Our childhood experiences affect us in ways more than we can ever imagine. They literally haunt us, if we have undergone adverse childhood experiences, or ACEs in short. I will repeat the introductory paragraph in the above picture here again, for emphasis:
“This chart shows the sequence of events that unaddressed childhood abuse and other early traumatic experiences set in motion. Without intervention, adverse childhood events (ACES) result in long-term disease, disability, chronic social problems and early death. 90% of public mental health clients have been exposed to multiple physical or sexual abuse traumas. Importantly, intergenerational transmission that perpetuates ACES will continue without implementation of interventions to interrupt the cycle.”
When a child is born, his parents are supposed to be his first – and crucial – attachment figures to provide the all-essential safety and security. But when that does not happen, and the child undergoes trauma, then the impact of trauma manifests in many ways that affect emotional, psychological and physical health through adulthood – and the generations after.
Just take the perpetuation of violence for example. A person who uses violence on a spouse could be doing so because he or she is triggered by traumatic memories of a parent who used to teorrorise or abuse him or her. If this person also uses violence on his or her child, the child might end up perpetuating violence on his or her own child in future. And thus, the intergenerational transmission of violence.
The good news is – this intergenerational cycle can stop. If the involved parties are willing to say, I really want to change and I hate for this cycle to continue. With psychological interventions, nutritional supplementation, good accountability partners and repair of attachment relationships, I dare say one can start anew with fresh eyes, fresh ears and a new brain. It takes a lot of work, but better late than never.
Last but not least, there is a website where you can actually find out your ACE score, and the studies done to show how extensive the impact of adverse childhood experiences is. You can check it out here.