When 4 Aces Is Not A Dream Hand

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when 4 aces is not a dream hand

I’m not a scientist, nor will I ever play one on T.V.

In fact, I am SO not a scientist for many reasons including extreme medical squeamishness and that blank page in my brain where my multiplication tables should reside.

But I’ve long thought I should have some scientific perspective in my book, “Confessions of an Undutiful Daughter.” I wanted someone to provide the reasons behind toxic mothering or some really smart analysis of how children are negatively affected and how they mature. I needed a non-emotional measuring cup for my readers.

Ask the universe and it will come to you?

I met a new friend for coffee this week. This man happens to be a saintly sort, the director of a very interesting and progressive homeless shelter. A former attorney, he comes across as part professor, part priest, all compassionate and caring. Which, couldn’t be more different than my demeanor of the “looks good on the outside” but “emotionally limping” on the inside. I decided not to hold his brains and confidence against him.

He’s the one that introduced me to the exact information I sought in the form of a Kaiser study in which patients were asked a series of questions for a project that focused on Adverse Childhood Experiences, or ACE.

In a nutshell, the study focuses on how the number of ACES one experiences in youth can be a point of calibration to predict emotional problems that could be serious in adulthood. My friend values the study as a way to look at the causes of homelessness, which is often the result of emotional turmoil or hopelessness. Working with Sessions for homeless clients, called Somatic Experiencing clinics are taking place at my local shelter and the feedback has been positive. It’s really interesting stuff. I found the audio presentation by Dr. Vincent Filleti’s to be particularly fascinating. You can find the link within the link above.

I, on the other hand, immediately valued the scientific method for taking a person’s life story and pulling out the ACES as a way of exploring what daughters of toxic mother’s experience. I like the way how in just by clicking off a page of questions a person could really see objectively that damage was indeed inflicted in the form of Adverse Childhood Experiences.

I ran straight home and found the study online and the questionnaire and found that I scored 5 on this test. (Keep in mind that this is a shorter version of the test.) I knew from my coffee chat that anything over 4 ACES was considered the tipping point for bad things including a high risk for becoming homeless.

I’ve copied the questionnaire below. If you take it would you please let me know your score and any you thoughts you had regarding your score?

What’s My ACE Score?

Prior to your 18th birthday . . .

1. Did a parent or other adult in the household often or very often

Swear at you, insult you, put you down, or humiliate you?


Act in a way that made you afraid that you might be physically hurt?

Yes No If yes enter 1 ________

2. Did a parent or other adult in the household often or very often

Push, grab, slap, or throw something at you?


Ever hit you so hard that you had marks or were injured?

Yes No If yes enter 1 ________

3. Did an adult or person at least 5 years older than you ever

Touch or fondle you or have you touch their body in a sexual way?


Attempt or actually have oral, anal, or vaginal intercourse with you?

Yes No If yes enter 1 ________

4. Did you often or very often feel that …

No one in your family loved you or thought you were important or special?


Your family didn’t look out for each other, feel close to each other, or support each other?

Yes No If yes enter 1 ________

5. Did you often or very often feel that …

You didn’t have enough to eat, had to wear dirty clothes, and had no one to protect you?


Your parents were too drunk or high to take care of you or take you to the doctor if you needed it?

Yes No If yes enter 1 ________

6. Was a biological parent ever lost to you through divorced, abandonment, or other reason ?

Yes No If yes enter 1 ________

7. Was your mother or stepmother:
Often or very often pushed, grabbed, slapped, or had something thrown at her?


Sometimes, often, or very often kicked, bitten, hit with a fist, or hit with something hard?


Ever repeatedly hit over at least a few minutes or threatened with a gun or knife?

Yes No If yes enter 1 ________

8. Did you live with anyone who was a problem drinker or alcoholic or who used street drugs?

Yes No If yes enter 1 ________

9. Was a household member depressed or mentally ill or did a household member attempt suicide?

Yes No If yes enter 1 ________

10. Did a household member go to prison?

Yes No If yes enter 1 ________

Now add up your “Yes” answers: _______ This is your ACE Score

If you’d like a pdf copy of this test, download What’s My Ace Score here. I look forward to hearing your responses below –

Rayne Wolfe’s dream is to write her first book Confessions of an Undutiful Daughter by the end of 2011. She completed her dream journey May of 2011 on 8WD after a year living her dream. You can find her at Toxic Mom Toolkit on Facebook.

  • Heather Montgomery, CEO & serial entrepreneur

    Rayne – thanks for sharing this. Looking at the questions made me really think about my childhood which in comparison to some of the questions was pretty good. Even then, I scored a 4!

    Amazing informaiton and always great post.


  • Catherine Hughes, Editor & Chief

    Wow, so interesting. I scored a 1, which was interesting to process admitting that yes answer to myself. You provide such great information on a subject that can be so painful and bring it out into the light where it can be healed.

    And timely for what i was going to write about this week.

    Great stuff!


  • Rayne

    I didn’t include this point in my post, but the experts in this field believe they can connect the dots between ACE’s and diseases in adulthood. Fascinating stuff! This post should remind readers that when you ASK, information is delivered — so ASK!

  • Remy G

    Rayne, you are right about the universe, it takes care of the things we want – and they seem to show up at the right time. Thanks for giving the readers this information. I’ve one person in FB tell me they’ve taken it already. I will send them to you! Keep slogging thru it, you are having an incredible impact on those around us who need this support and understanding. Thank you! xox Rem