Fandango Provocative Question

#FPQ 20 Hit me baby one more time

fpq

 

Fandango provokes us into thinking once again with his provocative question of:

Does hardship really make a person stronger? If you think so, under what conditions and at what point is it too much hardship? If you don’t buy that hardship makes a person stronger, what do you think does make a person stronger?”

Hardship does make a person stronger, where hardship can take an unlimited number of forms. Each person is a unique combination of “biopsychosocial” components, which is each person’s physical and psychological make-up within their social environment. The hardship can hit anywhere in that arena.

Nothing exists in a vacuum. Whatever “hits” us will result in a response of one sort or another depending on who we are. Whether it’s one hit, random hits, a campaign (e.g. institutionalized oppression), or a pattern of hits will make a difference.

It is important to remember it is us within our social environment, which means how others act upon us, we act upon them, how others respond, individually or as a group, is crucial to understanding how many variables are at work. This means there is no way of pre-determining or developing a formula for any conditions of what kinds of hardship or how much of a hardship is too much. There is a way of maybe looking at generalities as far as trauma responses go.

What is hardship? When does hardship become trauma? Some research has been done on trauma responses in varying situations, but I think that research is in its infancy. One study that was done awhile ago but is gaining prominence again in the study of trauma is the Adverse Childhood Experiences study. It lays out the correlation between certain trauma experiences a person had as a child and the connection between unhealthy manifestations in adulthood.

Click here to see it and to take the test.

 

20 thoughts on “#FPQ 20 Hit me baby one more time

  1. A very sophisticated answer but so true. There are no blueprints for who reacts with trauma on different situations. How we get through is individual too. I think hardship does both. It makes us stronger and weaker just in different areas. 🙋‍♀️🌻🐝

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  2. The article you linked to mentioned “inflamation” (which is often unseen). I wrote a bit about this at Fandango’s blog. I was an otherwise healthy woman in my thirties — and healthy-looking, so there were no observable clues. Suddenly, the stress of the years hit the limit. I developed a rash one day. I called my doctor. On his recommendation, I took benadryl for the first time in my life (I’d never had any allergies or issues). That night, I awakened because I would swallow and not feel like I had swallowed (which woke me after I don’t know how long). I went to the bathroom to get a drink of water, still thinking I’m going to address this and go back to bed. Then, I saw that my face was swollen. While my face had never been swollen before (so any swelling would have been weird to me), it was in fact very swollen. The doctor had said, hours before, that if my throat got swollen I should go to the emergency room. Although I hadn’t understood the implications of what he was talking about, I put two as two together at that point. I went.

    In other words, I was very strong. And then I almost died.

    The article talked about risky behaviors, drug use, overeating, and smoking as leading to various health matters or disease. I don’t know how rare it is, but you can engage in none of those ever[*] and be healthy and still have stress take you out.

    [* except that my mother did push overeating, in the sense of putting what she thought was appropriate on my plate and insisting I finish it all and praising me, when I was a kid — which I easily rejected as an adult — I was never overweight]

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  3. I’m so happy you survived that what I would call “auto-immune attack”, where the body starts to turn against itself. My takeaway from the ACE study and stats is the trauma doesn’t go away just because you physically remove yourself from it. It is still lurking about, still harming, until it can be processed in a way that “emulsifies” it enough so it can pass out of your psyche and stop harming.

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  4. Yeah, I kinda think of it as an auto-immune attack too. No one in the medical realm used that terminology, though. I like your word, emulsify.

    And thanks.

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  5. Part of my problem — and by no means all — was that I kept dealing with my mother (although very much reduced). Then she and my dad got back together (after a divorce). If I wanted my children to know my dad, she had to be part of the picture.

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  6. It wasn’t really. I was very even-keeled. It was tiring to have to correct my mother if she said something really stupid to or in front of my children or didn’t behave decently (examples would be: favoring one child and leaving the other out just because it would be easier; getting up in the morning with the short shirt she slept in and no underpants and going about cooking her breakfast with little kids in the room; saying of a two-year-old that he was going to be a “lady-killer”). Really, it’s tiring, too, to not have the comradery of a mother. [I didn’t quite have the comradery of my children’s father either (while he was better in some ways); that was more the old-fashioned perspective in his head of making money and “helping” me out.]* One thing that was emotional, though, was when I brought my young first child to her home the first time (while she had met him as an infant because she had come to visit in California); I addressed her as “Mom.” She told me to shut up. This was stunning. I figured out she didn’t want her neighbors to know she was old enough to have a daughter who has a child… or maybe she was hoping people would think the child was her nephew (less responsibility in life). There was a guy she liked somewhere in the building (she owned a condo at the time). For the most part, I just remained emotionally separated from her there on out. We also always lived in a different city if not a whole other state, so it wasn’t constant stuff.

    * These are emotional deficits, in a way (which is a different connotation).

    I once went to a reunion of my husband’s dad’s very large family of origin, for a week-long vacation at a camp site with cabins in the southwest. The relatives observed that my co-parent left me to figure out everything concerning the fact our kids were there (as were everyone’s kids)… besides handling everything for myself (and I was pregnant). Someone told me I should yell more. As we left, I told the person I was married to that I would never do that (go to such an event) again (no, I didn’t yell it).

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  7. “Really, it’s tiring, too, to not have the comradery of a mother.” I can relate to this bigtime. Sounds like your mom had some mental health issues? How do your kids look at your folks now?

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  8. (I probably yelled once at the event — across a full outdoor park. A practical reason.)

    My husband yelled a lot then (not there). I guess I know where he got it.* Somehow, it didn’t phase me a lot. And I didn’t yell back; I responded with reasoning and clarity. That never “took” with him, though. At some time long after the trip, I began occasionally responding with clarity and reason as usual but with yelling (like maybe it’s what he’s used to from childhood and he can’t hear anything else). For the record, there was no point in this; he couldn’t hear that either… and thought it was terrible of me.

    * (but I don’t remember the gathering being characterized by unpleasantries among the attendees, who are very professional people; just the value conveyed verbally that yelling is a good idea… or maybe what they remember working with him as a child)

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  9. I suspect that she did (and does). But I wouldn’t be able to answer the ACE question with a “yes” concerning a parent being diagnosed. I’m sure she would hide the matter if it were so. She’s a sneaky kind of person (but you wouldn’t know it if you didn’t know her). She was proud of her college degree and her years of work in the same system. She fooled me throughout my childhood, then couldn’t handle my reaching adolescence… just because I reached adolescence, not because of anything I did.

    I’ll answer your other question (or give it a try) in a minute. (And maybe add to the one answer above.) Want to let you know with this post that what I posted a few minutes ago was not in answer to your 4:16pm.

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  10. My kids have very fond and respectful memories of my dad. My mom, sadly, only did things to make my sons (all of my children are sons) more disappointed with her after my dad died. As far as I know, she’s not doing stupid things with men. She’s doing other stupid things, though. And she was insulting to the two sons who offered to move to her city and take care of the property (which I now half own) in the ways my dad had. My dad made sure to provide for her in case he died (very well in addition to her pension and his pension and the social security, which three together would be more than enough — but he provided her a surplus beyond). Nevertheless, she has put herself in a position of rationing to get through to the end of the month… or beginning of the next, when those checks come again. I know many people have to do this simply as a matter of fact (I have at times), but she has done it to herself.

    My dad was careful with money (while also producing a very respectable existence as well as lending with no interest to an uncle on one side of the family and an aunt on the other) all his life; she, on the other hand, throws money out the window. I’m concerned she will get some kind of lien put on the house. My children would like to inherit the place, which they worked on with my dad where my dad taught them serious physical labor (even if they don’t do any of that for a living). (It also is important to my future [since I have no pension] that my dad’s thoughtfulness for me should not be spat upon by my mother.) When I was writing my dad’s obituary (about being an artist, nature-lover, teacher, and friend), she was both not interested in it and actively interested in it not happening… plus telling me to cut what I had written in half (it wasn’t very long and wasn’t going to cost us for length anyway), then wanting me to add things about her career.

    She once fairly recently told me, out of nowhere for no apparent reason, that her sister was diagnosed with something mental years ago and that her sister denies it. I think this is in the category of my mom once answering me as to why we stopped going to a particular place I liked socially as a kid by saying “someone” had had an affair, that subsequently the same leaders weren’t going to be there. After that space in time, she had an affair almost everywhere she spent any serious amount of time (one with a working superior of hers, one with my youth group leader’s husband, and so on). (Even if she had a relationship after she was divorced, she managed to find people who were married… I think with the exception of one guy [although I’m sure I didn’t know about all the men], a guy I saw was very annoying and domineering in multiple ways but was a business owner. She wanted to play this one as a “friend,” which backfired on her.)

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