Two words suddenly popped into my mind while I was washing my dishes this morning.  POP!  There they were:  TENSILE STRENGTH.

TENSILE by itself concerns 1: capable of tension 2: of, relating to, or involving tension, and is a word most often used as a metallurgy term, such as the tensile strength of steel cable.

Looking at this definition at Webster’s online I also found:  TENSILE STRENGTH: the greatest longitudinal stress a substance can bear without tearing apart and ULTIMATE TENSIL STRENGTH, which has no definition of its own other than “tensile strength” itself – being a combination of words, I guess, that appears blatantly obvious in meaning!

So, how about infant and child abuse survivors (and survivors of other severe traumas)?  This is what WE have always had – one degree or another (depending on the degree of stress/distress we were/are under) of tensile strength and of ultimate tensile strength when needed!  But there has been a price for most of us to pay to continue down the road of living.  Given way too much trauma/stress/distress/tension/pressure to bear often from the time we were very tiny, adjustments had to be made inside our body-brain as it developed.  I refer to this as the experience of Trauma Altered Development (TAD).

Here are some posts on this blog on TAD:






Many of the physiological changes that happen inside the body-brain of a traumatized infant-child, most often through early attachment caregiver relationships that are unsafe and insecure, take place at the weakest points, the most vulnerable ones, where the traumas have created too much pressure on the ‘system’ of the little one.

There is another branch of information on the TAD tree of knowledge:  Allostatic Load.

Here are some links to posts on this blog that illumine what allostatic load is and how it is related to RESLIENCY FACTORS and to RISK FACTORS that influence how trauma survivors endure:

*Allostasis and Allostatic Load

*Chapter 4b – Risk – allostatic load


Allostasis and Allostatic Load: Implications for Neuropsychopharmacology

Bruce S. McEwen, Ph.D.

(Click on his name for most current info on his work – he is a brain researcher who heads a neuroendocrinology lab at New York’s Rockefeller University)

Among the useful concepts I found as I began to study about allostasis and allostatic load a few years ago was Dr. Bruce S. McEwen’s discussion of a human continuum variation in terms of our basic constitution that has some of us on one end with a body McEwen refers to as “DOVE-like” on one end and those who are more “HAWK-like on the other end – with an entire range in the middle.”  Doves are naturally more sensitive (most simply put) and hawks are more aggressive (read article HERE).

Much of our DOVE or HAWK nature is genetic, but it is important to understand that even in the womb the mother’s stress level is communicating to her unborn the conditions of the environment which in turn can alter how DOVE- or HAWK-like genes manifest in the body being formed.  Vasopressin and oxytocin are both involved.  See also:   The End of Stress As We Know It by Bruce S. McEwen (Oct 16, 2002)

Blog posts here:



The new thoughts that are beginning to filter into my writing-learning process have to do with widening my perception of ‘all things related to surviving traumas’ to include consequences of surviving early infant-child abuse trauma not only on the physiological level and the psychological level, but also how severe trauma affects the relationship between a child and its soul.

In order for a human soul to be able to fully express the wonders of its full potential in this world it needs to be able to work with a HEALTHY human body.  When early trauma causes Trauma Altered Development as a consequence of too high of an allostatic load on the developing infant-child, very often sickness invades the body in one way or another.   Consequences of a sick body that blocked the expression of my mother’s soul in her lifetime so that what we call ‘evil’ erupted from her is, to me, but one small example.

(This blog post is simply meant to present some information for further investigation to those readers who find the topic helpful.)

Research on Allostatic Load HERE


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