Archives for July, 2014

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There’s No Such Thing as an Adverse Childhood

Adverse (ad'vərs,'advərs; adjective): preventing success or development; harmful; unfavorable. Definitions matter, because the words we apply to our lives influence whether we feel hopeful or discouraged.

Can a childhood be adverse? Events during childhood can certainly be harmful and unfavorable. And yes, painful formative experiences often limit success and development along conventional avenues. In my own case early loss, trauma, and neglect contributed to unsustainable career choices, nervous breakdowns, conflicted relationships, substance abuse issues, medical problems, and so on.

But let's...
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Child Abuse: Just My Imagination?


Are memories of childhood adversity nothing but self-defeating stories we tell ourselves?

It's easy to question the way childhood hardship lingers on the mind. Does thinking about the past do more harm than good?

A few years ago, after a book and a meditation retreat  raised these issues around the same time but in different ways, I wrote an essay on my private site: WillSpirit. What follows is a revised version of that posting.

In Radical Acceptance: Embracing...
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My Childhood Made Me Do It!

The good thing about having been raised badly is that it provides an excuse for the embarrassments of later years.

Have you succumbed to addiction? The Adverse Childhood Experience Study demonstrates how susceptibility to alcoholism and drug abuse rises in near-lockstep with one's burden of early hardships. Has sustaining relationships proved difficult? Data support a similar connection between numbers of romantic partners and formative adversity. Have you struggled to take care of your health and suffered from medical and psychiatric problems more often than others? Rates of heart disease,...
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Childhood Suffering and the Promise of Freedom

Can you imagine feeling grateful for childhood adversity?


Though such sentiment would once have seemed absurd to me, it's now an established feature of my life. This striking shift in outlook prompts me to start a new blog.

More than five years ago I launched an online journal called WillSpirit that helped me explore the many problems I faced: professional failings, psychiatric diagnoses, addictive tendencies, stormy relationships, spiritual malaise, and so on. From the beginning I knew my root problem was childhood trauma, but...
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