Jude Miller Burke completed a research study in 2017 with 300 successful men and women that revealed that “40% of them reported experiencing childhood abuse, witnessing family violence, or having an alcoholic parent while growing up.” Burke documents that even more of them “reported growing up in poverty, having a parent with a mental illness, or losing a family member.”
Based on their response she gathered that their success came from how they responded to their childhood trauma. They used the coping strategies they had to develop to survive during those trying times and applied it positively in other aspects of their life.
In her article, she first explains the negative impacts of the childhood trauma, and then lists the adaptive skills they developed, as a result of the domestic violence, that assisted them in achieving success.
The negative impact of childhood trauma included, amongst others;
- being easily emotionally triggered
- poor boundaries with others
- lack of conflict negotiation skills
Below are some of the skills the high achievers developed by surviving;
- sensitivity and empathy for others
- intuitiveness about group politics
Advice from the top achievers is that it is important to accept that as a child you had little control over your life, but as an adult you get to choose your response. Taking control of your response to situations, changes everything. By aligning the positive survival skills they learnt as children during a traumatic experience and applying it to every day career and life challenges has helped them to become experts in their respective fields.
Some of them learnt how to apply these skills personally and others acquired the support of a therapist who could help them make sense of the confusing emotions of childhood trauma.
For advice from these high achievers or to read the full article click here.