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Working Through Childhood Traumas or ACE’s

Working through Childhood Traumas or ACE’s is one of the most difficult and rewarding journeys. I know, because I am currently going through the process. To be completely transparent, I thought I was a really happy kid that was able to adapt easily. The truth is, I realize now I was only masking my struggle.Often time with the need to over perform and perfectionism just to be able to reach levels of recognition every year.

What Were My ACE’s?

At this point, you’re probably wondering just what my traumas were and why I felt the need to over perform. ACE’s are personal and while I’m happy to share my score of 7, I’m not really keen on opening up about how exactly I got those scores. I will say this, my parents are both immigrants from Bolivia and a lot of immigrants have a harder life ahead of them due to lack of familial support, financial hardships, unfamiliarity with the system, etc. All things considered, my parents did the best they could but even then, I ended up with the score of 7.

That said, my therapist and I have the same discussion every week “do I feel this campaign is helping me?” She sees my struggle and my response is usually a muted yes. Perhaps because I’m still going through the process and it’s painful to think of the various scenarios that happened as a child that affect the way I function now. Moreover, it can be difficult to reflect back on a scenario you experienced as a child with the understanding of an adults’ perspective. Let me give you an example, with both my parents working, I really didn’t have the time needed to connect with my parents. A lot of times I felt lonely as play dates weren’t set up. So instead I had two imaginary friends, an elephant and a mouse. I guess at the very core that is the definition of post traumatic growth. In psychology, Posttraumatic growthis a concept describing positive psychological change experienced as a result of struggling with highly challenging, highly stressful life circumstances. 

Post-traumatic Growth and ACE’s

I know what you’re thinking, how could imagining a friend be a positive thing? It was a coping mechanism I had at the time and it’s just one of my many quirks that allowed me to continue to be the positive, happy person I am today. That mouse and elephant solved my problem of loneliness for the time being. Well, now as a mom to a 7-year old daughter I am mortified to think back on just how lonely I was. I could never imagine my little Amelie looking into thin air, laughing and playing hopscotch with an imaginary friend.

That said, I like to think of my life as a Kintsugi vase. Kintsugi is the Japanese art of putting broken pottery pieces back together with gold — built on the idea that in embracing flaws and imperfections, you can create an even stronger, more beautiful piece of art.

I bring that art into my own parenting style. I suppose embracing my flaws makes it easier to accept the fact that while I may not have the same skill set as other parents, whatever parenting style I am adapting for my family, beautifully strengthens the flaws I once had.

At the end of the day, I am grateful for having discovered the science behind ACE’s because as painful as the journey has been, I know that everything I am doing is not only for my benefit but for my daughter’s as well!

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