourage connection and healing.
  • At the system level, policymakers and leaders can use research about PACEs to find common ground across fields and to support policies that promote the understanding of PACEs and how adversity and positive experiences work together.

At least two organizations are taking this approach and doing research to guide their actions:

  • The Healthy Outcomes from Positive Experiences (HOPE) team at Tufts Medical Center have identified four building blocks that lessen the negative effects of ACEs: relationships, environments, engagement, and social emotional development. HOPE – Healthy Outcomes from Positive Experiences
  • The Hope Research Center at the University of Oklahoma, Tulsa, focuses its research on the “science and power of hope as a psychological strength, especially among those experiencing trauma and adversity.” The Center defines hope as “the belief that the future will be better and you have the power to make it so.” Hope Research Center (ou.edu)

If you’re interested in becoming more involved in the PACEs science community, join our companion social network, PACEs Connection. Just go to PACEsConnection.com and click “Join”. PACEsConnection.com is the leading advocate for information about the science of positive and adverse childhood experiences (PACEs) and the rapidly expanding, global PACEs science movement. 

3,037 responses

  1. I just learned about the ACE concept and rationale. Brilliant! I will do my part to start spreading the word.

    The children of marginalized families, in poorer communities, face many challenges that larger institutions created but aren’t held accountable for. The blame and punishment are on the victim, not the perp.


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  3. I scored 9 on the ACE questions and 0 on resilience, I’ve had a cancer diagnosis and have been an addict since I was a child…


  4. I have a question. On question #9 of the ACE survey, it asks, “was a household member depressed or mentally ill, or did a household member attempt suicide?” Does this include the person who is taking the survey herself, or only other members of the household?


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  6. Why does #7 not say mother or father. MANY wives physically abuse/batter their husbands. Change it! Shameful and discriminatory. Darla


    • It says in the article that the word mother was used (as well as the other specific examples) because it was one of the most commonly reported ACES in the research study but mentions that fathers, grandparents etc suffering abuse are also adverse experiences and there are many others not listed


      • “witnessing a father being abused by a mother, witnessing a grandmother abusing a father,” … “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.”

        I just copied it directly from the article here for accuracy sake but basically what I was trying to say


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  8. I have an ACE score of 5 but a PCE score of ZERO! The latter is way more disturbing to me. Is this normal???? Can you recover from it?? I feel like lots of people have bad stuff happen to them but it is normal to have ZERO pces??? I feel really doomed, my sense of self is very weak. How do you treat it!!!!??????


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  12. I received a 0 out 10. I have to say I know friends that their scores would have been higher and it makes complete sense on how as an adult they have been diagnosed with anxiety and depression.


    • It’s useful and helpful to also see the “non-psych” aspects of their lives, too. Are they in poor health from opportunistic diseases, are they potentially harried over-achievers, or “lazy” underachievers? The implications for folks who have high ACEs with low resilience capabilities can be masked or camouflaged by other things happening in their lives. I think it’s helpful to try to see the larger aspects of those lives – their “aura” of chaos and disorder, failed and broken relationships, etc. perhaps – as part of the ACEs spectrum.


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  16. I scored 4/10 in ACES. I found this very interesting as it got me to think back and reflect on this and how i am the person i am today because of it.


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  21. 10 outta 10 ace
    1 outta 10 pace
    Explains a lot! Experiencing grief and praise for the awareness of this information. Perception IS everything! Thru understanding the reality of my hardware, family & ancestry, I am beginning to learn how to work w what Ive got. What else you got? Everything else pales in comparison to the nuances of reality. Thank You for this. 🙏🏼
    ps…I found this info via book ‘Mother Hunger’ by Kelly McDaniel


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  23. I am surprised bullying is not part of the ACE scoring. I was bullied from as young as I can remember through high school. I was not well liked nor did I fit in well. I was however, oblivious to the rejection of others because it had happened for so long I didn’t pick up on the signs that people didn’t want me around. I inserted myself into the lives of others.


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  31. Wow eye opening!!!! Was trying to find out if I had ptsd (my pyschiatryst says I don’t have it) I think I do!! I now know for sure my aces(alot) has affected and traumatic life events I’ve experienced account for a huge amount of my problems! My loved ones (sister,family,friends) thinking i just have addiction to drugs and alcohol!!! They get mad at me cause I won’t grow up and just quit. Act like an adult,I would love nothing more if I could. They wouldn’t listen to “my excuses” when I told them it’s not an addiction to substance that causes people to abuse a substance! We abuse the substance cause of underlying issues from past experiences that weren’t processed/treated properly.
    I’m so glad I came across this info, now I have hope!!!


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  50. The stats are informative, I do have experience of dealing with adults who have revealed childhood problems with parents and other adults who now are heavy smokers, drinkers, drug users, usually these children were not fed properly or had no attention from adults in, were in general deprived, and now they have health problems such as heart problems, dental, liver, COPD and asthma etc so it does all add up in the end.


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  53. I got a 5 on the ACE score and a big fat zero on the PCE’s – I guess having a rare chronic condition (Addison’s Disease) caused by autoimmune disease is now understandable, as is the hypothyroidism, the severe clinical depression, the Asthma the type 2 diabetes, then high blood pressure, the obesity, and hypertension. Yay, go me.


      • Lyn, One thing I keep hearing … consistently and from various sources… is that your ACE score does not have to define who you are and how you live. Knowing your ACE score is one thing. Choosing to live a particular way, perhaps in spite of your ACE score is another. If possible, make healthy choice s (even now!) to counteract that ACE score. I recognize that not everyone’s circumstances (financially, employment, retirement, social environment, family connections, etc.) support or even recognize healthier choices. But, you do have self-appointed agency to take one step in one direction. Perhaps the second step will be a little easier.


      • Ace score 8 pce score1
        I don’t go to the Dr so I can’t say but I feel like I’m sick all the time and I live in a really dark place in my head. I often hope for death.


  54. Though it may be clinically labelled as some other disorder, I have a self-diagnosed condition involving ACE trauma, ASD and high sensitivity — which I freely refer to as a perfect storm of train wrecks. It’s one with which I greatly struggle(d) while unaware, until I was a half-century old, that its component dysfunctions had official names.

    When around their neurotypical peers, young people with ASD typically feel compelled to “camouflage” or “mask”, terms used to describe their attempts at appearing to naturally fit in when around their neurotypical peers, an effort known to cause their already high anxiety and/or depression levels to worsen. And, of course, this exacerbation is reflected in the disproportionately high rate of suicide among ASD people.

    I still cannot afford to have a formal diagnosis made on my condition, due to having to pay for a specialized shrink, in our (Canada’s) supposedly universal health-care system. Within that system, there are important health treatments that are universally inaccessible, except for those with a bunch of extra money. … If one has diagnosed and treated such a formidable condition when one is very young, he/she will likely be much better able to deal with it through life.

    Nonetheless, my experience has revealed to me that high-scoring adverse childhood experience trauma that essentially results from a highly sensitive introverted existence notably exacerbated by an accompanying autism spectrum disorder, can readily lead an adolescent to a substance-abuse/self-medicating disorder, including through eating. Though I’ve not been personally affected by the addiction/overdose crisis, I have suffered enough unrelenting ACE-related hyper-anxiety to have known and enjoyed the euphoric release upon consuming alcohol and/or THC. The self-medicating method I utilized during most of my pre-teen years, however, was eating.

    I also now know that my brain basically uncontrollably releases potentially damaging levels of inflammatory stress hormones and chemicals, even in non-stressful daily routines. It’s like a discomforting anticipation of ‘the other shoe dropping’ and simultaneously being scared of how badly I will deal with the upsetting event, which usually never transpires. It is like a form of brain damage.

    Perhaps not surprising, I’d like to see child-development science curriculum implemented for secondary high school students, which could also include neurodiversity, albeit not overly complicated. If nothing else, the curriculum would offer students an idea/clue as to whether they’re emotionally/mentally compatible with the immense responsibility and strains of parenthood. … Really, the best gift a child can receive is a healthy, properly functioning brain thus mind for life.


    • For one thing, our standard educators need to be further educated on Autism Spectrum Disorder, especially when it comes to preventing the abuse of autistic students by their neurotypical peers and teachers alike.

      I feel that not only should all school teachers receive mandatory ASD training, there should also be an inclusion in standard high school curriculum of child-development science that would also teach students about the often-debilitating condition (without being overly complicated). If nothing else, the curriculum would offer students an idea/clue as to whether they themselves are emotionally/mentally compatible with the immense responsibility and strains of regular, non-ASD-child parenthood.

      It would explain to students how, among other aspects of the condition, people with ASD (including those with higher functioning autism) are often deemed willfully ‘difficult’ and socially incongruent, when in fact such behavior is really not a choice. And how “camouflaging” or “masking,” terms used to describe ASD people pretending to naturally fit into a socially ‘normal’ environment, causes their already high anxiety and depression levels to further increase. Of course, this exacerbation is reflected in the disproportionately high rate of suicide among ASD people.


  55. This unit is very interesting it tells me about a lot of complex issues that a lot of people don’t think about when working with residential young people.


  56. Could my child’s acute anxiety and Tourette’s be a function of ACE? The fact that she is a difficult teen with teen brain makes it hard to help and hard to unpick whether the pre verbal traumas are part accountable, or whether it’s just being a teen. She was traumatised aged 2 by her birth parents and being removed from them although they were loving.


    • Hi, Monica: It could be. As Bessel van der Kolk says in his book, The Body Keeps the Score, a traumatic childhood gets into our body’s systems and shows up in different ways. If you haven’t read it, it might be helpful.


    • OK, this reply is long because this is my work in life. To try and say this to any parent who will listen. First thing to do in your situation is try to take yourself out of it a bit and observe your behavior from the outside: Is there anything that might make her feel as if she can’t trust you to validate her feelings, help her or meet her needs? Be gentle to yourself! Maybe it’s purely situational. A kid can feel that when their household does’t have enough food, no matter how hard the parent may be trying to provide for their kids. Maybe it’s something you’ve said with one intention that was interpreted differently in her mind. She probably couldn’t even name it, but she needs your help to figure it out.

      Even if what you find is a problem with your own behavior, it doesn’t mean you are bad or that you intended harm or even that you did anything wrong per se. Sometimes we do harm without meaning to, and sometimes kids just don’t have a full understanding of interpersonal communication! Kids can’t physically protect themselves from an adult with ill will, so their brains have some extra sensitive failsafes. A child may internalize an idea that an adult never intended. All we can do is figure it out as soon as possible, stop, and try to make it right. We all make mistakes and it’s the only way to make amends for something we can’t take back. Again, it’s also totally possible this is rooted totally outside of your relationship with her.

      I really wish my mom could have done this, just took herself out of the picture long enough to realize that people don’t generally act out for no reason! They REact because of something. If we could have gotten to the bottom of it, it would have saved me a LOT of self harm and very serious hospitalizations. I have to believe she would have acted to stop the torrent of abuse I was receiving at that time from family, strangers, abuse of all sorts. I’m sure you would help if something was wrong in your kid’s life.

      Here’s a concrete example from my life. My ACEs score is 7, so I was reacting to a lot when I was a “difficult teen.” My mom thought I was a “difficult teen” even though I was 10 years old when my anger became too big to hide. Just 10. But what her brain could handle is looking back at that time and believing her kid was just being normally reactive for her age. Remembering it that way protects her from guilt and her own trauma. Otherwise she might have to think that she lived through trauma and then allowed it to happen to her own daughter. That’s so hard. She can’t even describe her own trauma as trauma. It can be hard to even admit you were harmed in the past. Her kid brain learned some ways to deal with trauma that didn’t serve her so well when she became a parent. She couldn’t face it and move forward to a place where she could look at her own behavior clearly. I feel so bad for her. Yet, at the time, I was so angry that I was trapped in situations that were seriously damaging me and no adult was stopping it. When you’re little, maybe that’s the only way you can understand it. It profoundly changed how I felt about all humankind. The world became a dark place.

      When I was angry, she made a habit of making fun of me. To her, it was some ribbing that would hopefully show me how silly I was acting for “no reason.” Her intentions were good and to her, how she handled it seemed innocuous. But it taught me that even if I desperately needed help from my parent, I would just be ridiculed for asking. She would pile abuse on top of abuse. Why would I put myself through that? She would surely have helped if she had known! I bet you would, too. But I had already been harmed so much that my brain developed stricter screening methods when anticipating the actions of adults. Our brains are built to protect us from things like this. A suspicious child may manage to avoid additional harm to her body. It was safer for my brain to assume we couldn’t trust my mom anymore, with so much lived experience showing that adults are totally willing to hurt kids. And even now, with the danger decades in the past, I still can’t trust properly and struggle to maintain healthy relationships.

      It’s good to remember that trauma doesn’t just change abstract behavior, it changes how a child’s brain is structured and “wired.” I know you don’t want your kid to live out her life feeling alienated from the world. What’s happening to her also may not be a life-altering big deal. If you broke your arm, the best time to get it treated would always be ASAP. Better to address things before they’re big. So I’d gently suggest that you try to be brave and figure out what your kid is reacting to, just in case, even if it’s messy and so difficult for you to do and even if you feel bad or defensive. All we can do is be better. I wish my mom had tried. I wish she could have done the work as the adult in the situation instead of leaving me to figure it out before it kills me.

      Just keep in mind that the problem at hand could simply be any need that one or both of you aren’t aware of. It only has to feel important to your kid for it to cause problems. It doesn’t mean you are bad, just that she doesn’t feel like she is safe/protected/has needs met/whatever the case may be, no matter how big or small it may seem to you.

      Also, it is a harrowing read, but I second the recommendation for reading The Body Keeps the Score. It saved my life.


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  58. Knowing my ace score is Extremely helpful to helping me develop a plan of action for myself as I do not want to live like this I have survived for almost 50 years experiencing the trauma that I’ve experienced!


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  66. I scored 10 on ACEs, 1 on Resilience. Was recently diagnosed with CPTSD. I struggle everyday with panic attacks. I smoke wayyy too many cigarettes, but I can’t stop.

    I used to self harm a lot, and always wondered why I stopped. Well I figured it out the last time I attempted to quit smoking. I picked up one vice for the next.

    Feels good to be heard in therapy, finally. Hoping my therapist can save me, because a lot of the time I worry that if this doesn’t work this time, I doubt anything will be able to help me.

    I will say that I’m lucky in the regard that I am very good at my job, and often get complimented by upper management on how I am at the top performance-wise. They tell me I’m the best worker they have, however my downfall is that I miss work a lot. Somedays it hurts to move or to even form a coherent thought. It’s like I’m falling apart and breaking down on the inside, but the outside appears to be sunshine and daisies to everyone else. I wish I could see a fraction of what they see in me. I wish I could believe that I was worth something, but how- I can’t even muster up the energy to get out of bed most of the time. It’s hard to see worth there, when I’m not really contributing to society.


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  69. This was an eye opener. I didn’t realize all the things listed could cause trauma. I know of the biggies, but wouldn’t have guessed some of the lesser things.


  70. i was the love child of 2 irresponsible teenagers running from there own abusive lives and created a world of destruction and made 4 souls lives a prisiom of fear and control through cruel manipulation emotion head games ,
    my parents were narcissistic/ psychotic self absorbed piers who used their children to fulfill their empty souls ,con-artists, drug addicts , resists hate mungers ,swingers heroine dealers , i was abused physically mentally sexually as a toddler, child preteen and teen , we moved homes 20 times before high school, i never had any close friends or meaningful relationships the first 14 years if my life .i finally ran away after my mother tried to rape one night and i pushed her off and she attacked me , i fought her off , for the 1st time in my entire life .i jumped out of my bedroom window .6 months later i got s job cooking at a hotel.
    i rmoved into a shit hotel room for the next 2 years just surviving .
    i am the oldest boy of 4,kids
    i couldn’t protect myself my siblings or escape the beatings then soothing apology’s followed by sexual touching from my mother. my father was in and out of jail, he had a heroine addiction from 19 years old till he died at 42 years old , i was 17.
    it was push and pull my whole life ,
    i was taught to lie steal cheat to hate others to to take as much as i could from others , never contributing or knowing what true love was
    we were in constant survival mode,
    my personality split and i was told to just deal with it.
    at 20 i had a spiritual awaking through the top of my head and a month later i met the 21 year old university student who would later move me into her doarm room , she brought me home and 5 years later married a broken adult, i repressed all my abuse
    .i repressed my dark life and attempted to live life as i saw through her family’s eyes .
    i failed miserably at knowing myself or what love was i just felt i my now wife had known me beyond this life, she loved me and shown me a kindness that i had never know
    how could i tell her the darkest times of my life
    i had lived a life of hating myself for 15 years until i had my son at 34 and daughter at 36
    i was addicted to everything my doctor would prescribe me
    i was sick with multiple major problems
    non mental .
    i was someone who hid my dark past for another 6 years until i couldn’t look in the mirror at myself
    i was trying to kill myself
    ended up in jail for printing prescription for years , cheated
    stolen arrested
    reckless driving
    shooting up
    left my family for days on end
    i was never home
    i was my parents …..
    i attempted suicide for the 3rd time
    1st time anyone had known about anything that had happened in my life
    it was hidden from everyone
    how bad it really was.
    a dark family secret
    my grandma and grandpa were millionaires and knew about it all
    anytime something happened they cleaned it up and paid the lawyers and moved us
    they were ashamed .
    i’m 46 today, married 25 years and i know who i am finally.
    i am loved
    i am love
    i am working on my best self
    i’m therapy for everything i can handle a little at a time .
    working on marriage counseling.
    in drug rehabilitation outpatient 6 years .
    MY children tell me i’m the Best dad in the world and i know it .
    i don’t speak to my mother and never will again
    grandparents left me enough money to give my family a home that will never move again .
    i’m a broken man glued together with love and today is hard , but i’m okay
    i’m safe .
    i’m happy


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  74. I learned a bit more about myself, but it’s hard to not feel like my situations aren’t real when other people tell me differently.


  75. Thank you for this video, well detailed and elaborated on what causes/triggers of trauma could be, and also understanding how to work with people suffering from it, just like most of us going through one thing or the other. Thanking you once gain


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  80. I’m a 5 on this list. My mother took her own life when I was 14, I think. I have blocked this horrific event so well that I can’t remember when it happened. I remember a month after it happened, I had a very sad birthday celebration with an empty chair (Moms) at the dinner table and I wore a sign that said “Be nice to me- it’s my birthday.” The loss of my mother affected the rest of my life, but I didn’t know how or why until now. All of my offspring are struggling (along with me) and I thought it was because I was a bad mother. I am still trying to understand how my mom could leave behind 5 children. Thank you for helping me make sense of something that has haunted me for 50 years. I have forwarded this article to my siblings, children and grandchildren. At least there is still hope that we can fix this before another generation of my family is lost to addiction and mental illness. ❤️


  81. I’m a 9 on ACES.
    CPTSD… dissociate… Disorganized Attachment that leans towards Avoidant.
    Raised 3 children by studying, learning and seeking help in order to offer them a sense of security, safety and unconditional love and respect. I now need to learn how to feel safe and trusting with men. I would like to consider having an adult relationship based on compatibility and mutual respect. I need help because I know nothing about healthy, sustainable relationships with men. Very difficult finding experienced therapists who work with Attachment disorders, CPTSD, dissociation, etc. Even harder to find a competent therapist who accepts insurance. And… let’s be real…a maximum of 6-10 visits a year is a mere drop in the bucket. It takes 6-10 visits to just share my biography. Very frustrating and sometimes kinda hopeless feeling. Attachment Therapy requires a sustained relationship with an experienced, and preferably trained, trustworthy person in order to develop new attachment areas in the brain. Not a simple fix. Plus, CPTSD is not even recognized in the DSM. I did my best to break the cycle for my children and now would like to learn how to find some peaceful and satisfying opportunities to bond with adults (not trauma-bond). At this point, I stay away from meeting new people because I am very aware of my lack of healthy relationship skills. Where is affordable, accessible help for adults who are ready to retrain their brains towards healthier and maybe happier lifestyles?


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  89. it was very laid out ant easy to focus on what was said, presentations were easy to understand most encouraging in my daily job and life


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  97. My score is only 5, but first of all a lot was repeatedly. And another lots of things are not listed. Plus I was born severely premature and not given much of a chance to survive. As an unborn I already had to fight… not just one thing but two: Rhesus factor and Rubella. Rubella affected my heading and damaged my retina( but I can see).
    But it didn’t end there…went through lots more throughout my life. Many say it’s a miracle that I never got into drugs or alcohol !

    But I have some autistic traits, challenging to be around people. Many other interpersonal issues….


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  99. I am very lucky I was a happy child and I had a great childhood. Thank you for such interesting information. This is really useful and powerful for everyone.


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  103. The Adverse Child Experience chart is an interesting tool to measure childhood trauma. I had no idea how far reaching those experiences were and how they affected not only mental health but physical health as well.


  104. @acestoohigh – This is some very interesting information and research and I like the tests that can be used as a guide to help people analyze trauma responses in themselves and others. The only critique I have is the defensive tone used in explanation of the selected participants of the study. If RACE is not an issue or factor, then there is no need to defend that position. You could have used the academic writing style of a research report (research report: an explanation of a research project, usually divided into subsections such as abstract, introduction, methods, results, etc.) to explain the participants, their ethnicity, race, social background, financial status etc. and also the limitations of the study based on the number of persons interviewed and the demographic restrictions of the group surveyed. Lines such as these could have been excluded:

    “And so the notion was that it was inner-city people of color who experienced abuse, neglect, etc., not white middle-class or white upper-class people….that somehow white people of means were immune from the kinds of problems affecting people who were poor. That’s not only ridiculous, but it was just another way to perpetrate racism and classism”.

    As a student of psychology with an interest in trauma studies, this blog has given me much insight into many factors affecting persons experiencing PTSD and other trauma-related issues. So thank you for the great insights provided!


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  112. I’m a 7 on the ACE and a 2 on PCEs. Reading these comments has shown me that a lot of people have had it worse, yet still hope for and fight for a good life. I tell you, this has helped me feel forgiveness for my own failings and a better understanding of why I’ve made so many poor choices as an adult. One thing really struck me… the idea that I can grieve the childhood I didn’t have. I imagine how it might have been and it’s bittersweet. That poor little kid that was me — she just wanted love, as we all do. Well, I will give it to her now because she was and is a bright light. And I’ll look for that light in every person I see, no matter how dimmed it may appear. Because we all have it. We are all gorgeous beings, unique and worthy. God bless all of you. Keep fighting for the good!


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  114. I am comforted by your comments. In my childhood experience, my younger sister had such horrible mental issues. I didn’t understand that at the time. So my parents focused on helping her, I had to pick up her chores with no explanation on why. I just figured in my childish way that I was the Cinderella in the family. So I don’t think I developed emotionally. My emotions are sometimes uncontrollable. I have had very few good relationships. As you, I’ve been picked on because of my “strangeness “. I so want to be free from my bad thoughts so I can properly serve our Father God. Again thank you.


    • Im 12 and i have an aces score of 3 all because of my dad he is so mean but im afraid to tell anyone ells. he is a narcissist and does not under stand that what he is doing is wrong.


      • You are self aware. You must love yourself. You are worth loving. Your father is damaged and damaging.


      • Lilly, I think you need to talk to someone to help you so I am going to give you some hotlines that you can call or live chat: first there is CARDV 1-541-754-0110. They are in Oregon and are open 24-7. Livechat is not 24-7 but calling is. Livechat is open 10 am – 4 pm Pacific time Mon – Fri in Oregon. They also have an email address. info@cardv.org I have a score of 10 and they help me out a ton! The women are my favorite. If you get a guy you can be asked to be transferred to a woman. They just listen to you talk and they say kind words to you when you are done talking. Don’t be afraid; they are all trained in this. Helping people with bad experiences to get healing and recovery. ❤ The website is https://cardv.org. Because you are 12, you may be able to get help from the missing and exploited children's hotline. That is if your dad is beating you or raping you, because that is exploitation. 1-800-843-5678. If he is bringing other adults over and collecting money from them to rape you like how my mom did to me, that is a type of slavery and you can call the National Human Trafficking Hotline to get help from the FBI: 1-888-373-7888. If the FBI agent who comes to rescue you starts screaming about hating his job and says that he wants to shoot you, like he did to me, please open the door and get far away from the door and the agent and ask him to leave. Then he will leave without shooting you (but also he will not rescue you.) If you have marks of abuse on your body and skin cells of abusers under your fingernails, you can call who ever in your county works for Child Protective Services. Just type in the name of your county into Google followed by the words Child Protective Services. If you do not know what your county is, just type into Google, "What is the county for (your city's name)?" You can try talking to your school counselor for help, but they may or may not help you. I hope this helps you. I only know the resources for you in the USA. But they have similar resources in other countries to help women and children. Just google for them. Type in "child protection" and your country. Lots of nonprofits and maybe some government organizations will show up.


  115. These studies are only regarding people with and ACE score of 1-4. I have an ACE score of nine. I’d like to know what you’ve found out about people like me.


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  117. I have a ACE score of 7 ish. And my PCE’s are generally mixed with bad, I have very few purely good memories. I grew up in a cult and was homeschooled, so very few outside influences for the first 13 years of my life. The cult had its own music, videos, children’s tv productions, novels and “literature”. We had a completely rigid schedule and very little parental input that was positive. I am currently on a waiting list to be seen by a physiologist and hopefully start to learn move resilience and coping skills. I have kids of my own now and if terrifies me every day that I may become even a fraction of what my parents and other adults around us were like.


    • I’m so sorry for your suffering. Something that has helped me is the website called “The Crappy Childhood Fairy,” where there are lots of videos for recovery from childhood trauma. These videos also are on YouTube. Best wishes to you!


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  126. I feel this is affected by where you live, places change which affects the parenting and their capabilities. Some of the questions I needed to put (1/2 half) as it only applied to one side of the parenting structure. My scores were not great which I expected. I feel this test needs more work done on it please, like investigating parenting styles not just their abuse techniques. My father was a very intelligent Narcissistic Sociopath who could get around a majority of this test even with me taking it, he had control of me, luckily he has lost control of me now however taken a couple of years ago I’d of slipped through as everything ok on my score. I’m not moaning I want to help upgrade things if possible. Maybe you have enough for what you need to grade, however, I could give you at least 3 times more. I now have Autoummine issues and other troubles as part of the aftermath. Trauma being the wound, I’m trying to recover from. Gabor’s work is what led me here as it has been the best I’ve found in 23 years. Great work on the test so far and all the work as it’s all moving forward and improving things, hopefully. Good luck and thanks for putting the effort in for us. I appreciate it. If you need any Narssicistic Abuse input please contact me, years abused and years studying it. Thank’s Again. Rob


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  134. My own experience has revealed that notable adverse childhood experience trauma resulting from a highly sensitive and low self-confidence existence — especially when its effect is amplified by an accompanying autism spectrum disorder — can readily lead an adolescent to a substance (ab)use disorder. This, of course, can also lead to an adulthood of debilitating self-medicating. As a highly sensitive child, teenager and adult with ASD — an official condition with which I greatly struggled yet of which I was not even aware until I was a half-century old — compounded by a high ACE score, I largely learned this for myself from my own substance (ab)use experience. The self-medicating method I utilized during most of my pre-teen years, however, was eating.

    Autism spectrum disorder accompanied by adverse childhood experience trauma — unchecked chronic bullying, for example — can readily lead to chronic substance abuse as a form of self-medicating. If the ASD adolescent is also highly sensitive, both the drug-induced euphoria and, conversely, the come-down effect or return to their burdensome reality will be heightened thus making the substance-use more addicting.

    Since so much of our mental health comes from our childhood experiences, mental health-care should generate as much societal concern — and government funding — as does physical health, even though psychological illness/dysfunction typically is not immediately visually observable. I would also like to see child-development science curriculum implemented for secondary high school students, and it would also include neurodiversity, albeit not overly complicated. It would be mandatory course material, however, and considerably more detailed than what’s already covered by home economics, etcetera, curriculum: e.g. diaper changing, baby feeding and so forth. I don’t think the latter is anywhere near sufficient (at least not how I experienced it) when it comes to the proper development of a child’s mind.

    For one thing, the curriculum could/would make available to students potentially valuable/useful knowledge about their own psyches and why they are the way they are. And besides their own nature, students can also learn about the natures of their peers, which might foster greater tolerance for atypical personalities. If nothing else, the curriculum could offer students an idea/clue as to whether they’re emotionally suited for the immense responsibility and strains of parenthood.


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  138. Great article! Many of us don’t realize until we are adults the effects trauma has had on our health. I score 6 out of 10. My own auto immune disorder led me to do my own research on this subject and my career in functional nutrition to help others like me who have auto immune disorders and trauma. I really appreciated the fact you included the PCE’s, a lot of articles don’t include that.


  139. I’d love to speak to someone about my ACE score and get an experts perspective on the way my life has panned out, is this possible??


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  143. Wow.. I scored a 3 on the Ace and about a 4 on the resilience. But I had a very supportive mom and sisters. There were crazy events that took place when I was younger, but I never used drugs or drank more than occasionally. There was some early inappropriate sexual behavior as a result of childhood molestation. I will share this information with my friends and family so we can get a better understanding of ourselves and our children.

    Liked by 1 person

  144. Pingback: Adverse Childhood Experiences and Overuse of Social Media | Spoiled Children of Divorce

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  146. Funny how this is skewed. Its assumed the man is violent. The survey is inherently sexist. All of the violence was started by a vicious step mother, who married my father, after my real mother a drunk and druggie, just left when I was 4.
    The new step monster was their to rob him blind and nothing else. I was hit with bats, belts, pans, once a turkey, bottles, plates, I had multiple bones broken, was stabbed with scissors, a kitchen knife, fork, was burned, got raped with a wine bottle and she then smashed on my head, stitches, I was intentionally starved, intentionally sleep deprived, and used as slave labor.

    My stepmother was a monster. I got a 10 score. 2 at bottom.
    I wish I had killed her. I should have. She definitely deserved it. I still want too.

    She was so crazy, she beat herself up, and called the cops, said my Dad beat her and left. They arrested him on his way home from work. And wouldnt believe me, when I told them what happened.

    I was beaten and starved to the point, I got taken by state. Then, dumped in a bad boys home where I got raped. Again… nobody believed me. Again.

    As an adult.

    I am extremely prone to violence. Not just a little either. If I’m set off. I literally may kill you with my bare hands.
    I have no sympathy or empathy.
    I have maybe 2 friends. They are psychos.
    I cant maintain any relationship, because at the first sign of anger in a woman… I want to kill them in retaliation.
    I have a permanent flinch. If someone is near me, and moves suddenly, I expect to be hit. Ive reacted poorly, numerous times in public. Which is embarrassing.
    Ill never have kids. I wouldnt wish, what I went through, on anyone.

    In the upside… all this quarantine isolation people are complaining about…
    Thats my regular life.


    • I don’t know how nobody has replied to this. This sounds like the most awful, traumatic childhood experience, and when I read it I just had to tell you that I’m so sorry. You didn’t deserve any of that, and yes, that step monster deserves to die a horrible death. Not that me saying that can help or change the past. But I hope you find some comfort knowing that someone has read your story, and spent time thinking about you. I’m training to be a child play therapist and I hope I can somewhat help children have or are experiencing horrific childhoods for whatever reason. Be kind to yourself. I hope you can heal from this past of yours. Good luck 🙂


    • My mother was also the primary abuser, a lot of what you talk about is the same stuff I went through. I read this and I felt for you. Please try to get help somehow. You don’t have to be what these people tried to make you. Please don’t let them win. That’s what I always thought, as a kid—‘a few more years, just a few more years and I can escape’, and ‘I will never let her beat me or break me’. You are better and you deserve better. Peace, friend.


    • I am so sorry that your childhood went this way Mike. It is awful. I hope you reach out for support. It may not be easy, but there are many qualified people who can help you through some of your trauma and reflexes. I really think a quality professional who specializes in EMDR or Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprogramming could really help you get a handle on this. I’m sorry this happened to you and I am a complete stranger who was looking for a particular article and came across your comment. I couldn’t scroll past it. I wanted you to know, I hear you, I believe you and I am glad you are still here. Your simple comment like this is helping people and what an abundance of courage, strength and allowing yourself to be vulnerable. This is what the human experience is all about. So thank you. Don’t give up, keep going.


    • I just wanted to say I’m so sorry that this has been your life. She is a monster and you have every right to want to kill her, the fact that you haven’t says a lot about how amazing a person you are.


    • I’m so very, very sorry Mike. I can’t imagine what your suffering must have been like. Please don’t give up on finding healing and a good life, because I believe it’s possible, in spite of everything.


    • It very obviously states physical assault by women on men multiple times in the article. I don’t think you actually read it. It’s obvious you’re going through something, so I suggest finding a therapist. Don’t bash a very good and informative article for being sexist when it very clearly is not.


    • My goodness! So sorry to read this. But u know what is brilliant , you a re aware of it. Et least…. I scored 5 on ace… am in therapy , still struggle but better than not ho have nothing.


    • I hope you can be brave to find some help. I’m sorry you had to go through such a terrible time as a child. And that you’re still suffering, that’s sucks.. and it makes sense considering your trauma. It’s possible to heal, and you’re worth it.


    • My belief is that we often do to ourselves what our parents or caregivers did to us. I am so sorry that you had to grow up with such a monster. I grew up with a monster too. We may not get rid of all our symptoms – ever, but we might be able to negotiate them, come to terms with them, as it were, and learn to live a more full rich life. It is scary to begin to learn new ways of treating yourself. Sounds like you are incarcerating yourself as a way to keep you and others safe. That sounds to me like thoughtfulness, having a sense of responsibility, and insightful about how behavior affects others. It might be worth it to take a step or two toward getting yourself out of self imposed jail time. My heart is with you.


    • I’m sorry you went through all of that.
      I wish you only the best in life. Is there any way you could start listening to meditation music or positive affirmations? I believe you!


    • Hey Mike, I never write comments on forums but I wanted to say, I hear you and am sorry you went through that. Thank you for being so brave in sharing your story and speaking your truth despite not feeling heard in the past. You have incredible self awareness about yourself and understand why you exhibit certain thoughts and behaviours – I have yet to come across a “violent” person who is self aware and looking into healing, like yourself. This speaks volumes about your soul and true nature underneath it all. There is light and goodness in you, I sense it and know you can re-train your nervous system, heal from trauma, feel safe in your body, and live and love freely.


    • Hello Mike. I have a score of 10 too, because my mom trafficked me to a whole lot of other violent psychos like herself starting at my birth and it went on for 30 years and I’m only in my late 30s now. She and they all raped me which she got paid for, and did most of the things you’re describing here, despite everyone telling me that because she is my biological mother I should love her and I am a liar. I just want to tell you that despite that bloody torture from her, my other relatives, and the pedophiles who paid my mom to torture me and try to kill me, I have started to heal, and that healing is possible.

      Some things I have done to heal include:

      1. Becoming a Christian and going regularly to Life Church Online. http://www.live.life.church Praying a LOT with any Christian I can find or the Crossroads 24-7 prayer hotline if I can’t find anyone to pray with 1-866-273-4444. They do not preach, I just say what is troubling me and then they pray over me and I listen and sometimes I pray for me too. It’s only 5 minutes and has a 15 minute wait time but it makes me feel a lot better. I can pray with Life Church in the chat room. Life Church chat room is open from 7 am – 11 pm every single day and is moderated by hosts that keep away the trolls.

      2. Talking a lot to this domestic violence hotline called CARDV. They have men and women working there 24-7 and they believe you when you talk about rape and even when you talk about cannibalism (I also had to deal with them drinking my blood because they are big into the occult/Satan/witchcraft…but no one I told to try to rescue me ever believed me about the cannibalism.) Anyway CARDV has no problems believing my experiences no matter how strange they seem to other people. So they would believe you. The hotline is 1-541-754-0110. It is based in Oregon. http://www.cardv.org

      3. Becoming a vegan (actually a lot of health problems are created from eating meat especially from all the hormones they inject cows with and part of your rage is coming from excessive amounts of stress hormones/overworked adrenals, etc.)

      4. Learning a lot about vitamins and supplements and taking what I need to balance my hormones and heal my mind and my body. You really need to start taking a probiotic for your health. It is essential.

      5. Yoga to increase calm and flexibility. Hopefully I will start Qi Gong soon.

      6. Get a trauma informed primary care doctor (still working on that one).

      7. Seeing a chiropractor because all the beatings I survived made my bones slide out of place easily when they were not broken. So now they just move around and get sorta dislocated but not completely (just twisted around and stuck) because I have hyper mobility due to my bones constantly getting dislocated by abusers. So I am going to an Activator trained chiropractor to reset my bones to help my body know exactly where my bones are supposed to be in relation to my muscles. I also give myself plenty of massages and I like to use safflower oil and peppermint oil. 🙂

      8. Journalling about all of my nightmares and all of my flashbacks that I have day and night.

      9. In progress: Looking to get 2 years of EMDR treatment to reduce or eliminate my psychogenic seizures caused by PTSD. It’s been clinically proven to work.

      10. Singing and dancing to increase my endorphins and help me process the torture by singing about it. I also sing about wanting to kill some of the abusers with my bare hands or weapons which helps me not actually do it. So musical theater is really helpful. Just pretend your life is a musical. Helps me cope.

      11. Spending a LOT of time in nature doing Sit Spots, just walking around. Try reading the book Sit Spots and the Art of Inner Tracking by Trotta. I am in progress of learning nature therapy and it’s part of my masters thesis actually. 🙂 Check out the Japanese research into Forest Bathing and Nature Therapy. 🙂 It’s in English. https://www.natureandforesttherapy.earth

      12. Read The Body Keeps The Score by Bessel Van Der Kolk because it’s super helpful.

      I hope this helps you, Mike, and God bless you. 🙂


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  150. The resilience assessment doesn’t take into account partial answers or other scenarios.

    “When I was a child, there were relatives in my family who made me feel better if I was sad or worried.” “When I felt really bad, I could almost always find someone I trusted to talk to.” Well, what if those could be answered in the affirmative only up to a certain point in time and, then, that person became no longer involved?

    “When I was a child, teachers, coaches, youth leaders or ministers were there to help me.” What is that was up until a certain point, then a child became home schooled and isolated?

    “We had rules in our house and were expected to keep them.” What about if the rules were irrational, geared around the rule-maker’s mental illness?

    These can’t always be answered in terms of definitely true, probably true, not sure, probably not true, or definitely not true….


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  155. It’s not always the mother who os beeing treated violently. I come from a household where my mother throw things on my dad or hit him and shout at him.
    And my dad loved her so he let her, even though it hurt him.
    Not only woman are victims of violence. They can also be violent against others.


  156. This information is very interesting to me. I am a licensing foster care provider. When completing the survey and questionnaire, I answered the questions for myself but also for the little child in my care. It was eye opening to see how opposite we were in the scoring. Our life experiences are so different. Having her in my life has opened my eyes to many things.


  157. I have an ACE score of at least 4, but I can’t remember a lot of things or concentrate or think of things related to the questions answers. I couldn’t answer the resilience test either because of my lack of memories. I’m only sixteen and idk what to do or think. I want to go to a therapist and have been wanting to for a year or two (or maybe even longer, but I can’t even remember that either), but know my family couldn’t afford it and that even if I wanted to, can’t bring anything up since my family would get in trouble and my brother and I could be potentially taken away since we’re still minors. I think I have childhood trauma, but can’t tell if it’s real or not because it’s hard for me to recollect anything that could help me find this information out. If you’re reading this, can you help me?


    • I know of a hotline you can try to call in Oregon to talk about your trauma and discuss safety plans. It is open 24-7 by phone and the number is 1-541-754-0110. They are called CARDV, and they also have a live chat open on their website https://cardv.org/contact/ You can ask for a woman or a man to talk to anonymously although I think mostly women work there. It’s not therapy but they are all trained in trauma and they seem to have all been through their own trauma. I do not think they are involved in taking anyone away and are not mandated reporters.

      I was never taken away from my abusive home even when I did meet up with the child protective services (CPS) of the states where I was abused, so they don’t always take people away. That is usually their last resort. For me, they generally ignored me even though I got an ACE score of 10 out of 10 but they got me a reduced lunch through reduced cost lunch program for poor people.

      You may consider talking to your school counselor. They might have ideas. Some counselors can offer you training to help you cope with family issues. Sometimes CPS can require parents to take classes but they don’t take the kids away, or they only take them temporarily until they pass their parenting classes. IDK they never did that with me. Because no one cared. 😦 God cared and kept me alive.


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  161. I scored a 7 ACE and 4 on resilience.. i have chronic anxiety, struggle keeping a good attendance at work but i work very hard. I have chronic back pain, scoliosis, and severe depression. I have issues with my emotions.. mostly easily crying infront of authorities or bosses. I snap/ have a short temper.. my therapist thinks this is becuase of the abusive past with my family. I am looking into the PTSD of childhood trauma.. i feel like my body is storing so many past memories and bad dark emotions that are slowly poisioning my subconscious.


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  163. I scored a 5. My wife shared this with me and it gives me something to think about and more so, it is actually kind of comforting to know where all this crap comes from. No surprise I scored a 5 as growing up with an alcoholic mother and a schizophrenic father. Blessings to you all wherever you are on your journey.


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  165. I got 5 on aces, and the resilience I got 0. What does this mean. I have extreme anxiety and panic attacks. This last 5 yrs. its been hard. My step-father passed quickly and I had to take over my Mothers affairs. And its hard to pay and run her trust.


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  170. On the ACE quiz I got 8 and I’m still a very young teen that kinda worries me I have smoked and done alchohal and lost my virginity so yeah I’m fawked up that’s a great life there Christ I think I need help. Bye hoomans I hope u have a better life then me.☺️🥲


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  172. The test I took was too general. In every case, there are extenuating circumstances. The test should be updated for better results. Irregardless, I knew at a young age that my family was different than the others. And I didn’t realize till I started school, I was different too. I wasn’t told, because I was only 6 years old, that I stuttered. But my mother I recall did do two things for me, weather she did it out of shame or pitty. I could read and write before I went into kindergarten. I remember many tests. So, I was abused at home, I was tortured at school throughout, by my third grade teacher, shame on her. And by the State. ( I wonder if I can sue?)
    My mother was the worst of them all and she is the cause of most of my sorrow. She took advantage of me most of my life. And I suppose I just let alot of it slide outta fear and the realization that I’d never get retribution. Because I tried it once. Yet, today she suffers a debilitating disease and I’m of the opinion that she got what she gave. There was a lifetime of abuse. But I’m happy with the outcome.


    • You are special, you are loved. You are meant to be here. Jesus loves you. He wants you to come and talk to Him. He chose for you to be here. Not your mother. I had an abusive mother too, who put me through human trafficking and I got an ACE score of 10. I also could read and write before I started kindergarten. I was put in the gifted children’s classes while still being tortured/hit/groped/raped in elementary school by school professionals, teachers, kids, and pedophiles who walked into the school to attack me when I left my classroom to go to the bathroom. Apparently they just walked in and were waiting for me to come out. The teachers did nothing other than scream and cry when I eventually came back covered in blood and barely alive. Boo to Idaho public schools. So we have a few things in common, like us both being gifted children and both being abused children. If you figure out how to sue the public school system, I would love to know.

      In the meantime you can read this https://www.vice.com/en/article/4adk4j/everyones-invited-me-too-private-schools and you can share your story here, if that helps https://www.everyonesinvited.uk (It doesn’t have to be a story of abuse in a school in the UK. Could be a school anywhere. I already shared some of my stories there.) Just feels good to get it off your chest. Therapeutic.

      Anyway I wanted to share with you the resources I compiled for another traumatized person that I met here and I hope they can help you too 🙂

      Some things I have done to heal include:
      1. Becoming a Christian and going regularly to Life Church Online. http://www.live.life.church Praying a LOT with any Christian I can find or the Crossroads 24-7 prayer hotline if I can’t find anyone to pray with 1-866-273-4444. They do not preach, I just say what is troubling me and then they pray over me and I listen and sometimes I pray for me too. It’s only 5 minutes and has a 15 minute wait time but it makes me feel a lot better. I can pray with Life Church in the chat room. Life Church chat room is open from 7 am – 11 pm every single day and is moderated by hosts that keep away the trolls.

      2. Talking a lot to this domestic violence hotline called CARDV. They have men and women working there 24-7 and they believe you when you talk about rape and even when you talk about cannibalism (I also had to deal with them drinking my blood because they are big into the occult/Satan/witchcraft…but no one I told to try to rescue me ever believed me about the cannibalism.) Anyway CARDV has no problems believing my experiences no matter how strange they seem to other people. So they would believe you. The hotline is 1-541-754-0110. It is based in Oregon. http://www.cardv.org

      3. Becoming a vegan (actually a lot of health problems are created from eating meat especially from all the hormones they inject cows with and part of your rage is coming from excessive amounts of stress hormones/overworked adrenals, etc.)

      4. Learning a lot about vitamins and supplements and taking what I need to balance my hormones and heal my mind and my body. You really need to start taking a probiotic for your health. It is essential.

      5. Yoga to increase calm and flexibility. Hopefully I will start Qi Gong soon.

      6. Get a trauma informed primary care doctor (still working on that one).

      7. Seeing a chiropractor because all the beatings I survived made my bones slide out of place easily when they were not broken. So now they just move around and get sorta dislocated but not completely (just twisted around and stuck) because I have hyper mobility due to my bones constantly getting dislocated by abusers. So I am going to an Activator trained chiropractor to reset my bones to help my body know exactly where my bones are supposed to be in relation to my muscles. I also give myself plenty of massages and I like to use safflower oil and peppermint oil mixed together.

      8. Journalling about all of my nightmares and all of my flashbacks that I have day and night.

      9. In progress: Looking to get 2 years of EMDR treatment to reduce or eliminate my psychogenic seizures caused by PTSD. It’s been clinically proven to work.

      10. Singing and dancing to increase my endorphins and help me process the torture by singing about it. I also sing about wanting to kill or hurt some of the abusers with my bare hands or weapons which helps me not actually do it. So musical theater is really helpful. Just pretend your life is a musical. Helps me cope.

      11. Spending a LOT of time in nature doing Sit Spots, just walking around. Try reading the book Sit Spots and the Art of Inner Tracking by Trotta. I am in progress of learning nature therapy and it’s part of my masters thesis actually. Check out the Japanese research into Forest Bathing and Nature Therapy. It’s in English. https://www.natureandforesttherapy.earth

      12. Read The Body Keeps The Score by Bessel Van Der Kolk because it’s super helpful.


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  174. After reading this, I don’t feel any better but more thar is was my fault I am messed up and wanting to kill myself even more. Having never being able build a relationship with anyone no matter how much I want to be with someone, it doesn’t feel good knowing no one wants you


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  176. I scored a 9 on the ACE test and 10 on resilience. It was good to read the resilience questions to remind me of the goodness around me during my childhood!


  177. Would a parent’s death have the same weight as losing a parent to divorce? I have a student whose mother almost died from medical issues when the student was three years old. Major medical concerns are still associated with her mother. Her father died of heart disease when student was eight years old. Do either of these events which effected both her primary care givers count as an ACE?


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    • If you experienced abuse in your school, you can read this https://www.vice.com/en/article/4adk4j/everyones-invited-me-too-private-schools and you can share your story here, if that helps https://www.everyonesinvited.uk (It doesn’t have to be a story of abuse in a school in the UK. Could be a school anywhere. I already shared some of my stories there.) Just feels good to get it off your chest. Therapeutic.

      Anyway I wanted to share with you the resources I compiled for another traumatized person that I met here and I hope they can help you too 🙂 I got an ACE score of 10.

      Some things I have done to heal include:
      1. Becoming a Christian and going regularly to Life Church Online. http://www.live.life.church Praying a LOT with any Christian I can find or the Crossroads 24-7 prayer hotline if I can’t find anyone to pray with 1-866-273-4444. They do not preach, I just say what is troubling me and then they pray over me and I listen and sometimes I pray for me too. It’s only 5 minutes and has a 15 minute wait time but it makes me feel a lot better. I can pray with Life Church in the chat room. Life Church chat room is open from 7 am – 11 pm every single day and is moderated by hosts that keep away the trolls.

      2. Talking a lot to this domestic violence hotline called CARDV. They have men and women working there 24-7 and they believe you when you talk about rape and even when you talk about cannibalism (I also had to deal with them drinking my blood because they are big into the occult/Satan/witchcraft…but no one I told to try to rescue me ever believed me about the cannibalism.) Anyway CARDV has no problems believing my experiences no matter how strange they seem to other people. So they would believe you. The hotline is 1-541-754-0110. It is based in Oregon. http://www.cardv.org

      3. Becoming a vegan (actually a lot of health problems are created from eating meat especially from all the hormones they inject cows with and part of your rage is coming from excessive amounts of stress hormones/overworked adrenals, etc.)

      4. Learning a lot about vitamins and supplements and taking what I need to balance my hormones and heal my mind and my body. You really need to start taking a probiotic for your health. It is essential.

      5. Yoga to increase calm and flexibility. Hopefully I will start Qi Gong soon.

      6. Get a trauma informed primary care doctor (still working on that one).

      7. Seeing a chiropractor because all the beatings I survived made my bones slide out of place easily when they were not broken. So now they just move around and get sorta dislocated but not completely (just twisted around and stuck) because I have hyper mobility due to my bones constantly getting dislocated by abusers. So I am going to an Activator trained chiropractor to reset my bones to help my body know exactly where my bones are supposed to be in relation to my muscles. I also give myself plenty of massages and I like to use safflower oil and peppermint oil mixed together.

      8. Journalling about all of my nightmares and all of my flashbacks that I have day and night.

      9. In progress: Looking to get 2 years of EMDR treatment to reduce or eliminate my psychogenic seizures caused by PTSD. It’s been clinically proven to work.

      10. Singing and dancing to increase my endorphins and help me process the torture by singing about it. I also sing about wanting to kill or hurt some of the abusers with my bare hands or weapons which helps me not actually do it. So musical theater is really helpful. Just pretend your life is a musical. Helps me cope.

      11. Spending a LOT of time in nature doing Sit Spots, just walking around. Try reading the book Sit Spots and the Art of Inner Tracking by Trotta. I am in progress of learning nature therapy and it’s part of my masters thesis actually. Check out the Japanese research into Forest Bathing and Nature Therapy. It’s in English. https://www.natureandforesttherapy.earth

      12. Read The Body Keeps The Score by Bessel Van Der Kolk because it’s super helpful.


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  185. – On the ACEs, I scored a 3. Since I couldn’t find a way to arrive at a summary Resilience score, I’ll report results this way: On the Resilience scale, I had:
    – no definitely true responses and two probably true.
    – six definitely not true responses, one not true and three probably not true.
    – two not sure responses.

    How do I score that? And what does it mean?


  186. I scored 10 “not sure” and 3 “not true” and 1 “definitely true” in resilience… I can’t remember my childhood very well! Also on ACE score where were the other/rare factors such as accidents and stuff? What would I score if I had 4 “bad”accidents, that 3 of them I could have died from? Also my grandad was a mean old man, who didn’t like our family very much, because we weren’t blood related! But grandparents aren’t mentioned… Just wondering whether there is a more extensive test?!


  187. Why is racism mentioned in the second paragraph but not on the quiz? It is a huge trauma for me, especially since I attended school during the 60s, when I was frequently harassed with the “N” word and treated differently by teachers. While everyone believes the world is a kinder, gentler place for Black children to grow and develop in, the trauma of my inferior socialization has informed my every move.


  188. Interesting. I scored a 3 on the ACES test, and 14 on Resilience. Likely why I became a social worker. A parent tried initially to blame me for my abuse, and I can remember clear as day the day I told both of my parents that my abuse was not my fault, it was theirs. Any possibility that me being an oldest child and them both being the youngest children in their families had something to do with that??


  189. Ace score of 8 and resilience of 4.
    I have CRPS, Gastritis Disease, had ulcers as a kid, Asthma, IBS, Anxiety, Depression, and PTSD.
    I’ve always assumed my stomach issues were due to my childhood, guess this is more proof.


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  192. I am 0 ACE and 14 Resilience. All of this is very interesting. Not sure what it means though… 30+ years of Direct Services..


  193. I scored a 2. I had a good childhood growing up. My parents did get divorced when I was younger but they always co parented great together.


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  196. This survey/test score system is… okay, but needs some work. For one, many of the comments have mentioned this before, but I was surprised at the lack of mentions of bullying or loss of a friend or loved one.
    Furthermore, there were some specific details I don’t think should have been included. For number three, I don’t think the age specification really matters as sexual abuse can occur among peers of the same or similar ages, even between two young children. And for number seven, I think it can be really harmful to only mention domestic violence against women because men/fathers/stepfathers can be the victim of domestic abuse and is just as harmful for children. Pretending only mothers/stepmothers experience this kind of abuse is very harmful to male victims of domestic violence and their children.


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  198. ACE’s Score – 0
    Resilience Score – 13
    It sucks to hear that so many people have had a troubled childhood and hopefully things will improve. I’m glad they stay strong or try to heal things but it isn’t easy. I wish a lovely future to you all!


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  201. Anonymously commenting. I scored a 5. I grew up with a father who was conatantly belittling me, my brothers ans mom. I did stray in life at one point, drank to numb my feelings, drank to be social. I ran around with deviants to find acceptance. I ended up unscathed of some major issues. I graduated college, did a master’s and made peace with my past. I am not the words of my father. I’m the person I choose to be.

    I hope everyone finds healing. You deserve it.


  202. Aces 7/Resilience 2

    My wife, who I’ve been married to for just over ten years, has recently separated from me, She demands that I seek treatment for BPD, and only BPD. Also, I must be prescribed DBT, and only DBT, for the treatment. Otherwise, she will divorce me. She saw a video on YouTube about BPD, which I showed her. Ever since, she has insisted that I get BPD treatment, whenever I disagree with her about anything. She will say I am mentally deranged for my opposing opinions, but mostly ignores or dismisses me, especially whenever I’ve asked her to cooperate or compromise with me on family issues. For the last few years, she has often (probably about 100 times) gotten mad enough to leave our house, and spend the night elsewhere.

    I was looking a video about narcissism, searching for a reason of what might cause her extreme lack of empathy. I found one, and there I also saw that she had other possible signs. I then came across a video about BPD sufferers being abused by narcissists. So I then watched a few more videos on BPD. She watched one with me, and then concluded that I have BPD. She is unapproachable about any chance of being narcissistic, of course. In fact, when I later brought it is when she left me.

    Anyway, I read that CPTSD often mimics BPD. Considering the two scores that I posted above, Maybe it is the real problem that I have, instead of BPD. I don’t want to go to a therapist, and “demand DBT for my BPD”, as she insists I do even before being diagnosed. However, I really don’t want to divorce, and I think maybe I should just do want she wants to placate her.


  203. Hello,
    I am a third year student nurse and would like to know why question 7- only refers to abuse towards ‘mothers’ or ‘stepmothers’ when abuse towards men is also significant. This question is triggering and contributes to the stigma surrounding male domestic abuse and could be seen as a factor to why men are often afraid to speak out. I hope you rectify this and get back to me.
    Thank you.


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  205. I scored 8 on all three. My ACES score was 8, my definitely & probably true as a child equaled 8, out of those 8 i believe all 8 true today.
    Should this sorry me? I’m healthy, I’m centered, and living my life succeeding in my dreams, goals and desires. With strong boundaries. ” I feel great!.” I’m definitely A SURVIVOR!!!! Night a victim……. Thank you for your time & consideration.


  206. Excellent reading. Realising from all the comments and my ace score how lucky I am to have such a supportive family growing up and today.


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  209. I scored 1 on the ACE test.

    On the Resilience test I scored 14. I feel very lucky to have had two loving supportive parents, and a great big brother. Sure there were some usual butting of heads & generational issues, but overall I had a happy healthy childhood. We moved about every 3-4 years which created some stress leaving friends… but I learned to make new ones. My family was close & consistent… a safe place no matter what country we lived in.


  210. I scored 8 definitely true, 2 probably true, 1 not sure, 2 probably not, and 1 definitely not true. What does that mean then? I am 57 years old and have parents that recently brought up our childhood abuse, mostly mine, and say yet again “you deserved everything you got.” I thought I had moved past it but their comments brought it all back as if I never received therapy or counseling. A friend mentioned this test and I am following up on her recommendation. I’m not sure how it might help?


  211. I scored 10 on Ace and 2 on resilience. I’m 62, live alone, suffer from diabetes, CPTSD, depression, anxiety and feel at my saturation point. I have no money, therefore no help for me. Not even at $60 per session. Can you please advise?


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  214. I scored a 9 for aces and a 5 for resilience what does that mean?
    I have been diagnosed with Lupus and R.A both autoimmune diseases.

    I also suffer from poor blood circulation and am constantly allowing my boyfriend to verbally abuse me and sometimes it gets physical and can be violent. I am 31 just about to hit 32 year old female. I feel that people don’t like me and always think i’m negative when I am just trying to help.


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  219. A lot of these testimonies sounded very familiar… some are very sad and some make me reel with anger for how helpless I was feeling. and some are so painful…..I found myself crying..


  220. Scored an 8 on the ACE. Currently a first year medical student. Father is incapacitated and barely functional, mother is dead or incarcerated. I have a happy marriage of six years, two glowing youngsters, and zero substance use. I’ve earned leadership roles at every job I worked at and earned 4.0’s in undergrad and graduate school while working full time. While I understand that this isn’t everyone’s story, neither is succumbing to the negative, terrible, unbelievable events in your life. Everyone who scored on this exam is stronger than they know, more powerful than they believe, and is capable of becoming what they want to be. I’m going into medicine to help people like myself be the best they can be with their given circumstances. I believe we can be okay.


  221. 9,5 I haven’t a clue how I have made it through what I have. All I know is that I have some much life to live and I believe that there isn’t anything that I can’t achieve with effort.


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  225. ONE OF THE GREATEST MINDS I HAVE YET TO ENCOUNTER! I was a confused addictive and more than certifiable ‘dually-diagnosed and troublesome, to say the least, history of literal warzone style early child rearing chaos. My genetics prepared me for a duality of terror and potentially miraculous ‘appearing’ transformative ability. I’m happy to report that, according to Dr. Ken’s teachings that I have overcome the worst odds possible and achieved close to a paragon’s state of potentiation. I started as a student/patient that scored a full-scale chance of, nearly imminent failure… and with the good doctor’s guidance manifested a full circle of healing. After taking his test again, five years after the initial introduction, I now score at full healing. It ‘appears’ to everyone that knows me intimately enough to be shockingly similar to a literal miracle. Flabbergasted, to say the least are my family and friends and now they all want to know the recipe. I am proud today to have the honor of calling this man one of my greatest friends and colleagues of my life’s experience. When Dr. Ken told me that I had achieved full recovery from my former state, I literally cried to my wife… with tears of happiness that are seldom felt in a human’s lifetime. Now I am proud to say that this Doctor and I have the same mission: to heal a fractured world and alleviate our world family from all of the unhealthy pain that is so needlessly present. I love this man like a father today! THANK YOU DOCTOR KEN!!!!!!!


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  227. My ACE score is 9. I give my resiliency to my extended family and my close attachment to those family members. My mother was dealing with her own issues and then was tragically killed in a car accident when I was 15 years old leaving me with more scars. Now at 50+ years of age I can only attribute my healing to those healthy attachments I developed with those in my extended family. I do have chronic health issues and have had a stroke at age 48. I don’t drink or smoke and live as healthy as I can. I have also had a great faith and I know that has been the reason I am still here on earth. Never give up and look a past the bad.


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  232. I scored 5 on the ACE and 3 on the Resilience test. I think they should add questions like “did you grow up in a single parent household” , “was your mother abusive” “were you ever in trouble with the law” ect…(This was the case for me)


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  236. Weird that the resiliency test also only focuses on youth and childhood.
    Sort of implies that things can’t get better after that.
    My score ACE score is high. Things didn’t get better until my mid 20s, but they did. It is an important message to get out there.


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  242. These questionnaires were quite thought provoking. I can see how these experiences still affect my life. My scores are 3 for Aces and 9 on the resilience questionnaire. I still feel the same about the responses in the resilience questionnaire. I hope that my daughter will complete this exercise for she had some major childhood traumas that used to bother me. I’m blessed to say that she’s living well and has a beautiful family and honorable profession as well.


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  247. Five on the first and ten on the second. So double the layer of protection: one layer to absorb the jabs and one layer on which to rely and from which to draw strength. Fascinating. I did not know what to expect from this, but certainly not that. Good luck, all, and cheers! 🙂


  248. ACE: 9
    Resilience: 1

    I recently also discovered I am Highly Sensitive Person / Sensory processing sensitivity. I tried to get counseling, which meant I had to get a job that had benefits so I could afford it. After being on the job for 3 month I started counseling, but I could not take the stress of the job for long. After about a year I tried to drive my truck off a mountain road. I had to let that job go for obvious reasons. Just when I started feeling comfortable with my counselor. I believe being an HSP saved my live because I could only think about how sad and lost my family would feel if I did kill myself.

    That was a year a go. I have been stuck in my room now for a little over 2 years. My wife and 2 adult mentally disabled sons (19 years old twins) are the only reason I don’t end it. I also have VERY loud tinnitus which make me very stressed. I understand that people who are HSP/SPS with traumatic childhoods suffer as adults. I would like to heal for this but I have no clue how to do this, as I stared I tried to get counseling but failed to hold a job to pay for it. Our only funds are the disability my 2 sons receive. I have tried to get help but the Canadian systems has been SO abused for so many years that it is VERY hard to get disability unless it is a visible disability. We even tried a go fund me https://www.gofundme.com/f/save-our-family-from-a-life-on-the-streets to try and move into a trailer where we could lower our living costs and live in the wilderness for a while so I could return to nature to self heal. But that flopped because I am not a social person.
    Well that my story. Hope it will not upset people. I hate to make people feel bad.


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  251. I’m 14 and scored a 6 on the ACE questioner. I’ve thought about suicide, but that would be an even bigger burdon on my family. I’ve smoked and have drank alcohol. Anyone wants to help feel free to try.


  252. Scored a 5 on the Aces test and a 6 on Questionnaire as a child and a 9 on today. Noticed I have come along way with Gods help and healing through forgiveness of my past life experiences. Definitely a continuing journey.


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  259. I scored an 8 on ACE and a 2 on resilience.

    I’m not sure what to make of it? I don’t smoke and I’ve never done drugs. I rarely drink. Will admit to being a junkfood addict.


  260. I have 10 ACES and score at least 9 definitely true.
    My mother was chronic alcoholic since my conception 1988 and battled with it for 20 years.
    She had a traumatic life I was witnessed too and declined dramatically in her last year, passing in 2016.
    The most traumatic was how the helping professions treated her and failed her and finally the justice system. That was one of the most disempowering/traumatic things to witness as a child (the treatment of a single mother with health issues)

    It was due to the family law systems and social systems that I was exposed to further abuse eg. Father removing us from mothers care after being absent and social services. My grandmother won custody and cared for us well, meeting our needs but we developmental trauma from the early years.

    I later experienced community abuse as a result of family circumstances and led me into toxic relationships and everything else that goes with it!

    Due to grandmothers influence I held onto some values and progressed in work life despite breakdowns and set backs along the way.

    Regarded as a bright child but due to bullying didn’t get all qualifications I could of achieved, this didn’t stop me gaining this later in life.

    I experienced domestic abuse and was diagnosed with MS in recent years.

    Once again re-traumatised by the gaps in the systems whereby abuser has been able to further abuse and use the Family Laws shortcomings to keep institutional control in place.

    Currently studying developmental trauma and helping others


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  262. I feel like there are things not included on the test that really should be. For instance, I was frequently bullied and ridiculed in school, and because no one at home noticed how much I suffered, I had to face that entirely alone. Also frequent moving, where we moved every year for a while and we’re always in school. And we kids being left to fend for ourselves and spending most of our non-school time physically fighting. Between those things, my mom’s schizophrenia, her abusiveness and neglect toward all of us (including my dad), my parents’ divorce and dad’s remarriage, being disowned by my mom’s family, etc., I’d be up at something like a 6 or 7 instead of a 4. Counting my blessings I had some awesome teachers who inspired me and an aunt who was like a grandma, because those things gave me the resilience I needed.


    • All those abuses that you experienced add to the burden of the stress you endured. Since the first ACE Study, many other ACEs have been acknowledged and added, including bullying, frequent moving, experiencing and witnessing sibling abuse.


  263. My girlfriend is suffering from CPTSD but she does not abuse any chemical substance at all, as her most trusted friend she’s told me everything and now since she has told me everything I helped her rule out all of her triggers though she had scars, she has not had any flashbacks in two months but she is starting to have nightmares. Please help me to understand this, I’ve tried getting her to go to a therapist or a mental evaluation professional but with COVID-19 is out that’s hard, please email me back with any information or coping techniques, thank you.


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  267. I don’t have many memories of my childhood, sometimes I’m thankful for that because I was abused and feel like it’s my mind’s way of trying to protect me; that being said I have lots of emotional issues and chronic health problems that are unhealed and plaque me terribly. I’m 54 and exhausted, I feel 100 and too tired to find help that has eluded me all of my life. I really appreciate the movie, makes me feel a little less crazy. I am interested in books that may help me though.


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  269. My Ace score was 5. My feelings when I had that number, “See, only 5, suck it up, Crybaby!” Ha! Guess I will be talking to my psychiatrist about trauma counseling. Reading the statistics and seeing that the highest category was >4 was astounding to me, resentfully so; yet emotionally validating. Being a healthcare professional, I am hyper aware of what these physical ailments look like. Trauma CAN actually break the heart. Thank you to Darrell Hammond for making me realize that 49 isn’t a shameful age to still be healing. I have had a couple of fairly recent and random breakthroughs; this movie has reignited hope that was starting to fade. I will continue my journey of healing. Be certain that your movie gave me a shove in the right direction. There is a fork in my road and I am choosing the correct path to take.
    With much gratitude and respect for your courage,


  270. I scored 7 on the Ace and 4 on resilience. I am 59 and my abuse started at 2 1/2 until I was in early 20’s. What does all this mean?


    • It means that you suffered from a lot of stress, which embedded itself in your body and brain (good book: How the Body Keeps the Score by Bessel van der Kolk), and you had a good dose of resilience, which has kept you going.


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  272. I scored an 8 on the ACES questionnaire above & a 12 on the resilience one. I suppose this all leads to my usual level of hot-mess-ness.


  273. I’m disappointed that there is a question asking if my mother was every abused but not my father. In my home growing up, my mother was the abuser and would often hit and throw things at my father. I understand women are the victims most often, but this quiz made me feel really sad for the male victims. Please change the language in that question.


  274. being the oldest of a family 5 of a white mother and black father born in the early 1960’s until recently i had no idea that some of my adult struggles could be traced back to early childhood, i was completely out of the house hold environment by 16 but the trauma i endured until then, the ACES research helped shed understanding.

    i have a 8 score and during childhood in the mid-west i felt especially dehumanized due to the racism hatred directed at me. along with the fact that my mother had me at 16 or 17 and my dad was 19 and we lived in the black section of a very small town it was very hard living when you both parents are teens.

    I’m 56 i suffered through drug addiction for 20 yrs. 13-33, failed relationships became a father at 20, started going to jails and lock ups starting at 14, 12 yrs of incarcerations on the installment, violence was just part of who i was thought it all.

    when i was paroled for the last time in 2002 i can honestly say the Resiliency of my human nature has afforded me some level of personal forgiveness and peace. i can say the the past is the past but this ACES research and the field of discovery will take me personally into the peace that come with Understanding…….. someone on said “To know thy self is…..


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  276. I scored 1 on the aces and All of the questions were definitely true on the resilience test and is still true to this day. These test I will say puts a lot of things in perspective when communicating with others.


  277. I have an ACE score of 5. I’m a recovering alcoholic, have had 6 failed marriages, attempted suicide, been admitted to 4 mental hospitals, 6 rehabs for alcoholism and 3 inpatient facilities to deal with the trauma of finding my brother after he committed suicide. Now I’m diagnosed with bi-polar, depression, anxiety disorder, PTSD and currently I’m sober.

    My Resilience score was 7 with the same answers that I have today.


  278. So I scored an ACE 8 score and 4 on the second part. Had counseling including medications from a well respected Doctor but I hade no way to pay for either the visits or medication. Any resources for treatment or medications if you aren’t a famous TV star?


  279. I had an ACEs score of 8 from what was listed, however I believe that I experience many more ACEs that do not make the list as a child. My resilience score was 3. I was diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder for over 10 years ago. I struggle with anxiety which and have had struggles with substance misuse. I still struggle and fight with how my aces affect my everyday life.


  280. My scores were 7 on the ACE and 10/11 on resilience. I’ve had therapists telling me for years that I should write my story because it would help others. I now realize from doing these questionnaires that it would help me. Speaking the truth is one of the best gifts one can give another. I need to give that gift to myself.


  281. 3 ACES and 8 resilience.

    Obesity, issues with food (comfort, for anxiety and boredom), and now Diabetes (II) and a heart attack at age 37, since when I realized I experience anxiety pretty often and have poor self image. Although college educated (fought hard for that), I seem unable to end familial cycle of financial struggle.

    Interestingly, my whole system seems sensitive–sensitive skin (eczema and psoriasis) and very thin hair, which fell out around age 30. All seem to be conditions of persistent inflammation inside me somewhere–DM II, skin problems, hair problems, heart problems. Even injuries (ie. a burn or cat scratch) will heal but scar for abnormally long. It’s like when something happens, my body holds on to the hurt too much.

    Some of my ACE identifiers: living with grandmother with Alzheimer’s (age 1-10–it was the 80s and no one took memory care patients, so we did), persistent financial struggle (= not enough to eat, problems w/clothes/shoes,housing), not feeling accepted (intermittent–some teachers/adults, definitely schoolmates, few friends), sometimes father put down (came from an abusive home in another country and loved us, but had his own baggage).


  282. All very well worded. If in the ACE evaluation there was the word “attemoted to touch…” in regards to intent to touch inappropriately, that would change it for some of us. I understood the meaning but to some of us literal people, like I was years ago in this category, I didn’t see it as abusive since only an attempt. Thank you. I realize you likely can’t influence such a study.


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  288. Scored an 8 on ACES, 7 on Resilience questionnaire.
    I was Dx with Depression & Anxiety Disorder in 2003. I have tried street drugs a few times (4x maybe) but never really got involved in that. I had a year or two where I drank more & got drunk at clubs, but not @ home. I used sex, eating & spending. I am also very angry most of the time. I feel unloved most of the time & also don’t share how I really feel, even my husband doesn’t really know me. I’m very untrusting & angry. Most people would not use those words to describe me, bc I hide who I am & what I feel to everyone.


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  292. I have a 7 ACE score and a 7 resilience score. What does that mean? I have struggled all my life with severe depression/anxiety and low self worth. My family was very dysfunctional and my Dad emotionally and physically abusive. Was also bullied at school and had developmental and learning disabilities. I think I have been sad and too sensitive all my life. I used to stronger when I was younger but as I get older, in my 50s now, I get worse. I think it is because of added adult trauma as well. I am single, never married, no kids, I am alone most of the time, none by choice. I got aged out of my job last year and can’t find another. Was high functioning with mental illness but not anymore. My Mom passed away a few years ago and everything has gone downhill since.


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  297. I don’t know how I’m okay but I am okay and with time I’ll become even better and my amazing family will become better then ever. DISCLAIMER Please know my story has some disturbing stressful details and if you’re easily triggered don’t read this.

    ACE : 8 , In my Eyes our family abuse situation went out of hand And become very bad after I turned 9 my father & his family were the main cause for our dysfunctional abuse. My sister and I are the only two surviving children. My mom had couple of miscarriages, 1 birthstill baby, and my Living brother passed away when he was six. My father abused my mother and siblings but choose to treat different in severely neglecting only me. My father abuse was indirect but I’ve seen him substance abused His medical prescriptions My mom was abused so bad she began physically abusing me and then I started physically (hitting) my sister. I was 14 when my parents divorced So he moved away to different continent which gave us capacity to start breathing and live feeling safe. My father remarried, started doing drugs, talked to his friends about how he planned on murdering us while he was living with us but he didn’t do it as it would’ve been (In his word) “wasteful” . When my mom stoped abusing Me I stoped abusing my sister (sometimes I Still get triggered by her.) I withdrew unknowingly and involuntarily self harm (Sometimes fall back to it ) : Scratched my leg until it bleed cuz it felt good ( my mom would stop me and hold me ) also mostly by not eating until my stomach hurt and was suicidal i avoided talking until my mom paid attention and started nurturing me my grades Improved Mainly after my mom acknowledges everything I felt like “waking up” Also experienced few sexual harassment but most explicit was at 15 one time I was walking down my high school hallways and suddenly there was this guy He started following me, I’ve seen him stalk me before so I was frightened, and he try it but I Walked fast to a place With surveillance camera so instead he exposed himself to me. He graduated that year.

    ER : My emotional resilience use to be 8 but After my father left and distance from his family with focus on self family Improved so now my ER 13 & Not 14 because my father didn’t love me and sad truth is he probably won’t.
    I’m 22 going to be 23. This year I Finally put all the pieces together and learned my mother found me abandoned at a very young age and toke me as her own Which she told me herself. This is the only family I know and will only know. Whoever read my comment , I appreciate you and I hope you know that no matter what life throws it’s not something you cannot handle.


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  299. This was a profound realization about my childhood, my husband’s childhood and the childhoods of our children. So much to think about!


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  302. My aces score is an eight. I am in my 50s now. I recommend treatments for complex PTSD. You can make it, but it requires luck and will power. My siblings and I broke the cycle of abuse. My kids never had to face what I did. The anxiety and depression is brutally hard. But I work in high-tech, make a great salary, have a house, car, and financial Security. I have sisters that love me, kids that love me. I kicked nicotine when I was young. Just never give up.


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  304. 7 out of 10 yikes. This is a great test. Wish it was around years ago. It gives some validity to what I always thought. Resilience score 5, wish that was higher. But many of those were dependent on another person being involved.


  305. I am interested in this whole subject and have been ever since hearing Dr. Bruce Perry back in 1994. The very idea that trauma and adverse conditions in childhood WHILE the brain was developing resonated completely with me.

    I had a traumatic upbringing but if I answer the questions strictly as written my score is half what it really should be. This is because of the arbitrary age limit and relationship limits in the questions. There are MANY more possible factors or events that adversely affect a child than are given here, and while I understand not all can be listed, the limitations with the arbitrary ages and relationship issues in my estimation likely skew the statistics well down from reality. Again, I understand these are the questions chosen for the study, but I would like to know the rationale for limiting the ages and relationships. I think the study is flawed to have those particular limits, especially when one year could make a huge difference in score and outcome.

    Example: I see no reason for the age limit of 18. For one thing, not all 18 year-olds are very mature, and some whose childhood didn’t promote maturation likely are not adult by that age. I don’t think their actual physical brains are fully developed by then either–not if life events and experiences contribute to that physical development.

    Another example: physical/sexual abuse is no less traumatic if the perpetrator is less than 5 years older. Such abuse could be one time or hundreds of times. Big difference in effect.

    The resilience side is fuzzier in terms of identifying why one does or doesn’t survive or does or doesn’t overcome or excel in spite of the childhood lack of supports.

    All told, bringing awareness to this very important subject is a huge net positive and I hope mental health students and professionals learn all they can about it because it is where they will find how they can best help their patients/clients be the best they can be in life.


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  308. I got a 9 on my Ace score.
    I had 6 resilience points apply to my youth, and all 6 still apply today. I would say there are 4 more points that exist in adulthood that weren’t there in my youth. What does that mean?


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  312. I scored 9 on the Aces and 6 on the resilience. I’m not sure what this all means? I’m drug and smoke free for 12mths. Alcohol working progress. I suffer with chronic anxiety, non epileptic seizures fibromyalgia. Diagnosed with complex ptsd. Nerve pain to the face, hand and feet

    Liked by 3 people

    • I’m also 6 on the resilience score but idk what that means? I mean ACE score is how abused you were or whatever but what’s the resilience scale indicating?


    • I have also been diagnosed with cPTSD and Generalized Anxiety Disorder with Depression.
      As for ‘what does it mean?’ having scored 6 on Aces and 4 on resilience, I would say the scores seems to be a way to help people connect what they are suffering from to actual events in their childhood that are real and thus can be addressed and hopefully dealt with in a better manner than they themselves have been able to deal with up to this point.
      I know my childhood was really messed up, mostly abandonment, neglect to some extent, and a series of traumatic incidents outside the home.
      The problem I have now is that my problems have been made worse over the last couple decades to the point I have lost my nearly 6 figure income, have virtually abandoned nearly all of my relationships with others, and find myself in the role of caregiver for my wife who now routinely has days filled with confusion due to Multiple Sclerosis.
      I found myself at this site after watching an all too familiar story in the movie “Cracked Up: the Darrell Hammond Story” on Netflix.
      Personally, I do not recall anything as physically severe as he suffered from, from my mother, but I did have a lot of physically suffering as a child from the hands of peers, in legitimate accidents, and as a result of several medical conditions.
      I am not a trained mental “injury” expert, but I do play one in my own mind.
      As such, I recommend you ask for help if you feel you need it.
      Also, if you think you could benefit from it, I would watch the above movie, just be warned that it does dive into child abuse by a parent, alcohol/drug abuse, etc.
      God bless and take care.


    • If you’re new to ACES, I highly recommend reading some books about the topic. I just finished “The Deepest Well” by Dr. Nadine Burke and have just started “The Body Keeps The Score” by Dr. Bessel Van Der Kolk. If you’re in the US, your local library probably has both. For me, it’s been really helpful to learn more about ACES and what I can do now, as an adult, about my score.


    • My score is a sad 8 and a sad 4. I wonder how much this has had to do with my auto immune issues and chronic pain and depression. There should def be sibling abuse in the test.


    • Hi Emma
      For a long time I have had episodes where I will shake and not lose consciousness. As I’ve gotten older they have gotten worse. I’m no longer living in a toxic environment and haven’t for some time. I’m in a healthy relationship and so its odd to me that they have gotten worse. The shaking is similar to a moderate seizure with repetitive uncontrolled movements, i can’t walk, stand or hold anything and sometimes I cant even talk. Is this similar to what you experience? I ask because for years no one has known what to do with it and nothing has been found diagnostically. I also experience wide spread body pains and was told I had all the symptoms of fibro but the dr wouldn’t diagnose me because I didn’t have a clinical diagnosis of depression and anxiety.
      Congratulations on your year of being drug and smoke free ❤


    • I have a score of 8 on the Aces, I also have chronic Anxiety, non epileptic seizures, fibromyalgia and severe asthma. I have Chronic nerve pain in my ribs and back, and I am also diagnosed with complex PTSD. It gets old having a diagnosis longer than my grocery list.


    • I got a 9 as well. too bad my SAT score wasn’t as good as how high my score was on this! I have chronic PTSD anxiety depression and fibro and some other stuff. Emma sounds like we have a lot in common sadly. I just listened to this fascinating podcast about healing from trauma and it was fascinating. It was on an NDE podcast of all places. If interested reply and I can pass it along to you. It was fascinating!!!


    • I scored the same I have complext PTSD also nerve pain in my shoulder insomnia…bad pre menstrual pains all kinds of weird body pains but most of the weirder stuff is now coming after somatics experiencing sessions it is helping with all the crap it’s very tiring but good


    • You’re me and I am you. I have been alcohol free since 11/10/2017. I also have seizures (first gran mal/generalized seizure in 2009 at age 43) I have nerve issues in my hands, the L side of my face and the left foot. Anxiety is a given, as is depression. I am also bipolar, so throw in mania once a month and there I am. I scored a 9 as well (nobody went to actual prison, though it was a prison growing up in that house with those people)


    • Emma, can you say more about your nerve pain? Is it actual pain? Is it constant, or does it come and go? Have you always had it?


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    • Thank you for the enlightening my perspective on Trauma and Adverse Childhood Experiences. Now, I am better prepared to recognize and address how trauma impacts the development of the brain and academic achievement


    • 4 on ACES, 8 on resilience. I think a couple of things are missing in ACES: there’s nothing there about constantly relocating (I went to three high schools, so how was I supposed to find a mentor?). Also nothing about your parents treating siblings differently.


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    • There is a world wide organization that provides free help for recovery from childhood trauma, with or without substance abuse in the family of origin called Adult Children of Alcoholics and Dysfunction Families.


    • Dear RefriedSoul,
      I do not live in South Africa, but I am a healing psychotherapist living in Germany. I grew up in RSA. We can meet virtually: I will assess your situation and let you know if I can help you deal with CPTSD without medication…


    • yes. i know there are clinicians in So Africa who are skilled in EMDR and in treating dissociative disorders. If you Google “EMDR providers” you will find someone. If you google “dissociative disorders treatment” you will find someone. —– ‘
      I don’t know if they are still around but not that long ago, there were ppl like Gail Gottlieb in Johannesburg, Karen Hayward is in Roodepoort, And there are EMDR practitioners in South Africa as well, and Pretoria, Elaine Bing. If they are not themselves available, they should have ideas about who else might be.


    • Hi there, My name is Cecil Eksteen from South Africa, now living in Portugal. I have only very recently found a path to becoming whole again after been heavily traumatised as a kid. I scored a 7/10 in the ACE study. If you are still looking for a way to recovering and finding yourself, please get in contact with me.


    • Hi! Refried Soul! I am a certified hypnotherapist specializing in PTSD,anxiety and stress. I help my clients avoid burnout and reduce physical illness and chronic pain without medication. I work remotely via Zoom or Skype. I’d be happy to talk with you if you are interested to see if I may be of service. 🙂


    • Pete Walker has a book titled Complex PTSD from Surviving to Thriving if you haven’t found anyone yet and want to try self healing. 😊


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    • I scored 0 on the ACES and 14 on the resilience. I am overweight but I would say I’m healthy. Acid reflux is the only problem I seem to have.


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  321. I would like to know why severe never-ending mental and physical abuse from a sibling is not included. Why the ignorance that it does not exist? And parents that do nothing because they are afraid of one of their children.

    Liked by 1 person

    • My ACE score is 10.
      I’m 43 and still alive.
      I try my best to be the mom my own mother failed to be.
      My children are my life.
      If it weren’t for them, I’d be dead.


    • I’m right with you with this one I also had trauma from my sister they equate it to a family member of abuse or physical abuse in general. That person my sister is still the same way and no one can control her. Except my father some. I know your pain exactly.


    • 5 ace 7 resilience score. Going to have my younger sibling take this at some point, it can really help put things in perspective


    • I understand. I have an older sister. We are around 70 yrs old and I am still afraid of her and her rath! Thank you so much for bringing this up. Maybe Kaiser will ad this info to their next study.!


    • Hi K Varsz,

      I had that same question myself, because I had/have one who fits that description. If you scroll up, to the second paragraph on the page, the one that begins “
      There are, of course, many other types of childhood trauma —”

      So yes, that kind of abuse is real, and can certainly traumatize a child, just as being abused by another aduit or a parent would.

      The questions were limited in scope, because of how the quiz was developed, in response to a given pool of Kaiser clients.

      Hope that helps .


    • There are many, many stressors not taken in to account by this assessment. I just finished reading “The Deepest Well” by Dr. Nadine Burke which discusses her work with ACES in depth and she comments on how within her clinic she needed to add questions to the assessment in order to get a full picture of her patients lives (two that I can remember off the top of my head are “has a parent been deported?” And “have you ever experienced homelessness?”) there are so many stressors out there I think the Dr.’s doing this particular study were only able to choose 10. Highly recommend that book if you want to learn more about ACES and more importantly (for me anyway) what you can do about your score as an adult.


    • Well when asking the questions it is asking about anyone ( child included) 5 years and older than you (physically, sexually, or mentally abuse) abuse you.


    • It is included in question number 5, this is more conceptualized as neglect (your parents’ neglect of your physical safety). It is assessing how secure you feel in your attachment to others based on your experiences with your caregivers. Responsive parents would have intervened to help you or ensured that there was adequate supervision so that you were safe.


    • I agree. As a victim of years of ongoing verbal and physical abuse by a mentally ill sibling, I can attest to how damaging this is. Without including this I score 4. If I include the sibling as an “adult” I score 7.


    • @K. Varsz – good point. I found some of the most harrowing moments of Tara Westover’s memoir EDUCATED were when her older brother regularly mocked, bullied, and physically beats her.


    • My brother is and was a psychopath and i endured the worst psychological abuse in my home from him he was my eternal tormentor and he was simply allowed to. He also beat me and killed ome of my pets.
      This should definitelly be included.
      Abuse from Siblings


    • I would suggest to you that physical and/or emotional (mental) abuse IN THE HOME is what the question is about – not just inflicted by a parent. So, the ACE Survey does capture abuse by a sibling.


    • You are right in your conclusion that sibling abuse is rarely included in questionnaire, and that sibling abuse goes on in families because parents do not know how to curtail it. Throughout childhood and adolescence I was abused, mentally, by my older brother, and my mother to this day blames me for finally cutting him off and not wanting to include him in my life. I am 60 years old.


    • The more recent ACE-related studies have broadened the adverse experiences content:
      Sibling and peer victimization
      Property crimes
      Parental death as a child
      Community violence


      • What about frequent relocation? I think that should be on the ACES list. My dad, for whatever reason, kept changing jobs and moving us to different states. I went to three high schools in three different states. This made it almost impossible to have #4, 5, 6, and 7 on the Positive Experiences list. I was able to make friends and teachers and other adults liked me, but I had to keep starting over. And the “fitting in” part was different in each place. (ACES 4)


    • I have an ACE score of 7 and resilience score of 11. Both of my parents have or are struggling with substance abuse. My mother has multiple chronic illnesses and my father has anxiety.


  322. I have an ACE score of ten but a resilience score of 12. I grew up in the system, came from the cream of the crop for poor parents. My dad molested me from 4 years old until I was 7. I was finally taken from him and put into a group home until 9 when I was sent home for 6 months to my blood mother who was abusive, manipulative, an extreme drug and alcohol user, and couldn’t afford food because she needed her fix. Eventually, I landed in the system and bounced between that and being sent home to her. Thos bouncing between her, foster homes, and group homes continued until four months before my 17th birthday when finally I was set free of her as well. The court finally found her incompetent and stripped her rights. I am now 22 years old, I am still working through all of the experiences and learning that the choices I make without thinking even come from these events. I am pursuing a career in foster care. I want to be the voice for the kids who are too traumatized to speak up. I want to make sure that youth know that they are loved and cared for and that someone understands the cards they are dealt is not their fault. Knowing my score helps me realize everything I truly overcame and looking back oddly I am thankful because I wouldn’t be me without the horrors.

    Liked by 6 people

    • Wow, you are truly amazing! Thanks for focusing on helping those children that are going through the same horror. I teach Kindergarteners and appreciate you. I hope you find the love you didn’t have growing up.


    • I will be 60 years old this year and my ACE’s score is 7 I have depression but have never been suicidal. I have none of the health issues that are listed. I put myself through school and have had a great career. I don’t smoke do drugs or drink. You can survive and thrive. I raised 2 children that are great humans and have 2 grandchildren. I am blessed and lucky. I have had 2 great therapists who helped me overcome and raise my kids. My abusive mother just died and I have had to deal with more trauma that surfaced and it’s getting better. My point is you can do this children of abuse and get help to do it. I did not start therapy until I was 30. Don’t beat yourself up for choices you made before you knew more. Learn to live and honor you!


    • That’s amazing and a true inspiration, you will go a long way in the care sector with your passion for being the voice of youth, they truly need you. I am just starting in a new childrens home where I want to build children that know love and respect who they are and that every day they wake up they know that they have someone that cares for them and will support them through anything. I didn’t have a high score on here but I am an HSP with ADD and the things I did go through like the death of my brother and being date raped all impacted me significantly enough.
      All humans need support no matter what and this world needs more people like you who know how hard it can be to push through and make your life better and those around you.
      Keep going.


    • Sounds like you have been through hell and have come out a beautiful soul regardless. What you have overcome is breathtaking and a testament to your inner strength. Bless you for wanting to be there for the children that have no one, you will no doubt help easy the pain of many troubled youngsters lives. You should be so proud of yourself for you have chosen to become.


    • Phyllis, Your voice is very powerful. I commend you at such a short age for making the choices you are making now. My story is similar to yours. I also have chosen to use my voice for those who could not or aren’t able to now. I would not change my story if I could either, we are both a true testament that out of horrors does come light. I just wanted you to know, I hear you and I see you. With much love and respect, Anne Peshka


    • I’m 35 with a similar background. I discovered that being a “rescuer” was also a very toxic dynamic for me. Please be careful about over-doing it or becoming a workaholic so you can distract yourself from the pain. Gabor Mate is a good resource. Check out his videos and his book “When the Body Says No” because it could prevent you from getting fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue like I did. I don’t have a lot of hope for myself.


  323. Mine was an eight.I do not get this.If you are high scored .Then you passed.I must be one big sick boy which I am here.To go through what I went though in life here and still alive.I just do not know.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Passed into a club that no one wants to be part of if they had the choice maybe.
      It is statistically possible to have a high ACE score and be “normal”, however, it is much, much, much more likely that the higher the ACE score, the more chance there is of you suffering from one or more preventable diseases of the body or mind.
      The concept is, the more of the events detailed in the test that you experienced, the more likely it is you a) develop ineffective or even harmful means of dealing with the bad things in life that everyone ends up dealing with, b) the more bad things in life you are likely to face as you naturally steer yourself/your life toward those things given that was what your childhood taught you to do, and/or c) you will have a lower opinion of yourself, your needs as a person, or simply not be able to think logically about certain aspects of life and thus, increase the risk of a disease from lack of self-care.
      Many people who have a) b) and/or c) going on in their life do not necessarily realize their own suffering for one of many reasons including “I’ve always just felt this way so it must be “normal” for me,” “I must deserve the suffering in my life because of who I am, what I did in the past, etc.”, or some other twisted thoughts that to the person do not seem twisted because of all the stuff they went through as a kid.
      The sad thing is, that for most, you are not going to get better until you take the first steps yourself; all other people can do is tell their stories, be supportive of you and your suffering, and do what we can to make help easy, cheap, and guilt free so when you are ready to get the help you deserve, you have the best chance for success.
      God bless and take care.


    • Hi Wendell.

      What your higher score means is that there are increased chances that you might or have developed any number of physical ailments. The quiz is not meant to box you in, not at all. You’ve now got pertinent information about yourself that you can then use to work on caring for yourself in order to make your life better. I hope that makes sense.

      You’re not doomed. You’ve been through rough experiences that harmed you. If anything, the ACE score should validate what you may have been thinking to yourself while you were a child: “This isn’t fair! Hey! That hurt my feelings! S/he is mean!” Children are much wiser than our society usually gives them credit for. You were right. They were wrong (whoever it was that fits the descriptions).

      Hope that helps. Take care and don’t think you’re weak or anything negative for seeking out the help you deserve.


    • I got an 8 also, the only reason I’m alive is because I failed so many times.
      But from failure comes success my friend.
      This isn’t actually a test, but a survey. This is one of those things where there isn’t any passing/failing in answers/results.
      We just had a lot of shitty experiences as a child


    • Agree, what if the one person that helped you get a lowly 4 on resilience died when you were too young to handle it. The one decent person in your life dies


  324. This seems to be a helpful system of evaluation. I am one of eight, apparently the only one intersted(for my own healing) in examining past in order to escape. The rest don’t want to deal with it at all which caused a whole lot of distance and emotional assaults. I have 10 aces and 2 resilinces. I am 68 and have always been made fun of, including told I was adopted as a child by them, because I am so different. I have no contact with 6. Limited contact w 1 who is soo emotionally distant I limit my exposure. I had violent alcoholic father and abused mother who could not protect us. But that is not all either was. They divorced soon after I convinced my mother at my age of 20. The last 3 kids had such a better life! That are also really screwed up. Any way, I’m in the pits of despair right now but this gives me yet another way to process. I hope it sticks! There is hope where there is breath. Thanks to the program writers and fellow hopefuls!


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  328. Aces score of 5, Resilience test score 1 which was the rules thing…… No wonder I cannot cope with adult life and all it’s responsibilities and expectations, the only good thing is that now I finally have a true friend who I can trust and who is always there for me and that I am not doing drugs or alcohol and that I do not think of suicide, I do have a problem with overeating though that I find very hard to stop doing, as despite that friend I still feel like I have to be able to do everything alone by myself because she lives rather far away so she cannot help me much practically, and I find having to force myself to eat healthy and go out of my house and have enough exercise extremely difficult…….


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  330. I truly understand those feelings that are larger then words can describe.
    I have experiences that words cannot explain.
    Words seem trivial or misunderstood. Like screaming help into the darkness of a storm.
    Around 40yrs old I realized I was not responsible for their pain. My parents were broken long before I was born.
    I would never feel their love, pride, happiness & all those related parental behaviors or emotions.
    So, those were the days, maybe weeks I grieved the list of my parents. Not the kind of grieving of death so much. But I did my own inventory. I proved to be more successful in general, my life experience was more worthwhile & I was easily a better parent, relative & friend.
    My Mother Native American & Father caucasion Southerner.
    I knew my grandparents.
    It was easy to determine a barrage of influences on their ability parent but also social, emotional & life skills.
    I was able to move on. Because I would never have the emotional experiences every child needs.
    I stopped treating them like they were my parents. I began to treat them liike neighbors or someone at the library or the bus driver, etc. People who do not fit the roles or rules parents owe us.
    When my father died I sent my mother money. She ALWAYS appreciates money.
    My 2 of 4 siblings contacted me & I ley them know I wouldn’t be attending. One brother asked why in regard to other relatives attending. I explained Why Would I Go Knowing My Siblings Will Be hurting Me & Each Other Emotionally Because of their Own Unresolved Issues?
    This same brother called after the funeral wanting to rehash his experiences eith me. I stopped him & said that is why I didn’t go….. You are describing exactly what I did not want to participate in.
    My Mother died last year. My sister cared for her the last few years. I told her I would help in whatever she needed but caring for Mom wad not something I was willing to do. And my sister didn’t often need anything. I sat with my sister at the hospital or waited at the motel… whichever she needed whenever Mom was hospitalized. Altho I had little income I would give her coffee money.
    When Mom’s Cancer came back many talked about how something should be done. My Mom shouldn’t be living in my Sisters garbage heap. I always stood right up to anyone who spoke like that saying… We grew up in a garbage dump like that. So, I can say my mother is in her own element. My Sisters is a better human being then me. She can care for Mom when I can’t.
    I feel for my children & grandchildren what my mother & father couldn’t.
    I always stand up & speak at our tribal, family & other dinners, celebrations & ceremonies… speaking to the children & young people….
    All Good Parents want their children to be goid parents.
    Many of us were better then our parents.
    I pray all of you are better parents then your parents or grandparents.
    Please have hope your children are better parents then yourself.
    There is Great Power in that Alone.
    Your world & experience is bigger & better.
    Be better then your Mother.
    Feel like uou won.
    You are in my thoughts & so my prayers.


  331. Ace Score = 5
    Protective Factors = 5
    Resilience Factors = 2
    58 year old white female middle class
    diagnosed depression, c-ptsd
    talk therapy, medication

    The general lifestyle and health predictions are right on target.


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  333. What if your mother was the one doing the battering of your stepfather? I find the gender bias in that particular question quite troubling


    • It’s not gender bias so much as it is having more evidence at the time for fathers battering mothers. Mothers battering fathers is an ACE, along with many others that weren’t included in the original ACE Study.


  334. ACE 7
    Resiliency 11
    I started crying when I saw that I have such a high ACE score, but I felt better after the resiliency test. I am fine and I am going places, but it has been very hard and I’m still on my journey to success. What stood out most to me was how the resilience test depended on having a supportive community. I am going to make sure my son has this while he is growing up too and that he is aware of the power of being kind to others.


  335. I had an ACE score of 4 but a high resilience score. I don’t suffer from any sddictions but do comfort eat at times and though I used to smoke gave up around 5 years ago. I dabbled with drugs when i was in my late teens/early twenties, and suffered depression and difficult relationships into my late twenties.
    Everything vhanged when I studied to become a Hypnotherapist/Osychotherapist. I believe I learned how to change my negative way if thinking through CBT and hyonitherapy with regression helped release some childhood traumas.


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  338. This is so interesting however some of the questions i felt needed to be included on the ACES survey are- did you have a parent or immediate family member die? Did you have a close friend who died? Were you raped by person(s) around the same age?

    Liked by 1 person

    • i agree. i would technically have an ACE score of 4 or 5 if it meant i had CSA by anyone older than me. i was sexually abused by a family member 3 years older than me, so… yeah.


    • Yes, I agree, this question should be included in any further research on ACES. “Before you were 20 years old, did someone die in your immediate family or among your close friends ?”

      There should also be a question about domestic violence perpetrated by the mother. In interviewing kids for 30 years I was surprised by how many mentioned DV by the mother against the father. I think that women get away with all kinds of abuse more easily than men.

      Another question that should be added to the original ten is “Did you experience significant or sustained bullying before the age of 18?” I’ve interviewed kids about abuse at home who told me that there was much worse abuse — bullying by other kids or a teacher — in school.


      • I completely agree with what you’re saying. I know bullying is incredibly painful and DV on men by women is important. A lot of trauma is painful.

        They said there’s all kinds of trauma including bullying. It’s written before the test. They can’t possibly include everything.


      • Did someone die, or were murdered before you were 20? So much violence, and murder is probably more stressful.


      • I agree. Based on the ACEs listed here, I have a score of 3, but my real score would be much higher if it included things like severe marital dysfunction (but not divorce), sibling on sibling abuse, mothers being verbally / physically abusive to fathers, and homelessness.


    • Hi, I almost don’t want to leave a comment with my score for both, out of fear of what it might mean! But here goes..

      Quiz 1 Score 7
      Quiz 2 Score 0 and I’d have to say I feel the same today I fear psychological and physical intimacy of a sexual nature. It triggers emotional distress, disassociation episodes and fight/flight.

      I’m curious what my score means though, even if it isn’t good.

      Liked by 1 person

      • The scores are really arbitrary. Within any research study there is statistical procedures that give confidence to a significant results. For the study these “quizzes” are based on those ten questions on the first ACE quiz are correlated with more severe medical and psychological outcomes for the adults who experienced those incidences as children.
        However, this score does not define your response to these events or determine your outcomes. What the study misses is the individual differences in the study or the “you” part. You as a person are left with these experiences, and while they weren’t your fault, you still have to find a way to live with them anyway. This is the part where you have all the control even if you feel like you don’t have any control. Speaking to mental health professionals and/or medical professionals for your concerns is a first step in taking your life back.
        Hope this helps, if not, I wish you well.


      • That broke my heart. I have similar scores, when I did that resilience test the first time I just cried, but it was for myself and maybe that was good. I used to think loving yourself was so stupid, and impossible, but now I know it’s an emergency man. You’ve got to do it, and it’s something you should have always had. I’m still trying. Sometimes I love myself a lot, sometimes I fall short and I hate myself for it. It’s taken awhile, do yourself a favor and work on this. Please do this.


      • Sirius Black: I want you to listen to me very carefully, Harry. You’re not a bad person. You’re a very good person, who bad things have happened to. Besides, the world isn’t split into good people and Death Eaters.

        There is a quote that helped me. I scored an 8 and honestly I am too afraid to take the second quiz on resilience.. i would recommend a specialized therapist that specializes in trauma because with a normal regular therapist you could risk going in circles because we have this wiring in our brain that interprets kindness as a threat and idk about you buy I have hurt a lot of people because I had all this damn baggage so the sooner I deal with this the sooner I can be a person in the world again. Well anyway I hope the quote helped if not I am sorry. The quite is from harry potter prisoner of azkaban


      • You’re not alone fellow human, I scored 9 on the ace and 0 on the resilience.

        I also have cptsd – flashback, disassociate, prone to violent rage, etc….

        Fuck the implications – you survived actual hell, how is that not complete resilience.


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  341. ACE = 9
    Resilience =1
    Celebrating 25yrs in recovery. I truly believe it is directly related to dual tract treatment and years of related groups. Both chemical dependency and survivor of childhood abuse (all types). I’m a believer in looking past addiction and healing root of the pain. Please continue this work and training other Drs!! Lives are worth it. I pray this becomes mandatory training for all Drs world wide. Thank you for telling my story. Be blessed


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  343. My Ace score was 5. My resilience score was a 6. However, I do take opiates, and smoke. I no longer drink or over eat. I go to AA and I had gastric bypass surgery. Most of the time I just don’t want to feel and if I don’t have opiates I feel worthless. I have a hard time feeling good enough. I feel like I’m always trying to prove myself, that I am a good person. I struggle with my emotions.


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  346. Ace: 6
    Resilience: 5

    Can someone tell me what this score means?
    Was it just a harsh upbringing?
    Because I feel like my parents were just over emotional and it was mostly my fault for making them sad or angry.


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  353. Have you not heard of Spiritual Abuse? When Organized Religion pays your parents for the sodomizing of your brother in a Catholic Orphanage and they accept the money payoff instead of having the priest arrested….then the church pays your tuition in Catholic School so the nuns can beat you and tell you that you have the mark of the devil. Because of the non-disclosure agreement, your brother, who goes on to rape 2 of his sisters, never gets psychiatric help and neither do the sisters. The mother gets all kinds of psychiatric help however, and the 2 older female children end up having to become “mother” to all the younger children before they are even 10 years old. The dad becomes an abusive alcoholic and the mom is “out to lunch”, drugged, overdosed..a walking zombie. All because they chose money instead of love.


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    • What I believe this means for us is that we have to be mindful. We need to focus on self-care, health care, diet, exercise, developing meaningful relationships and positive purpose in life.


    • Hey Myrna,
      Sounds like you have had some rough experiences, thank you for being so open. Everyone processes their adverse experiences differently, so just numbers can’t tell us what it means for you.
      If you feel that your scores are impacting your life and performance I would reach out to someone around you who you trust, or find some resources in your community to help you build some resiliency. Often there are free or low costs options for counseling, group meetings, or ways to explore building resiliency. Maybe search “free mental health services in _____” (the area near you). Less formally there are sometimes Meetups on places like Meetup.com that might have people with similar experiences who can connect you. Or in my area there are Youth Centers or other community centers with lots of resources that are free.
      Remember you are never alone and it’s never too late to build your skills with dealing with your adverse experiences.


    • Ace score of 7
      Resiliance score of 7

      All the other 7 questions my answer was unsure , i have done the richard traumas process through hypno since then i dont have an emptional response to trauma and most of my memories are regressed . There is nothing this world could throw at me that i couldn’t over come n still smile through i pitty the next abuser that comes at me


  360. My Ace score is 9
    My resilliance score is 8
    5 of them are still apply today
    Can you give me a reading now? Or what does this all mean?


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  362. ACE Score 7
    RESILIENCY Score 12 back then and 12 now. How come? I have always been curious, loving, defiant, optimistic etc. I have 8 siblings and I am the only one that has been convicted of a felony! Ha! ( credit card fraud in my early 20’s) I am also the only one that became a Recovery Coach and travels all over the world to speak on recovery, mental health and hope! I am in excellent health, vegan and do not smoke. I quit 10 years ago. My mom and dad would fight, I was molested at church and school, I was bullied, but I was also in all the gifted classes and developed this insatiable appetite for learning and books! ah books! I read and read and found answers! No therapy, no psychiatrists or counselors until I was way into my 30’s. I had 1 year of counseling with an Art Therapist. WE NEVER DID ART, LOL. We talked once a week for about a year. A year later I was different, I also reconnected with my old church. I am a spiritual person, who loves God and knows that he fights on my behalf. I AM VERY RESILIENT and I had to be, the only other option was death. Who wants to die? Nit me, not yet, I have too much to do! I am a woman of purpose, a woman of destiny a woman of hope…


    • Thank you for sharing your story. I was touched by it. I am a survivor myself (at least that’s what I call myself now). I went through a lot as a child and as a teenager and I am ready to start an emotional recovery. I love God with all my heart. He has been my rock and my everything. I don’t know what would have been of me if it wasn’t for his love and mercy. I know he has a beautiful purpose for my life and I want to pass on to my children that sense of purpose. Again, thanks for sharing.


    • Ok I absolutely LOVE your response! Although I’ve struggled with not wanting to fight, I only have because I know God’s truth in my heart. That I have purpose and we all do!!! Jesus is the answer. 🙂


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  364. ACE 7
    Resilience 13

    What helped me not fall into a hole was a network of older women I could turn to and talk to for advice and comfort. I call them my grandmothers and aunties. They were friends of the family mostly who were there for me, even let me stay with them at their house when things were really bad. My mother also acted as a shield for much of the abuse and encouraged me in school and things. Writing was a major comfort for me as well. I’ve kept diaries of my thoughts since grade school. It helped me make sense of what was going on and keep myself focused on the ultimate goal: escaping and making something of myself. A life well lived is the best revenge. And seeing what happened to my abusive brother it has proven totally true.


  365. All good questions but circumstantial. For example, my granny adored me and was always there to wipe my tears and hug me when she came to our house but this was maybe only 3-4 times per year. My mother was a cold fish who was shy and insecure and self immersed in her own social awkwardness. She often didn’t show up for my events or was last to show up making me extremely upset scared and feeling unloved. Later in life she said it was because she didn’t want to interact with parents of my peers – the very thing I wanted so much for her to do to help me gain new friends. I found this inexcusable because she was a college professor and had no problem teaching in large classrooms. She put her own insecurities before a 6, 8, 9, 10 and 12 year old. We all struggled because of her insecurities. Life was very hard. Some kids used to wonder if I had a mother or not. I was left to my own devices because she was so absorbed on her own life and school work. No drinks or drugs just severe emotional neglect that I am paying dearly for today in and with my own life. She is 88 today and we don’t talk because of her. When I try to tell her how much she hurt me she closes the door on me and even threatens to call the police. I shared this with many people and they all say “forget her”
    Which I will have to do. When she dies I can’t go to her funeral. She abandoned me so many times and even in my adult life she has abandoned me too. I will abandon her in death. It is my only recourse. I do not really care. I hope she lives long so I don’t have to deal with that for a long time. She has abandoned my other sibling too. Everyone thinks she is so great and wonderful but the reality is that she was a very bad mother who neglected her kids on so many levels especially emotionally. Unforgivable what she’s done to me.


    • Hi Phoebe, your post really touched me. Have you heard of Bethany Webster and her course ‘Healing the mother wound’? She has resources for people coming from mother horror stories just like yours. All the best!


    • Goodmorning Pheobe, just a short note. when we can move from judgement to curiosity, in your case – I wonder what her life was like while growing up? I would imagine by the sad description of your mother’s absernteeism there is another sad story. All behaviour makes sense, it may not be acceptable, but when we know the ‘story’, (move from judgement to curiosity) it can help our own healing. my score is 10, i also have 9 sibling. so much shit was going on i too am amazed I’ve survived.


    • Have you ever looked into or delved into why your Mother was like this? It sounds like she was emotionally cut off and isolated with her feelings. Unable to love properly and a work a holic. This is often a direct reaction to something they have experienced themselves. It’s an avoidance/denial tactic. She can’t experience and give true love as she has learnt to survive by surprising those feelings and then throwing herself into her work where she was distracted; too busy to deal with her feelings and the things that bothered her……

      She strikes me as someone who has experienced a bad upbringing themselves and hasn’t been able to deal with the emotional repercussions of it.

      I’m not saying this makes it right – but in a way – when we seek to understand the driving force behind the behaviour we can understand better and therefore gain some perspective of peace! Maybe counselling would help you also as waiting for your mum to die to deal with it could have grave consequences- I think finding forgiveness for your mother would be the most healing thing foe you and your heart . As difficult as thy would be – with work it maybe achievable. Not for you Morher but for your own peace of mind and serenity x


    • Dear Phoebe, your words gave sadness to my heart. Please do yourself a favour, and forgive your stone cold hearted mother. Who knows, what happened to your mom when she was a child. People don’t become TOUGH, cold and calculating, out of secure sweet loving experiences. We become cold, sometimes, out of need to survive infinite spiritual pain.

      I used to be against a commandment that tells us to HONOUR our parents. Used to look everywhere for a justification to hate my mother.

      Many years later, I became mother, and I committed worst mistakes than my mother. And realized, I had WRONGLY, judged my mom. Seventeen, years in recovery, has taught me: she did her BEST, with what she had, all she had were her own childhood adverse experiences. Money and status, don’t make a difference. Spiritual pain, is the same, here and in China. By spiritual pain I mean: shame, bitterness, sadness, anger, anxiety, emotional neglect and many more.


      • Strongly disagree. Someone who tells a person to forgive is doing the same harm already done to that person. Phoebe gets to choose forgiveness, on her terms. There is no longer a “should” see from her mothers pov. That’s what an abuser already spent years forcing us to do when we are vulnerable in their care—world is about them. We get blamed, we get shamed, we get guilted, we get physically & emotionally harmed when we don’t do things on their terms.

        It’s in our healing journey that we choose our terms. Those change over time as we:
        – accept what was done
        – forgive ourselves
        – stop seeing the abuser of ever being capable to do what they never done
        – grieve for having never been given what we deserved
        – Let go of ever needing it from them now—they didn’t take responsibility for a vulnerable child then, they’ll have to do a lot work/growth be accountable to the adult that child became
        – let go of the unhealthy ways of living they gave us—all that shame, blame, guilt, criticism
        – and many other steps so we can give to ourselves & grieve what was taken

        It’s about making the healthy choice to meet your needs. I know my beliefs & thoughts about that choice are for me. Then, I’m honoring myself and my truth to meet my needs. My healthy choice deserves to be respected and accepted.

        My choice can change when I’m ready — needs become wants, wants to needs. There is 1 thing I simply will never forgive my mother for. I’ve told it to her letting her know that no # of sorrys will change that—I need to do that to stand up to her, to remind myself just how she was. The choice is for me. It’s been some time. I understand that choice even more. I have some survivors guilt to still let go. I don’t know when I will, the amount of time it’ll take. It also doesn’t mean I’ll forgive her for it at the end of day. That’s okay. That’s my choice. It’s a healthy choice if it’s not doing me harm, chewing me up inside.

        And I still know everything she was put through. I’m saddened by any creature ever being put through such things. I’m an adult, she’s an adult. We all went and go through things. Difference is that I’m an adult who takes accountability for my actions.

        Sidenote—don’t have to give any forgiveness. I can give understanding and do no harm just like I do with any other creature. My grandmother gets none of my forgiveness. She also doesn’t get anger, frustration, annoyance, joy from me. She was a woman who lived—she likely has a personality disorder, lived at a time when men treated women like brooms, was a terrible parent and was very lovely-generous for OTHER people (just not her family).

        Liked by 2 people

      • I totally agree with Sandra’s viewpoint. I will never forgive my stepfather for what he did to me, and it doesn’t matter. He’s dead anyway. But it does not bother me. I’ve worked hard through years of therapy and have finally, in my 60s, gotten to a place where my past does not intrude into my daily life. I don’t “need” to forgive anyone “for my own sake.” What happened to me in the past no longer has very much effect on my behavior or feelings. Of course, it will always affect me to some extent – it deformed my personality. But I have healed as much as I believe it is possible to heal, at this point in my life, anyway. And I am grateful for that. I am finally able to get on with the business of living my life.


      • I am so glad that you touched on how important it is for our own well being to forgive those who have hurt us. I also harbored much hatred for my adoptive mother for many years. It wasn’t until I forgave her in my heart that I realized, maybe she was doing her best. Who knows what she went through in her life prior to becoming my mother. Here I am now at 32 years old with a 5 year old son and literally every day I can understand more and more why she could have been the way she was. Thanks for your comment!


    • That’s very sad. You have been hurted so many times..
      Just think of forgiving NOT FOR HER. Do it for yourself. I don’t know How. But I believe that when we can’t forgive, we also can’t live and be happy. It is very Hard to do – I have the same with my ex husband. But it would be good to forgive and do it for us, Not for them.


    • Dear Phoebe, we are all just children having children, doing the best we can. Had to come to that realization about my own abusive father who drove my mother to suicide. Took me decades to wrap my mind around that and forgive. Now I am 60 and I see the damage I have done to my own children…even after reading hundreds of child rearing books over my lifetime. Not because of lack of love but my lack of heathy attachment to a caregiver. Something I had no control over. Forgiveness is for YOU not THEM! Then, the bigger part of it is to learn compassion not for THEM but for YOU! Self compassion is the single most important thing you can do for yourself in your life. No one can love you better than you can love yourself!


    • Phoebe based on my own personal experience, your Mother’s actions (or lack of) could also be due to her wanting to protect you from the flaws or social awkwardness that she has and has a fear that she would/will pass them on to you. She may believe that the less contact she has with you, the better off you will be and that she believe’s she is doing you a favor.


      • Ed – that’s an interesting perspective and one I’d imagine not many people are willing or able to consider. The aftereffects of so many of the ACEs experiences make us less able to offer a more dispassionate account of why a parent failed to give emotional support, of failed to keep us safe. I know plenty of quirky adults–especially in academia–whose anxiety and depression keep them from offering much support to anyone in their lives. Some, almost certainly, are on the spectrum. I’ve wondered if some of my withdrawal from my son’s friends’ parents had to do with not just my own ACEs anxieties but the kinds of factors you mention: I was older, among the few working, professional mothers, felt vaguely bullied by the moms with their mean girl behaviors, and in any case didn’t enjoy their regular drinking parties. I was aware that the time that my withdrawal limited my son’s integration into the cliques, though he says that wouldn’t happened anyway bc he preferred theatre to sports. Anyway – thank you for your thoughtful post. It isn’t easy to reconcile the past. I count myself and my son lucky for having gotten beyond at least two generations of overtly abusive, toxic parenting.


      • You’re just confirming that it’s unforgivable. Putting your insecurity about social awkwardness above your child’s health and wellbeing for the rest of their life *is* unforgivable.


    • Phoebe-I hear you girl. When my mother died all I felt was relief. . I got the call she was dead. I ran to the bathoom mirror, looked at myself and said”Thats it, its over”. And it was, I let her go. And I didnt attend any service. Take care.


    • Phoebe,

      I am not judging but merely restating information. But maybe instead of blaming and having ultimatums could you redirect your thoughts into the questions already made? What trauma did your mother endure to be the way she is today?

      A broad perspective is powerful, narrow vision and blinders are negative and destructive. No justification, just a thought to consider. Remember we all have choices, some of us don’t have the right resources to utilize when making them. Monsters are not just born, they are made.

      I hope whatever path you choose to be on that your heart and mind obtain the peace you want and deserve: Blessings to you.


    • No matter how horrible things were with your mother, forgiving her is one of the keys to your own recovery. NOT dismissing her actions, but quit carrying around the negativity in your own soul. It doesn’t mean you have to “make up” with her, just let it go and move on. Accept that the relationship was what it was and go on to live your own best life from here on out. Good luck.


    • My love, the wisdom that helped me heal, is that our parents are people too. They are not God’s as we see them when we are children. Withholding forgiveness harms the one who is doing the withholding. Your mother, clearly has issues that she is and has been unwilling to look at.. This need not define you any longer. Forgive her and release her from the shackles of your despair. With that, you too will be free…It doesn’t hurt to try… Now that you are an adult, you can learn how to reparent your inner child. Think of the greatest parents who lived…perhaps God, and model your inner parent after them. Many blessings


    • My love, the wisdom that helped me heal, is that our parents are people too. They are not God’s as we see them when we are children. Withholding forgiveness harms the one who is doing the withholding. Your mother, clearly has issues that she is and has been unwilling to look at.. This need not define you any longer. Forgive her and release her from the shackles of your despair. With that, you too will be free…It doesn’t hurt to try… Now that you are an adult, you can learn how to reparent your inner child. Think of the greatest parents who lived…perhaps God, and model your inner parent after them. Many blessings


    • Hello: As I read your words it reminds me of an interview I watched on Red Table Talk on youtube with Demi Moore regarding her mother and death. You may want to check it out. All the best to you.


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  367. ACES: 9

    I was so shocked when I read an article about this. I wish I had had the tools available to me when I was growing up.
    I couldn’t believe I got 9/10! So many people have had it so much worse than I have!
    This is the first time I have taken the Resiliency test, and now things make a lot more sense to me.
    It’s amazing to consider how one grandmother and several teachers made such a difference in my life!
    It’s easy for me to look at the world and see all of the negative things. What amazes me is that regular, otherwise unremarkable people make all the difference! I feel so empowered to be that person or to somehow help the people who are the ones providing that resilience for kids out there like I was! I’m going to look for opportunities.
    Because I was inspired by other comments above, maybe it’s useful to say a little about myself.
    I went to boot camp three days after graduating high school. I became a Special Operations Team Leader. I ended up getting a degree in philosophy with a minor in chemistry (because I needed a degree for a job at the time). I got half-way through an MBA and decided to stop because I was making more money than the people who already had MBAs, even though I really enjoyed my studies.
    I’ve been married for 8 years, I have two brilliant and interesting children, I own two homes, and I work as a technical lead and split my time between the East and West Coasts.
    For everybody out there with high ACEs, my heart goes out to you. It hurts me to realize that so many of you just didn’t have the people in your lives who could provide the resiliency to help counteract the ACEs. I may not be able to say or do anything to help, but I’m with you. I am with you.

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    • Now, build in new forms of resilience. New connections, new supports. This gives you a basis for understanding why and a place to start healing. Try CPTSD (Complex PTSD) resources.


    • Hi Myrna,

      I also have a high ACE score. I would recommend speaking with a professional counselor trained to help someone with a higher ACE score. It’s not always easy or affordable to find someone you can connect with. A counselor who can also integrate EMDR therapy is exceptionally helpful. You can search for a counselor at this link:

      Many of the EMDR therapists have a social work masters degree and EMDR therapy with them is more affordable than with a psychiatrist.

      Also, 2 suggested books for those of us with this struggle:

      The Body Keeps the Score by Bassel von der Kolk
      Getting Past Your Past by Francine Shapiro

      Also, a great podcast with Bassel von der Kolk is with Niki Gratrix at The Abundant Energy Podcast from August 24, 2018 on Healing Emotional Trauma.

      Much love to you and wishing you a successful healing journey. Stay strong there are wonderful tools available for your healing and it will be worth it.



    • Your scores are a guide to help you know what your risk level is. An ACE score above a 4 means you need to watch your symptoms and you have a high risk of mental health issues as well as physical health problems from the corrosive effects of adrenaline pumping through your system. Adrenaline can cause inflammation, nerve issues that can lead to things like fibromyalgia, physical pains like chest pains, migraines, intestinal issues, etc. Your doctor should definitely be made aware of this and be screening you more closely for stress related illnesses. It also serves as a social tool. If you know you have these issues you can monitor your triggers, manage your social environment to help avoid triggers or prepare for bad days when you can’t avoid triggers. As well as develop an awareness that you need to have strong social supports. A strong social network of trusted people can really help recovering from PTSD. That’s another thing to look out for. Dr. Judith Herman has a book called Trauma and Recovery that describes all of this.


    • If you’re new to ACES, I highly recommend reading some books about the topic. I just finished “The Deepest Well” by Dr. Nadine Burke and have just started “The Body Keeps The Score” by Dr. Bessel Van Der Kolk. If you’re in the US, your local library probably has both. For me, it’s been really helpful to learn more about ACES and what I can do now, as an adult, about my score.


  371. Ace score 10. + additional elements – racism, social circumstances etc. Resilience score 3.

    Ok – so family, sister, brothers have all the stuff – suicide attempts, murder attempts, addictions, prison, mental illness, incest, pedophilia etc etc etc


    I graduated school with highest grades they ever had
    Had 3 jobs from age 11 to feed myself
    Now own properties worth over 2.5 million
    Have a success career doing job of my dreams – and one of the hardest professions to crack.
    Have never been on anti depressants
    Have never taken a sleeping tablet
    Have never been addicted to drugs or alcohol
    Have never had an abortion (not that anything wrong with having one just showing my lifestyle choices),
    Have never been arrested or have a criminal record
    Not over weight – exercise regularly – etc.
    Never had to spend the night in hospital
    Am on no medication and have never been on anything other than odd antibiotic. Not even Vicodin for a tooth work.

    Still some issues – dont choose the best men – but no violence etc. Don’t always choose the best friends – but learning.

    How ??

    12 Step programs Alanon and DA and Under Achievers Anon.
    Meditation and more meditation
    Self help course, books – The Presence Process, the feminine Power Course, Rich dad Poor Dad, The letting go process – Sedona Method, and currently learning about limbic system brain damage caused by trauma and how to repair it.
    Therapy – wherever and whenever I could get it. For free, paid, swopping with friends 12 step whatever i could get, and firing crap therapists fast.
    Faith – no particular religion but garnered a believe in something large than myself to help me and pray in times of need
    Being willing to drop people places and things as I outgrow them in consciousness – a necessarily requirement as I have to grow a lot and fast
    Learning self love, self worth changing my self image
    No longer communicating with my family
    Leaving the city I was born in at 18 to a youth hostel and never moving back.
    Learning to take vitamins, eat better and do self care
    Learning each area i was f*cked in and fixing it. Abandonment issues, rejections issues, fear of being alone, fear someone would kill me, never feeling safe, not taking care of myself, not trusting anyone, isolating, trying to save people, co dependent, piece by piece i take them on and heal them. Then another then another then another… as I do parts of my life change incrementally. I start to love myself more. New challenges come – often I find stemming from my childhood issues. But I diligently take them on and win. Never lost a battle yet. Is it easy ? No ? Do I fall to my knees humbled and cry ‘why me’ sometimes? yes. But Is it worth it – is it worth the fight ? For some of the glorious moments I have experienced, for some of the successes I have had, the wondrous peaks of happiness, utter pride in myself and proof of the positivity of life – yes. I have witnessed miracles on the journey. I’ve lived 10 lifetimes worth of growth already and I’m not halfway through this one.

    Born literally in hell. But I dont believe anyone has to stay there. Its a choice – a warriors choice. But you can win. And I believe life itself supports you on this journey. Some people are born, chosen to be alchemists to transmute the darkness into light. Be one. xx

    Liked by 3 people

    • Julie, congratulations on your accomplishments. You are one of a few souls who did figure out their way out of chaos. I scored, 7 and 5, so you got me beat on who has better numbers, or in this case worse numbers. I think the stories like your successes are great. I am trying to write a book about my family, 10 marriages, 25 moves, that shows that although there are great examples of people like yourself, many, most do not make it. Suicide rates are up, and those who may get away for awhile, get pulled back due to bad behaviors and decisions.

      Depending upon your beliefs, either all people are responsible for themselves, or many people do not have the training and social skills to grow and change, and therefore need help. Based on your success, just curious which camp you ended up in.

      Also, did you end up going down the family path, trying to create a better version of what you didn’t have growing up, or did you decide to be more selfish, and manage yourself and maybe a spouse, but no kids? Again, just curious of the path you took.

      I did not find meditation, yoga, and many other life balancing things until late in life, after cancer, divorce, etc, and I am just curious, if people understand the exceptional strength it takes to break from these family and cultural stories we have in our head, and why many people are not able to make these changes.

      I am writing the book as I believe it is critical that more stories are told about how tough it is to break away from these ideas and stories we have in our head. Even years later, 20s, 30s, and 40s, we carry these stories, and unless some major event occurs, we do not seem to change our ways. And even then, many stay the course, and accept the life they have, and continue the cycle, generation after generation.

      I like the idea that it is a choice, but it has to be a warriors choice. Unfortunately, how many warriors have you met that can compare to your story?


      • I came from a HELL family…poor, alcohol, ignorance, drugs, violence, abuse. When I was six, and being sexually abused by my father’s best friend every day after school, I made a decision I was going to get out as soon as possible. By the time I was 14, I had a job that paid mine, my mom’s and my sisters’ living expenses. My Dad was in the Armyvand in Korea and Viet Nam. As soon as I turned 18, I got pregnant and got married. I was gone with the wind and never looked back.

        I had two failed marriages, so I didn’t do to well in that department…I chose two burnbags to father my seven children. I’m not rich by any means, but I always made enough so that the kids didn’t think we were poor. We always had a decent place to live, decent car and the kids always had the newest sneakers. I have taken college classes, but never managed a degree.

        I did what I wanted to do and made a good life for my kids. I now have a family of over 30 people that love each other and the cutest grandkids you could ever imagine. I overcame my beginnings.


      • Late to this thread, but found myself fascinated both by Julie’s post and your response. I’ve been mulling over this issue of “choice” and am not convinced people who’ve survived a high ACE score (+ other experiences the test doesn’t measure) can “choose” to think or feel differently about their lives. Yes, successes can happen, and working hard to reflect and learn make a real difference in outcomes. We can figure out what we can and can’t handle, and at some point stop running in order to join hands with others who get it and love us no matter.

        What I find curious is how “all or nothing” some of our posts can seem. At 63, I’ve begun to feel incremental okay-ness: a day that’s mostly calm, a sense of letting go the constant spidey-sense that something will surely blow up — all these minor graces aren’t chosen so much as allowed in from a world I’ve tried to build back from hurt. Buddhism has become interesting in part because it doesn’t require a core self or ego to be in control. I find that control can become a dark lord for Hi-ACE-folk, as when we reject anti-depressants because a parent was addicted to some substance, for example.

        Given all the violence that accrues in the lives of folks affected, “warriors” might need a more peaceful synonym?

        All v intriguing. I’m grateful for this site.


    • Julie, this is remarkable. I’m a warrior as well working through one of my biggest battles yet. Reading your words today were exactly what I needed to pick myself back up and fight harder. Thank you for sharing your insights.


    • I just read your post and hope you know how inspiring it was. I have foster children who have had lives much like what you describe. I pray they can learn what you have and see their potential to change and overcome what life handed them. Thank you!!


      • Julie, it’s OK to be weak, that’s part of looking after yourself. Especially painkillers. To hell with putting up with unnecessary pain. Antidepressants can get you over a hump when needed, so it’s OK to have it in the repertoire of “things I can do for myself.”
        Being depressed for a while can be part of getting to a better understanding and acceptance of yourself when you are in therapy, or just in the process of working out and coming to terms with the past.

        Take care. Joy (my real name, bit of a liability I sometimes think).


    • I wish you hadn’t included “never taken antidepressants” in the list of things clearly indicating not doing well. Therapy is good and necessary, but taking prescribed medication is… weak?


      • Agreed. In fact, I think most of the “BUT” section is sorta misguided. Having to have 3 jobs at 11yrs old to feed oneself was not overcoming the trauma, it was literally PART OF the trauma. That is traumatic! Never experiencing addiction/ abortion /obesity /illness are NOT “virtues” because if any of these things developed during the trauma they are themselves a part of it and/or a symptom from it. Getting help in response to your trauma, and sticking with it, and going after your dreams, etc, IS something to be proud of. So that’s great.


    • My ACE was 7, but my resilience score was 9. My childhood was chaos due to a bipolar parent who was also an alcoholic, could not keep a job, and was abusive toward 3 of his 4 children (the “special kid” grew up feeling guilty that he was the only one who was loved as he watched the rest of us trying to please our parent and failing every time). He threatened suicide in front of his kids, went into his bedroom and fired the gun. He was faking, and we were so numb to the craziness that we just went to bed instead of calling 911. I was lucky to have a loving mother, grandparents on both sides who did their best to protect us, teachers who pushed me to do well in school, and friends with normal parents which showed me that a better family life was possible. I really struggled in my late teens and early 20s, but was able to get my life together, marry, and raise my children in a stable family home.


    • With you on this one 😍 though may not currently have the financial success, i have improved my life systematically in a similar way to yourself.. though mainly using EFT, TTT and tuning fork sound therapy… Identify the problem area, work on it and resolve it… many free sessions facilitated by swapping skills and much learning… many tears and moments of how much more is there? ACE SCORE OF 5 NOT SURE ABOUT RESILIENCE!! Though many traumas since my childhood have had to unravel…


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    • Dang, I didn’t realize how much chaos my life was. My Aces score was 9, excluding the sexual abuse. Only 2 were what I’d consider “probably true” and still are in the second survey. I’m 16 years old, male and a sophomore. I’ve done therapy and have experienced suicidal thoughts and have attempted it many times. I’ve excelled academically but by habit I keep school, school and home, home. I am challenged when it comes to trusting others, im very introverted and shy. I used to be extremely violent but now I have self control and cry Alone over my conflicts Instead of hurting others, myself, or property. I take medications, but never have done illegal drugs but I have been offered it by some people that I’d consider “friends”. I have a hard time opening up to my adoptive parents and everyone I know. It’s hard for me to engage or converse unless it’s online. I’ve made better friends and connections through social media. And before people think I am totally wrong. These people are not fake or lying. I’ve FaceTimed and messaged these people enough to know what they are like. I’m able to open up more with them. Recently I’ve lost contact with a very close friend and I’m very conflicted about it. I don’t know how to tell anyone how I’m feeling. I’ve never felt more alone than I do now. I find it annoying to hear these people say that they have created fixes when they have no idea what it feels like. So I like being able to talk one on one with people who have been through the sh*t I have and come out successfully. If anyone has some advice please let me know how to deal with this.


      • Hey Vince, my ace score is 7 and resiliency is 1. Went through a lot of awful shit, too. I’m in my 30s and have made it this far by doing really intense introspection and personal growth activities that have helped immensely. Some of the most useful information I’ve found includes C-PTSD as described by Pete Walker (http://www.pete-walker.com/fourFs_TraumaTypologyComplexPTSD.htm – most of us on this page have C-PTSD), mindfulness meditation (this can save a person from suicide, since it has the power to shut your damn brain up and help you feel at peace), and dreamwork as described by Ann Faraday, PhD in her book “The Dream Game” (this process can get you deeply in touch with your inner child and true feelings, which can be amazingly healing and transformative).

        I hope these suggestions offer some good leads for you to start with!


      • Vince,

        Am hoping this helps…

        It is impossible for anyone to completely understand your situation since none of us have the exact life experiences. But those of us who have a high ACE score (mine was 7+) are more likely to be able to relate more to your situation than those with low scores. There is no easy way to overcome past (or present) evils. And each person has to discover their own path. But you are wise to seek out people who have overcome early obstacles to become successful adults…choose only techniques they used that you think would be helpful to you.

        I was at a precipice (literally) when 13. By sheer luck, a classmate unknowingly foiled my suicide plans. After a few days of reflection, I resolved that I would persevere to make it to my 18th birthday when I would finally have my life totally in my control. I focused all my energy on school and hobbies that were in line with my “dream job” career goals. Thankfully, in my senior year when my parents went into critical overdrive in an attempt to douse all my hopes and dreams, Fleetweed Mac came out with the song “Don’t Stop” (thinking about tomorrow)…an anthem that got me thru that final year at home and the rough first years on my own.

        Though you feel alone right now, this will not always be the case. Your being shy might actually spare you from accidentally making friends with fake/toxic people. Better to wait to open up to someone worthy of your trust even if it means feeling all alone for a while. Watch people’s actions more so than their words and you will eventually find another close friend.

        Anyway, flash forward 40 years from my abysmal childhood…wildly successful career (very satisfying even though not considered a high paying field), fantastic husband (no kids…didn’t want to chance ruining a kid in case I turned out to be like my parents), close friends (only a few but I trust them). Definitely was worth it to tough out my early years. Am hoping you will be able to discover your passions (activities that bring you joy). If you have trouble doing this, think about any past good memories…those times that you remember having fun (from age 10 to present).

        Even as an adult, life isn’t always easy but you will be surprised at how much better prepared you are for real life than most people who had an easy childhood. Follow your passions as a guide and you will eventually find contentment. Best wishes to you!


      • Vince, I don’t know your situation well enough to give the best advice, but if you can work while in school money you make can go towards a sliding scale trauma specialist- therapist, as well as a cheap (used) car so that when you turn 18 you can get your own apartment (with a friend) and have a safe home finally away from the abuse. I remember being your age, my ACE score is an 8. And just like some of the other more successful posts earlier- your life CAN IMPROVE/ BE GOOD. My thoughts are with you and my hope that you will stay strong but also seek help from a professional- for me it was a literal life saver. ❤️


      • Hi, Vince. This is kinda weird, but if you’d like a friend, I’m here. I am around the same age and also feel the same skepticism towards people. I know your comment is 2 years old, and I hope that you are feeling less alone now. Still, if you want to talk, please reply to this.


  373. ACE=9 (not counting racism & gender discrimination)
    For every person that did me wrong there were others who showed me love, unfortunately I lost most of them at an early age. But they taught me that it was possible to be loved for the short time they were with me and I carry memories of them everywhere I go.

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  374. I had a score of 4-feel fortunate that I am a survivor in some regards. I believe you can either be a victim or you have the ability to change your situation-unfortunately, this highlights why some are never are to break that cycle, which makes me feel very sad for so many who cannot…


    • I’ve taken this and realized how things I may have perceived as “normal” is not everyone’s normal. It certainly explains a lot of what I’ve learned about my life.


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