+RESILIENCY AND DARING: CONSIDERING DEVELOPMENTAL ASSETS OVER THE LIFESPAN

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Last week I received via email some comments on the first two chapters of the book my daughter and I are working on from a woman in the little writer’s group in our town that I have been attending recently.  While I appreciated her thoughts and the time she took to both read what I had sent to her and to respond, my immediate response was, “No.  You are ‘wrong’ and I am ‘right’.  I have the right to write my story my way.”

What did my response mean to me?  Most importantly, that two little chapters are NOTHING compared to what I need to write.  Next, my response showed me that this book will not likely be like any book written as a ‘child abuse memoir’ that has ever been written before.  This book needs to be written MY WAY!

My way is going to be, I realized as I read this woman’s comments, as daring a book as is the story it is going to tell.

Reading this woman’s comments fanned the fading tiny spark of my own belief that this book can be written.  Essentially, I DARED again to turn in the direction of the hope of my heart.

Yet what is so important to me about this single small word – DARE?

“To be sufficiently courageous to….”

“To have sufficient courage….”

“To challenge to perform an action especially as a proof of courage…”

“To confront boldly…”

“To have the courage to contend against, venture, or try….”

Origin of DARE

Middle English dar (1st & 3d singular present indicative), from Old English dear; akin to Old High German gitar (1st & 3d singular present indicative) dare, Greek tharsos courage

First Known Use (in Modern English): before 12th century

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Nothing in these definitions of the word DARE refer to the END RESULT of courage, boldness, daring.

This word is, to me, about something that happens entirely on the INSIDE of a person.   It speaks of attitude.  It speaks of the use of a person’s life force.  And most definitely it implies to me that a DECISION has to be made to utilize one’s life force in a direction that is meant to “perform an action” that will “contend against, venture, or try” against a CHALLENGE.

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Challenges in our environment disturb us and require some kind of an action from us.  But when does our response slip into the category of being a DARING response?

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Putting the bulk of these thoughts aside for the moment, I just know that I can FEEL the call for daring INSIDE of my body.  I feel it right now in response to the information I have recently posted:

+IMPORTANT INFORMATION: ASSETS KIDS NEED (AND WHAT ABOUT ABUSED KIDS???)

+RESILIENCY: LOOKING AT PROTECTIVE FACTORS

This is really scary ‘stuff’ for me to look at, to ponder, to think about – and facing MYSELF as I face this information takes DARING for me.

Do I dare know how much of what I needed during the first 18 years of my life was missing?  Do I dare add onto that the true knowledge of how terrifying my home environment was?  Do I dare know how brutally chaotic and insanely violating and violent my home environment was?

Do I dare to know that not only were nearly ALL of the Developmental Assets described as so vitally important throughout the developmental stages of childhood missing (and the asset information is NOT even speaking about the fundamentally and critically important stages of earliest development in infancy and toddlerhood) – but that horrendous abuse and trauma existed INSTEAD?

Do I dare to know what happened to me in consequence to those horrors?  Do I dare to understand that what is being shown at this link has changed my entire LIFE across my lifespan as I have continued to suffer suffer suffer and struggle struggle struggle against what have always seemed to be invisible monsters?

Take a look at this info:

Protecting Youth from High-Risk Behaviors

Assets have tremendous power to protect youth from many different harmful or unhealthy choices. To illustrate this power, these charts show that youth with the most assets are least likely to engage in four different patterns of high-risk behavior, based on surveys of almost 150,000 6th- to 12th-grade youth in 202 communities across the United States in calendar year 2003. CLICK HERE TO SEE CHART

Looking into protective factors is making my insides shudder, creep and crawl!  This research being presented is being put in the context of negative consequence to adolescents.  IT DOESN’T STOP THERE!  It doesn’t REMOTELY stop there!

Adolescents who are troubled and in trouble, as described in these charts, these ‘Developmental Assets’ deprived young people no doubt started out in life missing huge pieces of goodness in their lives – and as a result will pass through their teen years and right on into their adulthood STILL missing these huge chunks of goodness!

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As I began my ‘resiliency’ investigations yesterday I began at an important place:  I survived 18 years in hell, I came out a good person, and I did not abuse my children.

Today I add – a big – AND?????

AND I began life at terrible risk – right along with the Developmental Asset deprived young people presented as lines in the graphs and charts at THIS PAGE.

And I kept right on going – going – until I reached age 60 having survived advanced aggressive breast cancer that I firmly believe was triggered by terrible traumatic stress during my development.  I am receiving full SS disability for the stress related consequences of being a Developmental Asset deprived person.  I am single with no hope of a secure attachment relationship to a mate (after 2 failed marriages).  I am still and have always struggled in poverty.

I could go on and on with the list of the lifelong consequences I see TODAY as being directly linked not only to the terrible traumatic abuse of my first 18 years, but also to the lack of the presence of most of these assets because nobody else gave them to me when my parents could not.

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All this could seem terribly depressing to me right now – except I possess something of my own to fight back against all the trauma, all the deprivations, even against all the continuing consequences the light of this new protective-factor information I am finding is teaching me about.

I have DARING and in my daring I created the resiliency to not only survive, but to continue to seek to understand my self in my life.  I ALSO care enough to dare to consider what is happening to children everywhere!

Who is meeting the true needs of children in our communities worldwide?  What can I do to help them?  Daring to learn what they need as I learn about what I NEEDED and didn’t receive (and still need and don’t have) is the step I am taking today – painful as my discoveries may be.

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6 thoughts on “+RESILIENCY AND DARING: CONSIDERING DEVELOPMENTAL ASSETS OVER THE LIFESPAN

  1. Today (21st March) is Human Rights day here in South Africa and I woke up thinking about abuse, trauma and the cycle of abuse.
    If only, in our societies we would become more aware of shame – toxic shame and how this takes root in human beings, preventing
    Us from embracing our true selves and finding healing. Just now I googles Complex PTSD and found a really helpful website –
    Just google ‘Emotional Flashback Management in the treatment of Complex PTSD’. This article is by Pete Walker who has 30 years of
    Experience with the topic. I found my feelings and reactions expressed here – and in a very readable, compassionate way. He also give
    Steps to assist people to deal with a flashback.

    I think that tho we have experienced different levels of abuse and thus have more complicated flashbacks – there is something here to
    Apply. Perhaps someone will be able to use Walker’s tips or benefit just from the affirmation gained that their experience was real, traumatic
    And their responses and reactions are not to blame but are in fact right reactions in the context of that abuse! I hope that as more people become
    Aware of the terrible nature of abuse that they will think about how to help themselves and others.

    Walker also has a personal website with more information – pete-walker.com.

    X

    • Thank you! Today I am coping with my main computer having died without warning…… so more later!

  2. I loved the vegetable man post – so inspirational! Lovely and hopeful to see how he and the others are
    Helping others. Maybe you should go check out their church – you may have to don a bikers jacket – going
    Where no woman has gone before : D.

    “Just hard to see that I am a gift to myself” – great! Never thought of that..
    Thank you!!
    X

    • I know there are women there, VM had a very happy one with him at market. But I am terribly shy around strangers! And tho I thought about attending today, of course didn’t make it, but who knows?? xoxo

  3. Whew, am breathing deeply as I read and intend to continue reading. The posts on daring help me to be daring too
    – in challenging internalised beliefs (but doing this of course means facing the lacks and losses & the effects on my
    Development as you say). A many faceted daringness! I think I will read gently and give time for strength and hope to
    Grow – because if we can dare – this is a HUGE wonder.. Just take care of yourself in the daring! So much hope and amazing-ness
    In just daring.

    • Hi! That’s a lot of info – as important as it is — that has to be taken in doses, as you say! And processed over time….

      Had to add the next post that follows on the Vegetable Man! Oh, what gifts we DO have and what gifts we are to others! Just hard to see that I am a gift to myself!

      You are a gift to me! Thanks so much! with love!!!

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