Breaking News! Growing Up in Mild Dysfunction is Good For You!
You are probably thinking this can’t be true, but scientists have discovered “exciting” news about tumultuous childhoods – they can be good for you later in life – provided you survive. There a varying levels of what constitutes as “tumultuous” of course. Did you grow up in poverty? Abuse? Neglect? These early impressions shape the wiring in our brains and heighten our ability to decipher people and situations.
“To put in bluntly, our studies showed that kids who grew up in stressful households developed a great bullshit detector,” explained one of the researchers. “Unfortunately, due to the severe stress they received in childhood, they weren’t able to develop the skills to handle said bullshit.”
Unfortunately, there are times when the abuse is passed on from parent to child, continuing the cycle of abuse. When this occurs, it’s difficult for the child to rise to their full potential. But when the dysfunction is considered “mild” individuals were able to overcome their upbringing and achieve great success.
“Yeah, like my mom was typically at the bar, getting drunk,” said one of the participants in the study. “So if it wasn’t for her ignoring us, leaving me in charge to take care of all seven of us, I wouldn’t have become a hairdresser. Heck, I wouldn’t have amounted to pot of beans – which is what we mostly ate.”
But the “exciting” results don’t stop there. Scientists have learned that kids raised in safe, predictable homes, considered middle-class or upper middle-class, employed “slow” strategies in life. What does that mean? It means they were able to delay gratification, study hard, work hard, put off marriage and children, and were generally more successful in life.
“It’s the kids who experienced upheaval early in life that have ‘fast’ strategies and are prone to not thinking things through and are more spontaneous,” clarified the scientist. “But guess who I’d rather go to a rave party with? That’s right, the dysfunctional ones know how to party.”
And there’s another upside. Those who grew up with tumultuous childhoods and seek out cognitive therapy later to reconcile their youth can learn to put a positive spin on their pasts. For example, a child that moved repeatedly because their dad kept losing his job, forcing everyone to pack up and go to another school in another city, will have developed the skills to count on the permanence of nothing.
“That’s me in a nutshell,” said a different participant. “It was only natural that I would get knocked up at 17 and marry a guy in the armed forced, divorce him, marry another one, and move every two years. Thank goodness for the internet. My online friends keep me sane. We exchange pictures and life stories and for an extra $10 I’ll send them my underwear.”
Missed last week’s “Braking News You Can’t Use?” Check it out here.