The Resiliency Spectrum

I cannot tell you the number of times I have heard that there is no accounting for resiliency. “Some babies are just more resilient than others, as are children.” The Diathesis Model suggest that a genetically fragile child may be able to withstand less trauma, while a child of strong genetic stock can handle more trauma. But this is one way of hiding a traumatized child from our view by leaving open the possibility that the symptoms at which we are looking result from weak genes because the child is doing quite poorly. We don’t think that the parenting is necessarily bad. Hogwash! When we already understand that no two children even in the same family have the same experiences or even the same parents, we can understand that no two people have the same environment or history. As children differ in a family, it makes no sense to blame it on genes when their different backgrounds account for everything.

Two Brothers

Good BrotherBad Brother
Healthy birth for mother and child Birth trauma or complications afterward
Good bonding from the first minutes Poor, Bad, or Interrupted Bonding
Continuous Attachment Broken attachment(s) at young ages
Nurtured Neglected
Protected Unprotected, overprotected, or parentified
Appropriate and gradual separation Multiple, pre-mature separations (i.e. childcare, preschool)
Parents see child Parents don’t see child or project onto child
Allowed to express negative feelings, even to parents (Parental Responsibility) Required or expected to repress feelings for parent’s sake (Parental Immunity)
No secrets Keeps secrets to protect adults, especially hurtful ones or ones about harmful events
Not abused Abused, with no avenue to vent
Child had Enlightened Witness (Alice Miller) Child had no Enlightened Witness
Intimacy available from loving caregivers Intimacy only available with negative influences or abusive caregivers
Good projections (Hero Child) Negative projections (Scapegoat Child)
Hero has self-fulfilling prophecy/projection of being lovable; enjoys being good under good projection; or even better, enjoys being truly seen Scapegoat has self-fulfilling prophecy/ projection of being unlovable, feels angry and hurt; hard to be good when parents are not good to him; acts out negative imprinting.
Parents enjoy rewarding child Parents have drive to blame or punish child
Good projection gets better (Twice Blessed) Bad projection gets worse (Double Damned)
Good modeling of good values Parents make and model selfish choices
Parents discipline consistently and with natural consequences Parents discipline erratically if at all, or parents discipline brutally
Child has ethical and/or religious training Child has no ethical training or extreme religious training
Creativity encouraged No creative outlet
No Head trauma Head Trauma
Child has had no previous trauma Child has had previous trauma