In partnership with Stress Health, an initiative of the Center for Youth Wellness.
I have talked about my difficult childhood and how to recognize toxic stress in childhood, but what can you do once toxic stress has occurred?
As a young child, I lived in an abusive household. The situation was pretty bad, and my grandmother stepped in to care for me. For years, she had custody of me before going through an official adoption process. It was all very difficult and challenging. In the end, although I still had some challenges as a kid, I was able to overcome the adversity from my childhood.
The key with toxic stress, once experienced, is to protect and heal. While I don’t really like to think back to my childhood, when I talk about it, people usually tell me that they are surprised that I came from such an awful situation. It goes to show that perseverance and care really made the difference in my life. Once I was removed from the traumatic situation, my life changed drastically.
There are several “building blocks” that play a role in health and overcoming toxic stress, which include sleep, nutrition, exercise, mental health, mindfulness and healthy relationships. My grandmother’s goal was to take me out of a bad environment and nurture me, making sure that I had a well-rounded childhood. Just being in a positive home and having the consistency of a supportive parent was life-changing.
As an adult, I know I have some lingering issues from adverse childhood experience (or “ACEs”), like how I deal with stress. I have to make an effort to manage my stress because it can be overwhelming.
…you may find that it’s easy to be a calm, empathetic and effective parent even if your own childhood was difficult and traumatic. But even with this help, you may find that your past has left you with an outsize response to stress – one that can sometimes undermine your relationships and your parenting. Parents with ACEs may find it harder to stay calm in situations that don’t faze other parents. (www.stresshealth.org)
If you are a parent that had a tough childhood and has trouble when it comes to stress, you can continue to nurture yourself to overcome or manage stress issues, from stress relief activities to making an active effort to put in quality time with your children.
I still had my share of challenges even after I was adopted – but it was the nurturing, caring environment that turned my life completely around. My grandmother was disabled and we had very little money, but we had each other. Our family was small, but every weekend we would drive to my great grandmother’s house and spend the weekend there. It was about feeling safe, comfortable, and loved, and those are the memories that I think about when I look back on my childhood.
Thanksgiving at my Great Grandmother’s House.
For more detailed information about Stress Health, created to support families and individuals dealing with adversity and toxic stress from childhood through adulthood, visit the Center for Youth Wellness.
Check out its resources for parents at: http://www.stresshealth.org
So much love to you. It is hard to look back at such a rough and painful childhood, BUT I am proud of you for the person you have become and continue to work on for the present and future you. Thank you so much for sharing your story. <3
I didn’t have the greatest childhood but nothing compared to yours. Most people don’t even realize health stress. Wonderful you talk about this problem and ways to help.
This would be tough! I’m glad there are ways to help people who have had a stressful childhood. I’m so glad your grandmother was there for you.
I am so sorry that you had to go through that as a child. I don’t believe anybody especially children should never have that kind of pain in their lives. I am very glad that you were able to overcome your pass to become a pretty awesome person from what I can tell. This is definitely something to keep in mind for kids that are going through a toxic stress. I am glad that you’re able to come out on the other side happy!
Thanks so much for opening up and sharing your story. You are a strong woman with the help of God and your Grandmother now a survivor too.
Big hugs. It’s awesome though that you are able to share your story to help others!
It is so interesting that you had problems as a child your pictures show a smiling happy child. It is a tribute to the beauty and innocence of children. I had some stresses I am still trying to get over too.
I think that your sharing of your knowledge in this area and your experiences in this area can help so many readers. It can probably help all of us on some level, whether for ourselves or being able to better understand someone else.
I am sorry that you had that experience as a child. It is always hard to overcome that challenge. Thank you for being open to sharing your experience.
Thank you for discussing this. Sorry to hear about your childhood. This post is going to really help someone get the services that they need.
You’re Grandmother sounds like an amazing woman. Thanks for sharing your story, I’m sure it will some others.
I can only imagine what it was like to go through this. It is great to know you had the support of your grandmother to help you get through it.
Your grandma is an angel for stepping in and raising you. I had some stressful times in my childhood but it’s nothing compared to yours. You are strong.
SO much great insight here and thank you for sharing your own experience as well!
This was very insightful. I dealt with some trauma as well and I find myself struggling with stress somedays.
I dealt with stress myself when my brother passed away unexpectedly. I wonder if I have been carrying this around all this time?
I’m sorry that you have to go through this. You are pretty brave to share this part of your life.
ACES are so much more common than people think. Childhood trauma and toxic stress really affect how you grow up.
I was glad that I read this and I am so sorry that you had to go through a terrible childhood with your Mother. Thank the lord for your loving and understanding grandmother’. I am so glad that she stepped up and did the right thing. Children are a blessing and sure never have to go through any type of trauma. My twenty eight year old daughter was in an abusive relationship with a man for five years. I am happy to say she has been away from him for three years now, and I am thankful for that. But every now and then she still has night terrors. It is really scary sometimes. I know one thing though, I will always be there for her no matter what. She is my only daughter and that is what a Mother is suppose to do. I hope you all the healing in the world, and the rest of your lifetime of nothing but happiness and joy.
Awwww, what a cute little girl you were, so precious. I’m sorry you went through childhood trauma. I can strongly relate to childhood trauma and that, like you, people tend to be very surprised when they find out I have ptsd and anxiety and other issues I have to regularly mentally work on daily because I am such an upbeat, love EVERRRRYYYbody and grateful for even the tiny things others take for granted kind of person. I do think at least part of my exceptionally strong empathy, compassion, etc comes from all the suffering I had been through, I want to help ease that for others when I can. Healing hugs to you.
I am so sorry you went through all that stress and trauma as a child! I’m glad you were able to cope and are now helping others!
Gosh, I am sorry you had a rough start but how fortunate that your grandmother was able to step in and offer you the stability you needed!
So glad that you have been able to take your childhood experiences and turn it to better help others. Thank you for sharing this with us
What I’ve found is that the stress of my childhood helped me to become a better mother. I know what I don’t want for my kids, so I work hard to give them the exact opposite.
At work we do the ACEs assessment on every client and try to make every policy and behavior trauma sensitive, even when it comes to staff.
Gracias for sharing your experience.Thank goodness you were removed from the toxic environment and had such love from your grandmother. BB hugs the child in you and applauds the caring and courgeous woman you’ve become. BB2U
I’m so sorry that you had experience that as a child.. It’s nice to know that nowadays there are organizations that can help us deal with stress.
Sending you virtual hugs and love! I can imagine how hard it is and challenging!
Thank God for amazing people like your grandma that made a difference in your life.
I just hate that any child ever suffers. You are so right that exercise, nutrition, and mental well-being are so important for us. I can definely tell when I haven’t exercised for 2 days as I start to get down.
How true it is when it is said that what ever happens in your childhood marks you for life and how you see life. So great that you were able to leave a toxic environment and be with someone that loved you. Thank you for sharing your story and for sharing resources for others that might need it.
Recognizing toxic environments and the courage to step out is powerful.
Wow my heart goes out to you. Growing up in such a challenging environment can affect you for the rest of your life. This was heartfelt
Sometimes I think the ones with the most challenging time growing up, end up being some of the best parents. Hope your healing continues!
I’m so sorry you didn’t have the greatest childhood, but I think you can more than make up for it by giving your girls a great childhood. You seem to be doing well and have a great plan in place to stay on top.