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Have you ever wondered whether our life experiences are connected at all with our state of health?  Or whether there could be a connection between adverse childhood events and chronic illnesses later in life, you may want to read Donna Jackson Nakazawa’s book.

Perhaps not the easiest read for everyone, and a possible a trigger for some, who have experienced traumatic events as children, but a fascinating insight into understanding the ways our emotional life affects our general health.

The author brings together ideas that may have seemed crazy a while back but not anymore since we’ve learned about epigenetics. This refers to changes caused in an organism via genetic expression rather than a mutation, and extreme stress can be one of the factors affecting various genes expressions.

The tag line for the book is pretty much this: ‘Your biography becomes your biology.’ The author explains that as children, sometimes we go through traumatic experiences, be it the death of a beloved family member or friend, divorce, bullying, or growing up with abuse, or a parent that suffered from mental illness, substance abuse, or was hypercritical.

These experiences can negatively impact the developing brain and immune system, which can result in chronic health issues later, such as cancer, autoimmune disease, and anxiety. There are ways to improve negative health outcomes such as those, or reduce the risk of them occurring, and the book is hovering on that in the second part.

Here’s something to remember though: we are all different and the way we react to life is different. Resilience helps us go through tough situations but sometimes the after effects linger. That is why investing time and energy in reaching sunnier days is worth it.

In 2016, the book was a finalist in the Books for a Better Life Award. You can read more about Donna Jackson Nakazawa and her work by visiting her website at

1 Comment

  • Frank Sterle Jr. Posted May 4, 2022 6:25 pm

    I struggle with a formidable perfect-storm-like combination of adverse childhood experience trauma, autism spectrum disorder and high sensitivity, the ACE trauma in large part being due to my ASD and high sensitivity. Thus it would be quite helpful to have books written about such or similar conditions involving a coexistence of ACE trauma and/or ASD and/or high sensitivity, the latter which seems to have a couple characteristics similar to ASD traits.

    Childhood Disrupted fails to even once mention high sensitivity and/or autism spectrum disorder. [As it were, I also read a book on ASD that fails to even mention high sensitivity or ACE trauma. That was followed by a book about highly sensitive men, with no mention whatsoever of autism spectrum disorder or adverse childhood experience trauma.] Really, it’s no secret that ACE abuse/trauma is often inflicted on autistic and/or highly sensitive children and teens by their ‘neurotypical’ peers, so why not at least acknowledge it in some meaningful, constructive way?

    I therefore don’t know whether my additional, coexisting conditions will render the information and/or assigned exercises from such not-cheap books useless, or close to it, in my efforts to live much less miserably. While many/most people in my shoes would work with the books nonetheless, I cannot; I simply need to know if I’m wasting my time and, most importantly, mental efforts. …

    An additional unaddressed ‘elephant in the room’ throughout the book is: Why does/can the author only include one male among its six interviewed ACE-traumatized adult subjects? Was there such a small pool of ACE-traumatized men willing to formally tell his own story of life-changing childhood abuse? Could it be yet more evidence of a continuing subtle societal take-it-like-a-man mindset; one in which so many men, even in these modern times and with anonymity, still would prefer not to ‘complain’ to some stranger/author about his torturous youth, as that is what ‘real men’ do?

    That relatively so few men (a ratio of 5:1 female to male) suffered high-scoring ACE trauma is not a plausible conclusion, however low in formally recorded number such unfortunate male victims may be. … Perhaps, even in this day and age, there remains a mentality out there, albeit perhaps subconscious: Men can take care of themselves, and boys are basically little men.

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