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This video will be useful for those of you who are ACE children or who love one. See, ACE kids are different. It’s obvious. Some can hide it. Some display it in the wide open. Some are on the journey to healing. Some want to but don’t even know where to start.
To begin, an ACE child is one who was engulfed in toxic stress growing up. This entails neglect, abuse, witnessing or being the victim of violence. Commonly, per resilientchildfund.org the 10 ACES are:
A family member with a mental illness
A family member with a substance addiction
A family member incarcerated
Domestic violence in the home
Losing a parent to separation, divorce or death
The higher the score- meaning, the more boxes you check off- the more you are likely to suffer from:
Fantasies or thoughts of ending ones own life or actual attempts
Stroke or other heart issues
Other chronic health problems like cancer and diabetes
Common traits of the ACE child as an adult include but are not limited to:
Dislike for humans or misanthropy
A disbelief in eternal or unconditional love
Adoration for animals and young children
A negative outlook on life and/or a feeling of constant hopelessness
Inability to distinguish between the promises of love or the reality of it
IED or spurts of anger/rage
What gives me the right to speak on this topic? I was a former mental health counselor to my peers as well as a mental health sufferer. I was treated for the s-word where one wishes to take their own life (I can’t say the word or Youtube will scold me) once but the s-word was a part of my life in a very serious manner twice. I was a drug addict. I’ve been homeless. I had PTSD from my neighbor beating me near-death when I was 24. My ACE score is pretty high- an 8/10. I was not sexual abused as a child nor did I have a parent incarcerated, but I did have an ex who used to play pretty dark games with me when I misbehaved. I had the living shit kicked out of me since I was 6ish and called Bitch since I was four. I got beat for spilling paint or losing a barbie shoe. My entire existence was in fear. Even now, the abuser is still so. She is elderly now.
Kids are not born jovial but it isn’t long until they get there. If you truly think about it, an animal can fall out of their mom’s vagina and land on the hard ground yet start to walk within hours, barely bitching and moaning the way human babies do. When a human baby enters this world, it’s a struggle from the break. There’s this teeny weeny canal that the baby smooshes their entire head in trying to squeeze through. Once they get out of that crazy tunnel, it’s an outburst of crying. The bitching starts right away. But, like I said, that slows down and the baby turns cool. It’s said that joy is a baby’s natural state. This joy usually dwindles when a child begins school, as this is when rules and others dictating parts of our lives begins, and tapers off in adolescence.
The child already doesn’t want to be here. It’s not as if they asked for this life anyway. Once they go home, if that home is not safe, if their caregivers do not evoke the feeling of safety, trouble brews. The first few years of life are so crucial for brain development. Synapses need to fire. Things need to get worked in order to develop properly. Sometimes if some parts don’t develop, other parts can’t flourish either which can lead to an even bigger problem- i.e. an even bigger imbalance in brain development. Every part of the human body is connected. So if neurons and such don’t get exercised properly, it could affect other parts of the body. Hence, chronic illnesses being a possibility for ACE children.
A child does not learn from words but by action. It is a natural biological instinct to need that caregiver and to behave in ways to appease them. If that caregiver- most times, the parent or parents- yells without explanation, acts out without apology, does not hide their own pain and sadness, projects their own woes onto their children emotionally or physically, the child lives in a world of darkness. The body is releasing all the stress hormones into the body. Eventually, all it takes is a sneeze from that offending caregiver for those hormones to flood into the developing body. After a while, that’s their constant mode- a fight or flight hypervigilance because they never know when it’s coming. All they know is it is coming. It being the abuse they are victim to or witness and the other traumas they’re exposed to.
It is also said that as a person grows up, they seek relationships and partners that are familiar. ACE children have a tendency to seek or attract friends just as broken as they are and lovers who are familiar but incompatible. Until they realize their past, reflect on it, and truly start to heal, cycles get repeated, feelings get bottled up or keep spewing out of the surface like a volcano, and humans put more stock in the darkness than the light. It’s what people know. As INFJ, or any highly sensitive individual, the ACES from childhood shape how we love now. Sure, life teaches us this too and the experiences throughout our entire lifetime, but it’s those traumas we hadn’t yet healed from or faced from the start of us/our beginnings, our roots, that truly shape our mindset. We can want or dream all we want but what we believe in or put stock in is what we knew. One warm fuzzy moment out of 100 by no means compensates for it.
For INFJ, or highly sensitive souls, the more you see, the more you know- and, mind you, you know all this from firsthand experience- the more things hurt. The more the darkness seems to outweigh the bright. It’s not us being negative, it’s our reality. The grown ACE child in our NF predicament finds it hard to trust. We’ll always speculate if the “I love you” from others is genuine. We doubt most humans have the right intentions. The ACE child grown up understands the serial killer, the rapist, the child abuser, the criminal. The few times they witnessed a good deed or an authentic smile still keeps that inkling of hope within them. It’s why they may not hate humans entirely even if they do feel so much better without them. It’s why they still believe in angels too and not just demons. The ACE INFJ chooses to be alone. It’s far from lonely. They’re with the one person they can trust. They know animals and young children- before the world gets the chance to taint them- are their true selves and it’s why ACE INFJ respects them like none other.
Once the ACE NF personality does take those first steps to healing, they realize they may never be wholly happy but they do give their full love and loyalty to their beloveds. A cognizant ACE NF stops cycles even if they still dwell on things every once in a while. You can remove a person from ACE situations but, once exposed, you can never erase the ACES from that person. An ACE NF all grown up is half saint-half sinner. They’re super sensitive with eyes wide open. This makes them difficult to date…until you begin to understand their brain chemistry and learn what makes them tick. The last thing anyone should do to an ACE NF is to persecute them for their honest feelings or to leave them in your dust. ACE NF’s need closure and acceptance, to be heard not healed. Once the holes of their childhoods get filled in slowly, they’re the biggest lovebugs and the deepest souls you’ll ever meet.