The Adverse Childhood Experiences Side Effects in 50-60 year old Adults

The responses to an open-ended online survey question were heart-wrenching.

“Those five years ruined everything. My self-identity is sad, melancholic, shy, retiring and angry… never content or at peace.”

“It has hampered me all my working life.”

“Problems with relationships with the opposite sex my whole life made me think something was wrong with me.”

“I will never know the person I could have become….”

Lasting Scars of Childhood Sexual Abuse

All of those comments were made by adult men who had experienced sexual abuse at the hands of clergy, particularly priests, when they were children. Collected as part of a 2010 survey, they illustrate the insidious harm that can follow individuals throughout their lives when they are badly hurt — physically or emotionally — as children.

A study of more than 21,000 child abuse survivors age 60 and older in Australia found they reported a greater rate of failed marriages and relationships. 

(See below for a video of one such man.)

Childhood sexual abuse is just one type of early trauma that can affect one’s life for decades — even into middle age and beyond. Research has shown that childhood trauma, ranging from parents’ divorce to alcoholism in the home, increases the odds of heart disease, stroke, depression, suicide, diabetes, lung diseases, alcoholism and liver disease later in life. It also increases risky health behaviors like smoking and having a large number of sexual partners. And it contributes to “low life potential,” according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control. 

One more thing: those traumatized as children die earlier.

Screen Shot 2016-12-08 at 10.22.34 AMCredit: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Childhood Trauma: Too Much to Handle, Too Soon

From 1995 to 1997, the health maintenance organization Kaiser Permanente in California conducted a survey of more than 17,000 of its patients. 

The “Adverse Childhood Experiences” or ACE study asked respondents to indicate whether they had suffered any of the following during their childhood:

  • Emotional abuse
  • Physical abuse
  • Sexual abuse
  • Mother treated violently
  • Household substance abuse
  • Mental illness in household
  • Parental separation or divorce
  • Household member in prison

A portion of the respondents were also asked about emotional and physical neglect. The most common experience reported was physical abuse (28 percent), followed by household substance abuse (nearly 27 percent). 

The more Adverse Childhood Experiences a person reported, the higher the risk of experiencing poor psychological and physical health later.

A 2010 update found similar results.

Paralyzed with Shame

Jim McDonough, 61, was a happy, inquisitive kid who earned excellent grades and loved the outdoors. A lifelong resident of St. Paul, Minn., he joined the Boy Scouts when he was 12, attracted by the prospect of frequent camping adventures. 

But those camping trips soon became terrifying. The scoutmaster, on the pretense of separating a boisterous group, brought McDonough into his tent with him. He then sexually abused him. McDonough “froze,” he said. It happened repeatedly for four years (see the video below). 

Besides a brief mention to his wife years later, McDonough told no one.

“There’s a lot of shame with that,” McDonough said in an interview. “(I thought) no one will understand this. The shame always comes back to, ‘Was it my fault?’”

A Secret Until Age 60

Not long after the abuse started, McDonough began sneaking alcohol from his father’s liquor cabinet. He used drugs and booze for years to “kill the pain.” He married his high school sweetheart, but she could not put up with his drinking and the unpredictable bouts of rage. 

After she left and they divorced, McDonough cleaned up his act. He went through chemical abuse treatment and the couple remarried. But McDonough, who serves as an elected member of the Ramsey County Board of Commissioners, knew he still had not dealt with the deep wound of the sexual abuse.

“It takes a lot to come to terms with this,” he said. “I worked really hard on myself to be a better person, to really understand who I was.”

On his 60th birthday, McDonough held a press conference: He had filed a personal injury lawsuit against the Boy Scouts of America and the local Boy Scouts council. (A Minnesota law temporarily lifted the statute of limitations for childhood sexual abuse cases.) Coming forward was “putting the shame where it belonged,” he said.

Indeed, the ACE data found that childhood sexual abuse was reported by just 16 percent of males and 25 percent of females. Underreporting of such abuse is common.

The animation below, by Twin Cities PBS in St. Paul, Minn., illustrates the research on adverse childhood experiences.

Trauma Hard to Divulge

Adults age 50 and older are far less likely than younger people to reveal a childhood trauma of any kind, said Michael Barnes, clinical program manager at CeDAR, the Center for Dependency, Addiction, and Rehabilitation, at the University of Colorado Hospital in Aurora, Colo. 

“I think some of that is generational and the view of counseling,” he said, “and there’s a significant difference between men and women.” Women are more likely to tell others. Men are socialized to be stoic and not complain, Barnes said. He estimated that 30 to 90 percent of the patients seen at his addiction program on any given day had some sort of childhood trauma. 

Scott Easton of the Boston College School of Social Work has studied how childhood sexual abuse affects men in later life. In one study, which received a federal National Institute on Aging grant, the men who were sexually abused as kids waited an average of 21 years before they told a single person about the abuse. It took them 28 years to give a fuller account to someone else. 

“The longer they waited, the worse their mental health,” Easton said. 

Emotional Effects in Later Life

Children don’t know how to process a traumatic event or environment, experts say. Those who suffer childhood abuse or trauma often grow to distrust others, having been betrayed by the very adults who were supposed to teach, nurture and protect them, according to the Australian abuse support group Blue Knot Foundation.

A study of more than 21,000 child abuse survivors age 60 and older in Australia found they reported a greater rate of failed marriages and relationships. Abuse survivors were more likely to rate themselves “not happy at all” or “not very happy.” They attempted suicide at a rate four to five times higher than those who had not been abused.

Others with a history of child trauma may later experience problems such as these, according to experts: 

  • Anxiety 
  • Sadness and depression
  • Hypervigilance
  • Drug or alcohol abuse
  • Addiction to gambling or shopping
  • Feelings of alienation
  • Feelings of hopelessness
  • Low self-esteem
  • Adult relationships with abusers

Another common trait among trauma survivors is the need for control, Barnes said.

“Control can look one of two different ways: ‘I’m going to control everyone and everything around me, so I can feel safe,’ or ‘I’m going to withdraw from everything and control by not participating,’” Barnes said. “So for a lot of older folks, they are underemployed (or) they may work in very independent kinds of work.”

Healing Is Possible

It’s important to remember that not even adults are good at dealing with the powerlessness of traumatic events, much less children, Barnes said. 

But there are a number of therapies and tools that can help trauma survivors. Barnes has seen great strides in mindful meditation as a later-life treatment for early trauma. Dialectical behavioral therapy(DBT) techniques and cognitive behavioral therapy may also help, he said. 

Coping strategies also include taking good care of your health, seeking joyful activities and learning a new physical skill, Blue Knot Foundation says. The group also recommends learning distress tolerance(or how to soothe oneself) and arousal-reduction tools (taming anxiety and anger).

This self-help guide from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration offers additional suggestions for dealing with trauma.

Screen Shot 2016-12-05 at 10.11.40 AMCredit: Centers for Disease Control and PreventionThis article was written with the support of a journalism fellowship from New America Media, the Gerontological Society of America and the Commonwealth Fund.

By Emily Gurnon

Emily Gurnon is the former Senior Content Editor covering health and caregiving for Next Avenue. She previously spent 20 years as a newspaper reporter in the San Francisco Bay Area and St. Paul.@EmilyGurnon

Next Avenue brings you stories that are inspiring and change lives. We know that because we hear it from our readers every single day. One reader says,

“Every time I read a post, I feel like I’m able to take a single, clear lesson away from it, whp

A teacher discovers the magnitude of childhood trauma in his classroom: ACEs at Onate High School | ACEsConnection

I received the following essay from my colleague Bill Soules, PhD a week ago. Dr. Soules is a New Mexican state senator and educator—a champion working to prevent adverse childhood experiences (ACEs). I am publishing his article, a call to action, with his permission. —Dominic Cappello Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs), such as abuse, neglect, and witnessing experiences like parental conflict and substance abuse, have been found to have devastating effects on the future health and…
— Read on

The U.S. tried to take language on reproductive health out of a U.N. resolution to prevent violence against women – VICE News

The U.S. was the only country to vote against the language.
— Read on

Childress On Family Code

Trauma repeats patterns. One of the abuse patterns of this pathogen is to isolate the victim from any potential rescue or support… in this case, that’s you… you are being isolated in “forensic psychology” and the courts from any possible rescue and support.

You are the intended victim of the emotional and psychological abuse, the other parent is using the child as the weapon to abuse you. The loving bond you share with the child is the vehicle that the other spouse-and-parent is using to inflict immense emotional and psychological suffering on you (punishing you for the marriage and divorce).

The pathogen (the rippling of trauma) has isolated you from support and rescue. It has created a situation where you must do the most difficult thing possible in order to have a relationship with your child… you must document and expose the pathology in court through trial, using standards of legal evidence, in an exceedingly expensive court trial, before a judge who does not understand complex psychological pathology. What could possibly be more difficult?

The diagnosis of pathology is NOT accomplished through litigation. If a child has ADHD, we don’t litigate the diagnosis to prove ADHD to the court in trial. If a young person develops schizophrenia, we don’t have to prove the diagnosis to a judge, in court, by trial. Pathology is diagnosed by psychologists, not judges.

But you are isolated away from clinical psychologists (the fixing psychologists) and you are given entirely to “forensic psychologists” who are stone-cold stupid. They know absolutely nothing about attachment, trauma, family systems therapy, or personality disorders.

Don’t believe me? Ask them to complete the Curriculum Knowledge Scale to show us just what they know… or don’t know.

Curriculum Knowledge Scale

They will refuse to complete this scale because it will expose them for being stone-cold ignorant.

We need to extract you from your isolation in the courts and forensic psychology, and we need to return the diagnosis of pathology to clinical psychology. AB-PA represents the return of clinical psychology (complex trauma, attachment, personality pathology, family systems therapy) to court-involved practice.

There are two extraction packages in development to extract your families from the court system and return your families to diagnosis by clinical psychology (by professionals who know about the attachment system, complex trauma, personality disorder pathology, and family systems therapy).

The first extraction package is from clinical psychology, it is the six-session treatment focused assessment protocol.

Assessment of Attachment-Related Pathology Surrounding Divorce

This is a clinical psychology assessment protocol for the referral question:

Referral Question: Which parent is the source of pathogenic parenting creating the child’s attachment-related pathology, and what are the treatment implications?

This extraction packet will require the consent of both parents for the clinical psychology assessment… or by court order. The current goal is to obtain this court order by stipulation of both parties in pre-trial agreement, the long-term goal is to structure a progressive intervention process of increasingly focused interventions.

This stipulated agreement by both parties for a treatment focused clinical psychology assessment was acheived in one case I was involved in, and I will be sharing the structure for the court order that both parties agreed to once that case concludes (I do not want to interfere with any actively open case by posting specifics until it’s closed).

But this was a major advancement. Both parties reached a stipulated agreement for a treatment-focused clinical psychology assessment of the family, structured around the Diagnostic Checklist for Pathogenic Parenting and the Parenting Practices Rating Scale.

The goal is NOT to prove “bad parenting,” the goal is to identify the treatment needs of the family – solution focused – the goal is to restore the family’s successful transition to a healthy separated family structure, in which the child’s loving attachment bonds to both parents are rich, full, and complete.

Solution focused goal: A healthy post-divorce separated family structure. That’s non-negotiable because a healthy separated family structure is always in the child’s best interests following divorce.

The six-session, treatment focused assessment protocol requires the participation of all the family members (both parents and all the children), so it requires the agreement of both parents or else it needs a court order.

The second court extraction method is through the Custody Resolution Method (CRM) from Dorcy Pruter and the Conscious Co-Parenting Institute. CRM is a systematic compilation and organization of documented data into themes and indicators of concern, using standard research methodology for data compilation with “archival data” (existing documented data sets).

CRM uses all documented data sources – reports, emails, text messages – all documented data – to compile frequencies for themes and identify family symptom indicators of concern based on structured definitions for each indicator.

Trained data taggers go through the documented data piece-by-piece, tagging each piece of evidence for the indicators of concern. This yields a compiled frequency profile for each indicator of concern from the data set.

A “family code” can be generated from this data tagging procedure using the Diagnostic Checklist for Pathogenic Parenting and the Parenting Practices Rating Scale. This family code can then be interpreted by professional psychology relative to family processes of concern.

The “family code” generated by CRM is based on the documented data set, and because symptom identification was not done by a mental health professional directly with the family members, the indicators of concern and the family code generated would need verification by a mental health professional directly through clinical interviews.

However, data compilation by CRM does not require the agreement of both parents (the targeted parent provides the data set for compiling) nor a court order. It can be sought by one parent – the targeted parent.

Whereas a six-session treatment focused assessment requires the agreement of both parents or court order… CRM does not. One party – the targeted parent – can supply the documented data set of reports, emails, texts, etc. to the Conscious Co-Parenting Institute CRM team for data tagging and compilation.

CRM compiles and organizes the data set into meaningful categories, identifying frequencies for each category in the documented evidence for each indicator of concern. This CRM data profile can then be used in the legal argument for the next-level intervention of a six-session treatment focused assessment that will document through direct clinical interview with a mental health professional the indicators of concern identified in the CRM data compilation profile.

The goal is to achieve a pre-trial stipulated agreement to solutions rather than requiring court orders. If we need court orders we will have the legal argument package for those orders, but our goal is a stipulated agreement to solutions.

Once we achieve this framework, we then layer on the lower-level solutions advancing to the higher-order solutions, and it all becomes structured, low-cost, and as low-conflict as possible (recognizing that the severity of the pathology may require higher order intervention if needed).

There are now three alternative approaches available to parents and the courts:

Traditional Custody Evaluation: A traditional $20,000 to $40,000 child custody evaluation and report taking six to nine months to complete.

CRM: Data compilation and profile report from all sources of documented data (reports, emails, texts, etc.) for identified indicators of concern within the family.

Treatment Focused Clinical Psychology Assessment: A structured limited-scope clinical psychology assessment to answer the referral question: “Which parent is the source of pathogenic parenting creating the child’s attachment-related pathology, and what are the treatment implications?”

Change is here. As family law attorneys develop the various court orders for solutions in cases that I’m involved in, I will provide the structure for these orders to Dorcy at the Conscious Co-Parenting Institute (CCPI) as an available inter-professional resource.

Dorcy and her coaches can then collaborate with parents and their attorneys on acquiring the proper court orders that lead to solution. We are building solution. Change is happening.

Our goal is to extract your families from the legal system and return assessment, diagnosis, and treatment of pathology back to clinical psychology – NOT “forensic psychology”; we are rescuing you from forensic psychology as well; it is forensic psychology who are colluding with your abuse.

Change seems new and different, until it’s not. Things need to change.

Craig Childress, Psy.D.

Clinical Psychologist, PSY 18857

I did myself , for lack of support Therapy via this offering of Trauma Informed Therapist

If you haven’t watched the movie Gandhi, I’d suggest you watch it. It is the strategy we’re using. Martin Luther King, Jr. too. It is a strategy of exposing the injustice by forcing it into its cruelty.

In 2019, one of the things I’m going to be asking targeted-chosen parents to do is to get trauma recovery therapy for you – for yourself. Your trauma is traumatic grief – it is a form of complex trauma.

As a clinical psychologist, I am referring targeted-chosen parents to therapy for your sadness, grief, and loss.

I want targeted-chosen parents to find a trauma-informed therapist or domestic violence therapist, and to get treatment for their complex trauma… at least six months.

These therapists are your allies in professional psychology. We will want to incorporate them into the treatment team for your families. We want them to provide consultation to other mental health professionals involved with your family.

Besides your own recovery, the other thing this does is exposes your trauma to your abusers – forensic psychology, who is colluding with the pathology in creating your traumatic grief and loss. Clinical psychology is going to start treating the emotional trauma created by forensic psychology.

That will create an interesting position, one component of professional psychology treating the trauma created by another component of professional psychology.

This is a trauma pathology. You are the target. You are being abused; emotionally and psychologically abused. You are being emotionally traumatized by the loss of your children; it is a form of complex trauma called “traumatic grief” – it is a sadness so deep, and a grief so profound and for so long, that it is traumatic. Complex trauma; traumatic grief.

Forensic psychology is colluding with your abuse and traumatization. We are going to expose that by treating your abuse and trauma.

We will recruit your therapists to add their professional voice to yours in seeking solutions. Don’t you recruit… you just get therapy. Let me recruit them. When the time comes I will provide you with letters to give to your trauma therapist. You let me handle that. You… get therapy for your traumatic grief, at least six months.

One component of professional psychology is going to begin treating the emotional and psychological trauma being systematically created by another component of professional psychology.

Gandhi was kind and compassionate… always kind… and he was tough as nails – relentless, and immensely annoying to the injustice of British colonial rule. He fought injustice by exposing it. That is our approach, we are going to expose the pathogen.

You are being traumatized. Get therapy for the trauma, the emotional trauma, your traumatic grief. Clinical psychology treating the trauma created by forensic psychology and the family courts.

Craig Childress, Psy.D.

Clinical Psychologist, PSY 18857

A pathological liar does not even start to describe a Narcissist’s use of lies when they are on the prowl for their supply!

A pathological liar does not even start to describe a Narcissist’s use of lies when they are on the prowl for their supply!
— Read on

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder : Aftermath of relationship with NPD

This is not known or not exposed by professionals ..I remain targeted as long as I breathe , in my knowledge of truth and ownership of his property , NPD never forgive, never heal, never give up their fight towards truth, light and love .

What is Post Narcissist Stress Disorder (PNSD)?

Much like Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, PNSD is a disorder that comes about after one has been living in close proximity to a narcissist. Living with a narcissist can be extremely taxing on a person. Narcissists tend to be extremely manipulative and abusive. They will often gaslight their victims and make everything about their own feelings.

After getting free of a narcissist’s influence, people can often experience a period of helplessness, anxiety, anger, or depression, much like what happens after a traumatic event. People with PNSD react much like people who have PTSD. There are three major signs for someone who is suffering from Post Narcissist Stress Disorder.


“Trauma is personal. It does not disappear if it is not validated. When it is ignored or invalidated the silent screams continue internally heard only by the one held captive.” – Danielle Bernock


Much like PTSD, PNSD can also cause the survivor of the narcissist to have flashbacks to their time with them. This can happen for any reason. There are things called “triggers”, which can be any range of things. These triggers cause a person to “flashback” to their time with the narcissist.

According to the Royal College of Psychiatrists Public Education Committee, “You find yourself re-living the event, again and again. This can happen both as a ‘flashback’ in the day and as nightmares when you are asleep. These can be so realistic that it feels as though you are living through the experience all over again.” Triggers can be certain smells, certain places, certain behavior, or even certain sounds or words.

Many people who suffer from PNSD may have a hard time dealing with other people’s emotions because a narcissist will often fly into a rage at the drop of the hat. Someone suffering from PNSD may be triggered into a flashback when they perceive someone as being upset or angry with them. The survivor may also get flashbacks to periods of manipulation from the narcissist.

this may lead to extreme paranoia, where they wonder if the people around them are manipulating them. It may feel like they’re playing a game they just can’t win, even if no one around them has an ulterior motive.


Someone who is suffering from PNSD may become avoidant of any number of things. This avoidance may manifest in an avoidance of people, places, things, activities, or even emotions. Narcissists tend to control their victims, using manipulation and anger to keep someone under their control. Even once the survivor is free from the narcissist’s power, they may still exhibit PNSD in the form of avoidance.

Often times, the survivor will avoid things that remind them of the narcissist’s anger or things they weren’t allowed to do while under the narcissist’s influence. They may also become emotionally avoidant. People who are victims of a narcissist will often be gaslighted into believing that their emotions are damaging to the narcissist. This may lead to someone with PNSD to be distant from their emotions because they had to learn not to feel anything to survive the narcissist.


One of the major symptoms of both PTSD and PNSD is an extreme difficulty returning to normal life. For a person who is trying to return to day-to-day life after living with a narcissist, this may include anything from paranoia to panic attacks, to depression. Living with a narcissist can be extremely overwhelming, and someone who does so has to shift their expectations of day-to-day life.

They often have to learn to adapt to a “new normal.” Afterward, when they’re removed from the narcissist’s influence, the survivor may find it difficult to adjust to life again. They may have panic attacks or question their own memories and observations.

But there’s good news. According to Mayo Clinic, “Most people who go through traumatic events may have temporary difficulty adjusting and coping, but with time and good self-care, they usually get better.


Knowing the symptoms of PNSD can be incredibly helpful, especially when you’re trying to figure out what can be done to aid a survivor of a narcissist. Here are some ways to make the life of a survivor easier and help their transition from living with a narcissist to living their lives again.


Survivors will want to tell their truth as they remember it. Allow them to speak. Listen to them and validate what they’re saying. WikiHow states, “Use active listening. Don’t interrupt but try to repeat what you hear in order to make sure you understand. Let the conversation end if it becomes too intense.

Make sure they know that you hear them. It can be incredibly valuable to the healing process for a survivor to be heard.


They may be feeling all over the place, but the important part is they are feeling. Emotions aren’t “good” or “bad”. They’re neutral and important to our survival. If a survivor tells you that they’re feeling angry, or hurt, or afraid, listen to them and validate how they’re feeling. Even if the emotion isn’t appropriate for the situation, survivors often have to relearn how to use their emotions.


People who exit a relationship or living situation with a narcissist often have to build their support system from the ground up. “You can gently encourage and empower your loved one to start healing the rift by interacting with people and the world. Again, don’t push. Your loved one might resist, so simply promise to be there,” adds WikiHow.

Being there for them will mean more than you can imagine. Sometimes, all they need is someone to be there when things get rough. Even if you’re just there to offer a listening ear, you’ll make a world of difference.