THE DANGEROUS DANCE

A documentary film about childhood trauma
and how it impacts adulthood

Do all of your relationship flow without a hitch day in day out? Of course not. We are all somewhere on the continuum from being great at adult relationship to being outright damaged by them. And this suffering has its roots in childhood trauma.

The science is in; about 50% of us have had childhoods that have a seriously negative impact on our adult lives. Right now, about 50% of our children are being set up for struggle in their adulthoods.

These difficulties range from inability to form truly intimate relationships through to full blown domestic violence and abuse.

Our knowledge of how to relate to others is built into our brains from the moment of birth. At this point a million new neural pathways are laid down per second. And we keep the ones that our experience proves over and over regardless of whether they are factually correct.

As a result of scientific studies, including the ground-breaking Adverse Childhood Experience study, The Harvard Centre on the Developing Child was established in 2006. It’s mission is to drive science-based innovation that achieves breakthrough outcomes for children facing adversity. Its goal is to produce substantially larger impacts on the learning capacity, health, and economic and social mobility of young children.

The Harvard Centre on the Developing Child is just one of many institutions working in this area.

So the good news is we now have science based research that informs us about how to reduce the number of children being set up for troubled adulthoods.

With regard to domestic violence and abuse in Western democracies, we've raised awareness of domestic violence by looking at gender equality and respect, now it's time to take the next step.

The impact of childhood stress and trauma is impaired brain development

A child fills their brain with stories about themselves and the world learning from what goes on around them. If these are negative, bleak stories those beliefs will be carried into adulthood often with nightmare consequences. These may include abuse, violence, addiction, alcoholism, mental illness or any combination of these.

The Dangerous Dance features stories of adults who have managed to turn their lives around by changing their beliefs about themselves the world. Thanks to neuroscience we can literally see the new neural pathways that are being built.

It talks to experts who help adults and whole families to change the way they see the world and how they behave.

And it talks to neuroscientists who have the data about what type of childhood supports healthy brain development. And how we can change our brain in adulthood to create far better adult lives.

We need to start asking ’What happened to you?’ instead of ‘What’s wrong with you?’

Asking ‘What happened to you?’ strips judgement away. It creates a safe space so we can join the dots between our childhood behaviours and beliefs to our adult behaviours and beliefs.

In childhood we create behaviours and beliefs to survive an environment we can't leave, no matter how traumatic it is. As adults it is safe to change limiting childhood behaviours and beliefs. This means we can positively influence our experience of adulthood. This is not easy but with the right support, it can be done.

Our culture further complicates our ability to self-reflect and change our minds and behaviours in adulthood. Our films are full of ‘heroes’ and, more recently ‘heroines’, who are admired for their stoic invulnerability and their routine use of violence and force to settle conflicts. Think of all the superhero films that are so popular these days. And think of all the gore, guts and blood that we routinely see in films and in TV shows. There are too few positive role models for us to emulate as we grow up.