Got Your ACE Score?

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

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

There are, of course, many other types of childhood trauma — 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.

Prior to your 18th birthday:

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

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

__________________________

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

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

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

The first research results were published in 1998, followed by 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.

acescores

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

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

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

 

What causes this?

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

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

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

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

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

_______________________

What’s Your Resilience Score?

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

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

RESILIENCE Questionnaire

Please circle the most accurate answer under each statement:

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

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

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

 

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

2,039 responses

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  2. ACE score of 8, resiliency score of 5. My childhood made me fiercely independent with a hidden craving for a happy family. I really have no experience with healthy relationships so nothing has worked out the way I hoped. My stepfather molested me from 6 to 10 when I got my first period. My mother closed the door. They divorced within 6 months and after teenage years trying to find hope in physical relationships I got unhappily married at 20. He died at 24 leaving a pregnant girlfriend, I became pregnant and married a pallbearer. I’ve been divorced since 2009 and spent 7 months last year taking care of my mother at home with stage 4 metastasized breast cancer. I did the absolute best I could to be a caring, compassionate daughter but it still didn’t matter to her. I never could say I forgave her because she would never admit that her life wasn’t perfect. I tried to hold her hand as she was dying and she shook me off with the last of her strength. Things like that have made it very hard for me to keep reaching out to people but I do…hopefully one day I will find a hand that fits. I’ve raised my beautiful smart daughter in every way different…so even if I never manage anything else she understands and appreciates that I consider her the best thing I’ve ever done.

    Like

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  5. ACE: 7, Res: 7.

    2 things:
    Interesting that the question on sexual abuse doesn’t include people who weren’t actually touched. I may well have been touched, as I have big sections of time in my childhood in which my abuser (who lived with me) is just… Missing.

    Be that as it may, he did a lot of damage verbally, emotionally, and with body language, much of it extremely sexual.

    Triggers for childhood sex abuse

    He leered at me; commented on my clothing in incredibly vulgar ways, “You shouldn’t wear that. Some man will come along and shove his meat in you” (I was ~13); would peek through my door or the bathroom door when I was changing; called me a whore, a slut, etc. on a regular basis for years; snuck up on me and my boyfriend making out, turfed bf out, then lectured me on how much of a slut I was for ~20 mins while holding my shirt and bra, so I was sitting there covering my breasts with my arms the whole time; made constant comments about me “fucking every guy in the neighbourhood” (actually lost my virginity at 18); etc. etc. Also abused my Mum in every way. Used to lie awake at night listening to her trying not to cry while he raped her.

    Triggers over

    It took me until the age of 41 to understand that all of that had really affected me. I still struggle to call it child sexual abuse, because others have experienced so much worse… Anyway.

    There was a lot of other stuff going on too.

    My response was to bury my head in school, work incredibly hard, and shut my feelings down completely. I got into one of the best universities in the world, got 2 degrees there (with really good grades), did really well at my job, etc. School/work was the only thing I felt good about – the rest of me was worthless – so I couldn’t ever fail at it. Never.

    But I burned the candle at both ends. I took care of friends and family and lovers, but didn’t take care of myself. Sleep only happened when I literally couldn’t keep my eyes open. Stress levels, in and out of uni/work, were insane. I suffered from mental illnesses from a young age, and went to counselling, took meds, but regularly had severe depressive episodes, which cost me a few years of uni. I had all kinds of weird, abusive, coercive, stupid relationships, probably because I didn’t realise that a person or situation was dangerous. I was a difficult friend/lover, I’m sure.

    I’ve had chronic pain since I was ~10 due to a genetic illness, but I never thought of it that way. I just pushed through it and ate ibuprofen like candy. I got sick all the time: colds, pneumonia, flu, Lyme Disease, an uncommon ear infection bacteria in my throat, strep over and over, gallbladder disease… I landed in the hospital multiple times, and each time the sickness, whatever it was, was worse. When I was 33, and insanely stressed out, I injured my back, had surgery, and developed chronic pain. I’ve been disabled now for a decade. All my hard work, time, effort and stress… and I’m disabled, unemployed and on benefits. The thing is, I did it to myself. I didn’t know what I was doing, but I still did it. I pushed myself so hard that finally, my body/mind said, “You haven’t been listening. We keep getting sick, having breakdowns, and you just keep going! You broke your ankle and 3 days later went on a field exercise in the Carribean! Walking through the jungle in a cast! Are you insane?!”(Yes). “OK, we’re going to do something permanent, this time, and you will finally STOP AND REST.” Yup. Sigh.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Heather,
      your childhood was a truly horrific one! Be aware that when you did this to yourself, you never had a choice, because you were conditioned to act this way, just to survive short term.
      And the same is true for your parents – did they have any choices, regarding how their upbringings were? So I avoid the word ‘blame’, it’s rather a situation of ’cause and effect’. And the effects are gross.
      Thanks for sharing your insights.
      The 10 questions cover the most frequent abuses, and yours was a bit different. Only a limited number of questions can be managed in questionnaires like this.

      Like

  6. For people who have four types of childhood adversity — an ACE score of 4 — alcoholism risk increases 700 percent; attempted suicide increases 1200 percent. Heart disease and cancer nearly double. People with high ACE scores have more marriages, more broken bones, more depression, more prescription drug use, more obesity.

    Liked by 1 person

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  9. ACE score 6 Resilience 8 – still the same today. I can see the effects and why I still have so much work to do on myself. The main obstacles to healing seem to be the people who caused much of the trauma are still around and behave in ways that either compound or trigger the trauma.

    Liked by 1 person

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  12. My ACEs is 8. If they changed one question to read, “should a family member be in jail?” and another to say, “addiction” and not just drugs and alcohol, my score would be a 10. There are so many criminals who do not get caught and so many other forms of addiction. My resilience score is 2. It is a miracle that I can walk and talk.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Arlene,
      Whatever ACE score you have, mine is 7, I found understanding of my predicament, and a great relief, by reading books and blog by the legendary Dr A Janov.

      Like

  13. Aces= 10. Resilience= 14. Sometimes it can be so difficult to reconcile all the bad that happened simultaneously with all the good that provided me with resilience. Strange. I don’t know why I was the only one in my family or neighborhood to “get out” and create a wonderful life. Survivor’s guilt is a real thing, I can tell you.

    Liked by 1 person

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  15. ACE score of 6, resilience score of 3. I had a horrible, frightening, confusing childhood and I have rarely ever felt loved or cared about, certainly not by my family. My partner is kind but has Autism and doesn’t really understand why I need to be told that I’m valued and loved, although he knows all about my childhood. I have had a lot of near misses with alcohol, drugs, s3x work etc. and had two disastrous abusive marriages. I turned 40 this year and realised that my job in a caring profession was hollowing me out, so I quit. I don’t know who I am or what to do next…

    Liked by 1 person

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  19. I scored 6 on ACE and a 4 on Resilience. After reading everything this far I feel like I have truly beating the odds. I had a horrific, Terrible, scary childhood. I was a very depressed teen and I had very low self-esteem. At 15 I ended up pregnant. I was one of the lucky ones though, because I had an amazing man by my side. We have been Married for 17 years/together 20, and we have 6 boys. Yes life isn’t a bowl of peaches and cream. I have learned to work hard and fight for everything in life. I have made sure my kids will never go though what I went through. My scores me nothing to me as I have concord my deemons.

    Liked by 2 people

  20. I liked the homework even though I got some personal questions and some of them hurt me but i am okay with that now I’m an adult and know how to prtect myself . My score was 4

    Liked by 1 person

  21. There were at least two questions which were not so black and white. Question 8: T here was care only if I received a deportment comment and a grade C or less. Question 13: I believe I exercised a independent personality, but I was not a high achiever as a child. Question 14: The idea is good but I never had control of my own life. It belonged to others.

    Liked by 1 person

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  23. 4/0
    Been lonley my entire life and has never had anyone caring about me, I´m 28 years old and began putting my foot down half a year ago. It´s been hard at especially working places people and bosses have been really nasty to me since I have a hard time creating boundaries. Luckily I´ve started to strengthening my upper body which has affected me and given me courage and strength to say no. I´m still lonley. I feel happier not having contact with my emotionally abusive mentally ill narcissistic egocentric father and my emotionally abandoning slightly manipulative never incouraging mother though. I really don´t care what happens to them. Really don´t. They took my fire away from me and won´t acnowledge that or apologize. They both are weak and misrerable.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Hi Neil, I am sorry you didn’t/don’t have the care you deserve. The more self-love you have the less the lonelies show up. At least this is what I practice and believe. I care enough to send you hugs. Peace, from your Childhood Trauma Buddy

      Like

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  25. Hi,

    I am a nursing doctorate student and have used this questionnaire for a project. I want to make sure I have the correct permission to use the questionnaire. Thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

  26. Hi Everyone

    I Have an ACE Score of 7 and Resilience Score of 5.

    Just recognizing this is a little overwhelming as I am generally perceived as a “happy-go-lucky” guy though I feel like I have never been able to get out of “2nd Gear” all of my life.

    Don’t get me wrong, I have managed to wring an awful lot of happiness out of my life, though I feel like I start most days at -5/10 and have to just constantly drag myself into a happy state of mind.

    Sounds overly dramatic I know…

    But I have a wonderful, understanding wife and I have made every effort not to repeat the mistakes of the past, though I think maybe my past has made me not want to have children as yet.

    WoW, wierd what you write sometimes isn’t it. I hope you all manage to find Peace & Happiness

    JJ

    Liked by 4 people

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    • ACE 9 (pretty much all but sexual abuse)
      Resilience 13

      So glad for the rest of my family, especially grandparents, for being my support group. Even with an ACE of 9, I ended up getting a PhD, marrying another PhD, and having a very healthy and loving relationship with my daughter.

      Liked by 4 people

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    • 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.

      Liked by 2 people

  30. I scored a 10 on the test. My childhood was not fun. My mom struggled with addiction, in abusive relationships and suffered from untreated mental illness. Long story short, we were in and out of foster homes, homeless shelters and floors of family/friends/neighbors.
    My 3 sisters and I went to live with an aunt and uncle who were well off (financially, emotionally and physically).
    My mom as a child suffered from mental illness that no one talked about and was raped by a uncle that no one believed. She started using at a young age.
    My two brothers stayed with my mom.
    Now, years later. My mom is clean (has been for 6 years and lives with her sister and doing “ok.”)
    She suffered from many illnesses, and is hard to be around, but is capable and strong. She is 57 years old.
    Her kids:
    Oldest son (39) has suffered from almost the same life as she did. In and out of rehab, off and on drugs, has overcome and then had many set backs. Can’t handle life if it gets too hard. He has 4 wonderful boys has been married twice and now for the past 2 years has struggled with Meth use. Is right now in a mental facility and is struggling to stay alive.
    Myself (36) grew up in a loving home after being g taken out and got out in counseling right away. Joined the church and had that as a foundation for my whole life. Married a farmer and has 4 kids. I struggle with a lot of chronic pain, anxiety and shame. Had an eating disorder for 10 years and stilll struggle with weight and body image. I’m married to a loving husband, his family is amanzingly functional, does everything together and literally has no one that is remotely crazy, struggles with drugs, drinks, smokes–nothing!! They are just really freaking great. My husband and I have been married for 12 years.
    My twin (36) is a terrible person. Beats his wife and kids. They both do drugs. He’s scary and doesn’t talk. He suffers also from a lot of chronic pain, is mean, controlling and probably has untreated mental illness. He’s been married since he was 17.
    Younger sister (34) has been married 3 times. Is married to a man who hits her, but she medicated him in a smoothie that he doesn’t know about and I guess the abuse isn’t as much. She has two kids. She is a guidance counselor. Is crazy (to my standard), but has made it. Suffers from a lot of pain, has anxiety, panic attacks, headaches, and anything else she diagnoses herself with.
    Youngest sibling (31) has two boys, married to a man in the service. Does well, is a teacher and loves her boys. She doesn’t acknowledge my mom or her dad (he kidnapped her when she was a baby). She doesn’t talk about our childhood at all. Is over and done with and to her she doesn’t need to rehash the past.
    She’s driven and has overcome a lot, but has no feelings, she loves her boys but shows not a lot of emotion, but loves them and you can tell she’s proud.

    It took a long time to come to a place where I am and I’m so thankful I am the person I am today. I love my mom and the strong person she is. I hated my childhood, but gave me those life experiences to help others and tell a greater story on mental illness and all that it does and who it affects and I’m not ashamed anymore of the person I’ve become.
    Just thought I’d share on my life, to maybe give some hope to someone? So many things happened to me and my siblings, but also to my mom.

    Liked by 3 people

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  35. ACE score=6
    Resiliency Score=6

    Obesity
    Diabetes
    Heart disease
    Complex PTSD
    Generalized Anxiety Disorder
    Panic Disorder
    Major Depressive Disorder
    Traits or Borderline Personality Disorder
    Dissociative states

    Liked by 2 people

  36. This quiz and score are accurate for me. How many circumstances happened to me in my life growing up. Today I can honestly say these events occurred when I was younger I got passed them, and I’m a better person after getting professional help.

    Liked by 3 people

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  41. ACE 5, resiliency 9. Tough start and sometimes I still struggle, but overall very successful. Did not perpetuate anything. I have been working on myself for nearly my whole life.

    Liked by 1 person

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  44. ACE score is 8 and Resiliency is 6. I identify with most everything said. As a senior now, I have struggled with anxiety, depression, food addiction, alcoholism, sex addiction, teen pregnancy, and high stress/sleep disorder. About the only thing I haven’t experienced is smoking and opioid addiction. I was also bullied mercilessly in middle school and never told anyone. I would categorize my entire life as being engulfed with guilt, shame and never feeling good enough. I have been somewhat successful professionally but recognize all the ways I derailed myself – I could have accomplished so much more, given my intellect but I lacked a drive or belief in myself and am a perfectionist, which is a character flaw in itself. I was too emotionally vulnerable and didn’t make friends easily. I’m surprised bullying isn’t one of the factors in the ACE survey, because I’ve seen how destructive that is to the psyche and self-esteem. I think being bullied had the biggest impact on the shame I grew up with. Despite a reasonable score on resiliency, I certainly haven’t coped well in life, being emotionally reactive and overly sensitive, struggling with these addictions and demons of not being good enough. This program seems promising and am glad this study has been done. I cannot tell you the # of times I’ve heard that being happy is a choice and I just need to let go of the past and focus on the present, count my blessings. I am blessed in many ways but letting go of the past – both in terms of what happened to me and the self destructive behaviors I engaged in, well it’s an area I have a long way to go even now that I’m in my 60’s.

    Liked by 4 people

    • Thank you for sharing your experience. You are very brave. Continue to dwell on the positive things in your life. You are valued and important! Your experiences can help young people who are experiencing similartraumas. I teach and find it rewarding to work with young people..Take care!

      Liked by 2 people

    • Hi Emily,
      My ACE score is 8 and I haven’t taken the resiliency test yet, because I’m too overwhelmed. I have NEVER felt wanted or NEVER felt safe.
      You talked about how being bullied has been the biggest impact on the shame you grew up with. I know being bullied was my leap downward into a cycle of shame and of not being good enough EVER which continues to this day at 62 years old.
      Letting go of my past of pain that is merged into my soul; will always be with me as I work towards doing the best I can in life.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for sharing your experience, you sound like a very sweet person. Some people have to carry more load and it just isn’t fair.

      And no one can just ‘let go’ of the past, as it leaves many traces and scars and shapes who you are. So I respect you a lot for searching for ways to feel better!

      One thing I would want to advise you is to always try to be as nice to yourself as you want to be to others, take care of your needs, watch them carefully, and forbid yourself to be hard on yourself. It sounds easy, but maybe you could feel a little better about yourself. I think you deserve being well taken care of!

      Liked by 2 people

    • Acaravello, your post made me so sad. Please know that you are a valuable and lovely human and nothing that has happened to you in your past can take away your worth. I hope you can find someone to talk to, and find the strength to find hope in your future. You deserve happiness!

      Liked by 2 people

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  47. Aces 7 resilience 6
    I still struggle with feelings of being an outsider and not good enough to join groups etc
    I take small doses of anti depressants and I think I will forever
    My marriage just about survives as long as we don’t have too much stress
    I’m just thankful that despite having had a fairly awful childhood , thanks to grammar school and having had a good job I fought my way up the social ladder at least

    Liked by 1 person

  48. My ACEs score was 9 and my resilience score was 8. I agree with this article completely and I’m happy to say I have overcome a lot and lucky never gave into alcohol or drug use but had lots of struggles along the way.

    Liked by 1 person

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  51. hello. i just turned twenty in may and i have a score of 8 and a resilience score of 2. the two ones were, people took care of me when i was a baby, and people played with me when i was an infant. my family doesn’t know what they did to me. they were extreme opiate addicts and i never got to leave. i’m very skilled at handling my mental health, but i can’t work. i might need to go on disability soon. my brothers aren’t as bad as i am. my family will never know what ive seen. thank you for reading this

    Liked by 2 people

      • hi!! ive been in therapy for 2 years. when i discovered what the ACE score was, i was bewildered, hurt, shocked. to have EIGHT… and they didn’t even take a look at the test subjects who scored eight!!!! i feel like i’m in the seventh circle of hell compared to the lower scores. i feel like i could die when i’m 50. it’s nuts. anyone else with a score of 8/10 want to weigh in ??

        Liked by 2 people

      • I have seven. I was surprised, but relieved. It explained so much of my life, and it helped me accelerate my own healing. If you start changing your life to support and facilitate your health, it can help extend your life. Donna Jackson Nakazawa’s book, Childhood Disrupted: How your Biography Becomes Your Biology and How You Can Heal is very useful.

        Liked by 2 people

    • I just want to send you some love.
      Hoping you find a kind community of people to be with when
      you journey into healing. Much love, Sandy

      Like

    • I don’t know you, or what your life is like. I never would unless I walked in your shoes. However, I just want you to know that I (a complete stranger) read this, and I thought “I hope this woman is having a good night.” Sending good vibes.

      Liked by 1 person

    • “and they didn’t even take a look at the test subjects who scored eight!!!! […] anyone else with a score of 8/10 want to weigh in ??”

      I got a 10/10. Like you found myself frustrated that they don’t look at anything past a 4. As bad as they describe the effects of a 4, and then just drop it from there; it almost feels like they are implying that if you got worse than that, you are so far beyond hope it’s not worth the resources or effort of researching.

      My wife, like you got an 8/10. Fortunately we are leading reasonably normal lives. Our kids are pinging about a 1/10, and with just a little luck and effort their kids will tag a 0/10, which (while I find it nearly impossible to believe) is what i’m led to believe most people score.

      Liked by 2 people

      • I’m not sure what you mean that they didn’t take a look at the test subjects who scored eight. Because of this study, Kaiser Permanente preventive health division, which most Kaiser patients participated in at that time, screened all patients for ACEs (more than 400,000 people) and talked with all of them about their ACEs, no matter how many they had. Unfortunately, Kaiser closed the preventive health division and forgot about ACEs until just the last couple of years. Now there are several pediatric clinics that are screening for ACEs, and one clinic that’s screening adults for ACEs.

        Liked by 1 person

    • Jane,
      While I can’t speak for Kirstie, at least my perception of “and they didn’t even take a look at the test subjects who scored eight!!!!” stems from how little data is displayed for higher scores. Of the 12 charts on this page, only 3 mention 5, and of those 3, only 1 mentions 6 specifically. scores of 7-10 are simply left in the “+” or “>” indicators, but not actually spelled out.

      Other articles I’ve looked at also pretty much all stop at describing the specific effects at 4. Those combined effects imply you are basically guaranteed to be a nonfunctional wreck, and it’s a bloody miracle if you are a functional adult if you hit 4.

      look at the charts on this page.
      If you get 4, you have just a 0.16% chance to escape all of the described effects. To reiterate, they are pretty horrible to one degree or another: be an alcoholic, suffer chronic depression, be on antidepressants, be a domestic abuser, have liver disease, be a smoker, be raped, be suicidal, be a sexually active teen, be an absentee worker, have serious job performance issues, serious financial problems, or COPD.

      Presumably your chances are even worse if you score higher than a 4. From one of the few charts that does hit a 5, it looks like at that score you have a 0% chance to escape all of the effects, as it says that at a 5, 100% of tested people are prescribed antidepressants. I, for one, would like to know what the stats are for people like me that pegged a “perfect” score on this test.

      I have to wonder how many others have similar attitudes to things like me that are probably unhealthy, but just are a part of who we are. As an anecdotal example of what I mean. A co-worker found out that her husband grew up in the same neighborhood as I did, at around the same time as I did, when my response to talking about getting stabbed was the same as his. “Meh, it was a Wednesday.” And like his stories, the getting stabbed wasn’t even the point, or the interesting part of the story. These charts don’t talk abut the likelihood of other violent incidents, although other articles I’ve seen did. They were equally bleak statistics.

      Liked by 2 people

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    • I have a problem with Question #5 when it asks if someone “at least 5 years older” molested you. What’s the relevance of that? Why not 4 or 3 years? What if the person was the same age but was bigger and stronger? Rape is rape and I think it should be considered an Adverse Childhood Experience regardless of the rapist’s age. Someone please enlighten me if I’m misunderstanding something here.

      Other than the aforementioned issue, I respect the research done on the concept of ACEs. This has the potential to be truly groundbreaking in solving problems related to mental and physical health. It was interesting hearing Nadine Burke Harris’ lecture on TED, and I look forward to seeing additional findings on the subject. I’m especially interested in seeing more mention of studies separating “risk behaviors” and causal genetic factors for behaviors and health disparities.

      This has article has shed a new light on several of the issues I have in my life. Looking back, I somewhat understand more and more how I got to my current situation. But since other people who’ve experienced the same as me don’t have the same struggles, I can’t use my experiences as an excuse for failure. I’m just hoping I can get everything together.
      ACE: 4-5. Resilience: 7.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Perhaps the age has something to do with the person being in a perceived position of influence? Just a thought…
        BTW, my ACE was 6; resilience 9.

        Like

      • I agree that any sexual assault should be counted, but I would have to say the reason for the age difference specification is because as children, we expect people who are older to be a force of guidence and potentially protection. When that concept is violated, it goes past just the powerlessness and pain of the assault and can cause one to question everything they know about trust and security.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Ah. Well thank you Maddie and Sheri for the good answers. I’m still not quite seeing the relevance of the 5 year limit because it’s still possible for a child to look up to someone with influence less than 5 years older. And even if the offender(s) are the same age, I think that’s still an “adverse childhood experience” by definition. But thanks to you both, I may have a better idea where they were going with that particular question.

        To be fair, they were probably trying to separate the more innocent sexual curiosity that typically happens between people in the same age range, but the creators of this test weren’t thinking that it doesn’t always work that way. I think it should just be framed as anyone being able to assert any control over you.

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      • Hi Tony. I had the same thought. I completely agree that the casual “at least five years older” indicates that the researchers believed children closer in age could somehow not abuse one another. To me, it points to the lack of compassion/understanding EVEN these researchers have about how children are affected by trauma. Think of a 15 year old boy “curiously” sexually experimenting with a 12 or 13 year old girl. Is there anyone out there who thinks that wouldn’t be traumatic? Or a 10 year old with a 6 year old? C’mon. I’m afraid that type of abuse is so prevalent that even the researchers have to throw it out as being baseline. I’d like to work on changing that belief.

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  54. Thank you for your tests and all of the informations.
    I’m glad that we’ve got soooo may self-help tools, such as EFT tapping, TAT, Matrix Energetics, Healing Code, Advanced Clearing Energetics (ACE), ZPoint,… to release the emotions and pain, that are connected to the stuff that happend to us when we were children.
    The knowledge of the 5bN and META Health helps us understand: why are we sick?
    There’s lots of work to be done. These informations have to be spread.
    But hopefully this will be mainstream one day.

    Like

  55. My ACE score 9 (or maybe 10 — I would like to think that my mother had mental illness but I have no idea that she was ever diagnosed). My resilience score is 6. I was able to take the high-achiever route for coping and today I pass well as coming from just your average background in my professional spheres. I also had access to some intermittent counseling as a child and in my late 20s/early 30s started intensive CBT with a remarkable therapist, and continued it for six years. The insights here are very helpful and I plan to share them with my doctors as a screening tool. I have asthma, all the environmental allergies, and issues with chronic inflammation, which I attribute to a food intolerance or allergies (am about to start a special inflammation reducing diet) but am otherwise in good health. Knowing that I am at increased risk (and therefore screening conservatively for conditions) could help maintain a good quality of life for me as I continue to age. I really appreciate this work and your efforts to publicize the work. Thank you!

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  57. I’m glad I have an opp to leave a reply. I have taken the ACE quiz many times. It’s always the same. I score a 7 out of 10. Today, I learned about the resiliency score. I scored a 9 out of 14. Some answers I am just not sure about. I also scored 9 out of 14 that are probably still true, although some of those were negative still trues so I don’t know what to think about that.
    I have dealt with childhood sexual abuse, molestation (some with a cousin), physical abuse, emotional abuse, my mom went to jail once. I don’t know how long she was gone. I lived with my uncle during that time. My mom moved me all around the west coast and Texas, sometimes I didn’t live with her, sometimes I didn’t want to live with her. For the past 13 years she has ignored my pleas to reconnect, (there was a mistake made on my part and she never forgave me). Now she’s passed on and I’ll never know if she still loved me. I hope that she did and was just mad.

    I have spent my life making adjustments to my life. Making conditions, trying to make things acceptable. I have diabetes, high blood pressure, depression, anxiety, and I’m very overweight. I smoked most of my adolescent and adult life, but have been able to quit (7 years) and have no intention of going back to smoking EVER.

    I don’t know why it’s important to say this, probably becvause I can’t tell my therapist everything. I gloss things over. I make it less important. I justify things. That’s how I survived my childhood. I found a way to get through the trauma by justifying what happened. Go figure. Now, I need to stop doing that and live my life. I gotta say though, I’m doing much better. I’m going for my master’s in social work and doing well!

    Liked by 3 people

  58. I just ran across this and I do think my problems could be related. I was kidnapped at 18 months old from my abusive alcohol biological father by my mother to get me away from him. After that we lived with my grandparents. I got the belt and a few other punishments but for the most part I know they loved me. When I was five my mother remarried to my molester. Once again we fled with just the clothes on our backs back to my grandparents. I was diagnosed with dyslexia at 6 years old. Was bullied in school. Chubby. Grades weren’t good, I hated school. When I was ten my my mother remarried and things were tumultuous because my grandparents didn’t like my step-dad so there were quite a few incidents. We moved to Illinois shorty after I turned 11/12 and we had a car with no heater and ate generic Mac and cheese. Once again, I hated school. I never felt good enough, low self-esteem. After a year there we moved to San Diego in a bad part of town. In junior high I was beaten up by five people after school. Propositioned by many men as I walked home eight blocks. Numerous accidents by our apt. That I called 911 for, car accidents, fires, etc. it was a horrible experience. My step father was starting to try to get sexual with me and my mom tried to OD because of it. I dropped out of school at 15 and hid in our apt for a year. Married an alcoholic when I was 17. Just recently my same step-dad passed away, my mom is ill and lives in northern Illinois as I live in Florida. The car trip was awful, my daughter broke her ankle while we were on the road and by the time we returned my stomach hurt so bad I was transported the next day to the ER. They found nothing but I was crying, shaking, depressed, diarrhea, etc. act scan and fecal tests were negative. I lost 20 pounds in one month. Since then I’ve changed to a healthy diet, exercise almost everyday, my mind runs scared with What-ifs, I find it hard to function or interact with people. Still having stomach aches and intestines problems so will be having a colonoscopy and a down the throat procedure done in a week. I’m scared to eat anything because I don’t know if food is related or not but it seems that I’m more suffering from mental/gut issues having read this story. My scores were 4 and 8.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes your mental status can definitely impact your physical body/being. Its seems you are possibly carrying your past hurts and stressors in your stomach as a manifestation. I would ask that you somehow seek help to get a deeper understanding of how your past trauma is showing up today in your everyday life, because you don’t want your daughter to possibly have the lasting legacy of generational trauma..

      Like

  59. Ace score of 9
    Resilience score 11, looking fully at present circumstances resilience score is now 14.
    Diagnoses are Complex- Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (C-PTSD), Alcoholism, and Stage 4 Endometriosis (Endo). Treatments are years of Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing (EMDR), a whole lot of spirituality of my own design, and Complete Deep Excision surgery with a doctor who has specialized their practice in Endo. Also for Endo having a women’s health physiotherapist who has researched and understands Endo, providing Pelvic Floor physiotherapy. Some of the other treatment methods I have found effective as part of my growth in healing/resilience includes massage therapy, some talk therapy, cognitive behavioural therapy, dialectical behavioral therapy in group, emotional regulation therapy in group, and a whole wide array of physical activities and different forms of meditation practice. Social activities are important too, however I have learned to be very slow moving when it comes to new relationships of any kind. One example of this is I used to make the mistake of moving in with a partner weeks or months into the relationship, and now I wait years. I now find I enjoy my own company best. Also for my own personal comfort, when it comes to the professionals involved in my care I seek out females whenever possible. Ultimately I am the one who keeps me safe today. I have left a lot of abusive people behind. I know today that by not allowing people like that into my life is the number 1 thing in breaking the cycle of abuse that was my past. ❤

    Like

    • May I also suggest some art therapy? I’m an art therapist. It can be a very powerful tool in overcoming trauma. It’s processed based so you can really learn to “paint from the gut” and learn to trust your instincts again. I wish you well. You can contact the American Art Therapy Association to find a local provider near you.

      Like

  60. ACE score of 9
    Resiliency score 2

    I have been diagnosed with C-PTSD
    My childhood was chaotic, abusive and terrifying.
    I’ve managed to pull through and finally have a successful marriage (27 years and still going)
    and have given birth to 3 children (now adults)
    I always knew I desperately needed therapy so now at the age of 57, I have been in weekly therapy for a year and a half.
    I’ve got a very long way to go before I trust anyone outside my immediate family.
    I do, however, have hope!
    Find a therapist you can trust! It is life changing!

    Liked by 3 people

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  62. My earliest memories were of different foster homes abusing me. Then around 4-5 being reunited with my abusive alcoholic father. Mother was not present, ever. Within a few years, I noticed my older brother of 8 years being beaten. I fell line shortly after for the next 15+years. I’m 37 now, my father passed 9years ago at age 60. My mother attempted to save me from the trauma, but gave up to easy. Then the state stepped in and worked their magic. My Ace was 9, minus the sexual abuse. I have developed a ritualized compulsive comfort seeking IV meth. I just recently learned of the 4600% likelihood of (IDU) it’s the only way to block everything out, and for a short time I feel nothing. Only now have a begin to talk with Mom on the phone. What a wonderful world it is.

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  65. My ACE was 6 and resilience was 14. I am the product of a deliberate teen pregnancy. My mother wanted to drop out of school in the 10th grade. The only way her father would allow it was if she got pregnant. She basically seduced my dad so she would get pregnant. My dad’s family refused to believe that I was his child because my mother was also known to be with my dad’s cousin.

    I’m 62 and don’t know for sure who my dad was. Based on my looks at birth dad’s family said I was his child. My parents married three months before I was born. I was told they married a year before my birth and it wasn’t until I needed my birth certificate to get a driver’s permit that I learned the truth. At the time of my birth my mother was 16 and dad was 18.

    My dad was diagnosed with MS when he was 19. Throughout my early years my parents were apart because dad would leave the coal mining area of VA where we lived to find better work. Mother wouldn’t wait for him to find a job and proper housing so we could come with him. She would leave me with her parents and follow him. The first five years I lived more with my maternal grandparents than I did with my parents. I have a sister who is 22 months younger than me. There have always been jokes about who her dad is because she looks nothing like me or our younger sister. She has a dark complexion and brown eyes. The younger sister and I are fair skinned and blue eyed, like our dad. I have wondered if my sister has the same father.

    My earliest memory is of being about three years old. My parents both worked and my sister and I were left in our two room apartment alone all day. There was a neighbor who was supposed to be watching us but all she did was bring us soup and crackers and water for lunch and leave. I would eat the crackers and feed the soup to my sister because she was the baby and needed to eat. I remember one day we got bored and took the ketchup and mustard, they were in squirt bottles, out hof the fridge and squirted it all over the walls. When my parents came home I was beaten and made to clean it all up. One day my maternal grandfather came unannounced to check up on us and when he found us alone, he packed us up and took us back to VA. I’ve been told this happened more than once but that is the only time I can remember.

    There was never any doubt that my dad loved me. He would do whatever he had to so that we had what we needed. He played with us and gave us lots of hugs and cuddles. I never felt love from my mother. I always felt like the redheaded stepchild with her. It wasn’t until I learned the truth about my birth that it all made sense. Growing up I was always the reason she couldn’t do what she wanted or have what she wanted. When she wanted to drop out of school she didn’t think about the responsibilities motherhood would bring. I was regularly slapped, hit beaten with belts or whatever she could get her hands on. Dad often stepped in and tried to get her to stop but she wouldn’t. As I got older I was given more chores to do. At eight years old I was expected to have dinner started by the time my parents got home. At 10 I had to have the dinner cooked and ready to put on the table the minute my parents walked in. After dinner I was usually given the chore of washing the dishes and cleaning the kitchen. The middle sister would have to dry the dishes and put them away. My sister and I were also responsible for doing the laundry and hanging it on the line regardless of how cold it was even though we had a dryer in the house.

    The youngest sister was eight years my junior. From the time she came home from the hospital I was her basic caretaker. Her crib was in my room and I was the one that got up during the night to take care of her. Mother would do some of the daily care but the nights were my responsibility. Actually that sounds pretty fitting since at three I was taking care of my other sister. The baby became my shadow and looked to me for comfort.

    Mother never wanted to spend any money on us kids. At age six I got strep throat but she didn’t take me to the doctor until it had progressed to rheumatic fever. One year at Easter we were scheduled to go to my paternal grandparents’ home but my middle sister got sick. She was running a fever, vomiting, couldn’t even keep water down and mother insisted that she was faking so she could get out of going to our grandparents. I knew she wasn’t faking and I tried for hours to convince mother that she was very sick. My sister was about 10 at the time. Dad even tried to get mother to take her to the hospital. Finally, I decided to take matters into my own hands and told mother that if she didn’t put her in the car and go to the hospital I was calling an ambulance to come get her. We all loaded into the car and went to the ER. When my sister was examined it was determined that it was her appendix and emergency surgery was needed. After the surgery, the doctor said that had we waited a little longer to get her there the appendix would have ruptured and she probably would have died. It didn’t phase my mother and she let me know that she didn’t appreciate the fact that I had been telling her all along to get help for my sister. These type occurrences were normal growing up. I do believe that there were no more cases as severe as this but still serious.

    I was never taken to a dentist because my teeth looked good and looked nice and straight. I had sucked my thumb until I was seven years old. Looks could be deceiving. I actually had an overbite that got worse as I got older. My sisters were both taken to the dentist and the orthodontist. I had severe migraines and painful knees and legs and although it was mentioned to the doctor no additional treatment was given.

    At the age of 13 I was smoking cigarettes and secretly meeting a boy three years my senior. He introduced me to the hippie lifestyle. I was soon smoking pot and drinking. I was good at hiding what I did and was able to make my mother think I was a perfect angel. It wasn’t long and I was sexually active without using any protection. I was told I couldn’t date until I was 16. So to make my mother think I was a goody two shoes I started seeing a guy was was probably one of the biggest nerds on campus. He could come pick me up in his car but we had to be home before dark. He theory there was that after dark is when you can get into trouble. Little did she know that I was already doing all the things she was trying to prevent.

    At 15 I was informed by mother that I would have to have a job at 16. I would then start paying room and board of $25 a week. I was also responsible for all my clothes and school expenses. Basically she told me that she was not going to spend one more cent on me once I reached 16. I asked her what would happen if I couldn’t find a job and she said I would have to drop out of school because she wouldn’t pay for it. Until then I had always been told that I had no choice but to finish my education. Her abuse and neglect continued until I was 17 and ended up pregnant by my then boyfriend. I left home in the middle of the night and went to his house. The next day I called to let her know why I left. I was afraid she would beat me to death if I told her in person. She insisted that we get married. I was totally against it as was his mother. I had a “shotgun” wedding. I didn’t return home. A couple of months later I miscarried. I was furious! Of course the marriage didn’t last. Four months into the marriage I moved out and in with a girlfriend. I went back home for a couple of months long enough to save up some money to get my own place. At 17 I had my own apartment and lived on my own. First time in my life I was truly happy.

    I eventually got divorced and remarried and had two fabulous sons. I totally distanced myself from my mother when she divorced my father and took everything but the clothes on his back. He was totally disabled and not able to care for himself but she left him all alone. She moved in with my dad’s best friend who she had been seeing for a number of years. He left his wife to live with my mother. His daughters disowned him as well. I tried years later to mend fences because I had two sons that didn’t know their grandmother. I should have left it alone. She had little or nothing to do with my boys. She would be in the town we lived in and not even call or stop by to see them. Still the redheaded stepchild I had always been.

    I have always felt unwanted. When mother died almost eight years ago I didn’t really feel a loss because that relationship had been lost many years before. I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia 14 years ago. I also have degenerative disc disease, IBS, osteopenia, mild cognitive impairment, melanoma and other issues.My middle sister is an alcoholic who has been married and divorced twice. The younger one has been married twice and divorced once and has turned so deep into her religion that she has to be at the church any time the doors might be open. Each year it seems something else is added to my laundry list. I only hope I haven’t done the same thing to my sons.

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  67. ACEs score 4, resiliency score 7. My mom was a caring person but also bipolar. I’m bipolar as well. My dad was abusive. The ACEs test made me really grateful for what I didn’t go through. It’s still hard to accept my limitations and at the same time to push them, a difficult balance.

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  68. ACE score of 9 and resiliency score of 6. My childhood was not pleasant. I feel like I have conquered most of it though. I have a degree, the same job for 20+ years, 3 great children, and zero addictions to substances. I’ve never been in jail or even been arrested. I definitely agree that life is what you make of it. I didn’t ask to be subjected to the things I was, but I’m sure not going to let it define me!

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  75. ACE score of 6. Resiliency score of 10. My childhood was dysfunctional; my stepfather is a rapist and my older brother used drugs and was very violent with me. Nonetheless, my mother and father have always loved me and there were always other people looking out for me. I credit those factors for making me into the functional, sober, and peaceful person that I am today. I’m certainly not perfect, but things could’ve been a lot worse.

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  78. With an 8 ACES score and an 8 resiliency score and now in my 50s, I can say that the most difficult thing has been the unsupportive comments and behavior from friends, acquaintances, and others who don’t understand or don’t believe what I say. Often, when I share a story about my childhood, I am called a liar or I am told to get over it. When I relate a story, I am not complaining or negative. It is simply sharing a story about something that happened when I was growing up, often in alightjearted way. I removed myself from the bad situation as a teen. Stayed away. Life got better and hopeful. I completed college and had a good career. The sad thing is I am unable to honestly share stories without making people uncomfortable. This adds some isolation to the situation. I do have many of the illnesses such as pituitary problems, overwork, overweight, etc. It confuses me in trying to figure out where to look for something to turn the physical health stuff around before it becomes worse.

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  80. I am someone who has been working on recovering from my childhood trauma for about 10 years now. I am amazed mostly by the resiliency score. I used to give myself credit for being an overcomer (though I had many unhealthy coping strategies) but this test made me so grateful for all the supports I had! It reminds me that anyone can be a support for a struggling child.

    ACEs: 8
    resilieny: 13

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  82. My ACE score was an 8 and my resilience score is a 9. I am an Alcoholic and an Addict. I attend AA regularly and have worked the steps with a sponsor. I also attend NA meetings occasionally. I am grateful that my Higher Power lead me to AA and my amazing sponsor. Through working the steps I no longer have all the childhood resentments that I carried for so many years. I am learning to apply the principles of the program in my daily life and I would have never imagined my life would be so wonderful!

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  88. My ace score was 9 and my resilience score was 11. I consider myself to have had a happy childhood. There were times when very bad things happened but there were more times when there were not. I remember being happy and playing with my sister. I don’t spend time dwelling on the negative in life someone somewhere is having a worse or better time than me every moment of my life. The depression can be difficult but I am always coming up with new strategies to combat it. My goal is to be happy and have love in my heart for myself and everyone else. I do my best and believe the more love we have in the world the better

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    • Ik think your ‘case’ is interesting, as it shows how protective the resilience score is (in your case very high). People who haven’t had that probably cannot see things and act as positive as you can. I think you are blessed because of this, even though you struggle as well.

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  89. I have an ACE score of 9. My resiliency score is 2. Given the statistics I have a good chance of developing heart disease, cancer, diabetes, or an autoimmune disease which I have – Hashimotos and arthritis. I have been very healthy amd strong bodied most of my life, however my mental and emotional state I didn’t quite understand and no one else seemed to understand me either until I discovered this study. I continue to read books on ACE as I need to get it together. I understand more now why I am the way I am. I have hated myself, felt unloved, undeserving of love, and value, felt guilty because i should have stopped it as I knew it was wrong, however i would have been accused of lying as i have been accused as an adlult when i came out with my story 8 years ago when my mother passed away. . I was cast out of my family as a result. I am 61 and am now very much alone. I have no family, but I do have a hand full of close girlfriends that have been with me for the last 16 years and a very accepting and loving church family who accepts me for who I am and love me in spite of my short comings. I don’t want to die with unfinished business and damaged relationships. I am in weekly counseling working through the trauma I experienced as a child beginning with the molestation by my step brother when I was 5. I have been sexually abused by 3 family members, I have been abused emotionally and physically. I was also neglected having no nurturing or love as a child. No hugs, kisses, bedtime stories or tucking in at night. My father was an alcoholic and my mother was bipolar clueless to the events going on around her. My father often beat my mom in his drunken state in full view of us 4 kids. Though my older sister was only 5 years older than I, she stepped in as our carehiver as my mom spent most of my childhood in her bedroom. My sister was the mom doing what she could as a 10 year old, doing laundry so we would have clean cloths and cooking all of our meals. It was way too much of a burden for her, but she urged forward. When she went away to college that responsibility fell on me at age 13. I could go on and I but I think you get the picture. I am determined to be different and she’d this ugly skin that had covered my life.

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    • I functioned as the older daughter in that capacity as a mom. Our mom had cancer and was on drugs. Her men around her after my dad’s divorce were abusive.
      She abandoned the boys later after I was in college . I dropped out so the 15 yr old and 7 yr old lived with me. I diapered them so I had been their mom.
      I hope you understand the greT sacrifice your older sister didfir your family.

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    • I am so sorry that you experienced such a crap childhood. I understand the damage it can do. Prayers that you find peace.

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  91. My ACE score is 4, but my Resilience score is 12 … I don’t really know how to interpret this. The ACE is a bit clearer, though at age 62 and for most of my adult life I don’t drink, smoke, do drugs, nor am I in an abusive relationship. Chronic disease — I’m about 70lbs overweight, but that’s it. Sooo, what does it mean?

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  92. Based on my own childhood rxperience, I would agree that trauma does set the stsge for low self esteem and not loving yourself in a heslthy way as an adult

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    • Even though I have an ACE score of 8/10 its difficult for me to believe that all my health issues come from my childhood experiences. Just as I don’t believe that my anxiety causes all my health issues as several doctors have told me. I have always felt that I just did not try hard enough to figure this all out. I do keep trying new therapies and believe I can get there but I think basically I have a stubborn side. My siblings and I were abused in multiple ways by an aunt and uncle and our cousins very badly for over 10 years. In todays world they would be in jail. Parents dead before I was 8, one a murder, but they gave us a great beginning so we are pretty resilient. Not broken but badly damaged.

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  101. What a great tool and an enlightening study. I think understanding this will help many professionals be more empathetic, and perhaps even be the “soft touch” that the child needs. I hope this is recognized by childcare centers, schools, administration, healthcare, law enforcement, etc etc. and most of all parents. I do think reading some of the comments that there is a tendency to take the scores too literally. I think this is a guide for childhood response and the effects, and there are many variables that don’t figure into the scoring or the resiliency. With that said, it is still a tool that can provide insight into how lives are acutely affected by childhood experiences. This is a great opportunity for continued professional development and continuing education for those working with children.

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  103. Mine is an 8-9… some of the wording is a little weird..

    All the data only goes 4-5.. so what’s after that?

    Anyways, I’ve accepted my past and I’ve moved on. I feel fine, people look at me and they’d never know what I’ve been through. My past has made me stronger and who I am today. It’s not going to hold me back from my dream.

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      • My ACE is a solid 8 (perhaps a 9 if a mother involuntarily committed to a psychiatric facility is equivalent to prison). I’m in my late 40’s and feel like all of the ACE effects are hitting at once now, after an (outwardly) successful education, career and family (MDD, Complex PTSD, Developmental PTSD, unexplained health issues, cognitive issues, etc.). It’s unclear what options there are for adults, especially those who “froze” during childhood and had no adult buffers. This is after many years of various therapy and medication, the former of which helped me to understand my past and present (but did not relieve or reduce symptoms/effects – perhaps intensified them, actually), and the latter I had to discontinue due to side effects and lack of efficacy. The approaches outlined in The Deepest Well (if I can remember correctly, sleep, nutrition, meditation, exercise, etc.) seem necessary, but insufficient, at least for adults after a lifetime of dealing with ACEs. I know this is a big question for an internet comment, but I feel like later-in-life treatment has been overlooked in the focus on children and trauma-informed care, which focus I applaud of course. I also worry about disclosing ACE score and trauma information to health providers – because ACEs are so strongly correlated with chronic health issues over a lifetime, it seems this information could be used in health records to deny insurance coverage or increase rates, or interfere with things like approval for organ transplants (I understand depression itself can disqualify a patient for a heart transplant, for instance). Thoughts?

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      • The approaches in The Deepest Well are the basic foundation for health (mind/body/social). If you aren’t making sure that you’re including them in your life, therapy won’t cure. What I learned is that if you have a high ACE score, taking care of yourself is a full-time job all in itself. Because it’s not intuitive — i.e., not ingrained when I was a child — I have to work at it every day, every week, every month, every year. And when I do, life is so much better. And now, at nearly 70 years of age, I can catch myself when I start to backslide. I just figured out how to catch myself from backsliding in the last few months.

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      • I would never share my ACE score with any doctors. Telling them I have Anxiety or Depression is detrimental as it is. I feel like that should only be shared with my therapist. I think if my doctor could blame my symptoms on an ACE score then I would never get any treatment. I lost a brother to illness when I was 4, my father to a plane crash when I was 6 and my mother remarried a psychotic pedeophile who sexually abused us and she was killed by him when I was 8. We then endured 10 years of physical and mental abuse from an aunt and uncle. (In todays world they would be in jail) They continue to hold our parents possessions from us including wedding rings. I think the only reason I did not revert to drugs and alcohol is due to what I remember of our loving parents. So I am understanding that is where the resiliency comes in. But I still cannot accept that all my illnesses are due to childhood trauma and what difference that makes. I am the only one of my 6 siblings working in therapy. But even that is not enough. I am currently trying Hypnotherapy which is like peeling an onion. I have ah ha moments in remembering which causes me more issues. I read one book on this that seemed to say that unless we accept that our illness is from this ACE score than we would not get better. Telling me I have no choice on accepting this is a repeat of the abuse in my childood. I would appreciate thoughts on this. I am willing to try new treatments but do so with reservations.

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    • I find myself wondering the same. It all caps at 4. I think I only new 1 or 2 people growing up that would have been under that score. I tagged a perfect 10, with a resiliency score of 3. How am I supposed to interpret those numbers, when I don’t do most of the self destructive things the people at 4 seem to.I don’t drink or smoke, or abuse people. I do have many physical health issues.

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  105. Pingback: An Important tool to measure childhood trauma: ACE Study – Knowledge Becomes Power

  106. I understand that violence against women is much more common than violence against men, but it there a reason why the question only asks about violence against a mother/step-mother? Surely for a child, seeing their father being harmed can be just as damaging?

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    • Seeing a father being harmed can indeed be just as damaging.

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

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

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  109. ACEs- 8/10; though how many struggles or hardships faced in childhood- it is real and existing. To avoid such ACE incidences in our current families or community, we as an individual must changes our psychological perspective of our past and be a advocate for an environmental friendly behaviours.

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    • We have to do this and more. We have to really change our whole society. The hyper-competitiveness of our business communities creates massive stress on the human brain. When people learn that money is not the sole determinant of human worth and can accept and support one another unconditionally, most of these problems will heal and few new ones will grow.

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  112. I scored a rough 4 for my childhood and teenage years, but I feel like I could score 7 or so, with 5 resilience factors.

    Indeed, I really don’t feel like leaving out of the question

    – 12 years of (often threatening and intense) school bullying

    – 3 years of serious, invalidating physical illnesses

    – and the multiple physical sexual contacts/humiliations of sexual nature I experienced during 1 year of middle school from the other kids.

    All of this without consistent familial or external validation.

    This clearly plays a big part in who I am today, and in how abusive I grew towards myself and my close ones during my teenage years. My parents talked about foster care or internship as communication went impossible.

    I also felt/saw that

    – money was quite a big preoccupation in my childhood (but not in my teenage years)

    – and that my mother was emotionally violented, under influence and unable to protect me from my father. She was afraid of him, though he never hit her.

    I never, ever talked about what I went through before I turned 18/19 and went away for my studies. Not because I didn’t want to, but because I didn’t ever think about it. I was very isolated, had barely no friends and acquaintances and no one in my family dared telling me my situation was critical: they were afraid of my father and gradually kept some distance. Thus, feeling abused/very lonely/under pressure was somewhat my 24/7 normality, at home and at school… well this is how I see it retrospectively.

    Today I’m 21, and I often -among many other things- loathe myself for struggling with my emotions, my proneness to emotional abuse, my self-centeredness, my lack of boundaries and my insecurities by the damn number. I just get better with time, but moreover I wish I was an insightful, calm and safe person, as appeasing and internally secure as my boyfriend.

    So I don’t know which of these events mentioned I should consider as ACEs or not…
    I know several versions of the test have their questions formulated differently and/or have additional ones.

    If I was asked, I would say I score 7 at the test. But I really don’t feel legitimate, neither do I feel that “broken”. On the other hand, I don’t feel like putting such impacting life events out of the equation.

    I wonder if someone could give me his or her opinions. Could the events I enumerated in this message count as legitimate ACEs ? Thank you.

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    • Yes, you can count those other experiences as ACEs. Subsequent to the original ACE Study, other ACE questions now included bullying, racism, witnessing violence outside the home, physical illness, etc. In other words, ANYTHING that causes toxic stress, that results in a person responding by fight/flight/freeze/appease response, damages the brain and the body.

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    • I believe those events count as legitimate ACEs. It is great that you are looking at this and getting a broad perspective of your early years. Counseling can help your recovery to proceed faster that just doing it on your own.

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    • All of your experiences I have had and then some. ACE 8/10. All of this affects how we look at ourselves and what we think of ourselves. I have been in therapy for over 20 years and still don’t have it all figured out. So give yourself permission to try different therapies such as the one I am trying now called hypnotherapy – no you are not hypnotized. But its’ like peeling away the layers of an onion and you gradually see and accept that you are changing. I can now verbalize my anger at my aunt and uncle for the way the treated us where I could not do that in past years. What you have is probably PTSD and it will take time. I tried antidepressants but could not tolerate them. I am considering anxiety meds now and take over the counter stress pills. They help. But you need to be kind to yourself. My positive is that I had 6 and 8 years with my kind loving parents but their deaths were brutal and tragic and affected me horribly. There is no real “normal” as we are all different. Its all about “fake it till you make it”. Good luck with your journey and keep trying. You will get there.

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    • Same? I’m sorry. The clarity I have come into is something I can’t explain but I feel incredibly fortunate to be a survivor of my traumatic upbringing and incredibly greatful to my husband for his patients and support. I have been estranged from my father for almost 10 years (for self preservation) and it has been nothing short of empowering. Ironically it was after that relationship ended that the panic attacks really kicked in. I find that having grown up in my particular environment has made me guarded. Many people cannot understand or relate so you chose friends cautiously. Still, I’m proud of who I am.

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      • After my parents divorced my mother was abusive and beat us severely. Because I was the oldest daughter of 6 I took the beatings for the others.
        The boys have problems in marriages because they did not learn to set boundaries. And their wives take advantage of their abuse. They remarried It is a learned response, to trust.
        You have to restrain yourself from gushing when you have friends about the abuse. Some do not know what to say and can be indiscreet and cruel .
        I take a supplement that lowers cortisol
        The fight or flight syndrome . It’s called pregnenolone . OTC. Less than $11 for 60 capsules.

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  115. I am now 50. I scored a 7 out of 10 on the Ace test (almost an 8). Question 7 leaves out mental abuse. I would have had an 8 with that one. At 40 I suffered from panic attacks. They came out of nowhere. I am married with three children. Financially secure, occasional drinker, don’t smoke and exercise regularly (running mostly). The exercise keeps me from needing medication. It’s the most productive way I have found to value myself everyday. My sister was my support and still is to this day. Chin up everyday. You are important. Your past does not define you.

    Liked by 2 people

      • Mental abuse also counts.

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

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

        Liked by 2 people

  116. I wish this had been around when I was younger. I was raised in a violent alcoholic family with codependent parents. Struggled all my life with issues I now realize are result of this childhood dysfunction and trauma.

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  117. I wonder why the question about the mother being hurt isn’t also offered about the father. My step children witnessed their mother hitting, slapping, kicking, and punching their father on a regular basis for several years, as well as screaming at him, throwing things at him, and then sometimes ignoring him for days. I don’t think they would have the wherewithal to answer yes to that question because it specifically says the mother only.

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    • I agree. I thought the same thing. I saw my father and my grandfather being abused by my mother. Eventually, as a teenager, I witnessed her abuse her own mother as well. All three of these people were kind and loving to us. I feel the statement should have been inclusive of any close family member being abused including grandparents and fathers.

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    • I would think they should replace that question with mother “or” father. It would definately have the same affect on children whether it’s their mother or father that was beaten.

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  123. RE Question 2: What if you only experienced violence to the point that it left marks once, and on several occasions things were thrown at you (hair brushes, wet-dry vac, etc)? But mostly the abuse was verbal and psychological, but also you were occasionally chased down with a car?

    RE Question 8: What if you lived with a problem drinker, but it didn’t affect you too much? But when it did, it was significant (driving to friends houses drunk looking for me, getting very angry, etc.)

    RE Question 5: What if I definitely had enough to eat, and had clean clothes, etc. but I felt like no one was able to protect me emotionally/psychologically, or stand up for me? But I was always taken to the doctor or dentist as needed, etc. But, like…I also really felt like no one was there to protect me from my mom?

    RE Question 9: What if the family member has an undiagnosed mental illness? But certainly displays lots of symptoms of narcissism and BPD, possibly a light bipolarity? What about families with members who have cognitive disabilities present as well??

    This test is confusing me, I think. When I answer ‘yes’ to some of these questions (the ones listed above) I start to wonder if I’m ‘making things up,’ which I guess I was often told I was doing in my childhood.

    But then I wonder if I am saying ‘yes’ to justify some of my crappy qualities like laziness (ex: I miss a lot of work, mostly I make anxious decisions to call in more often than I’d like). I wonder if I’m trying to avoid responsibility for decisions like that, and put that on my family??

    I like to think I try very hard to positivity build my own character and take responsibility for myself and my actions…but what if I have a blind spot, and it’s this? I feel guilty about that possibility.

    I wasn’t regularly beaten, or physically neglected. I didn’t ever feel like I might die in my home. But I was very often yelled at and told I was the cause of our family’s problems. I was constantly picked on and could never do anything right. I did experience some violence, but never to the degree where I was seriously hurt. More so things like being violently thrown out of bed to wake me up in the morning, chasing me with a car, physically restraining me if I tried to leave the house, throwing things at me on occasion.

    But this behaviour was normalized because my father didnt protect me and would not acknowledge my mother’s behaviour as bad or wrong, and my only sibling is cognitively disabled, so he couldn’t express any opinions on the matter/was often not involved. So I did often feel really alone and I was angry and resentful because of that.

    I think I’m posting here because I’m looking for some sort of validation? I know I wasn’t in the worst home in the world (like I said, I always had food, clean clothing, access to medical care), and my early childhood (0-7 ish?) was actually pretty great. But I do feel deeply affected by my family. I struggle with anxiety and depression. My relationship with my family continues to be strained. Sometimes I can’t sleep bc I worry about how my mom is treating my dad (she has taken all of the anger she used to unleash on me and has directed it at him), or what will happen to my brother after my parents die. They have no plan for him and assume he will become my responsibility.

    No one in my family has acknowledged my perspective, they probably never will. But what I’m saying is messed up, right? A mom shouldn’t yell at her daughter for hours and make her feel ashamed, and tell her that she’s horrible, chaotic, inconsiderate, lazy, unintelligent, fat, etc. right?? For years nearly every time she spoke to me it was about something I had done wrong, or something I had to do (which I would probably do wrong). She’d scream at me and tell me how I was somehow abusing her? And that all she’d done is give me unconditional love, and how I reject it and that I’m ungrateful? And a bunch of other shit.

    All of that stuff is wrong, right? Moms shouldn’t do that, right?? What about questions 2, 5, 8, and 9? I feel like I can say yes to those…but based on my descriptions does that count??

    Liked by 1 person

    • The answer is yes to all four questions. People who experience ACEs tend to minimize their effect. You may not be conscious of the effect, but your brain and body are. Read The Body Keeps the Score by Bessel van der Kolk for more info.

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      • You sound like me. There were a lot of aspects in my home growing up that were absolutely fine and normal and that normality that was fairly prevalent and gave a sort of equalibrium to the whole of my childhood…or so I thought. You mentioned your mom quite possibly had BPD. After years (we’re talking into my mid to late 40s) I was convinced I had a distinct portion of me that was no good and deserved all the sick ire my mother has heaped on me off and on my entire life because she functioned fairly normal day to day. That’s the subversive nature of BPD —often sufferers are reasonably fine and functioning—especially to the outside world—until they are behind closed doors and then things go south. I’m like you—I didn’t want for a home, clothes, medical, dental —but my mother struggled (due to her severe abuse as a child) to show me any connectedness and closeness. She’d go around the house bellowing: THIS IS A DICTATORSHIP NOT A DEMOCRACY! The older I got, the more bizarre and angry her behavior seemed. I was physically and emotionally abused by her as a teen especially. And my gosh, her anger and ire toward me for offenses that she literally made up in her head about me were epic and unbelievable …she continues to do this to this day.
        Bottom line—what you went through was not normal, not nurturing and not healthy. You can’t say —because I had ‘this and this’ that was reasonably standard or normal as a child —-that it cancels out the abuse I suffered. I had to go through Christian counseling to realize my mother suffers BPD and abuses because she was abused. Furthermore, often with someone who has BPD, you’ll find them honing in on a child they deem as ‘the all bad child.’ It’s a punching bag position in the family that you can’t dig out of. I was the all bad child in mine and no matter what I’d do, I’d be pegged as the villain. Perhaps this is your dynamic with your mother….my advice is to get the book ‘The Borderline Mother’ and be open to counseling and have very solid boundaries with your mother and anyone else who did not treasure you and treat you with respect as a child. I’ve had to distance myself from my mother. It’s not ideal but God never calls us to take abuse when it comes to trying to honor our parents.

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    • Sweetie you were abused in so many ways! Your mother sounds like a very sick woman. Please find a competent and compassionate therapist so you can get insight into your past and how it affects you. I’m so sorry you have had to deal with all this pain. I have dealt with it as well. Get the book “Complex PTSD” by Pete Walker. C-PTSD is a condition of living with abuse over a long period of time (as opposed to a one-time thing like Sept 11 or a car crash. Also, “The Body Never Lies: The Lasting Effects of Hurtful Parenting.” These books are changing my life.

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    • It sounds like you experienced severe emotional abuse! Among other things! Your mother was not available to meet your needs and validate your feelings and instead made you feel bad about yourself and was looking for you to vailadate her. I’m so sorry you went through that. The good news is that as an adult you are now aware of what you went through, that it was damaging and unacceptable!! So , now that you have awareness of how it impacted you, you can move forward with taking care of yourself, building your self confidence and learning to express your emotions.

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      • The abuse I had from my mum was that she would use me as an emotional crutch, tell me everything she was feeling in her depression and I somehow got the feeling that I should try and make things better and that really scared me. She wanted me to be her mum. I was 10. I still get a very bad trigger reaction around people who are upset.

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    • So sorry for your experience. I completely understand your perspective. I sometimes feel like I use my upbringing as an excuse for my guarded personality. I definitely feel like my siblings don’t agreed with my take on our family with the exception of my sister who experienced most of it. The one difference with her is that I was the bad kid and she was the good. Not reality but in the eyes of my severely narcissistic father. My mother had mostly checked out emotionally and used alcohol to get through her own trauma, my brother a drug addict, my oldest sister moved away and my oldest brother took his own life. My father was a master at making people believe we were something we were very much not. I struggle with anxiety. The holidays are the worst. I always end up with a phantom illness. My parents eventually divorced (thank God) but my mother still struggles to connect emotionally. There were never hugs or “I love you” moments. It was a cold, emotionally void upbringing. I have not spoken to my father in ten years.

      With that said, I am quite the opposite with my own children. I have their back. I love them openly and hugs are regular. My few very good friends know my past and love me and support me. It’s a crazy past to have and even crazier to explain. Not many could understand and embrace it so I chose wisely. People are can be very judgmental.

      Don’t doubt yourself. Your life was yours. My older sister didn’t experience what I did. She can’t relate. You are seemingly in the same boat. Narcissists use Triangulation to manipulate the group. The chosen ones are loved but the one on the outs becomes the victim. I was often the victim.

      You have been the victim. Your mother should never belittle you. She certainly let her frustrations out on you but it can only control you forever if you allow it to. Everyone is worthy of love and happiness.

      Like

    • I guess I’m a 10….. Both parents in the psych ward. Dad had shock treatments., Mom delusional violent psychopath. She used to wear a nun costume in public and preach the end of the world. Name calling by her was so damaging. She called me “scum” and syphillis bitch.when I was little , threatening to kill us in our sleep.
      So I was raped in a construction trailer in the schoolyard at 11 or 12 and felt I couldn’t tell anyone. My mom was a monster to me ! One of the men also took mel to his apartment for more rape …. So I guess my life seemed over before it began.. My mom is 92 and still a source of trauma….. Alcoholic and abusive…. My brother has schizophrenia , one brother died young and was commited to the psych ward and jailed… My resilience score is low because even to this day my siblings are uncomfortable sharing or listening , also no relatives were allowed in our house . Mom’s orders ! So its hard because my emotions come rushing out too powerfully and people just can’t handle it, You’re never heard and can’t heal . Me I work constantly and am a loner because of it ,but I finally am healing by just not caring if people come and go from my life. My life is valid. I validate myself now and new people come into my life all the time. I don’t hide my story anymore and its really helping. Everyone has pain ! I love to listen to other people share their stories . Peace and Love to you all !

      Like

      • Helena, It’s astonishing that you’ve withstood that level of neglect and abuse.. and feel as you do. I’m awestruck at your self-validation and resilience (you say low, but I say: really?!) and determination to heal and move on.
        There’s a very helpful ‘support’ group on FB if you’re interested.. contact me via my blog (healingpilgrim.com).
        I know the feeling of not hiding a story…my book comes out later this year (it’s not just about ACEs and DTD, but it’s in there)
        Peace, love and light to you too!

        Like

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  125. My name is Andrea, I’m from nothern California. My father abused me in every way possible, especially sexually my entire Child hood. all the way up until I was16 until he passed away one morning from a pulmonary embolism & died pretty much instantly in my presence. I was diagnosed with ptsd, phycotic depression, and I believe I have disassociate identity disorder but I’m not sure. To keep this short , I don’t know how high my aces score is & i have no resilience whatsoever. I probably have an aces score over 10 because of being repeatedly raped as a young girl. There is much more trauma I have endured in my short 23 years but honestly I would have to write a book to in order to say it all.

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    • Andrea: I am so sorry to hear about your childhood. You didn’t deserve to be treated so badly by someone who you should have been able to trust. I hope you are getting some help to deal with the trauma that you have experienced. You have a lot of life in front of you and my wish for you is to find recovery and wholeness.

      Like

    • We’re you angry a lot? I am raising my grandchild who was sexually abused by her father. Even though she has not seen him in 4 years, she just seems to be very angry. I feel she takes her anger out on me. Just wondering how I can help her. She is 12.

      Like

      • Marie, please make sure your granddaughter gets counseling. She is angry that she was horribly violated and that no one protected her. Even if there’s no way you could’ve known, she may still direct her anger at you. She surely feels violated and vulnerable and finds it hard to trust anyone. If her own father could hurt her in that way, then what hope could she have that anyone would ever take care of her and protect her? I suffered childhood sexual abuse and had a hard time trusting any adults for the rest of my life. I didn’t get counseling until my 20s. Give her lots of love and patience. Tell her you will never let her down and stand by that. Good luck and I hope she finds peace.

        Like

    • Andrea, I am so sorry to hear of your story it seems to be all to common to hear of life stories such as yours these days but not as extreme as yours.
      I too came from an abused and I mean severely abusive family but mine was physical. 62 years and still working on my self however I have GOD’s help which has kept me alive and enjoying life most of the time. I had two brothers that passed away at an early age and one that is struggling. Hope is very powerful and there is a GOD that loves you so much that GOD gave His only begotten son who gave his life to help you and me and all people of the world wanting it so hope is very powerful. I will be praying for you that GOD will continue to cause his face to shine upon you and cause to smile upon you.
      GOD Bless
      JW

      Like

    • Andrea I am so sorry that you had to experience so much in your short 23 years because you didn’t deserve it. I, myself experienced trauma and I found my inner strength by externalizing my traumatic experiences which gave me a negative perception of self and the world. I realized that what happened to me didn’t mean that I was not special, loved, worthless; it meant that people that had perhaps experienced trauma themselves had never healed therefore they were acting out; used me in their story line. Sadly, in order for me to heal; I had to revisit the traumatic situations. I cried, screamed, shouted, and then I spoke to my inner child and told her how special and beautiful she was/is and I held her. Also, I became intentional about feeding my mind with positive reading content that gave me hope. Hope gives you an expectation for a better life in the future. I refused to allow what happen to me to define me or rob me of enjoying my later years of life. I am 45 now. It has been a healing journey that was the best thing I gave myself permission to do. I hope you can find healing after trauma also. You are a SURVIVOR!

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  126. Pingback: » What is Your ACE Score and How Does it Relate to Resilience? Emerging Wisdom

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  128. Wow this is amazing !about time someone pulled together what we all are thinking. Loved resiliant perspective because it gives hope.

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  129. This really opened my eyes to so many of my issues. I scored a 9. I am college educated (barely struggled) on an antidepressant, smoke cigars and have health issues. Oh and i am in the most horrible financial debt ever. I feel like my entire life has been a huge ball of WTF. I have gone to many therapist but mostly, I feel like they don’t understand me.
    The strange part is that I have a great husband, never abused me and we have a beautiful little girl together and she is great.

    I struggle many days of just wishing i could have had a better life as a kid and maybe then i would not be in debt. I also tell myself to pull it together because society does not care about your life just do your job.

    Like

    • We can’t do anything about our past except challenge what it means to us. As far as the spending goes, I know quite a few people who have Bipolar Disorder who go massively in debt during their manic stages. If you have some form of clinical depression, the spending may be a symptom of dopamine depletion. When your brain doesn’t have enough dopamine it gets you to do things that cause its release, which usually mans things that excite people. Mostly that’s rich foods and sex, but a lot of people become addicted to things like gambling, extreme sports or shopping. I was a huge eBay junkie until I was diagnosed with Seasonal Affective Disorder and given Wellbutrin, which is a dopamine reuptake inhibitor. If you still feel compelled to shop, you might ask about Wellbutrin.

      Like

    • Dear ZaKiya, I have struggled with depression and excessive drinking and have seen big shifts doing Neuroptimal Neurofeedback, somatic empathy and i now offer those to others. I also use tapping and have done 1 ‘the journey’. there is hope and spending or drinking etc are effective strategies to alleviate stress or stimulate pleasure response.

      Like

  130. Melissa, you did not say where in Minnesota you are. One place to look is go to the website RAINN and see if they can help you find somebody. As an out of us as this might see you can also go to http://www.psychologytoday.com and look in your area with the specialty is that you would like – your events would qualify as trauma and/or PTSD and/or sexual abuse survivor. You want to be able to resonate, you want to feel some compatibility, and you want to trust that they have enough training and expertise. You could also try going to http://www.emdria.org, and see if they have someone in your area. What you’ve been through is very painful. I wish you the best of luck.

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  135. Thank you for making the ACE and Resiliency assessments available – very insightful and valuable.

    I know this may be outside the research – are you aware of any comprehensive integrated programs for “recovery” from ACE?

    Any guidance would be appreciated.

    Regards,

    Michael

    Like

  136. I got a 10… I honestly do not know how to go about finding a therapist. Everyone in my family says that is a stupid waste of time but they all do drugs. I don’t want to do that. All my feelings are overwhelming. I feel broken. My dad molested me until I was 11. My mom was an abusive alcoholic. My dad went to prison when I was 12. I had no one to raise me. My mom got a girlfriend who was even more mean than her. She had 3 children. I was the oldest so I took care of all 5 of us. I remember stealing money out of my moms wallet in order to go buy groceries. I started drinking that year. It was the only way I had ever saw that people cope. I was a damn good mom though. I made sure the kids never saw what I saw. I made sure they just did their homework well and got food. They are all top of their classes I am so proud. Though while I was taking care of them I never took care of myself. At 14 I lost my virginity. He left me. Then at 15 I got into my first abusive relationship. It took me 7 months to leave. Then I continued to date a few more rotten guys. None were ever as bad as him though. I was raped by a 24 year old man who had come over to my friends house to see her boyfriend who she lived with. I was asleep and woke up to it happening. My boyfriend at the time was in the other room. We had been in a fight. The next day I told him what happened and my friends boyfriend what had happened as the man who did that to me was asleep. They beat him up and told him to never touch a woman again. I do not like violence. It does not solve anything it did not make me feel better. I still feel dirty to this day. I never turned him in. Then it happened again. My mom had broken up with her girlfriend. We were living with my uncle. My cousin’s boyfriend did it this time. I was sleeping on the couch because there was not a room for me. I woke up and he was simply sitting on the couch next to me. He was 29. He raped me multiple times making me feel to ashamed to ever tell anyone. I made sure after this incident it never would happen to me again. I decided if a man tried to touch me he was going to lose an eye. When I was 17 I got into one more really abusive relationship. It took me a year and a half to end it. I probably would have stayed. (This is where my life starts to get happier.) One night James and I had got into a fight and I left to stay at my mom’s. My mom went to the bar that night. I had to work at 7am but in exchange for her letting me stay the night I said I would pick her. I accidently fell asleep. So at 2am 8 drunk people come bustling in to the house. My mom starts yelling at me. A typical day at home I thought to myself haha. Then one of my mom’s friends who was also my friend tells me she has someone she wants me to meet. I roll over telling her I don’t care. They all go downstairs. Then Ben came upstairs and asked me where do I go outside to smoke. I know it seems lame but no one had ever had that kind of respect for our home. I helped him find his shoes and jacket and we sat outside talking. As soon as I saw him I knew this is why it had not worked out with anyone else. It has been a year and and 3 months since that day. We have our ups and downs but he still treasures me. I live with him in our own two bedroom apartment. We have gone to iceland together and Florida. He makes me feel like I was never dirtied in the first place. I now work two full time jobs. I am also a full-time college student. I just got an awesome new vehicle. I may still be poor but I have not and will not let all of those things you just read bring me down. I am 18 now. That is my life story up until now. I struggle with depression, suicidal thoughts, anxiety, and panic attacks. I know I can’t continue to stay in my bliss with all this baggage still waying on my shoulders. So if anyone knows of therapists in MN. Please a comment. I don’t want to return to the darkness of my childhood. No one owns your adult life but yourself.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Dear Melissa,

      I’m so sorry you’ve had such pain and abuse and such a rough go of it. And I’m so happy for you that you have someone kind and supportive in your life now who treasures you. And congratulations on being in college. These are powerful signs of the tremendous underlying health and capacity that already exist within you. Therapy will help you continue to access these innate strengths that you have have and you will feel much better.

      I’m a former family doctor who retrained as a trauma therapist and have written a post on how to find a therapist. It talks a little about how to find and choose a therapist (there are many different ways to heal) and includes links to different kinds of therapies as well as websites where you can look for a therapist in MN.

      Hang in there and keep following your intuition and your dreams! You are doing a terrific job.

      https://chronicillnesstraumastudies.com/therapies-chronic-illness-stress-triggers-perception-threat/

      Like

    • Consider EMDR and DBT at some point, also yoga or other relaxation training that includes movement. To make these childhood experiences into strength, will likely take a long time, but focus more on progress than goals will give you hope and confidence. (Progress is not linear, though.) You can find EMDR and DBT trained therapists via an internet search. Check https://emdria.site-ym.com/. Best wishes for your future.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Melissa, I’m sorry I don’t have a therapist to recommend to you…maybe you can reach out to a women’s shelter or suicide hotline? However, I wanted to note that you’re one of the most resilient ACErs I’ve ever read of/from. As you were writing, or re-reading what you shared above, I hope that you can realize that out of the depths of such a horrific childhood and youth, you somehow found a deeper capacity to care for others and you’ve emerged perhaps scathed, but intact and taking precious steps to rebuild your life. I don’t know how you did it, but you’ve got a gift. You have so much light inside of you… keep that spark going even in your darkest days. Sometimes it’s only that helps you (us) make it until tomorrow! Blessings and love

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    • Melissa, I am so sorry for what you have had to endure. But you are obviously a very smart and strong person. Something I think might be helpful for the stress,anxiety and panic attacks would be to download “Insight Timer” to your phone. Then listen to Glenn Harrold “Mindfulness for releasing anxiety “. It really is so helpful and their are lots of positive support groups there.

      Liked by 1 person

    • I live in Illinois and am a Meditation Therapist. I do not know a good therapist in MN. I will tell you this, I am sorry that you were abused. That should have never happened to you. Shame was delivered to you that had nothing to do with you. In the face of this you acted courageously. Don”t let anyone tell you that you were or are a bad person because it is simply not true. You do need someone to walk through these things with you and help you remove any mental obstacles that may be preventing you from achieving your goals. You might try calling the University of Minnesota Psychology Department and ask for a reference.

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    • What a wonderful ending to your horrible childhood, Melissa. I am so happy you found
      goodness and mercy in a world that can be so cruel. Focus on what you can do to feel good everyday, that’s within your control. Meditation, dance, yoga, hula hooping, laughter—lots of hugs. These are things that heal more than talking, imho.

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    • Melissa, hang in there, you’re life can and will get better. Be kind to yourself, your a young person who has experienced trauma, none of it was your fault. Consider cutting contact with your mother, she has not been a decent parent and you do not need a toxic person in your life. Wishing you peace and love xxxx

      Like

  137. Im 20. So when I was 13 or 14 my dad went to jail for around 9 months. Does that count for ace #10?
    And for ace #3 it says 5 years older. My Aunt is 4 years older than me and sexually abused my cousin (who is a year older than me and just got sent to prison for armed robbery with a pellet gun) and I on several occasions when I was 4/5 years old.

    Liked by 1 person

  138. Does the question at the end of the resilience questionaire:”Of these circled, how many are still true for me?” pertain to only the question directly above – How many were circled Definitely True” or “Probably True or to all 13 questions?

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  139. The Ace questions don’t even come close to my situation. Multiple birth defects and birth trauma’s 1951. Father died Thanksgiving night 1958 at age 41, I was 7. Attempted molestation and murder age 9. Treated with dilantin until age 15, they were just thrown away. Drug dependent Mother who wasn’t there emotionally. Full story at my website. I have yet to find anyone that understands this type of survival. Maybe the physical damage done but not the physical pain. Not even my pain doctor will address the pain I have due to a crumbling body that was deformed from birth. Got any clue’s?

    Liked by 1 person

  140. Hello all,

    I scored 8 on the ACE, but could have easily been a 9 or 10 if I’d replaced the word “often” with “sometimes” I’m quite resilient as an adult (and was as a child), but this resiliency scale doesn’t quite capture it. I think one thing that really helped me survive such a tumultuous childhood was that somehow I knew it wasn’t normal to experience all that (trauma), and that I needed to do whatever I could to protect myself and get away, even if adults weren’t listening or helping. Had to fight tooth and nail to escape, but it made all the difference. My father was always very supportive and was that person I could always trust. You need at least one of those I think.

    I went through some rebellious times when I was younger, but doing great now. Struggled with depression a number of times but don’t currently need to take any prescribed medications and haven’t needed to for years. I’m a successful social worker and very good at it, accomplished in my work, with an uncanny knack for helping others, as well as a lot of creative pursuits and wonderful friendships.

    It’s not all roses, to be sure, and it won’t always be, but I know what to do to keep myself feeling well, and I know enough to intervene before I ever sink too low (definitely been there in the past).

    It’s interesting to read some people looking for validation for all the pain they’ve suffered that wasn’t named in this questionnaire, almost a hope they’d scored higher, and others, afraid because they’d scored too high. Remember, it’s just a tool. I do find the comments and rallying support very touching. I am a tobacco smoker but hoping to quit this year, so you’ve got me on that one, although I hate to be a self-fulfilling prophecy. Otherwise healthy and glad to be alive. Funny thing is I have 2 brothers – we all grew up in the same household, at least for 10 years or so, but we all experience trauma and the world differently. One of them struggles every day and might always, the other does well and doesn’t have a care in the world.

    Like

    • Hello,
      It might be that the difference between your two brothers is genetic. Most likely the one who isn’t doing so well has the more sensitive version of the oxytocin receptor, but there is so much about the genetics we don’t know yet. We can only look where the light is, always keeping in mind that we don’t know everything. From books and articles I’ve read since I was diagnosed I strongly suspect that a lot of us here would have the more sensitive OT receptor if we had the money to get tested. Sensitivity makes for vulnerability. If all is well, we would be warmer, friendlier people than most, but when we face trauma we suffer much more, too. Biology isn’t always nice.

      I also found all the support touching (and more support for the OT receptor idea). The search for validation probably comes from the fact that many of us have felt like there was something wrong with us all of our lives. Discovering that we were right all along is a bit of a mixed blessing, but at least it tells us that we were right and not just paranoid. The other side of the coin, though, is admitting to ourselves that yes, we are crazy. We have chronic diseases that might get better but will never really be cured. The relapse rate is pretty frightening. If you have an anxiety attack strong enough to hospitalize you, it’s 50/50 in the first year, but unlike bacterial diseases the chances don’t go down as time goes by, they go up. 60% in two years, and by the time you get to 15 years it’s at 90%. That’s pretty scary. Even with all the treatments I am getting, I still have SI almost every day. Be glad that you are doing better and have for awhile. I go to DBSA a couple times a week, and while the camaraderie and being around people who understand is great, I still come home to the same life. That’s the trouble with psychological and psychiatric treatments – they might raise your mood temporarily, which temporarily increases the good chemicals in your system and lowers the bad ones, but they don’t fix your life.

      Like

    • I have to say everyone is different someone with a low score can be haunted into exhaustion and others not so much. one common thing is we were all effected and our bodies and mind remember.
      lets keep supporting each other so as to know we are not an island unto ourselves left isolated. so care for one another and don’t allow some expression of ACE distance you, come close to those who hurt and be genuine and don’t decide to give in to those who display toxicity just wait time will expose the need of those in need. you may be the only one who displays HOPE.

      mike

      Like

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  143. My Ace score is 10 I am 31 I am four felony charges I am on four years probation I’m divorced from an 8-year marriage I am disabled after 15 years of work was diagnosed with ADHD in grade school and learning disabilities birthday defects heart problems lung problems neuropathy thyroid spina bifida occultist gastritis and PTSD I take over 17 medications daily thought some of this information would help you

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  149. Hi!
    So I’m doing my Masters Research and I have used both your ACE and Resilience tool. I have a few questions.
    1.Why is a score of 4 or more on ACE considered complex trauma?
    2. Could you tell me how to cite and score the resilience tool?

    I’d appreciate a prompt response.
    Regards,
    Shiromi Chaturvedi
    Mumbai, India

    Like

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  152. Why is it stressful to see a mother or stepmother being a victim of domestic violence but not seeing the same in a father or a stepfather? I don’t know what the incidence of female-on-male DV is, or how it compares to male-on-female DV, and those who say it is nearly equal generally make misogynist or anti-feminist statements as well. But sure SOME women abuse SOME men, and surely this affects the children who witness it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It is the same; it just wasn’t measured in this study. See second paragraph in Got Your ACE Score?:
      There are, of course, many other types of childhood trauma — watching a sibling being abused, losing a caregiver (grandmother, mother, grandfather, etc.), homelessness, surviving and recovering from a severe accident, witnessing a father being abused by a mother, witnessing a grandmother abusing a father, etc. The ACE Study included only those 10 childhood traumas because those were mentioned as most common by a group of about 300 Kaiser members; those traumas were also well studied individually in the research literature.

      Liked by 1 person

  153. The fact my parents separated/divorced and my father was (briefly) in prision after I got out of home, even though I was under 18, still applies to me? Just so I can make myself clear, I went to live with my paternal grandparents when I was about to turn 17.

    I’d really appreciate if a professional could answer my question.

    Liked by 1 person

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  157. after over a year in a co-occurring drug addiction and personalty disorder recovery center 3 day each week with 45min one on one therapy each week. It took a year to peal away the self protecting and defenses to expose my self in the raw flesh (ACES 5 resilience 6). In a 2 months period I went to the wall to finally get to the source, Than in a weeks time i was ask to leave, leaving me in harms way to suicide ideations , trying to hurt myself, and now totally high everyday to turn off the music in my head. I feel so hurt I’ve described this hurt as the greatest Ive ever felt, every day for 6 weeks now I am lost on what to do.everyday extreme rumination I feel very harmed by this recovery center and the therapist who turned her head offered no ending direction other more harm just before Christmas. I cant stop the noise inside my head. i know i don’t think like others. I am very alone here. any advice I just could not began talk it out again to someone new. I transferred all of to this the therapist and she understood this transference was were i needed to be she said we were finally ready to attack one by one.abandonment, molestation, constant bulling , alcoholic father , non attendant mother, mental illness from my father, adult mental abuse.

    Like

    • That sounds awful and sad Michael, I really feel for you and for your painful experiences. The constant ruminating, sense of loss and abandonment are a heavy toll to bear. You’ve been given a harsh hand, but you’ve also survived. I really hope that you can reach out to another therapist, friend or hotline for a compassionate ear and guidance.

      Like

    • Michael,
      I am sending you love and positive energy. I’m sorry you met with such an unprofessional therapist. You are not alone. The way you think is okay. You called yourself out about the ruminating… negative thoughts and words can manifest themselves in your life, and you don’t need that. You are a unique loveable amazing human being and you deserve love and care. Please do what makes you happy and calm as much as possible (music, art, walks in nature, whatever!). When you’re ready, seek out a new therapist, and interview them carefully to see if you feel safe with them. There’s also a therapy called EMDR that does not need you to talk out your trauma, which can be triggering and scary. Keep the faith. Lots of love. You are awesome. You are a survivor. You are going to be ok.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Thanks Yvette , your so kind and encouraging, I so need lifting words. A good Thing is I am so Tried of spinning. I’ve written out my story in detail, getting a better handle on my fear and flight reactions to daily stressor’s. I have still an over reaction to embedded security issues from childhood that i fear failure and flee quickly to the security of escape of sorted forms.

        Mike

        Like

    • I hope you’re doing okay Michael.
      Sending healing energy your way.
      You can do this thing called life. Don’t miss the joy.
      Lots of love

      Like

      • Thanks Kellie,
        it’s comments of encouragement that keep me going , I am very tired of the way I think. I understand why I think this way. Now I need to make proper adjustments to steer my mind from the why to the better.I was just remembering yesterday by Music of a memory of a adverse event, I was frozen for a moment and just said no more and turn the music off i realize now non of the thinking pattern is Ever going to be helpful.

        Mike

        Liked by 1 person

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  161. None of the questions asked about death and loss of a family member. My sister died of cancer she at age 11. I was 5. My dad di d of alcoholism at age 49. I am grateful for was 14. My brother jdi every m a farm accident at age 50. I was 52. My mom died of a stroke at age 89. I was 59. I had a heart attack at age 50 and a stroke at age 61. Please offer me some validation that death and loss of family members have contributed to my own illnesses my whole life.

    Like

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

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

      Like

      • Thank you, Jane, for your reply. I am finding the information about early childhood trauma to be invaluable and am so glad I found out about it.
        I am reading everything I can about to his topic.
        Thanks again!
        Kay

        Liked by 2 people

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  164. I scored 8 on the ACE questionnaire. I have narcolepsy with cataplexy and fibromyalgia. Are both these health problems the direct result of my childhood trauma? My first symptoms of narcolepsy started aged 4/5 and fibromyalgia symptoms started around age 10.

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    • Actually, thinking about it, the first three years and approaching teenage age years are (I read somewhere) the most crucial periods for secure attachments with caregivers. Coincidental that both my health problems began around those ages? I also have GAD and depression

      Like

  165. Okay, so I’ll need about a week to read through the comments section with 3 years’ worth of information. ACE score of 8; RESILIENCE score of 6. Chronic health issues. Not thriving, just surviving still in my 50s. I’m also ADOPTED and would love to see integrated information on this, as adoption is trauma in itself. (For example, “your mother loved you”….WHICH ONE? It’s abandonment and being exiled from one’s family of origin. And then if one is adopted into a family that is abusive, alcoholic and dysfunctional, forget it.) Thanks for all who have shared their experiences here, and for the information and resource links that have been posted. Wishing everyone great healing in 2018.

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  167. My ACE score was high and my resilience score was good. Alcoholic abusive father. Had a fabulous loving caring mother and one beloved teacher who kept me close and gave me a great deal of attention. Poverty added to the mix. It shows that one great parent and caring people around a kid makes all the difference. On the issue of illness I was sick from babyhood all through my six decades of my life. Added to all those illnesses I developed three more severe illnesses in my sixth decade. I was heading for a slow painful death as my doctors had tried everything to help me. Nothing worked. So I began to do my own research and pieced together the root cause of my illnesses. I came up with a theory and slowly pieced it together. I was Vitamin D and B12 deficient. Modern life does that to most of us on the planet. I requested baseline lab tests to begin with. And studied and order D3 and B12. To my utter surprise, at the dosing formula of 1,000 IU of D3 for every 25 pounds, two of the illnesses disappeared over night (never to return) and the worse illness took two years to slowly and steadily fade and go into “remission” for lack of a better word. I now enjoy the best health I’ve ever had in six decades. While it can’t change the childhood from hell…it certainly saved the autumn of my life. So grateful for quality of health and life. And I’m enjoying every moment. If you want to study evolutionary needs of the human body the web sites I use are: http://www.grassroothealth.net and http://www.vitamindwki.com I suspect, based on my extensive study of the subject, that 50-70% of a wide range of all types of illness would go in to “remission” if everyone got on proper D3 dosing and safe sunshine on the torso.

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  168. I scored 10+ and am grateful now that this information exists. The effects/affects of ACEs is so often never discussed behind closed doors, that I lived many horror stories throughout my childhood and now adulthood. It’s almost like after living it so long, it became the norm and then a magnetic force of continued unhealthy decisions and relationships. Ending with death, destruction, damage, distorted views, justice/mental health systems and now beginning from ground zero. Picking up the pieces of my jigsaw puzzled life and sharing my story as the picture unfolds in hopes to help someone else…… Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

  169. I’m a 60 yr old ‘11’ Ace, and a 10 on resiliency a la Viktor Frankl’s paradigm discovered observing the attitudes and actions and resiliancy of those who’s meaning making created ‘recovery’ and personal survival in a concentration camp.

    Not saying I’m free of risk and trauma based disease-but I am a survivor and have my health and am on a mission.

    Liked by 1 person

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  171. This has to get out there in therapist office in courts. My poor children possess 9/10 issues. Ending a 22 yt? Marriage with a sociopath who too was raised in a horrible atmosphere. Is mind boggling. 34 yrs ive searched for a qualified therapist and now I feel we need a forensic therapist. This is horrible yet good info

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  172. What if you saw your mother getting raped when you were really little? I had a therapist do EMDR on me and she had to stop because I started freaking out when I began remembering the repressed memory of seeing my mother get raped. I recall that I never had nightmares before that incident, but began having them soon after. I was 4 or 5. Would that count as an ACE?

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  174. Childhood illnesses requiring hospitalization, like severe asthma. It is frightening to a 3 yo child when he is struggling with every breath, wondering if he is going to die, then he has to go to the hospital and be neglected for a couple days. His single mom kept smoking IN THE HOUSE anyway. She loved the pity points. Narcissist. No wonder he constantly seeks validation from women. His inner warrior is crushed and no woman is interested in him, he isnt the strong man that women are attracted to. He is used to neglect anyway. Ever alone. Who cares. What does it matter?

    Liked by 1 person

    • The blame and shame you feel do matter and sold be dealt with. If you ever want to reach out and talk, I’m always available. My email is teresinaleonora@gmail.com. I’ve struggled with my own problems and am in a position of understanding with no judgement. Hope to hear from you.
      Teresina

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      • Thank you Teresina. I went into therapy recently for PTSD but it turns out I have BPD instead. This is what I’ve been struggling with all these years (I’m 49) and it makes so much sense now. The symptoms didn’t seem to fit initially, but now they do, and I can relate to all the DSM 4 and 5 criteria for BPD. It was frightening at first realization but now I’m OK with it.

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    • My 31-year old daughter was diagnosed with BPD last June, while in a psychiatric hospital for the third time in five months. She was put on psychiatric meds, which had horrible side effects and didn’t control her suicidal depression. She started taking Hardy Nutritionals supplements in July, then went on the ketogenic diet in November. She has been off all meds since October and has been perfectly normal and stable since then, with marked improvement particularly since starting the ketogenic diet. A close friend of hers has recovered from 20,years of anxiety and depression by following the ketogenic diet. I don’t know if it works for everyone and I’m certainly not recommending that anyone get off meds without medical supervision, but just wanted to share that my daughter has had remarkable success with this diet. You might consider trying it, if you’re in a position to do so. Blessings to you on your journey to health and wholeness.

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  175. Wow, it’s about time CDC started looking at this, my ACE 7 resiliency 2. I was diagnosed with MS which chronic autoimmune at 23yrs and always suspected its development part of childhood experiences. After reading this its pretty amazing that I am ok, I am a survivor and have found a way to live with these things as a part of me but not defining me. I’m a an ACOA and recovered alcoholic myself and have done a lot of work in counseling to gain awareness and insight. There is a way up and out whatever our experience.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I also have a high ACE number (6), and on my 35th birthday had my first MS flare, that landed me in the hospital and the loss of feeling in the left side of my face. no one in my family has MS, and this came as a shock. Reading some studies on how this can effect the onset of MS is all new to me. I never realized how much my childhood trauma could effect my adult health.

      Like

  176. My ace score is a 7, but thank God for my grandma who was always there to help me. However, after she died, I had no one to lean on. I was an adult, but still needed her help. My mom moved out of state and got religion, redeeming her from any past neglect and abuse. I plowed through adulthood, making up for the time I lost in bad situations. It kind of worked, except now I am exhausted and disillusioned and both my adult kids have problems with depression. And on it goes….

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Susan, You were so blessed to have your grandma’s love! How do you think she might be of service and love to you even NOW – despite having passed on? If she had such a meaningful impact on your in your childhood, I wonder if you could find a way to access her supportive spirit and store it deep inside of yourself: A north star grandma.

      Liked by 1 person

  177. So many people leaving comments! (I only noticed when I had to scroll all the way down!). To read some many relatable stories feels good (understood). ACE score of 7 (and a half? not sure of one). It made me chuckle to realise than if my parents would have divorced I would have had one more point, but maybe I would be more sane too. Resilience was 9 (although keep in mind that to tick the last 3 questions it may mean that you don’t have a choice really). I have not done too bad in life, all things considered, although in the last years I think things are crumbling down and not sure how bad it can get.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Same here on the divorce comment. I actually recall raising the issue with my parents when I was in the 4th grade. Then they asked me which of them I would choose if they did divorce (an alcoholic mother or abusive father). I didn’t respond.

      Like

      • When my parents divorced, the courts asked me who I wanted to live with… I said my grandma… they wouldn’t allow it… so I picked my dad since he lived with my grandma… it’s hard to choose between to bad situations.

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  178. My ACE is a 9 and my resilience is a 7 I’m only 17 but I think these things we’ve gone through as children are meant to make us stronger adults we must think about the feelings and behaviors of others and use those things to our advantage ,if you don’t you’ll let the statistics get into your head and convince you of how your life is going to be and you can’t do that you gotta trust God his plan is divine and perfect

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hey, your outlook is great. My ACE score is a 7, I just turned 40 and happy to say I am well employed, have a great family, and my 2 kids have an ACE of Zero so far! Keep your amazing attitude, trust God, and keep changing the outcome.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Well said. I am 40 and my ACES is 7 too, my resilience score is 4. But I am not ill, alcoholic or drug addict. There is a reason statistics show percentages, because there is always us outlying people the ones who clearly could be a statistic but are not. At 17 you are in an amazing time of life where things can and will get hard, but you don’t have to let that stop you. Embrace the hard know it is going hurt and it will end. Use your resilience to keep trying life gets better. Any opportunity you have for education take it, you will not regret learning.

      Liked by 1 person

  179. I am glad i stumbled across this blog my ace is 5 resilience is 4 i am now 61 years old and now after years of self abuse and addiction i am in therapy but it’s taken 1 year of week after week to get an understanding of the normalcy of my behaviors. for 50 years my feelings and emotions were overwhelming me. i plan to keep in touch with blog perhaps this will help hold back the tears and emotional overloads.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Being miserable for extended periods, especially early in life, causes mental illnesses. Human DNA changes how it responds to different environments (epigenetics) which can lead to severe mental illnesses under stressful circumstances. Too many people are still centuries behind the science on what genes really do and how flexible they really are. Here’s a good article on it, though I would also recommend watching the National Geographic video called “Stress: Portrait of a Killer” and if you are really interested in what makes people damaged a book called “Born Anxious.”

      http://www.naturalhistorymag.com/features/142195/beyond-dna-epigenetics

      Liked by 1 person

      • Hi Paul.
        Thanks for the link and references. I’ll bet you have a valid point on this.
        As I see it, science is moving all the time and what we perceived as the truth just a decade ago, is now behind us. At least in some way.
        The need to view the individual more holistically and taking for instance food and exercising into account has become more evident in my opinion. But hey, it still depends on who you ask as psychiatry and psychology is still two seperate fields.

        That said, the point you are making is great as it in my opinion must be evident, that the environment in which we grow up, must have a huge impact on the way we develop as humen beings.

        My origional point was about the way we are (and have) treated many children and also adults with the easy fix without regarding for instance the home environment and the way children are raised.
        We put the “blame” on the individual and regard them as broken. Instead of taking into account that our society might be broken or at least, the families where the broken children are raised, are broken.

        Liked by 1 person

    • Amen brother! Our whole society is broken. We live in ways that are so counter to our nature we damage ourselves and each other every day. Schools are the worst, because the damage they cause messes people up for life. But too many people seem to prefer shaming and blaming each other rather than solving problems, or flunking and firing rather than making something that works for everyone and not just the super rich. The thing about epigenetics is big. Humans have mostly just assumed that people are what they are because they were born that way, and they can never be changed. Nothing could be further from the truth, but its a lie that has a lot of useful purposes, especially for the rich and powerful. The more you know about humans work, the better you will be able to handle your life. But then, when you see what is wrong all around you and nobody listens or cares, it can get pretty frustrating.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I have to agree with you Paul. In some cases, schools are damaging children as much as, or more, than their families. For example, a policy in some schools (eg Iowa) of sending children into “seclusion rooms” for a time out. Find a clip about this and you will be horrified… Ghastly. Broken almost beyond repair; the children as much as the schools.

        Liked by 2 people

  180. ACE = 5, Resilience = 4 I have been a driven overachiever all my life, two failed marriages, I raised 2 kids and was super aware that they should not suffer the neglect I did, they are fine. I am older now retired and am crashing, depressed and sore, not much sleep and without direction. Finally knowing why helps and my therapist is helping but I often have days at a time of sad depression. Is there any non-pharmaceutical remedy? I react badly to most medication.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi, Bett: Exercise, meditation (or mindfulness), good nutrition, social interaction with healthy people, volunteer work, enough sleep. For more on the effects of these and other ways to reduce stress and feel better, you can read Childhood Disrupted: How Your Biography Becomes Your Biology and How You Can Heal, by Donna Jackson Nakazawa.

      Liked by 1 person

      • There is a possibility that you could be affected by the amount of light you are getting. Does it seem to you like you are more down in the winter than the summer (or vice versa?) I have something called Seasonal Affective Disorder, where my brain chemistry goes out of whack all through fall and winter, though there is a spring/summer version. It’s pretty uncommon, but around 20% of people have a lesser version of this (subsyndromal SAD) where lack of light depresses their mood somewhat, and you can have this and other conditions at the same time, so exposure to more light could help a bit. Try spending extra time outdoors to see if it helps before investing the money in a therapy lamp.

        Liked by 1 person

      • I agree with Jane.. and would definitely recommend a reading of Donna’s book. She covers so much ground! It helped me make more sense of my past, empowered me in realizing that I am so FAR from existing alone in this warped headspace. Yoga too has been a real godsend to me. Writing, making art / free form painting have been invaluable too.

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      • I started doing something called Metta meditation after I was diagnosed with SAD last February. Sleep has always been a huge problem, and this time last year it had dropped to around 2 hours a night, which no doubt was a huge part of why I ended up in the hospital. I started doing Metta in April or May, and it didn’t seem to do much at first, but after a few months I was falling asleep faster and it was damping down the racing thoughts. It’s very simple. I just lie in bed, close my eyes, and imagine the faces of people I know. While imagining them, I think the words, “May you be happy, may you be healthy, may you be safe, may you be peaceful and at ease.” When I first started I was imagining dozens and dozens of people and still not getting to sleep, but now I can barely get through my mom, wife and kids before I’m out like a light. Unfortunately it doesn’t stop me from waking up at 3 in the morning. There are lots of good web sites out there to explain how it works. Just keep in mind that rewiring your brain can take months, so stick with it.

        Liked by 1 person

    • If you can find the discipline to get at least three days a week of aerobic exercise for 30 min, get off the screens, meditate/have a spiritual outlet, eat high protein foods, connect emotionally with friends/loved ones on the regular- these things really do help. But gotta do the exercise! Game changer.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Lea, I’m with you on the exercise! Yoga’s been my default spiraling-depression-fighting remedy for years. Swimming (= meditation) and walking too: A walk in fresh air can do wonders for the brain and (healing) heart.

        Like

    • As a recovering OCD (of the “germophobe” variety) with a high ACE and a low resilience, I can suggest only what has been working for me. Exercise and social engagement, yes, but most effectively in my case is:
      (1) evaluating/accepting what caused the issue in the first place–this just takes time and meditative self-honesty
      (2) getting clear on what I want to achieve–crucial for the positive sense of mission and purpose in recovering (I find “volunteer work” way too generic, and therefore not motivational as a personal mission). What can I add to my life, so that I can use that power to add to others’? How shall I do this in a way that expands myself and lives my specific values?
      (3) considering how the problem blocks what I want to achieve
      (4) making an action plan with specific incremental tasks and goals, and being able to measure (or at least concretely assess) my progress.
      (5) acting on that plan daily–no matter how small, it counts. keep a log–write it down, so you can count the hit and miss days.

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  181. My score was 5. Addict, alcholic, ex smoker, ADD, PTSD, GAD, major depression, take meds,
    permiscuious at 15, not able to make long term commitments, constantly moving, etc.
    But what in the hell does my having been raped have to do with the trauma related response of my life?

    Like

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  184. Ace score: 8 Resilience: 2

    Honestly, i saw the tedmed video for the first time and was brought to tears. Finally someone was trying to understand children and adults who went through things no one should go through. I always wasn’t told i was crazy or it was me and i couldn’t blame who i was on my past. I knew i wasn’t the only one, and this study has opened my eyes to that. I wish there were people to talk to, a hotline, email or even a place to go to talk with someone who specializes in aces. Someone who finally understands why i am the way i am!

    I’ve been fighting these alone for so long. And I’m glad they have this study but i also feel as if it can be expanded and improved tramendously. There needs to be someone people can ask for help or discuss their aces with professionals, until then most of us will still struggle in silent.

    Liked by 1 person

    • A lot of people are integrating ACEs science into their work now, Courtney. If you want to find out more, check out ACEsConnection.com, which is a social network for people who are integrating ACEs. There are more than 18,000 members so far, and growing.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Courtney: I understand! And I believe / trust that there are millions of others (out there, somewhere, maybe still coping with bottomless shame or fear) who would understand you too. I also hope that more resources and services will materialize in a short time.. That TED video had the same impact on me too. Sending support and appreciation from afar.

      Like

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  186. ACE score of 7 with 3 resilience. Basically destroyed my chances of maintaining a relationship, all exes complain about me being too cold and distant because I can’t trust anybody and I hear my fathers voice in my head and the pain in my scars once again whenever someone tries to control or nag at me in home.
    Can’t fix the problem either since therapy costs money and I live in poverty, I guess the good thing is women don’t like poor single men anyway so theres no point trying to fix an unfixable problem. Just have to accept the fact I’m damaged goods forever and I’m going to die alone. If it weren’t for my dream goals in my job I probably would have ended it long ago. And when I’m having bad memories or nightmares again, single solitary Friday night with a beer and a computer doesn’t seem all that bad, at least I’m free now to do what I want. I bet I’m going to be one of those weird lonely hermits with weird hidden projects when I grow older.

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    • My score was 7 too, I’m sure we have different reasons but i cant help but feel like i didn’t stand a chance. I was secretly hoping i would get a lower score than i was expecting like somehow that would make me not as bad as i thought i was. i ruin everything i touch, I’m like a poison to everything around me. So sorry you feel the way you do.

      Like

    • Hey Meman,

      I just wanted to say that it is never to late for change. Also, your ACE score, Resiliency score does not define who you are. Seek out interventions for yourself, so that you as an individual can live a happier life. My ACE score is 6 and resiliency score is 2. I was raised by a single mom with schizophrenia and experienced a broad range of sexual assault both as a child and in my time in the military. Statistics have me set out to live out my life in misery and failure. I refuse to accept that and have been through years of counseling and do my best to live a healthy productive life. I can’t say my life is perfect but I can say its a heck of a lot better than it use to be.

      I want you to be happy also man, here is a link to find a counselor near you. https://therapists.psychologytoday.com/rms/

      Don’t let any score define you.

      Liked by 1 person

      • You’re right Bridgette, there might be free counselors around.. but from my experience, there just aren’t enough practitioners around – paid or free – who are informed about ACEs. My feeling is that it’s important to look for someone with that kind of training FIRST and only then sort out payment (or if possible, gratis).

        Like

    • You have options.
      https://www.buzzfeed.com/annaborges/affordable-therapy?utm_term=.vh8xR5WWd#.bgAOZRDDr
      Please seek reduced cost/free therapy and begin to help yourself. I understand where you are, but there really always is hope. Please find it. There are support groups everywhere, for every ACE on the list and more. There are places of worship that offer counseling, state/municipal programs, there is so much and so many people out there that want to help. Please ask.

      Liked by 1 person

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  188. My ACE score was 6, which worried me but my resilience score was 13. I actually had and still have a lot of love around me. I realise now that it’s what saved me so many times and what keeps me going still.

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    • Your chronic conditions and symptoms are ALL caused by your ACEs, and they’re all manifestations of your dysregulated nervous system. It’s a shame – and no surprise – the doctors can’t help you. The sooner YOU align yourself to that view, the quicker you’ll improve. Find ways that will help you. I for example work with TRE – trauma releasing exercises. Look it up on line, on youtube, and try to find a listed practitioner to get you started. Good luck with everything. Raymond Lambert

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    • As the preface to the questionnaire says:
      Of course, there are many other types of childhood trauma — such as witnessing a sibling being abused, witnessing violence outside the home, witnessing a father being abused by a mother, being bullied by a classmate or teacher – but only 10 types were measured. They provide a useful marker for the severity of trauma experienced. Other types of trauma may have a similar impact.

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  199. A personal ACE score of 5 which is bad but not as bad as others. I did score very high on the emotional abuse part of this test. As I’m reading this the parallels between the score and some things I’ve been doing in my life. Even being clean and sober likely saved my ass from experiences far worse. How many others were not so fortunate?

    My resilience score for childhood was 4 but it’s now 11! I bounced back quite well I can really only attribute that to having stayed clean via 12 steps and eventually learning to start asking questions (Even hard ones) and doing what was necessary to make changes. Even at 32 years clean it’s become clear that more changes are still necessary

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    • Yes I found the necessary first step is obtaining sustained sobriety from alcohol, tranquilizers, other mood-altering drugs. Once that step is in place, the sky is the limit as to self-growth and optimal wellbeing. For many of us, that first step is never cemented, which is a real shame. So much contentment on the other side, but so hard to conceive it is actually there for you!

      I self-righteously relied on beer, pot (when younger), and doctor-subscribed “tools” (e.g., valium, etc.) from age 14-60. Finally saw the light- quit all that. Now rely on keto diet, exercise, meditation. Now OK with fitting in, not bucking the system and swimming upstream all of the time. Didn’t use 12-step per se but its a fine way to do it. (My deeply-ingrained outsider self-image (due to 9 aces, I think) all but precluded group involvement; but more importantly, and I was sufficiently sick of the daily 3-4 beers and pills that I had no problem dumping them.)

      Anyway, I wish I had figured this stuff out much sooner, but I’m very glad I finally DID figure it out.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I work in the film and TV industry. I wanted to go into it when I was much younger (A little over a year clean) But there was such an emotional and living issue with me that it took me my entire 20’s to figure it out and work through all the issues before I finally got into it.

        But then I saw this today
        An Open Secret
        https://vimeo.com/142444429

        It’s available for free viewing until the 20th. But it covers the abuse of teenage boys in Hollywood in the 90’s. WHICH oddly enough would’ve been around the time I was agonizing about getting into the industry.

        You get those moments once in a while, those “Holy fuck did I ever dodge a bullet” moment. There would’ve been no way I would’ve been able to go through what these boys went through and stayed clean. That’s not to say that there weren’t pedos in the program, and I always looked older than I actually was. But right at this moment, I’m feeling more than a little grateful that I did wait until I into my 30’s. It’s still a tough nut to crack and I’m leaning much towards the internet now than I was a couple of years ago.

        I can tell you with a straight face that there wouldn’t have been any way that I would’ve made it through this clean and sober, much less alive. Even at my age I got told a few times that if I was willing to put my body out there my progress would’ve been a whole smoother. And I’m talking Vancouver here not Hollywood!

        Recovery and being clean and sober saves you from much more than you might realize.

        Liked by 1 person

    • I need the reference of resilience questionnaire badly! Trying to use in my study but struggling to find proper reference. Anyone ?? Help is much appreciated guys!

      Liked by 1 person

    • Guys I am struggling to find a proper resilience questionnaire reference. Maybe someone can help? Trying to use it for my study but can`t find appropriate ref 😦

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  201. I don’t understand why, for the sexual abuse one, the requirement is that the person must be 5 or more years older than you. Older siblings or peers can do that as well…

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  202. Pingback: Got Your ACE Score? – Homeless in LA ©

  203. My ace is 9 and resilience 2. I have always suffered with tonsillitis, glandular fever, sinus problems and recently had my gall bladder removed. I can relate to a lot in the descriptive text. I always felt that I had the energy sucked out of me from my experiences. I still suffer with sinus and neuralgia problems but the specialist told me there is nothing wrong with me. I have been given amitriptaline by my doctor and been put back on the shelf basically.

    I think this article is spot on. Can I really overcome these issue for real? I have managed to get through life by putting all this trauma to the side and just surviving and trying to be positive. These experiences have scarred me, but it is a relief to just type this and know that someone will read this…

    Liked by 3 people

    • I read it, all of it. I know what you mean by having the vitality sucked out of your life. And th einterest, and the colors, so much more.

      Amitriptaline (spelling?) is a tricyclic, isn’t it? Tricyclics are known for having horrible side effects – dry mouth, feeling like a zombie, weight gain, sleeping 12 hours, weird dreams. There are newer drugs that have far fewer side effects. They are called SSRI’s – Prozac was the first one, but there are lots of others.

      You might want to discuss this with your doc and ask him for a referral to a psychiatrist. I’m on one of the later ones, Wellbutrin, and it has helped sooo much. It doesn’t change my past, but it gives me energy to deal with it in a much healthier way than I did before. I find it a real blessing

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    • Michael,

      I also have a high ACE score and chronic health concerns. Please google Joshua Bloom, Quantum Energy Transformation. I took a class with him, but he has free interviews and free content on his web site. I used a simple breathing technique that he taught in an interview to fix my sleep problems, for instance. It’s a quick two-three minute routine that helps me sleep properly each night. You may also find help in the work of Irene Lyon and I forget his name, the guy who is an expert in Somatic Experiencing. Dr. Peter something or other.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Thank you for your reply and advice. I will review the info that you have given.

        I have tried a variety of resources over the years from acupuncture, healing, reiki and also understanding the flow of energy in and out of our boddies to the way we all manipulate for energy (control dramas).

        I have also downloaded a book that uses a ‘tapping technique’ to heal oneself.

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  204. I have an ACE score of 9 – but a resilience score of 12. People are always amazed when they know my life story and know me now as an adult and professional. One caring adult is all it takes. Mortifying childhood – thriving adult life. It is possible.

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  206. My ACE score is 3 but my resilience score is 2. My childhood abuse was mainly emotional abuse with some physical abuse. I suffer from acute clinical depression, anxiety and minor OCD. I have nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, Crohns disease, hypothyroidism (Hoshimoto’s) and I am type 2 diabetic. I also go through boughts of insomnia. I have a hard time with my relationships in life. I’m sometimes too eager to find friendship or love that I end up allowing the wrong people in, which just starts the cycle over again. Fortunately I don’t seem to have an addictive personality, so I don’t drink. I did smoke for awhile but quite many, many years ago.

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    • I feel for you. I have a difficult time keeping friends as an adult, I can make them but find it somewhat exhausting to maintain friendships. I’m so glad people are starting to understand that emotional abuse is just as harmful as physical abuse and also how important that resilience score is. Hope things improve your way!

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  207. Not shocked at all to find that I have an ACES score of 8 and resilience score of 2 (perhaps 3). I was placed for adoption at birth but was not adopted until the age of 2 by parents who were ill equipped to raise children: my dad was an alcoholic, my mother was emotionally neglectful who did not understand that other people existed outside of her, and intergenerational trauma with both of my parents that impacted my family daily (my grandfather was a horribly abusive man who controlled the whole family and who my mother feared and felt compelled to have a relationship with.)

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh, I should say that the resilience score was based on my childhood. If I were to base it off now, I would get a 10. I still have that hole in me and the negative voices that whisper “you aren’t really good enough” but I have been quite successful (once I got over the under-achievement.) I was fortunate to find people who believed in me and saw the pain. They said “you need help.” That was 30 years ago, and I reached out for it. I still wonder if I am worth it but I remind myself that my brain lies to me. 🙂

      By the way, I tried to find the Facebook group but cannot find it. Can anyone help?

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  211. I have an ACE score of 5 and resilience of 2. I’m SO grateful for this site and the information shared here. Your stories make me feel less alone.

    I want to recommend a private and free site called weave that enables you to share your story in a trusted environment. It’s a great way to share and find solutions to your health issues due to ACE’s. weave the people dot com dot au or http://weavethepeople.com.au

    Love to everyone here!

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  212. No surprise, I scored a perfect 10 on the ACE. I haven’t taken the resilience portion yet, but since I can’t remember years of my childhood, I’m likely to answer “not sure.” We’ll see. Thank God for helping me improve my life and deal with all of my childhood traumas. I’m definitely a survivor but it took years of hard work on myself. Getting to my core….peeling away the layers of onions and having memories restored.

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  213. I got a 4 or 5 on the ACE score, but a 12 or 13 on resilience. An alcoholic father, a mom who was often fairly depressed(who wouldn’t be in that situation?). I got allergies, poor eyesight, asthma, bronchitis, sinus problems, ulcerative colitis, gastric reflux, rheumatism. Everybody in the family was quite intelligent. School, self discipline, stubborness or perhaps focus, a religious upbringing, Catholic schools, parents who tried to do right despite their problems, all contributed to all three of us children having pretty successful happy lives.

    The only really traumatic experience I remember was in first year college. My mom woke me up early one morning asking me to go check on my father. He had died in his sleep from cirrhosis at only 58. It was very strange to feel a cold body and have to console my Mom and help her.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for sharing your story Phil. Please be aware that you have and increased risk for one of the many autoimmune diseases if you don’t seek help in resolving this memory. It actually changes your brain chemistry and wiring. The “behind the scenes” damage that is happening in your body via your immune system and stress response center will cause physical breakdown. You can reverse this by finding an ENERGY MEDICINE modality that you like to work with. I personally use Emotional Freedom Techniques – tapping as my modality of choice. My ACE score was 6/10, anxiety and gut issues were a huge problem, I have now gainied control over them and living a much happier and healthier life. Please consider finding a practitioner that you like to work with to assist you through the process. It is extremely effective. More info can be found on http://www.emofree.com, http://www.eftuniverse.com, http://www.thetappingsolution.com, http://www.tappingouttrauma.com It is a gentle technique with incredibly positive results! Be well!!

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  214. My score is 6 on Aces and 9 for resilience. I believe finding my soul mate at 16 made a big difference in how my life turned out. I’ve achieved many life goals, my most prized the mom of 4 beautiful daughters.

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    • Interesting my score and resilience score was the same as yours. I married my soul mate at 16. I do feel like my life may have been different had I not made that choice.

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  216. I have 10 ACES and 4 resilience. Very interesting what I have been through and where I’m at today…only by the grace of God! I pray this study goes far because I truly believe it will help.

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    • Hi Lisa! Taking the time to examine your “Energy/Emotional health” by finding the baseline through the ACE and Resilience Assessments are the first step. By the GRACE of GOD you got the message to go look. Now, I’d like to gift to you more information on “clearing the negative energy” that is stuck in your body and soul. I believe GOD sent your message through this site to share what I have found to deal with my ACE score of 6/10. Emotional Freedom Techniques – tapping aka EFT. I use it daily to maintain balance and self-regulation because I used to be regularly “triggered” with and without explanation. EFT has you acknowledge the issue, accept it, release the negative sensation or discomfort. The “issue is in the tissue” and you have the POWER to RELEASE it when you have the right tools at your disposal. With your score of 10/10, I strongly recommend you find a EFT Practitioner that has skills in assisting individuals through “trauma”. Different sites like http://www.emofree.com, http://www.eftuniverse.com, http://www.aametinternational.org, http://www.thetappingsolution.com are all excellent resources with explanations, videos and support. May you find the PEACE and HAPPINESS that you deserve. I am currently continuing my education to achieve INTERNATIONAL CERTIFICATION with AAMET. Find people who are CERTIFIED from these websites I mentioned. You will be amazed at how much more open you will be to LIFE!

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  217. My ACE score is 5 and Resilience is 3.

    I’m in my 50’s now, a few years ago I started finally understanding why I am how I am and why my sister and I react so sensitively to stress. My mother is a covert Narcissist, my poor dad had an avoidant type personality. He meant well, my mother made life awful sometimes. We were middle to lower middle class. My mother did not prioritize our finances well, she had eating disorders, seemed to be depressed, our home was usually dirty and her hygiene needed help. I was generally neglected physically and emotionally, but never physical abuse. Sexual abuse by older men, like date rapes. Nothing was encouraged, no celebrations, nobody ever hugged, touched or said “I love you”.

    I used to wonder how other people who had worse situations still often became successful. Later in life I took college courses, and did a research paper on this topic. Basically I learned that if you had at least one truly supportive person, you can get often persevere despite having a bad home environment. Both my parents and lots of family (aunts, uncles, cousins) growing up for support and my mother had teachers that intervened on her behalf. My parents do not have the health issues that my sister and I have at our younger ages. Unfortunately I had no extended family (that I ever met) my parents kept me isolated. In 3rd grade I had a teacher intervene, but otherwise I was also ignored in school.We didn’t go to church, my mother hates God and religion. Once in a while I was lucky to find a friend that had a great family and they took me on a vacations.

    I truly believe that if I had just one more positive score in the Resilience questionnaire, a trusted relative, teacher, or neighbor I would have been more successful in a career and have better health. My sister became ill with an autoimmune disease in her early 20’s, she gets anxiety easily. I developed panic attacks in my teens, had insomnia since I was about 7 years old. I’ve had lots of muscle and joint pain since my 30’s and it seems that every time I try to get into a more physically demanding exercise routine, my body shuts down after two weeks – it just can’t take it. Thankfully I have no chronic disease except for glaucoma. However my brain feels damaged – it cannot respond normally to stress, it goes into overdrive and does not shut down. I’ve tried to explain to doctors that intellectually I understand I should not have panic or insomnia – but the brain overrides my reasoning.
    What helps is articles like this one, meditation, prayer, getting a great dog and spending a lot of time outdoors with her, and eating well of course.

    Liked by 1 person

    • There is a good book called “Collateral Damage: the impacts of my mother’s mental illness on me,” written by Cate Grace and available on Amazon. It’s an amazing story of growing up with parental mental illness and the sequelae of that. It is easy to read and she shows us, rather than lectures to us, about what happened to her, as well as her insights into addressing the damage. It may help to deal with a high ACEs, particularly around the issue of mental illness in the childhood home (which she refers to as an invader in her home).

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    • Hi Rachel! Thank you for sharing your story. You have more options available to heal the trauma you have stuck in your body. Look at http://www.eftuniverse.com for a practitioner that is certified in working with clients with similar stories to yours. You are not alone and I hope you know there is support available. EFT is an incredibly powerful energy healing modality. With a certified practitioner you will experience positive change. Feeling healthier, reduce and dissolve physical pain. I know it to be true as my ACE score was 6/10 … I used tapping to dissolve my chronic hip pain … turns out I was holding anger from not speaking up for myself.
      All I can say .. it works … give yourself the gift of freedom from all the emotional blocks that are stuck at a cellular level. The POWER lies within you. You just have to TAP into your story and begin to release the layers of pain.

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    • My sister, brother and I have a similar experience being neglected physically and emotionally, there was some emotional abuse but never physical. I had insomnia since I was a child and later on developed depression and anxiety. I managed to finish college and now am looking for a job. I also feel like my brain is damaged in a way and that I will never be as my friends. But I am glad that I was able to grow emotionally with the help of my friends and boyfriend. I started REBT therapy and I find it very helpful for my emotional problems. Best of luck to you!

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      • Thanks for the reply! Interesting about the pattern of insomnia and anxiety. My older sister has that too. If I ever need another Ambien (took my last one 8 years ago) this is something I can refer my doctor to, I feel like the docs think I was a drug addict when I had very bad insomnia and requested a some sleeping pills.

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  222. My ACES score is 3. But my Resilience Score is 14. So although I’ve had trauma and cancer – I’m extremely resilient and have a positive attitude, hope for the future, and still a manifester.

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  223. I scored an 8 but i dont have anything to compare to the sad stories here. I know im lucky for this but how could i score so high yet feel like im just whining to myself compared to people who scored a 4… One of my favorite speakers constantly brings the ACE up and that’s the only reason why i chose to take the test. Im more confused now than before my curiosity got the better of me. And im whining again.

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    • As abuse victims, a lot of us learn to be harsh on ourselves through the behavior of our parents towards us. We believe we deserve to feel bad about ourselves, and as a coping mechanism (at least for me, I can’t speak about other people’s experiences), we tend to think we are over reacting, when in fact our feelings are justified. I would abuse myself (and on most days continue to do so) because I thought that if I hurt myself then I would become numb to other people hurting me (which worked, but had major problems once it stopped working).
      You aren’t whining for getting a high score. I also got an 8. You fit the criteria for a lot of the questions, so you do have some traumatic/adverse experiences that have happened in your life.
      You deserve to speak about your past and your feelings without feeling like you’re over reacting. Don’t forget to factor in your resilience as well.
      I wish the best for you joe. I hope you learn and grow and hopefully one day come to terms with everything. I believe in you

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  224. Heh.

    My ACE score was 4. I got #1, #3, #4, and #9.

    My dad sexually molested and terrorized me and my brother for years, my mom ignored all the signs. Both parents were mentally ill; my dad was a rage volcano and my mom was OCD personified. Felt for most of my life that I wasn’t loved or safe at home. The words ‘I love you’ were always pretty empty to me, since we said it constantly to one another despite all the shit. We were always very isolated. I can count on one hand the number of times I was ever allowed to have friends over. My dad didn’t even have any friends. Relatives rarely talked to us, and when we made contact with them, it was mostly just awkward.

    I’m gonna add another point though in the spirit of #8. I got into drugs and alcohol at 12 and ended up as a heroin addict. Am now about 10 months clean. Substance use and the violent, turbulent, lonely lifestyle that accompanied it pretty much shaped my life from an early age. I’d argue that fits into at least the spirit of the ACE scoring method.

    My resilience score was 7/14, though I’m leery of this because several of the questions deal with my opinion on my parents and I’m told I have a tendency to be overly forgiving towards both of them. Even after acknowledging that they’re responsible for damaging me, I still feel guilty saying they didn’t love me.

    Either way, the important part here is that I am still alive, and I’m now surrounded by people who are helping me heal. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    • 10 months clean!!! That is so wonderful. I think that if you stay in the program, you will find kind people and slowly learn how to relate to clean, healthy people. I wouldn’t worry about how much you forgive or hold your parents responsible, but just focus on yourself. As you learn all these new things, you will see them in a different, more realistic, light. You won’t have to work on this, it will just happen.

      I wish you all good things on your journey of recovering.

      Liked by 1 person

    • 62 now. Two years spent figuring it all out. Ace 9 Res 3. Father grandiose violent alcoholic. Mother personality-disordered with ocd, anxiety, depression. Became outwardly aggressive and violent to others by 1st grade. Broke coke bottle over rock and made neighbor drink it- big mouth gashes. Chased a kid thru the classroom with an open jackknife. Never brought to doctor for behavior, No supervision or discipline at home for anything ever. Only rule was “get out of the apt and leave me alone.” Worked from 14-present. By 7th grade my acquaintances were fun-loving but over-the-line mischievous. By 9th grade, all in NY reform schools. My German grandfather promised juvenile judge we were moving out of state shortly so no need to confine. Moved 14 times in 18 years. Father NYC salesman rarely came to apt anyway but deserted when I was 14. He gave me his old union books from car window, I turned around saw mother screaming for me while breathing into a paper bag to stop hyper-ventilating. I thought, this is going to get even worse. It did. Started smoking and drinking at 14. Drugs at 15. Addicted to valium at 19. Started drinking too much. Made it through college and law school. Had a good run litigating for consumers- I knew all the business tricks, Have always been an outsider, though. Can’t connect to others. Have an anti-social streak. See authority, leaders, social-climbing, joining groups, as alien and childish behavior. See all of existence as if I’m an observer from another planet. I don’t get depressed, though. Never could figure out what was wrong with me. Quit drinking a few years ago, but never missed it. I only enjoyed a few beers if I could mix it with a prescribed painkiller left over from something. Went to AA a coupe dozen times, tried to relate but couldn’t. Have had ADs prescribed, but I react badly- panicky. Could never describe to the psychiatrist what the problem was! Now I meditate twice daily, 60 mins aerobics most days, and these things help. Not all that much, really. Will try tapping and EMDR.

      I read the best way to become a good Buddhist (disciplined meditator) is to have a rotten childhood. So true.

      May we all be happy, someday, somehow!

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      • Hi Ed … really glad to read you are continuing to find ways to release the negative charge to the emotions that are stuck in your body at a cellular level. EMDR and TAPPING are two really effective methods to use. It is a PROCESS. I’m not overly versed on EMDR but have known people that found it truly effective. I do know more about tapping and can share that you will be releasing in layers, the more often you tap, the more layers will release as the tapping points are connected to your internal organs and all of your cells. By tapping you “vibrate” the meridian connected to the “emotional block” which will release whatever you are ready to release. Be well, you are well on your way to be a “beacon of light” in this awful story that was bestowed upon you. As well, you may gain some insight into the behaviour of your parents. They must have lived through some pretty awful stuff to “dump it all on you”. In tapping with my Mom, I was able to understand the “hell” she went through as a 17 y.o. in WWII. Everything started to fall into place and I gained a whole new understanding of her life and how it intertwined with mine. Healing at all levels and ages. It can be done. I am living proof!! Keep going!!!

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      • Cindy- thx and your info is very helpful. I am going to try the tapping. I like the physiological approach because that seems to be where the problem lies.

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      • Ed, your salutation made me laugh out loud…to be “a good Buddhist” all you need is a “rotten childhood.” The irony is refreshing. Continue your journey because the destination is the same for everyone. Namaste’

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    • I’m sorry. I hope you can find the courage to find professional help. You deserve to process all of the trauma and hurt. It matters, and so do you.

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  225. A lot of inspiration in everyone’s stories. Maybe I’ll feel a little better if I tell mine. I hope no one minds. I’ve thought a number of times that I should go to talk to someone. My biggest fear is that I’ll take part in some therapy and get to the end of my story and feel worse than I do now. Or, maybe it will feel like my last option has been used up. I like having that one option left. I scored a 6. I’m 42 years old and have been a songwriter my entire adult life. I say this because I think I used the pain from my ACE “to my advantage” in my art for a long time. That time has passed. I don’t care about looking cool or writing good songs these days. Although, I wish I could in a healthy way. I really just want to be a great husband and parent. I am married to the woman of my dreams and we have a 2 year old with another on the way. This is my second marriage. The 1st (short) marriage was to a woman who was great. I was really drawn to how “together” she had it and forgot that being TRULY in love was a pre-requisite to marriage. We’re still acquainted through work circles. I have a really nice life. I have travelled and met wonderful people. I’m in the top 1% income and still cannot be proud or satisfied. I have always found myself to be absolutely unattractive even though I know part of my success is due, in part, to my physical appearance. That said, I’ve gained quite a bit of weight in the last few years while in my current funk. My wife and I left a major metro and we bought a farm in a small town. I love it here. We all love it here. But, I recognize that I’m also still running from my problems. I’m completely unwilling/unable to finish projects anymore. I mean, all I have to do is write and record music. It’s not like I have to sweat or risk injury. NOT hard work. Still, nothing. I have always had suicide in the back of my mind but, now I think of suicide every couple of days, if not every day, on bad stretches. I’m in no place to actually attempt suicide. I love my wife, our son, and most parts of my life. I just wish that I could feel like I deserve all of the good in my life. I hate feeling like a loser or like I’m “getting away” with success. Like someone in the back of the room is going to stand up and say “Hey! Wait a minute. You’re not supposed to be here!” My father was very abusive, physically and emotionally. My mother was detached and depressed. I know she loved/loves me but I believed her issues got in the way of being the best mother she could be. When I was 12, I told my mom that I had just had a fleeting thought of jumping out of the second story window, onto my head, from our house. I was really freaked out by it. Instead of comforting me, my mother tried to relate to me by telling about how an angel intervened in her own suicide attempt years earlier. Really messed my head up. No kid likes to think that their parent is trying to bail on them. My parents divorced when I was an infant then remarried after my younger brother was born. I was only made aware of this a couple of years ago by my sweet grandmother… on accident. My father was in the military and we moved around which really made me more ashamed of who I was because I really had no escape to grandparents/cousins/longstanding friends. Every year that passed, I felt more and more insecure and I was sure that anyone new that I met could tell that I was a s*itty human just by looking at me. I regularly hid bruises by being the last to change in the locker room etc. My brother was treated completely differently than I was by our father. My brother was spanked but never beaten. It seems like I was only beaten. In our conversations about things as adults my brother confirms that he wasn’t beaten. I had no sexual trauma from my family. Although, a neighbor girl who was 13-14 made me touch her vagina and “mess around” several times when I was 6. I’m sure that’s had some effect. But, I don’t really recall it as traumatizing. Just really weird. Lots of beatings and verbal abuse. “You’re retarded… You little piece of sh*t… worthless f*ck…” etc. I was told that I was stupid so often by my father. I’ve always known I was bright. Both of my parents are intelligent. I was diagnosed with ADD at 10. They might’ve been right. Maybe not. I’m not sure how I feel about it. I was just always bored in school. Especially, as time went on. My mom tried to leave my dad a few times. Each time, she would leave my brother and I with my father. Which was THE last place I wanted to be. Especially with no one to police his actions. My parents divorced again when I was 14. We had to choose who we were going to live with. It was a tough choice for my brother. Not for me. I have only seen my dad once since my parents divorced. It was a chance run-in. No birthday or Christmas cards. No phone calls. I sometimes think that having an abusive father for a few more years would’ve been better than no father at all through my teens. I walk around knowing that my mom tried to leave (through running and suicide) when I was young and my father succeeded in leaving. I deal with feeling as though I don’t deserve to be happy, or have nice things, or loving relationships. I’ve never been able to enjoy the moment. I’m always concocting some huge plan for the future. I have actually left every vacation I’ve ever been on early to get back to working on a project. Seeing as though I can’t finish anything lately, it all seems like hot air. My relationships with men are one of two scenarios; complete adversaries or father-figures who I want to be proud of me. It’s really embarrassing when I catch myself doing it. I don’t drink anymore. I smoke a little marijuana to fall asleep most nights. Never during the day. No other drugs anymore. I quit smoking cigarettes at 40 when my wife became pregnant. I miss it every day. I feel completely guilty for living such a wonderful life and not enjoying it. I hope that all of my efforts to be a good father will work out. I hope my health doesn’t fail me before I can leave a lasting positive impression on my children. I hope that there’s no heaven and surely, no hell. I don’t want to remember who I was and how I felt, in this world, for eternity. Good luck and thank you to everyone who reads this.

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    • Thank you for telling your story. I hope that you understanding why you feel the way you do is a door to peace. I, too, had suicidal thoughts for years when my life looked pretty good from the outside. As you can see from all the comments, people resolve their pasts in different ways. My only suggestion would be to find what works for you. You didn’t get what you needed as a child, and you aren’t carrying the story that healthy children carry: That your mom and dad were thrilled that you were born, that they loved you unconditionally with all their hearts and still do, that they cared for you and watched out for you and thought about you every minute of the day because you’re amazing and oh so lovable. For those of us who didn’t get that, we have to learn to provide that for ourselves every single day, in words and deeds, and surround ourselves with friends and family who love us.

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      • The brain is a very flexible organ. It is possible to change horrible childhood experiences to just fact without any electrical charge or negative feelings. You just have to decide to work with someone …. help is available … by writing your story in this forum … you have made the first step … keep going … YOU have the POWER to HEAL this! Much love and support!

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    • Dear If wishes were horses, beggars would ride:

      I think you can see the connection, how your father set you up to feel you don’t deserve anything good in life. So you feel guilty that you have a life that others would be delighted with. It’s like the contrast between your life and what you feel on the inside makes things even worse. It’s heart-breaking how those lies in childhood continue to torment us.

      It may be true that if you start talking about things you will feel worse, at least initially. I think it’s because that coming face to face with all the trauma hurts far more than running from it in one way or another. You won’t have the band aids that you found as you went along. But if you sit with the feelings they change. And when you truly believe deep down that what your father told you about yourself were all lies, you will feel so much lighter and more whole.

      Have you considered antidepressants? Granted they don’t work for everybody, but if they do, it is such a relief. It’s not a sign of weakness to take them. Being beaten down so long changed the chemistry in your brain, and they work by getting it almost where it should be. Then you can tackle the real problems without feeling suicidal, worthless, or guilty.

      I was depressed all my life until I was given antidepressants in my ’40’s. They were the early ones, which had terrible side effects. The next generation of antidepressants were much, much better. Now I am on one called Wellbutrin, which has really changed my life. Another thing that changed my life was remembering a whole lot of things that happened that I had stuffed down because it wasn’t safe to let anybody know about them. I am almost 80 and happy, happier than I have ever been.

      I wish the same transformation for you, but much earlier in your life!!!

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      • I’d like to gently challenge you on one point, Jean, in the interest of IF WISHES WERE HORSES… I believe coming face to face with all the trauma hurts far less than running away from it. The thing is, the trauma is hurting us all the while we are running away from it, and when we are running away from it the ways we run away also hurt us, and the self-judgement and shame hurt us too. The fear of facing the past also hurts. It sure looks like IF WISHES WERE HORSES has been hurting a long time and that even with whatever bandaids he’s been using, he’s been in a helluva lot of pain.

        So, IF WISHES WERE HORSES…, Whatever scares you the most about talking about it, not talking about it is worse. Take some time to find a therapist who knows about trauma and interview them before you go to see them (that’s what I do now). I will only see someone who is willing to talk to me on the phone about what I’m looking for. I don’t mean a quick 5 minute conversation. Then, when you start your work with that person, you will find out that getting to the end of your story will be the beginning of the life you want for yourself.

        Be willing to invest in yourself by committing to and sticking with a healing plan/journey until you feel better (much better!) about yourself and your life. I’m 58 and I’ve only just made such a commitment. I’ve seen therapists short-term before and always bailed out, and I’ve suffered much more than I needed to. I’m never giving up on myself again. ‘Cos that’s what quitting was for me.

        Just don’t give up. Coming here was a brave move. I don’t know if it was a first step, but it was a good one. You are not alone. All the best.

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    • Dear If Wishes were Horses…
      Thank you for sharing your story. There’s a reason you write. You have so much to express and offer. Unfortunately, when we feel stressed out or anxious that can affect the creative process.
      They say seeking help with a therapist and doing talk therapy can help. But, I would like to suggest that sometimes talking about our trauma and sadness just reinforces it. Another avenue for healing is taking a newspaper, like the New York Times and just writing on it in ink all the things you want to express, all the pain, disappointment, feelings of shame, unworthiness and so on on that newsprint. Get it all out, all of it. Then burn it. Watch it disappear into the ethers and take all your pain with it.
      Then start anew. Begin your life with your lovely wife and beautiful children, a new man. One who is a creative being in love with life and in love with creating a life of his own. A life based on health, healing, love, creativity and abundance and JOY!!! I hope you will try this. You are loved by your Creator beyond measure! We all are…we just have to acknowledge that this is so and start to feel that we are worthy of all the good things in life. God Bless You and your beautiful Family. Hang tough…they Love you and Need You! xoxo Dee

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  226. Hello I didn’t do the resilience score but reason I took the test is I have been suffering depression and was abused as a child also this has lead me to being investigated for looking at illegal material my score was 7

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  227. What about the negative impact from having to move/relocate often in childhood? All in all, by the time I was 18, our family had moved 6 times. My Dad wasn’t in the military, and I know kids in military families have it super rough, but in my case, my parents not only divorced, but we moved twice in just 2 years. So when I started 7th grade in a junior high in a new state and city, I was basically a basket case. I was so devastated by losing my Dad, I wasn’t able to form friendships with anyone.

    Like

    • Hi Beth..I went to 7 different elementary schools because of all the moving we did too…really difficult to forge any long lasting friendships…my parents were trying to make a better life for all of us … it was probably just as hard for them too …
      To help you release those negative thoughts, feelings and emotions may I offer that you explore the world of Energy Psychology. It is a well researched area documenting the reworking of young brains … the upside … there is something YOU can do about it!!! YOU have the power to tap within the healing ability .. I am a product of that mindset … I found Emotional Freedom Techniques – tapping … a combination of Acupuncture and Modern Psychology! You are not alone, there IS EFFeCTIVE HELP available. Google the words or message me. You can leave the negatives behind and start living the full and vibrant life you seek! Good Health to YOU and YOuR future!!!

      Like

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  229. Why is the sexual abuse ACE have the stipulation of the perpetrator being 5+ years older? I know of 10 + kids who wère sexually abused by person(s) closer to their own age & or younger than them. I know some of the reactions to its wording were insulting to them at best. “So it doesn’t really count that I was repeatedly assulted by my brother because we’re only a few years apart in age?!? B.S.”
    Totally shut her down…

    Like

    • Two reasons- One, the test given here was a first dip into this entire field of research AND was written when there was less awareness of sibling/peer sex abuse- the doctor who first linked obesity with ACES said that when he was giving an early interview, he was surprised by the incest reported because it was only the second time he’d heard of such a thing. At all.
      Two, the question isn’t necessarily about assault. The phrasing is such that it includes experiences that may not have felt coerced at the time but likely were in fact. I wasn’t ever sexually assaulted, but I scored for that one because, yes, when I was a young teenager older men, I’ll say took advantage, of my feeling lonely and in hindsight that was absolutely damaging.
      And why on earth is a sexual assault victim looking to a laymen’s internet version of a psychological quiz to validate her experience? Tell her yes, obviously sexual assault is an adverse experience and perhaps it would be wise to have the professional version administered by a professional.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Good points, Jane and A Marie. This question and issue applies not only to sexual abuse, but other parts of the survey. I also recall wondering why there wasn’t anything about (for example) being force-fed food/drink, and a slew of other experiences that were excluded from the survey. The resilience questionnaire was equally lacking – relative to my own personal experience. But, in hindsight, I now see that those who created the ACE survey were just tapping into a newly discovered phenomenon; and that all of us really are in the early years of understanding the true and extensive impact, the wide-ranging behaviors and “sui generis” experiences that were not accounted for in the ACE / resilience Q. It’s also impossible to capture the full spectrum of abuses; but its absence from the survey questions in no way minimizes or excludes those experiences. My hope is that, with all more input and research, those lacunae will be incorporated…

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  231. 9 on ACE and I was recently diagnosed with a somewhat rare autoimmune disease called ankylosing spondylitis. It takes me half an hour to wake up and another hour just to get out of bed and another half hour to get myself to start walking properly. Can’t afford treatment though. I hate my life lol..

    Liked by 2 people

    • Same here, I have 9 ACES and was diagnosed with Ankylosing Spondylitis back in 2009. I made a full recovery by working out those ACES and adapting new beliefs. I made a full recovery and shared it all on youtube for FREE. I won’t post a link because it will sound like spam.

      Like

      • Those are beautiful words of encouragement Ralphitness!!! Just because our childhood “sucked” doesn’t mean we have to stay stuck in the past … I will look for your YOUTUBE video with great interest … my score was 7/10 and I’ve been using Energy Psychology to release my negative emotions and the low vibrational feelings like sadness, resentment, depression, frustration, anger. It is an amazingly effective technique. I am presently searching for further education to work within my “scope of practice” with clients dealing with the effects of ACE’s being higher than 4/10. Please know that early life adversities actually change the wiring in our brains. This is one method that can rewire to the “upside of life”. Google “EFT practitioners for High ACE scores”. There are many well qualified individuals that can help you on your path to healing the past to live a vibrant, pain free future!!

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      • Hi ralphitness!!! Well done on discovering the root cause of your ankylosing spondylosis!! All negative emotions are seeded by fear then it morphs into physical symptoms. Our Western Medicine is slow to grasp this concept yet Eastern Medicine has been all over this thought for thousands of years. I applaud you for posting the videos on YOUTUBE. Adding any Energy Medicine modality to a health problem whether it be physical, mental or emotional will bring back good health and well-being. I use Emotional Freedom Techniques-tapping for me and my clients. I’ve also added Reiki, aromatherapy, music therapy and being out in nature. OPEN YOUR HEART and let the healing begin. Thank you for sharing your story. May it help others find the strength to lean into their pain and feel ALIVE again.

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  232. Pingback: When Your Kid is Too Good for Brené Brown (Cross Posted on ACEs Connection) - Heal Write Now for Trauma Survivors & Adults Abused as Children

  233. I scored a 6 with ACE and majority of the answers were “definetly not true” and here I grew up in a middle class family but so truly dysfunctional. Wow.
    (And I struggle with health issues everyday) -an eye opener for sure.

    Like

  234. Pingback: Childhood Trauma Makes You Obese? | MICROWINS4U.com

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  236. My ACE score was 7, but I think witnessing the abuse-bordering-on-torture of some of my siblings is worthy of a rating, so I say 8. And that’s based on my very poor memory. I think I shut down my feelings and my ability to remember when I was about 2. I want to list some of the things that happened, but even if I do, I will feel like I’m making excuses for myself, so I won’t. Someone will say something supportive and I still won’t accept that it was as bad as it was.

    I had none of the resilience factors. Not as a child.

    I’m the 7th of 9 children and we have 4 (or maybe 5) different fathers. My mother had bipolar disorder and my father had depression (and was maybe an alcoholic, which might make it a 9). He took off when I was about 3, though, so I didn’t grow up with him. Lots of physical, emotional and sexual abuse, at home, then throughout my adolescence and early adulthood. And neglect. I lived with a foster family from 12 until I went away to university on a scholarship. I ran away from university in the first semester, not coping but not even realising I wasn’t coping. I just shut down and ran.
    I have vague memories of my childhood and no emotional connection to anything that ever happened to me or that I saw. I have never felt the feelings, even though I’ve tried using different methods over the years to connect with my emotional and physical experiences. As I type this now, I feel like a fraud, because I don’t feel anything. Not feeling anything has not stopped the chaos and torment I’ve lived with my entire life, though, if that makes any sense.

    I never read or hear anything about people whose lives are affected by trauma the way mine has been, so I would really appreciate feedback from someone can relate to my experience.

    So what happens is I change my mind all the time: I loved my husband. No, I hated him. I would go back and forth between leaving him and staying with him, in my mind, sometimes many times a day. I did leave him 4 times, and the last time I probably would have gotten back with him if he hadn’t said no, even though I wasn’t even happy with him. We were together off and on for 29 years. He also had a bad trauma history, which didn’t help. And now I’ve just ended a different relationship, following the same pattern of behaviour as with my husband. Leaving, then thinking I’d made a mistake. This relationship was very different, though – the best relationship I’ve ever had, and with a really lovely man. Well, that’s gone now.

    I used to be desperately unhappy and displayed a number of borderline and bipolar characteristics. I’m less over the top now, and I’m not miserable all the time anymore. One of the biggest problems is that I make decisions and then I change my mind. In case anyone thinks this is a minor problem, it isn’t. I can’t rely on myself. My partner couldn’t rely on me. I let people down. I believe every explanation I give myself for my new plan or change of plans, which makes it very confusing. It can’t be just as right to quit a job as to start it, but it seems right at the time. I will change my mind out of the blue, not just when there is a decision to be made. It’s exhausting and confusing. I have a couple of university degrees, but I haven’t been able to take advantage of my education, because of the way my mind (and emotional disconnect) works. I have no confidence in my decision-making. I should not be poor, but I’m currently living in a room in someone’s house. I have co-owned 3 houses but I’ve lost everything. I work part time, not even on a living wage.

    I know I will change my mind about just about any decision I make, but I don’t seem to have any control over it. The only aspect of my life I feel any certainty about is my children. There is no ambivalence there at all. Only love. That is, the 2 children I had with my 2nd husband. I basically abandoned my first child, by leaving him with my first husband, telling him I couldn’t handle the child. I was afraid I would abuse him, and he ended up being abused anyway, by his stepmother. He is not in my life.

    There is so much that I know harmed me that I don’t feel (not consciously, anyway) and I believe the lack of integration of those experiences with my conscious experience is a big part of the problem. I’ve seen therapists, but I always quit. I always have a reason, which makes perfect sense to me at the time. Then after a while I look around and see my life in shambles again and I think, “Oh, right. That trauma stuff”. That’s where I am right now. Again. And looking for another therapist. I’m really tired, and broke. But I have to get some help.

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      • Thanks, Merrihelen1. I don’t feel brave, because although I know I went through a lot of bad stuff, part of me thinks it’s nothing and I shouldn’t complain.

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    • this is a very courageous post that helped me a lot. Especially the “feeling like a fraud” part. Where does it come from? I think that despite experiencing abuse at the people who were supposed to love us, they let us love them; and we subconsciously want to conceal their abusive behavior by holding ourselves accountable.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Thanks, Nancy.

        Regarding your statement: “…and we subconsciously want to conceal their abusive behavior by holding ourselves accountable”, I think it goes the other way around. We hold ourselves accountable because our abusers tell us it’s our fault, and those who conceal the abuse don’t think they can get help, or that they deserve help, because that’s what they’ve/we’ve been told. If we think something is our fault, why would we tell anyone?

        I did not love my abusive mother and I did not know my father. But I think you are right. If you love the people who abuse you it’s hard to make sense of what they are doing to you. It’s less threatening to blame yourself than to face the truth that people who are supposed to love you can do such terrible things to you.

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      • I also get the feeling like a fraud thing all the time, especially when I meet people who have had it much worse than I did. Macelia said that she felt like a fraud because she didn’t feel anything, but that’s a defense mechanism, not an indication of fraudulence. The mind can go numb when the pain gets too much, just like how endorphins kick in when the body hurts too much. Facing your demons is terrifying, but don’t lose hope.

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    • Macelia, thank you for sharing your story. I have an ACE score of 7, my experience was not quite as bad as yours I think, but it was also very bad. I was beat up by my brother for years, emotionally and psychologically abused by him and my parents (who were both sexually abused, I found out later in life) feeling like I had no one, as I hid everything and was not able to reach out for help. I also was unable to make decisions, and would change my mind all the time, like you describe, so I know how that feels and how devastating that is. For years, (decades?) I couldn’t stick with anything. I would quit everything and run away. I kept running for years. I had a baby at 18 and kick myself everyday for what I put him through. Some things that did help me over time, were meditation, art, spiritual practice (from Eastern religions) and hypnotherapy. I would say hypnotherapy made the biggest impact in finding peace. I would suggest that for you, if you can find a good hypnotherapist. There are ways that you can re-do your memories, or get in touch with the trauma and release it. You can also find free hypnotherapy on Youtube of affirmations that can help as well. Good luck, my dear. It’s a struggle but you can heal! Louise Hay helped me a lot, if you know of her, great author. Best wishes to you, in love, Sara

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      • Thank you, Sara. It’s a relief to hear someone say “I know what it’s like for you”. You experiences sound terrible, too, and I’m glad you found help. I meditate, and that’s the most helpful practice I have found so far. Hypnotherapy, so far, is no good. I keep hearing that you don’t need to be able to visualise to be hypnotisable, but I don’t know if that is true. I cannot visualise anything at all, and that, combined with having no emotional connection to anything that happened in my childhood, makes it hard to access the trauma. I know that people with worse pasts manage to do it, though. I have to stop running away every time I feel the least little thing.

        I have found affirmations to be unhelpful . They just sit on the surface, while underneath I simply don’t believe them, no matter how many times I say them. I encountered Louise Hay many, many years ago too. I think I may have found You Can Heal Your Life helpful, but it just scratched the surface. I stopped engaging in very risky behaviours a long time ago, so some of the stuff I tried back then helped some, but there’s so much more I need.

        I have found a Gestalt therapist, and have had my first session with her. That is a very experiential therapy and I’m hoping I can at least get in touch with my feelings and my body, which should help.

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      • Oh good, I’m glad you wrote back. I’m so glad that you have found some things that work for you. One thing I have been doing, and which I find works really well, if you can do it, is you re-create the memory, which is a kind of self-hypnosis. You ask yourself “What should have happened?” What should have happened instead of the abuse? Then you create another scenario, and feel how that feels. For instance, you can re-create the experience to have someone come in and help you, like the police or someone who stops the abuse, even Superman! You can re-create your family life. It doesn’t replace the reality, but it somehow distracts from it. In my case instead of growing up in a nasty little house in the suburbs, I grew up on a farm with a loving expended family and neighbors, and I had horses! It’s a bit like in “Back to the Future” when his family was changed because he went to the past and created another scenario. Best wishes.

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      • Great advice Sara. These are all processes utilized in Grief Recovery programs, energy psychology like Emotional Freedom Techniques – tapping, research Gary Craig at http://www.emofree.com … there are so many options available in the world … you are not alone …. I have met many women with devastating stories that are making their way to a better life for themselves … my ACE scores were 6/10 … my journey has been a massive rollercoaster to the point where I wanted to give up … I am blessed to be surrounded by a group of women that support, are non judgemental and guide me through my quagmire of emotions as I heal … I am so glad this forum exists … there is so much we can do … it’s important to be vulnerable and ASK for HELP! We are here for each other. Together we can THRIVE again!!!

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      • I too cannot use affirmations because I cannot knowingly lie to myself. They would have to be on the order of “I probably am not quite as bad as I think I am.”

        You can be hypnotized without being able to visualize things. You could count, saying to yourself, “with every number, I am getting more and more relaxed. I can stop any time I want.” If you can hear music in your head, you could try putting words to a tune, suggestions to feel calmer during the day etc. You can also make the suggestion that some time when you are ready, relaxed like this or in a normal state, your unconscious will give you some new information that you can handle. You just have to be imaginative about avoiding using images.

        hope this is useful!

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    • I’m posting this after my original post because there’s no reply button on all the comments posted by people.

      Thanks to everyone who commented. It’s wonderful to get the support. I didn’t mention that I have psychology and counselling training, so I do know about and have tried pretty much all of the methods people have suggested. I guess what I take from the suggestions is that I have to keep trying until I find something that helps. I have been doing that over the years, but I need to stick with the two things I’ve got right now: meditation and my new Gestalt therapist.

      Since my first post, I’ve been meditating everyday, usually twice a day. I’ve meditated in the past and found it helpful, but it feels like I’m getting more out of it now. Maybe the degree of usefulness is related to the level of desperation.

      To Sara, I’ve tried the technique you described, to re-create the memory. It made me feel a little bit better at the moment but did not last. I think the methods that work have to fit in with the way the person’s mind works, their personality, etc. The idea of re-creating a memory just doesn’t sit well with me.

      To Jean, regarding hypnotherapy, it doesn’t work with everyone. I have tried the sort of thing you suggested in the past, and it really didn’t do anything for me, aside from the relaxation effect. But it’s also possible that I was too “well protected” to allow it to work. We can go only as far as we’re prepared to go.

      So, with meditation and with Gestalt therapy, the way we get in touch with trauma is to get in touch with the present experience – with whatever is happening in the present moment. That’s what I’m trying to do now, and it seems to be working. I have realised that I need meditation AND therapy.

      This post is going on an on…

      I want to say something about my experience with therapists, who have all known my trauma history, because it’s the first thing I tell them. But therapy always ends up focusing on the current crisis, and no one ever said “you really need to deal with the trauma”. I go in telling them “I think I need to find a way to connect with my feelings”, and we still go down a rabbit hole. I’ve been blaming myself, because I DO take us down a rabbit hole. But it’s NOT my fault. Their job is to stay on track. I’m feeling a bit angry about it.

      TRIGGER ALERT: Like the psychologist my ex and I went to for problems with sex. Again, I told him my trauma history, which (in addition to the early childhood stuff) included being raped by the boy who had been my childhood sweetheart when I was 12, on the concrete floor of a public bathroom; and being strangled and raped by a ‘friend’, driven to a park and being told I was going to be strangled and thrown in the creek (by a different guy!). He kept putting his hands around my neck… Sitting in that car (I can’t remember begging or crying or feeling anything) until he decided not to kill me. Or a random guy trying to rape me and when I told my then boyfriend (who I was not having sex with), he became angry with ME and tried to rape me. That’s not all of them, but you get the picture. Sorry if this is too much for anyone. The point is I told the therapist this stuff, but his approach was to have me and my partner do exercises to feel close to each other, and when we came back and hadn’t done them (because of my resistance), he told me off. I tell every therapist this stuff and they don’t seem to have a clue. And I keep blaming myself for not getting over it.

      It’s not my fault I’m not over it.

      OK. That’s enough. Maybe I’m misusing this forum. I don’t know. This is the stuff I’m dealing with.

      Like

      • I’m sorry what I suggested wasn’t helpful.

        You aren’t misusing the forum, in my opinion.

        What those boys did to you was HORRIBLE. Even one of those rapes would be enough to explain why you are having trouble with sex. And you told your boyfriend and HE tried to rape you too. HORRIBLE.

        I think it is amazing that you able to tell therapists. Sounds like they knew nothing about trauma and were afraid to touch it. Leaving you alone to deal with it as best you can, just like in childhood. Unfortunately, it’s only been recently that the idea of trauma causing symptoms has been talked about, and not everybody has heard of it. I hope your present therapist is better informed.

        If you can remember this, I hate to think of the things that you can’t remember. The forgetting and the shutting down of feelings may be, in a sense, protective of you. The part that is amnesic for the abuse doesn’t think you are in a place were you can handle it.

        It was that way for me. I couldn’t remember until both my parents were dead, and then my husband died, and my kids went off to college. I didn’t feel responsible for anybody except me, and that’s when I remembered and fell apart. And boy did I fall apart. But it’s not that way for everybody – people remember under all sorts of cirumstances. It’s hard to accept yourself, but it wasn’t your fault then and it isn’t your fault now, either.

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    • Wow Marcelia. I hope you don’t take this as condescending, and you may feel nothing of my comment, but I just want to hug you & tell you I love you. This life doesn’t really come with a black and white instruction manual and we’re all battling something. Keep striving to heal. We’re all in this world together and need to just love one another. AS A SUGGESTION. Look up Dr. Caroline Leaf on YouTube. She is a cognitive neuroscientist and she blows my mind. Start with her 4 part YouTube on how to Detox your brain. At least with this YouTube channel you can watch it whenever you want and not beat yourself up for changing your mind. She has a website too where you can purchase her mind program for $30 for the year. Worth every penny. Be kind to yourself…don’t ever verbally beat yourself up or talk bad about yourself. You’ve been through a lot and you are brave, intelligent, and a miracle. Best wishes to your journey!

      Like

      • I appreciate your intention, Joy, and thanks for the support. I wish you’d mentioned the religious element in Dr Leaf’s approach. I can’t tolerate that.

        Like

    • Hi Marcella

      I scored a 7 on the ACES test and am still struggling with my deep seeded anger, self hate, anxiety and fear. Having read your story I appreciate your awareness of yourself. Not many people have that and can reflect on their life so honestly. I am in my late 30’s and am finally starting on the journey of self discovery and self compassion. I find this very hard because my thoughts can be very negative and dark. I constantly fight with myself as to why I feel the way I do and am trying my best to strike a balance. I grew up poor and in a dysfunctional home. I am the eldest child and had a lot of responsibility at an early age and if i didn’t look after the kids properly I would get beat. I felt like a punching bag and tried to commit suicide a few times in my life.Recently I finished reading “The power of now” by Eckhart Tolle and if you haven’t read it…I highly recommend the book. For me I had to re-read some parts to fully understand it and I am in the process of trying to put what I learnt into practice.

      So for me at the moment is to try and constantly focus my thoughts on the present moment instead of letting my mind race to the past and all the past hurts I have experienced and what not…because one thought will lead to another and next minute I found myself in a deep pit of despair and guilt. Guilt and the massive feeling of inadequacy. I am overweight and have problems with overeating and I am still trying to figure out why I eat the way I do. I feel like I eat to fill this empty void and to be honest I don’t know what that void is. I feel like I am eating myself to death and even though I know better I don’t do it. For me it’s like cognitive dissonance. Since I am still learning about this stuff and how to deal with it in my life I feel like I am in the baby stages of growing into the person I want to be.

      I wish you luck on your journey and hope you find a therapist that makes you feel like you are not second guessing them. Maybe you haven’t found the right one for you yet or it’s not the right time. Sometimes it takes time to figure out what we really want. And one thing you can start having right now is trust and faith in yourself and the decisions you make. If that negative chatter starts up in your mind tell it to shut up, for my one I tell it to STFU cos I am tired of feeling this way. I’m sick of feeling this way and that’s why I’m starting now to change the way I think about myself. I wish you well and hope things in your life unfold in way that enlightens your understanding of yourself with compassion.

      All the best.

      Like

  237. Pingback: I love you, but first I had to love myself – How yoga taught me to forgive and let go

  238. Hi,
    i have read lots of posts of other people who experienced childhood trauma on this comment section. Many of them still do have their trauma after many years(30, 40, 50 years). Now i am triggered and think about my own trauma and what scares me most is the question: “Is it cureable?” I cant answer this question anymore. I know that i got beaten up at a very young age, too young to remember, around 4 month old. Is the experience of abuse at a very young age even cureable? Will i every be normal? Are people here who can confirm this?
    Sorry for my english, it is not my native language.

    Like

    • A.P. If the abuse happened before age 1, then stopped, it is most probably curable. I read an excellent book a few months ago called “Born Anxious” that goes into the science of trauma. I recommend it to anyone who is dealing with these kinds of problems. They give the example of the Romanian orphans from the 1980s after the communist government collapsed. Children who were taken out of the orphanages before their first year mostly recovered, but if they were there for longer they were left with lives of struggle.

      Like

    • Yes A.P. … you can change the feelings attached to the memories … there are so many great modalities available to you … I’ve found “energy psychology” through Emotional Freedom Techniques – tapping to be a solid solution for me … there is also wonderful practitioners using Grief Recovery programs … research on Gary Craig, Founder of EFT at http://www.emofree.comhttp://www.eftuniverse.comhttp://www.thetappingsolution.com … keep searching for the modality that works for you … the trauma’s you have experienced as a child is locked in your “cells’ … Emotional Freedom Techniques – tapping is a proven method to dissolve “the issue in the tissue”. There is HOPE!!!

      Like

  239. Wanted to invite survivors to be a part of our private network called WEAVE where you can write the story of your past and change the future of your life.

    Our stories have the power to not only heal each other, but heal the world. Writing helps us overcome our pain and is proven to boost the immune system.

    http://weavethepeople.com.au

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  240. Pingback: Learning to be present in recovery. - One Healthy Johnny

  241. Pingback: Adverse Childhood Experiences Response Team in Manchester, NH, helps children grapple with trauma, violence, addicted parents « ACEs Too High

  242. Pingback: 5 Reasons the Medical Community Needs to Screen Teens for Trauma | Mount Sinai Adolescent Health Center

  243. In my job as a care coordinator we are preparing to start using this survey. I was was wondering why the death of a parent or close family member is not included as an adverse experience for a child?

    Like

    • Hi Tamara:

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

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

      Like

      • True, just a guideline, but if you have a horrible trauma that’s not even listed then this is not reflected on your score. Plus it makes one feel like they are not reached and understood. This list really should be updated and not simply given out as a guideline by Kaiser.
        Besides Kaiser cannot begin to scratch the surface of my problems; so I would like to see some other institute’s name regarding this ACE scoring system.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Thank you, that makes sense, I wasn’t sure if there was a system for how the different areas of adversity were ranked and the 10 on the survey had more impact than other areas that were not included.

        Like

      • Check out Dr Srikumar Rao for a change in perspective.
        There are many wonderful options available to release these pent up negative emotions. Become unstuck! You have the power. You just need a guide! Keep searching…u are on the right path!!

        Like

      • I would think with computer technology it would not be too hard to come up with a much more comprehensive list of traumas and have the computer compute the score, rather than doing this the old-fashioned way. If Helen Fisher can do this for temperament types, this can be done. And once done, you will then have a tool to generate useful data that can be used to analyze trends to help people better.

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      • Plus the scoring system of the Resilience test should be reworked as well. Primarily as it is, it really reflects a score if the answer is Definitely True, but this actually leaves the other areas not weighed at all.
        Here is the scoring system I would like to see:
        Definitely True +2
        Probably True +1
        Not Sure 0
        Probably Not True -1
        Definitely Not True -2

        This scoring system would reflect a more balanced system and probably a better gauge of how one answers the questions.

        Like

  244. I scored 9 out of 10 for ACE but 10 out of 14 for resilience. I’m good, right? I’ve got autoimmune disease that popped out at 22. I’m hoping that’s the end of my trauma effects.

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  245. I scored an 8 for the ACE test and a 3 on the Resilience. I think you’re either a survivor and rise above your trials and tribulations or you’re a victim and can’t let go of the past. it is what it is – you control your life and what you make of it.

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    • Please educate yourself on how significant early childhood trauma (even adult trauma) literally molds a person’s neurology, impacts their endocrinology, and even their immune system before making self-righteous (and clichéd) statements. The lasting effects of trauma the vast majority of people experience over the course of their lives doesn’t make them weak, or being unable to “let go of the past.” I’m a mental health clinician of 18 years and it disturbs me to see victim shaming, especially by other victims. Typically people who feel the need to make sanctimonious declarations like this are the ones who deal with their own unresolved gunk by judging others.

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      • Thanks for this comment, Gemma. The kind of statement Tammie made, and which many people believe, is very harmful, and should be corrected whenever possible.

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      • I’m not sure that Tammie meant that statement as victim shaming. In her mind she probably thought she was being helpful. I grew up in an extremely (sometimes violently) conservative town, and this is typical of how they think – that everything is about individual accountability. The reality is that both of you are right to an extent. The physiology of stress and trauma creates horrendous feedback loops in our brains that mould character, mood, memory – everything that makes us us. Neural circuitry laid down and reinforced over a lifetime is not easily changed, not by a long shot. But it isn’t hopeless, either. The way people frame the thoughts in their minds is a critical aspect of recovery, as I am sure you are aware. Thinking of ourselves as survivors, as being able to survive and even thrive in spite of our trauma, is a necessary step. It’s not even close to sufficient, but necessary nonetheless. I can understand your anger. It sounds like the “just get over it” garbage we hear from people who don’t have a disorder and are utterly clueless. But snapping at someone is rarely a good way to educate them.

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  246. People can be very cruelbut it us up to each and every one of us to take control of hiw our every day would look like. My faith in Jesus helped me a lot and I saw Him once at the prayer meeting and he healed my soul. Since then I am calm and I handle life better. We must find our way and life and not let bad past experiences control us. We are stronger than that!

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  249. I have a score of 8. The trouble I have is that these past experiences have left me with an intense distrust of adults, so it is impossible for me to seek help as my core belief is that everybody, even those that are trying to help, are doing so for their own gain, one way or another.
    I could not sleep this morning, again, a pattern I have noticed that is starting to gradually increase, so I was very happy to see this link and find some confirmation in these pages, if they are as they present themselves, honest.
    I know I make better decisions with my kids and I know my kids are safe from the abuse I have endured. I know they do not have these problems and will leave fuller more productive lives than I.
    Thank you for this valuable insight.

    Liked by 1 person

    • CBT therapy is great for helping restructure core beliefs. EMDR is also helpful for trauma and has helped many find peace they never felt possible.

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    • My score is 6, and I work as a Social Worker. I really believe in the power of manifestation. If I tell myself “is impossible to seek help because…” that is definitely true. Knowing what your core beliefs are could help you find someone who can help you. I have a therapist who specializes in trauma experienced by women. She is amazing and I’m finding new ways to cope with all the bs.

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      • I applaud you for recognizing your pain and finding assistance to move through it with a therapist! Many people believe they have to suffer alone. Your comment will mean a lot to many, me included!! I have been on a self-healing journey and have found many modalities to call on. My primary option is Emotional Freedom Techniques – tapping. (EFT) I am able to utilize it anytime, anywhere with great calming results. I’ve also experienced “talk therapy”, cranial sacral, Reiki and more. It is important to know that not one size fits all, BUT there are many options to explore to bring about inner peace, calm, clarity and joy. Thank you AileneJoyce for posting your comment!! Best of luck and continued well-being!!

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    • We all have to beware of hostile attribution bias – the tendency to distrust when you don’t have enough information. It helps to have people to talk to and see if they have the same feelings about any particular doctor or therapist. I have been going to a support group called Depression-Bipolar Support Association (DBSA) for the last few months, and it helps to have people to talk to who have been through similar things. This is especially so as I was only diagnosed a few months ago. See if you can find a support group in your area and give it a try. Actually, give it about three tries. Many people show up for the first time and are afraid to talk, but after a couple nights they start to feel comfortable and start getting something out of it. Best of luck!

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    • Hi GW… I have experienced similar feelings as u describe. I’ve found a method that is dissolving these feelings and I am living a happier more trusting life. I still have work to do but have found great release in “tapping”. I’d like to offer the suggestion that you locate an EFT Practitioner that works to resolve PTSD. EFT=EMOTIONAL FREEDOM TECHNIQUES) We all carry hurts from the past that were never satisfactorily addressed. They show up as negatives in our present. If u are open to some exploration and clearing check out http://www.eftuniverse.com Dawson Church and his associates are helping clients eleviate childhood wounds that provide better health and well being. I use tapping personally and professionally. I just experienced a “healing circle” with my Mom(89 yo), Sister(62yo) and Niece(31yo)…we all experienced negative/abusive treatment and are helping each other recover. It was magnificent.

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    • Keep searching…you can heal this pain you have experienced…there are soooo many magnificent options…explore and discover what will be a fit for you…I found Emotional Freedom Techniques-tapping. There is also Cranial Sacral, Reiki, meditation … its all “energy medicine” … search…search and search some more!! You’ve got this!!

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  250. David I read every word you wrote. I am 53 and have struggled ALL my life with trauma which started as young as 3, went through a parent divorce in which my father kidnapped me, age 5, told me my mother was dead and i was abused by his mother whom he took me home to help raise me, he worked 14 hrs plus a day and did not have time for a child but didn’t want my mother to have me.. Was sexually abused by a step brother, uncle, guys i babysat for, older men, my husband from the age of 3 up until 35. Husband eventually left me but stalked me at home and work, threatened to kill me, asked someone to do it. I had a mother who either never cared or didn’t know how to care – either way she never once asked me if I wanted or needed to talk to anyone when she finally found out about one of the sexual abuse cases, I never told her of the others because she did not do anything about it. I had 5 kids with my husband. Moved many miles away, met another guy who after 1 son who was 6 but it was after 11 yrs with him got removed for viewing child porn.. Raised my kids mostly on my own. I have struggled with anxiety, depression, PTSD. I read above that it may be complex as my struggles were many and not just one incident.. I don’t know where life is taking me.. but I don’t want to struggle anymore. I am tired of living day to day but with an 11 yr old son I must keep going. I have never attempted to take my own life but have said I am done fighting on more than one occasion. My daughter struggles too and attempted to take her life 2 times. I have no idea where life is taking me but I am on a road I don’t want to be on most days. Thanks for sharing.. I scored an 8 on the ACE’s. Thanks for everyone sharing. I read most of the comments here…

    Liked by 1 person

    • Kathy, so sorry to read about your life and all what’s has been dealt to you.
      If I was female or a black person, I know that I would have not made it through my teenage years. Ironically the special treatment of my younger sister caused me to hate females for many years. I was so afraid that I wouldn’t love my son; mainly from how my father was. And then when my daughter was born I was so scared again; until I held them and could not believe how natural it was to love them so much. I was shocked at my overflowing love and concern for them. No matter how far away they are or the length of time since I saw them last, my thoughts of them will always warm my heart. So proud!
      I will reply to everyone’s responses later, as it was such a wonderful feeling to actually see that others listened and of course how sad it is to hear of so many others with so many issues in their lives.
      Keep trying for yourself, or continue for your children’s happiness.
      James, oops, David

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    • Hi Kathy
      Please consider EMOTIONAL FREEDOM TECHNIQUES-tapping.
      Find a practitioner that deals with PTSD(it’s not just for war vets)
      http://www.eftuniverse.com has practioners listed that have experience guiding clients with life stories similar to yours. You are brave and magnificent. Allow this process to release your childhood wounds so you can enjoy life and your precious son!
      I use EFT daily both personally and professionally. I am not equipped to guide you (yet) so please give yourself the gist of freedom from your difficult past.
      EFT is just one method in many that may bring about release for you. EMDR, Cognituve Behavioural Therapy, Reiki, Cranial Sacral…there is so much … keep looking…it is a journey and one very much with doing…please give yourself and your son this gift of freedom…

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      • Thank you so much. I’m really struggling but am working with someone who understands it all. Just hoping it helps me.

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    • Hi Kathy…you have the ability to move through this…please consider finding practitioners that know “energy medicine” Emotional Freedom Techniques – tapping has wonderful results for people living with PTSD..your story carries a lot of old stress..it’s locked in your cells..there are modalities to clear it successfully … check out the research on http://www.eftuniverse.com from Dawson Church PhD.. keep searching…heal the past to live FREE in the present and future!

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  251. Interesting, but this leaves out “subtler” issues such as emotional rejection, parents with undiagnosed personality disorders such as a narcissism, parental projection, and adoption – crucial issues that often lead to substance abuse and suicide as well.

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  252. I scored 2 on the ACE. On the Resiliency test I have 8 definitely true and 3 probably true, and of those DT’s and PT’s I think that 8 are still true. I didn’t have any relatives beyond my parents and my sister in my life when I was a child because my parents were immigrants and the relatives were in Finland, but on the few occasions when I did meet them, their love for me and for my sister was real. I am 61 years old, if that makes any difference, and my parents and their siblings are all deceased.

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    • So glad to see that you had a great childhood. If possible continue to pay it forward. We need more positive strong people in the world.

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    • It sounds like you are doing well enough for yourself, and I like your taste in music! But why did you come here and post if you are in a good place? Do you feel like these tests accurately reflect how you are feeling, or do think that you might be suffering from something that the tests are not catching?

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  261. My ACE score would be higher than 10 if there were more questions.
    I scored a 1 on the Resiliency questionnaire, as we had rigid house rules that got us in trouble if not followed; how was this a positive thing? I was found capable for doing my chores and did lots of extra work for the attention I was looking for. About everything else I scored as definitely not true.
    The severe beatings started at 3 years old. Siblings picking on me and the humiliation seemed to last a lifetime. I can still remember the nightmares and they happened a lot during the daytime as well. Since I had to escape onto a hidden place in my mind, all I do is daydream like having ADD.
    Only a few years ago when I turned 60 was I aware of my PTSD. Learning things like in school or reading is so difficult to retain. I was so shy that I always felt left out. I started pushing myself out of my protective shell around 20. College was not a word spoken in my family but I was scripted to finish high school with 3 years of continuation school, plus not to mention attending 3 different kindergarten schools because of moving regarding my father looking for work. I cried a lot. I felt school must have been a punishment for us kids and a reward for the parents who got a break from their kids. No one ever told me the purpose of school. I felt like I was walking off the end of a pier when i graduated high school as i was completely lost as to what to do then. Since I was a white male thy thought I was already given all the breaks so all I could be was a janitor from age 16. Then a school custodian for a few years until I joined the Air Force at 22.
    At 12 I wanted so much to run away from this horrible family but had no where to go so i decided to be my own parent and stay with them. From about 114 on I lived at friends’ homes and could stay at my home on the bed on the patio. Sometimes I slept in parked cars and laundromats when I didn’t have other means. I hated society in general and stole more stuff than I’ll ever be worth. I fought and protected others in gang fights. At 16 my friends and I were attacked by about 20 angry home owners because the car driver was racing and slammed on his brakes. They carried out hammers and crow bars and attacked the car when we returned. Someone threw a 2 1/2 pound weight threw the windshield and knocked me out. I spent the rest of the evening at Kaiser getting this golf ball sized hole in my forehead and other places from the glass tears sewn up.
    8 years in service with a college degree. Than one more later with 2 certificates in power system electronics and solar power. Worked in several power plants and with emergency generators but this didn’t get me a job as I didn’t have a trade.14 years as Dept of Defense civilian working on ground radar and traveling on several states and countries. Worked several years for the State of CA as an air pollution specialist then later on in vapor recovery with the air board. Then later with the department of Conservation with the state working as an earthquake instrumentation technician supporting the Geological Survey. Finally retired at 62 and so sick of work life and dealing with people. My eldest son graduated Purdue as structural engineer and is now a heart patient nurse in Denver.
    I have never found anyone to talk too. I have tried countless times but they cannot get past anything else besides trying to find something simple to fix in which is just being ignored. EMDR at Kaiser turned my brains to mush but only felt like they were rubbing my nose in my fears of the past.
    I recently tried Kaiser again and all the can do is prescribe Prozac for depression and Ritalin for ADD which nearly caused me to go crazy with a whole bunch more anxieties. Now they practice ACT and will not even listen to my past childhood traumas in which caused everything.
    Working on my second divorce as I am too critical to live with. First a 10 year marriage losing my pseudo wife and 2 beautiful kids. Now a 29 year marriage that has ruined my second wife with my problems.
    Trying to read books most of my life for self help but with ADD I just can’t get through this stuff. Smart writers trying to impress their colleagues but never reaching the mentally and emotionally challenged readers who are desperate for help who can’t read and accept the material.
    Wishing my childhood could be erased so a new one could be installed so I could have a happy life.
    My bones itch and I have to grind them together to attempt to scratch them. I can’t stand to be touched and my wife isn’t allowed to sit next to me while watching TV. We can’t communicate because she breaks down just beginning to hear my childhood problems. I have one friend but only discuss guy stuff along with wife and work issues.
    I am a great listener and have a ton of compassion towards others. I enjoy handing out money to the homeless or carry and hand out jackets in the winter for the unfortunate ones.
    Can’t stand to be around relatives from my past but my wife insists. I cannot tell them how they’ve ruined my life because it would just hurt them with no way of them truly understanding what took place or possibly dismissing it all. They think my anti-social problems were simply caused by my head accident.
    Love is just another 4 letter word as I was told I was loved but never felt it.
    All alone in my own head and still cannot fix myself.
    One try at suicide but couldn’t stand the thought of hurting my children. Horrible divorce that lasted for too many years.
    Barely drink alcohol any more. My pitiful brain cannot take the effects of marijuana causing overdosing and won’t try any either street drugs and yet I watched lots of my friends inject too much bad stuff in their veins.
    I wish I wasn’t alone in this crappy world and wish someone understood what my 36 hour daily life is like.
    Thanks for listening if anyone ever reads all of this.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Hi David, Your story is heartbreaking – even as you managed to survive and cobble together a life as it is… I can relate to the ‘dream’ state you describe; for myself, I now know that it was (and still is, at times) quite simply: dissociation. For decades, with not a single ally, nor hardly any friends (none of whom knew anything), it was the ONLY way I could escape the fears and my mother’s relentless cruelty. If you’re on Facebook, please look up ACE Story – and join. It’s a private support group, still in its infancy; but I hope you can find safe harbor there too.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Hi Pilgrim and thank you for your response.
        I’ll have to look up ‘dissociation’ and compare it to day-dreaming and mentally escaping.
        I certainly wouldn’t know how to discuss any personal issues before reaching 20. And yet ironically during the 5th and 6th grades I had several classmates that hung around me. And I’d always befriend the new kids or smaller ones as I thought of their feelings of how difficult it was for them trying to fit in. I think I was the anti-bully and yet thought that was normal. Plus I never knew any bullies until all the years starting after the 6th grade.
        I am not a facebook fan as I’m way too antisocial. This avenue of posting is about all I can take. And this recent posting has made me feel a lot better, plus I think I’ve been nicer to my wife and family because of it. Having someone to express my feelings to is truly something I’ve never had and it gives me hope with all the kindness, support and suggestions.
        Thanks again,
        Dave

        Liked by 1 person

    • OMG! This sounds like the childhood from hell! You sound like you are suffering from complex ptsd rather than ptsd. Complex ptsd refers to the idea that children marinate in trauma over their lifetime, rather than experience one traumatic event that usually leads to some type of balancing out. You had to live in a state of fight or flight. How could you learn in school, if your brain felt like it was on high alert all the time? It couldn’t. It is unrealistic to expect children to learn when this is their everyday experience. I am so sorry for your pain. I hope learning about narcissistic abuse helps you heal more completely. It is never too late to make the rest of your life the best of your life.

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      • That certainly sounds like something I should look into. Constant fear and stress for me all my life!

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      • Thank you Lisa.
        I had not heard of complex PTSD and yet it does sound like I have been marinating in my horrible childhood experiences and certainly not one time or two.
        I remember having some kind of an emotional melt down in the 3rd grade. I think I was simply convinced by my teacher and my mom to straighten up and do my best to get over things.
        Later in the 4th through the 6th grades I would notice that the other kids would be sitting still in their desks and relaxed as I was constantly fidgeting in my seat and my toes would dig and dig inside my shoes and I would wear them out from the inside before the outside would wear. Getting called on in class was a death sentence too. Never having the guts to raise my hand to answer a question. Drawing attention to myself with everyone looking at me would give everyone the opportunity to see how ashamed of myself I was. Just dropping a pencil would cause half the class to look over at me so I had to be on constant guard to not do anything that attracted attention.
        I can still remember my 6th grade teacher asking me to come to her desk and read a paragraph in a book to see if I was ready to advance in my reading and I just day-dreamed through the whole thing and could only answer that I didn’t understand it. Then going on to junior high was about the last of what I can remember of being able to focus and learn anything.
        Anyway thanks for this information and your comments.
        Dave

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    • David this link gives a good explanation of the trauma process https://vimeo.com/137937852 While EMDR does work I would suggest that you see some one who is very experienced with treating trauma and has training and experience with more then one treatment model . There is an old saying that I can’t remember where I heard it that goes “if all you have is a hammer then everything is a nail.” Don’t give up there is hope. Also you can check with Saj Razvi – Trauma Dynamics to see if they have any trained people in your area.

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      • Thank you Thomas for this information and your response.
        I will look into this site along with checking with Saj Razvi regarding the trauma dynamics. I would think they would have something in my area.
        Thanks again,
        Dave

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    • I read every single word you wrote and did not even think of anything for you to fix around my house. My heart goes out to you, so much misery over 60 years. And yet it is a miracle that you have not suicided or killed others — it’s like you were raised to end very very badly.

      I hope you found some of your jobs interesting at least, if not satisfying. It is a amazing that you could accomplish all that and barely be able to read.

      I hope that here you can find people who can hear you out, relate, and hold up a mirror to the person you really are under all that abuse.

      One suggestion? If Kaiser has little or nothing to offer you, try Adult Children of Alcoholics. It’s not just about alcoholism, but anything that makes people totally incompetent or destructive raising kids. The structure may not be for you, but the connection with people would be wonderful.

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      • Hi Jean,
        Thank you for your response. Yes, 60 years does seem like a long time to endure all of this. Suicidal thoughts as a teen I believe are quite common but I knew that wasn’t the answer. After my divorce I was really pushed to that point but when I realized that it would hurt my children I knew it wasn’t the correct way to do things. And I still feel that way today as I love them all and could never hurt them like that.
        Dealing with other bad people and most of the bosses that I have put up with has really tempted me to do something drastic but I still have the love of my children that helps guide me away from those thoughts.
        I spent many years as a teen living with friends and one mom thought I’d never make it to 18. Getting married, as crazy as that sounds at that age, really helped me to find the mature side of being a husband and father though.
        Working in all my jobs is actually amazing that I did so. Books are not my friend and pretending to learn things the hard way certainly makes it so much harder. Although wanting to be a productive worker and trying to blend in as a normal person kept me trying to be the best as I could be. (If they only knew)
        I have learned a lot about myself and that helps but it’s still a constant battle to stay positive and bolster up my self esteem, in the stupid fight to block out all the kind compliments that I have received.
        I will look into the Adult Children of Alcoholics as you mentioned and see if that might be a way that I could identify and possibly fit in, and be rewarding.
        Thanks again,
        Dave

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      • Keep us posted, will you? I think a lot of people care about you already and would like to hear how you are doing. I certainly do!

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    • I read your entire post David. I can relate and I am sorry. My dad died on my third birthday. I’d like to think life was pretty good up until then. Two years later my mom made a horrible choice in her next husband and life was hell. No need to go into all the details. I too graduated from college and had a decent career. I have no contact with the family I grew up with. I have been married for 40 years to a man who grew up in a healthy home. There is no way he would every understand my past and all the nuances. I made the choice to see my self as a survivor and that helped. I hope with all my heart you can find peace.
      Karen

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      • Hi Karen,
        Thank you for your response. I’m sorry that you lost your father so young and so sad that his replacement was so bad. Although you sound like you had the strength to carry on and get an education and do the best you could. Yes, it’s not easy for a spouse from a healthy family to truly understand folks like us. But finding one that will listen and try to understand is a great find and the 40 years speaks for itself. My two wives have endured their own problems through their childhood and it does seem like a losing combination from the start but we did try. I am hoping that we will at least hit the 30 year mark and make it through this time of slowly pushing my son out of the nest. She has endured too much and it’s not easy letting her be free. But I owe it to her from all the love and kindness that she has brought into my life.
        Thanks for letting me express my thoughts.
        I hope you you can continue to enjoy your marriage and your life.
        Dave

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    • Hi David. I was wondering if you might have heard about “energy healing”. There is a method I have learned about called Emotional Freedom Techniques-tapping. Research has shown it’s effectiveness in reducing and dissolving issues of PTSD in about 6 – 90 minute sessions. There is a practitioner in Tacoma, WA Judith Frost who works with veterans from the Iraq war with pretty good results. Maybe getting in contact with her will give you direction of a new healing journey to consider. Please don’t give up. You wrote this letter and I believe you can gain relief from your “troubling past” and live a fulfilling present.

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      • Hi Cindy,
        Thank you for your response. I will check into this EFT and see what I can learn about this energy healing. The tapping reminds me of the EMDR procedures in which really seem to have a connection to things that are deeper inside.
        During my time overseas while stationed in Greece I felt the connection of the older folks that went through all the bombing during WWII and I think I can imagine the troops that have served their times in the latest wars and what they have been going through.
        They did have me test for any instability before I went on this remote tour, but having been through a divorce months earlier and already having PTSD all my life, I really don’t know how they could say I was fit to handle the M-16s and other handguns on that site.
        Anyway I will look into the Energy Healing and see if Judith Frost has any helpers down here in CA.
        Thanks again,
        Dave

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      • I’m so glad to hear you are open to exploring the process. There has been an article posted by Kaiser Permanente regarding the efficacy of EFT. Also check out http://www.eftuniverse.com … there will be a directory of practitioners there as well. Get well and be well!

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    • I read it. I’m sorry you experienced all this and that your life to date has been so hard. I hope you find someone who can listen.

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    • Hello
      Very sad to hear. You are very clear about your problems and it’s impressive that you have worked hard at finding solutions. I’m emailing just because I’m finally finding a way through my own crappy life, it’s being resolved by a therapist who is taking me back to the difficult childhood experiences, and I’m actually getting the chance to feel all the emotions I should have felt st the time. I feel the sadness, anger, fear etc and feel absolutely awful on the sofa and for the week. And then it’s gone. Processed. I can move on from the experiences that I’ve never let go of, emotionally and physically. If you read in self help books about how to cure emotional hurt, it gives you the theory but not necessarily the safe place to experience the emotions. It might not be at all what’s needed for you, but just on the off chance it is? I’m not sure why the help you’ve had from professionals hasn’t worked. I’d try again. It’s important to get someone you really trust to take you through. A childhood swap would be a close second though!

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      • Hi Sarah,
        Thank you for your words. Yes, a childhood swap would be so rewarding. I’m glad that you found someone who has worked with you in dealing with your past. I just love it when I can imagine that poor little boy who gets brave enough to come closer to me and eventually sits on my lap so I can hold him and give him the love and attention that he needed so many years ago. Each time he’s quicker in climbing up knowing that he has found someone who cares for him. As his tears slowly dry up, mine are flowing as I see how much I can tell that he has needed this for so long. I wish I could take this further but as much as it helps him, I am in so much pain too, as I’m trying to release the pain and being overwhelmed by it all too.
        Thank you for letting me share this with you.
        Dave

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    • Read it all. There is at least one of us out here wishing the past could be different for you and hoping there is a way to reclaim your present.

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      • Thank you LeAnne.
        Apparently there are a lot more who are sharing your wish. All the replies and helpful suggestions are so nice to receive. Plus simply typing out my thoughts and feelings has made me feel so much better too.
        And yes, I hope we all can reclaim a happier life and smile again.
        Thanks again,
        Dave

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      • Thank you Diane.
        That’s one more site to look up and learn from and I will get to it later.
        I still shutter as I remember the physical pain of the beatings. My way of describing the pain is way too graphic for this avenue of posting. So as much as I’d like to, I won’t.
        Reading and replying on this site has been very helpful as it just hurts so much to have to keep it all inside.
        Some peace would be nice.
        Thanks again,
        Dave

        Like

    • My dad just died at 64, unexpectedly after mowing the lawn and taking a minute to catch his breath. He was found the next day, after a night in the car, dead. He was a terrible father – growing up we were in constant fear – he had 7 beautiful kids – I was the oldest. He was volatile, unpredictable, immature, selfish, and motivated by pain. Despite all that – and all the painful memories – we are devastated that dad is gone. We know he had a difficult childhood and he did the best he could. He was a piece of work – stubborn, many times ignorant, he had bad ADD, and he wore his pain on his sleeve with his nasty ego – constantly putting his own kids down in an attempt to prove himself superior – nevertheless, we loved him – and only wanted his approval and love. We believe he loved us in his own way and more importantly, we loved him unconditionally. Despite the fear we grew up with somehow we were able to look past that as adults and realize – it wasn’t as simple as “he was a bad father.” He wasn’t playing with a full deck of cards from the start. He did the best that he could. He was our dad, a disappointing one most of the time, and he definitely helped screw up his kids, but it’s not a lie when I say that he will be missed. Sometimes no matter how dysfunctional someone is, or how much pain they cause, they are still lovable. And that is a phenomenon I cannot explain.

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      • Stephanie, your description of your father hits home for me. I’m wishing that I was able to view my Dad in the way that you seem to be able to, but it’s not in the cards for me. I stay away from him and have for most of my adult life because I believe it’s in my best interest. He is 71 now and I’m 47. I don’t wish him any ill will. I just don’t like him or want to be around him, and it’s clear that he feels the same way. It’s wonderful to be able to recognize that your parents “did the best they could” with what they had to work with. My father, like yours, had a tragic childhood that I am able to attach as the cause for why he is the person he is, which is not a very lovable one. The problem with this though is that it rarely remedies the situation, just because we’ve become aware of this and have connected some dots. This awareness of our parents being handicapped through no fault of their own doesn’t equate to finding peace within the relationship with them. It can and does for some remove the resentment, hate, and other negative emotions that a child might have attached to said parent, but if that parent’s behavior hasn’t ever evolved it becomes a matter of re-inflicting oneself over and over again with the exact same hurt that we felt as children. I think there are parents who have the capacity to evolve and understand that mistakes they made as parents have had a negative impact on their children and then in their own way let those adult children know that they have become aware of this. In this scenario, tremendous healing and positive outcomes can happen because the child has now been validated. However, when this enlightenment doesn’t take place it’s usually toxic to continue being around these types of parents. Not for all, but for most of us it would seem. I know that no two situations are ever alike. I think we all have different thresholds for what we can and can’t endure, both as children and as adults. Your post gives me pause and I thank you for this.

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    • I just found out about the ACE score. I saw a counselor a couple of times as part of Employee Assistance Program–3 visits for a discrete issue. This counselor shocked me by telling me I need to work on trauma issues. I have had counseling in the past (I am nearly 70) and, like you, they seemed to work on quick fixes or behavior modification or coping skills. All along, I have been really disturbed as a result of my childhood. My ACE score is 7 and I had the same score on the resilience scale as you had–1 because of the presence of rules in the house. I had a much “nicer” childhood than you had but I think children cannot discriminate between really horrible and brutal and just run-of-the-mill abusive. I think the response is the same and I fit the definition above shown in the graphs. I was an alcoholic (I guess I still am but do not drink) and depressive and subject to abuse. Everyone abuses me if they are inclined and I take it. I should put that a bit in the past tense. I have finally, at this late date, begin to stop taking the b.s.
      I did read your whole post.
      It was very helpful to me to know that I am NOT crazy. I am not the total bad guy in my life. I feel terrible about all the negative things that I did—my fault–and were done to me–my fault because I was such a wuss. Now I see something that explains my helplessness in this business of life.
      I had my grandmother who loved me but I didn’t see her very often. And she was the major influence in how to deal with life for me, which was an unfortunate negative as she was a huge Catholic martyr. So that fed into my feeling of just-suck-it-up and I-am-not-worthy. She meant well but she wasn’t helping my situation. On the other hand, what could she say? Could she say “my son is worthless and my daughter-in-law is worthless and you have terrible parents”? She couldn’t. And my teachers disliked me because I was chubby and badly behaved and had bad hair and wore glasses. Ditto the other kids. So I was smart and should have done better. That isn’t a compliment. That is a statement of failure. I didn’t feel smart. I felt exhausted. I couldn’t concentrate. I was terrified all of the time and insecure and unloved.
      Eventually I started using my brain and did well in school. I had zero support on that although my love of learning has allowed me to keep going and learning all of the time. I have too much education for what I am paid and I continue to be too nice.
      I am tired of being miserable and being a willing victim. I am going to get some counseling for PTSD and I advise you to do the same. Insist upon it. Show them the scores. I don’t know what ACT is but it probably is just superficial behavior mantras or something–anyway, you are not getting any younger. Stop the madness. You are articulate and you get it–you were screwed from the get-go. Now you can only do so much but it can be better. I believe that. I am moving on and am hoping for better days.
      Good luck to you!

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      • Hi Candace; thank you for reading my long-winded post. There’s so much to tell others when one is reaching out for help. I’m truly sorry that you were also one of the ones that had such a tough time growing up with a family like that. As a child going to school we are really blinded by thinking that we are the only ones going through this. There should be a way to have counselors to turn to during those years. Can you imagine signing up for a class where you learned that so many others were hurting too and we all got to share our pain? Someone telling us about being able to stand up for our feelings and learning about self esteem. I really couldn’t care less about Magellan sailing around the world as it was too meaningless to learn when I was young. Teach me how to get in touch with ME! Be able to play with others who I recognize that also need a special and understanding friend as well. Being able to stand up to the bullies and tell others NO, when they are trying to use or abuse you. Learning and defining our inner strengths would have been an awesome tool when we were young.
        I didn’t use our EAP system as I had Kaiser but I sure wished I did. The ACT stands for Acceptance and Commitment Therapy. What I didn’t like is that it completely ignores the past, or the root of our problems. It focuses on mindfulness, whatever that is! Then you find the demons in your mind and simply ignore them. The reading material was way over my head; a lot like all my electronic college books where it’s one engineer trying to impress the others but lose sight that they are trying to teach us ignorant students. And the only demon I could find was myself!
        Anyway I guess it’s not too late to learn about trauma and the PTSD classes. And as one learns to drive a car using the defensive driving method, preparing in advance to detect the users around us and learn to stand firm with politely saying NO!
        I hope this gives you strength and a determination to make our lives a lot better as we journey through many more years.
        Thanks again,
        Dave

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      • ACT would be far worse than nothing for me. Mindfulness is fine, it just helps you focus on things, but the other part, not allowing one to deal with the past, is insane. I would think that the first step in finding a therapist is searching for one close to where you live. If you are ready to take that step, we can give you online resources in locating somebody suitable.

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    • Please try to find a therapist who specializes in Trauma..you CAN get better! I am so sorry for your pain. Your so called ADD is likely more accurately part of your PTSD: it’s a coping mechanism you used to survive. Thank you for sharing your very painful experiences!

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      • Thanks for your response M. Welsh and Sarah,
        Yes, maybe someone who knows about trauma would be helpful. I had not thought about that before as I don’t think I had gotten that far in my self-diagnosis. I have so much anger and pain that I hold down deep inside me. Somethings are hard to understand for me. Like in my thirties trying to ‘wrap my head’ around the meaning of ‘Self Esteem’; it was something that took a long time to even accept this concept as I never had any and couldn’t imagine me with any once I found out what it meant.The word anxiety is something that seems like a Greek word that I can’t identify with. I mean I always feel like a nervous wreck and as much as I have been a good father, I am still burdened with guilt of anything I did that was wrong in the past.
        My family always felt that my head injury was to blame but I had way too many problems before that. Basically I had a numb spot across my forehead and I lost 2/3 of my taste and smell senses. The texture of food is how I feel and taste things and I am not picky about any foods since there’s not a lot of flavor that I can detect.
        Nonetheless, I will do some research on trauma. Currently I am reading about my back pain and trying to see if it’s brought on by TMS,Tension Myositis Syndrome, and possibly why I seem to be couch and bed ridden for weeks now instead of days. The author talks about one’s mind feeling bad from anger and anxieties and it creates a pain in the body to keep one from being hurt emotionally. BUT, the way I view my anxiety is like viewing my shadow and how it’s filled with bad stuff. The only drawback is that I feel like I’m in a room with no light so everywhere I look is a shadow. So is it like one can’t see the forest for the trees? I just can’t get to the level of understanding all of this.
        So in the mean time I am physically in pain with this bad lower back; my emotional state has always been hurting and my mental state just seems to run around in a daydream most of the time. I am truly surprised I can withstand any of this stuff. But I am still trying.
        Thanks again for your thoughts and ideas.
        Dave

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      • Sorry I jumped the gun on finding a therapist. About back pain, it’s the worst, most debilitating. I have spinal stenosis and a few other things wrong with my back and when it is in a flare (eg getting worse) it is excruciating. I find that being anxious makes it worse because all my muscles get tensed.How the hell can we relax? You probably don’t even know what relaxation feels like.

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    • ACE score is 7 and resilience is 5

      What does this mean?

      alcoholic father, passive aggressive [smashing doors and windows, un-allowing me and my mother to sleep, committed suicide -my mother was overly-controlling and thus toxic. I was using drugs to help me cope with social anxiety and depression, got into 4 toxic relationships, I am slowly recovering 10 years later living abroad. I’ve completely cut links to my toxic family [my mother still tries to control me, I believe this wont change- and has nothing to me forgiving her or not]

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      • Hi Daniel. It sounds like your home life was a lot like mine as all these bad things around you certainly make life difficult afterwards. I also have stayed away from my toxic family as well, except for my wife trying to drag me back in there. My mom is just too old to lay this information on. Older brother has his share of financial problems. Younger sister’s dead from drugs and younger brother is lost to a drug life too. A whole bunch of losers it seems but I think I was the only one really screwed at an earlier age so maybe the first to start understanding what happened.
        These folks are recommending therapist and I know there are some real good self help books out there as well. I hope you can continue to pull yourself out of the hell that you have been pushed into.
        Best of luck,
        Dave

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    • I really don’t have the right words to say to help you but I wanted to let you know that I did read all of your post and I’m sorry for what you have gone through. You talk about your children a few times in your post in a way that indicates how much you care for them and that at least one of them is successful in a way that makes a positive difference in the world. That is something you can be proud of even in the midst of your pain. Give yourself credit for breaking the cycle to the best of your ability. And give yourself grace that you have been and are doing the best you can do. Never give up.

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      • Hi Sandy, thank you for your kind words. And just this morning I found out that my son just accomplished all the training and is now a Cardiac Surgery Recovery Nurse and is at the top of the ladder for ICU experience as his first year through. His wife, another nurse has been going through chemo this year for breasts cancer and my wife and I will be going there for a month to help with the 5 and 3 year old grand kids.
        My love for my children along with the kind words from you and the others help me along in making it through life.
        Thanks again,
        Dave

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