God and Sexual Assault

Adaptation vs. Resilience

Two completely different things.

I heard this the other day that adaptation is not the same as resilience. It seems to be a common practice to say that children are resilient. However, children aren’t resilient, they learn to adapt. Which is completely different than resilience. For example, if we force a child to wear a mask they will adapt, but it does it mean it will not affect them in the long run.

How old you are when something happens actually plays a big part in what skills you have to deal with it. Those skills may not develop if trauma of any kind happens early. So, actually, adults are more resilient than children because usually they have developed skills to deal with what happens to us. (Depending on early childhood trauma.)

What we know about the brain is the fact that it will always hold any kind of trauma. Whether as adults we see that as small trauma or large trauma does not matter. Whatever happens to a child will affect them down the road. Whatever happens to an adult will affect them down the road. Whether they want to admit it or not, it will show up in anger, depression, anxiety, inability to get along with others, body aches, illness, I can go on and on. As I discussed with not dealing with things in my flat tire post, trauma, no matter how large or small, will catch up.

Whether you believe we should have been masking our children or not the point of this post is that trauma is trauma, and it will affect us. Whether it be the abuse similar to what I endured and maybe you endured as a child, or

  • always listening to your parents fight and worrying they will divorce
  • feeling that fear of having endured a car wreck and constantly worrying it’s going to happen again
  • as a child having to endure an active intruder drill at your school and having this fear that that will happen.
  • You get the picture…I could go on and on…

We cannot choose what will and will not traumatize people as it will activate the amygdala in our brain if it is any kind of trauma, and just because we adapt to what is happening does not mean that we are resilient. They are completely different.

Definition of adaptation: a change or the process of change by which an organism or species becomes better suited to its environment.

Definition of resilience: the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties; toughness.

This is not a political post, but it is a post to hopefully remind you that what happens to us, even before we are born, can have an effect on us later in life. Until we begin to realize that and deal with what has happened to us, no matter what age it happened, we will be forced to continually adapt to avoid trauma.

It is my prayer that you are able to heal and deal with whatever you have endured and that you realize just because you have been able to adapt, does not mean you were resilient, and that is okay too. It is also okay if others don’t realize that what you endured early on still can affect you as an adult. You can make the choice to deal with it and become all God created you to be.

I pray that the next time you hear, “children are resilient” you will be able to speak truth into it.

© 2022 Susan M. Clabaugh. All Rights Reserved.

2 comments on “Adaptation vs. Resilience

  1. Linda M Ellis

    LOVED this! Shared it with my small group.

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