Updated: Feb 29, 2020
The majority of those who grew up in dysfunctional environments don't know that it's proven that most of their challenges, chronic pain and illnesses are a result of their adverse childhood experiences.
Children develop coping mechanisms like a high pain tolerance and/or ability to "go away" or detach from their environments. The coping mechanisms act as bodyguards to help them survive and manage overwhelming experiences. But when the body guards are on duty because the dysfunction is chronic, the developing brain becomes wired for fear, the body is bathed is stress hormones creating inflammation and constriction and the bad memories are stored in the subconscious mind and somatic (muscle/tissues) of the body.
The central issue is that the body guards stay "on guard" long after they are no longer needed. They continue to inform our behaviors and pull our strings in ways that we cannot see! The body guards that were a blessing during childhood become overly protective, meddling and irritating over time. Almost as if they've gone rogue, they stay on guard 24/7 and 365 and work against survivors.
Coping mechanisms needed to survive chronic fear are like body guards that stay "on guard" long after they are no longer needed. They continue to inform our behaviors and pull our strings in ways that we cannot see!
This phenomenon was irrefutably demonstrated in The Adverse Childhood Events (ACE) Study, a landmark study of more than 17,000 people, overwhelmingly made a direct connection between negative physical, emotional and behavioral effects seen in those with chronic trauma and or neglect during the first 18 years of life.
As the above graphic shows, the three types of adverse childhood experiences were categorized and the landmark ACE Study made a direct connection between a person's ACE Score (a tally of different types of abuse or neglect) and their risk for health problems. So...if you want to take charge of your physical, mental and emotional health or if you've ever wondered how bad it really was, it helps to know your ACE Score.