Guest Post: Hope It Helps Someone

Much of the beauty of having this website is having conversations over the phone, in email and on Facebook. I now have the community I’ve craved most of my life.

What readers of this site don’t get enough of, in my opinion, is the back and forth. So much happens in relating and conversing and sharing WITH each other.

I’m going to share guest posts and guest blogs more often. This is a one-woman operation so nothing happens quickly. However, it happens…. and here is a time it is happening.

The basic theme – we are not alone – is what I hope is conveyed.

The back and forth is included and then E.B.’s own comments and experiences which is also helpful to share. While we often have lots in common we are also and always totally individual.

Individual. But not alone.

I admire how hard she has worked, how much she has figured out and what she has learned and how she cares so well for herself. She shares what she notices, has observed, studied or practiced. I love this free sharing and helping one another.
So here goes.

E.B Fitzgerald wrote:


Thank you. Thank you for creating such a sound container for transparent sharing. It’s something that has often felt missing in the healing community. It feels like the ACEs (Adverse Childhood Experiences) discussion has helped us all find a language for our trauma history that is safe while giving us a way to come out from silence and validate each other. Like, hi! I see you! And your 3,5, 7, or 10 aces! It’s brilliant. 
E.B Fitzgerald

I wrote:

Dear E.B.:
Little else is more important, in my book, than survivor to survivor sharing. We all learn so much and know so much and you shared so much of what you’ve learned, seen, experienced, felt, observed, gathered and noticed. THANK YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I know (your writing) will help someone. I’m someone it helped! ….I LOVE recycling challenges into gifts. I LOVE that!!!
And here is E.B.’s lived wisdom and her own opinions and advice about healing. It’s free.

E.B. Fitzgerald Wrote: Hope it Helps Someone

My ACE score is 9. I’m a licensed professional counselor, clinical supervisor, artist, writer and ACE researcher. I followed a series of blog links on ACE research and resilience questions and found this website. It’s a brilliant concept and one that I began researching in graduate school with Dr. Priscilla Dass-Brailsford who studied resilience theory exclusively. The focus of her research had been on children from war-torn countries, and then children who had grown up in abject poverty in the United States. In her course, what I learned was that there is no single way to predict a child’s resilience when it comes to surviving adversity. I called it the ‘x-factor’ in my papers, and still in my work with children and trauma (using my self and my siblings as reference guinea-pigs) I question what it is or was that predicts which child will thrive and which child will be sick from childhood trauma for the rest of their (possibly shortened) lives.
I agree that the Resilience Questionnaire which accompanies the ACE test is triggering and subjective. If I am a child or adult who was abused in childhood, how am I to determine whether or not I was loved? Particularly for those of us who are in abusive adult relationships and haven’t yet learned or realized that abuse is not equated to love?
What I have begun to recognize is that some children seem to have an innate emotional intelligence which steers them towards healthier choices and optimism. They seem to find their own ways to rise above their circumstances, but no one in particular seems to have to tell them to do this. Similar to the Marshmallow Test; these are the two-marshmallow kids regardless of their circumstances. Delaying gratification for individuals with a victim-mentality appears to be a difficult concept because the individual already feels deprived. I’ve worked with many recovering addicts who had abusive childhoods, and they’ve told me this, ‘why should I have to give up x, y or z when I didn’t get A, B, or C?’ Resilient kids and adults don’t think in those terms, or if they do, they’re able to see past the hurt-thinking to something more empowered.
As for the practical kinds of things I have done to heal from my own abuse I would say a combination of a life-long faith practice, therapy, safe relationships with healthy friends and mentors, exercise and paying attention to my diet 99% of the time (Exercise is the greatest free medicine), meditation and mindfulness which I started at a very young age, volunteering, practicing gratitude and constantly reminding myself of what I have instead of what I think was missing or ‘bad’, recycling my challenges into gifts (asking myself what was good about each area of abuse, assault or pain-what did I learn etc, who can I help with that etc?), studying my experiences and turning it into a profession-that has given me a way to make meaning out of my experiences which I think is important for trauma survivors-to be able to say that what happened to me ended up helping someone else means that it wasn’t for nothing; my pain had a purpose to help someone else.

I also spent time re-parenting myself and learning how to nurture myself. It’s taken me a very long time to learn how to do very basic things, like buy clothing that makes me feel comfortable in my own body. No one told me to do this or showed me how. I learned by working with adults in recovery and asking them how they felt in their bodies; it was through reflection and then a failed, abusive marriage that I actually learned to look at myself, or see myself. I think part of trauma-survival is the ability to stay detached and remain invisible, so when we finally do come back to our bodies…well, I was kind of a hot mess and no one had told me that I hadn’t brushed my hair in 20 years?

One last tid-bit I’d highly recommend is not having children. I knew at very young age, as a parentified child, that I did not want to raise my own children. I think that has been one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. I spent my childhood raising my siblings and sometimes raising my parents. Then in college I started raising myself. I’m almost 40 now and feeling like I’m all done with raising kids…my inner kid, my parents inner-kids, my siblings…and now I’m enjoying being auntie! The only kids I still work with are the ones I’m paid to help. Boundaries!!! Learning boundaries makes my giant student loan debt worth it. So, dear abused kids: Don’t have babies till you’re sure you’ve raised your self.
Thanks for letting me share. Hope it helps someone. In peace.

You Matter Mantras

  • Trauma sucks. You don't.
  • Write to express not to impress.
  • It's not trauma informed if it's not informed by trauma survivors.
  • Breathing isn't optional.

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