Bed-wetting, Sleepwalking, Hair pulling, Nail biting, Skin picking, Stammering and the list goes on… When under stress the mind finds ways to relieve itself with abnormal behaviors

In most cases stress in children is due to highly toxic family situations. According to the ACE (Adverse Childhood Experiences) Study there are 10 types of childhood trauma measured in the study and five are personal — physical abuse, verbal abuse, sexual abuse, physical neglect, and emotional neglect. Five are related to other family members: a parent who’s an alcoholic, a mother who’s a victim of domestic violence, a family member in jail, a family member diagnosed with a mental illness, and the disappearance of a parent through divorce, death or abandonment. For sometime maybe the child’s resilience allows him/her to manage to survive in this environment. However, it cannot go on indefinitely.

The two most crucial emotions a child has to deal with in a dysfunctional home is fear and repression. A child is so fearful of his/her parent/parents due to their violence, rejection, invalidation and abandonment but cannot express it to anyone. They have to literally bury it deep within the subconscious and pretend that everything is normal. All emotions good and bad are energy, they have to be expressed and cannot be repressed. When negative emotions cannot be expressed consciously, invariably the pain and hurts lodged in the unconscious mind pushes through in form of maladaptive behaviors and drives that are termed as abnormal and weird.

The most common problems faced by children of trauma are stammering or stuttering, bed-wetting (secondary enuresis)Sleepwalking (somnambulism), nail biting (chronic onychophagia)hair pulling (Trichotillomania), and skin picking (dermatillomania) and other abnormal repetitive behaviors. Adding to the child’s stress and anxiety is the bullying and  ridicule its peers the child has to cope with. It becomes a  vicious cycle that cannot be broken easily.

If these psychological issues are not addressed and the emotional pain not expressed, invariably the child will end up cutting herself/himself and eventually commit suicide. Research suggests that Body-focused repetitive behaviour (BFRB)  is a dysfunctional response to stress used (consciously or subconsciously) in an attempt to alleviate high levels of mental distress and turmoil. It is also theorized that it can operate as an expression of repressed rage and/or other repressed feelings.

Since my father mostly picked on my brother when he was growing up, wanting to make him a man. My brother ended up with a slight stutter and would even wet his bed till may be 8 years. As for myself, the moment I came to understand that my mother was going to die I began wetting the bed. After she died it was further exacerbated by being sexually molested while I slept. And my insensitive father would broadcast it to all my relatives, ridiculing me. It was the most shameful thing to cope with. The worse part was that the porn addict who thought of himself as the great writer wrote a piece on the family and wrote a very derisive description of me as the ‘Susu Queen’ my brother who by then had stopped wetting his bed thought it hilarious. The rage I felt was so great I felt like lashing out but couldn’t because I was smaller.  Gradually, I blocked out all emotions and pretended that nothing or no one would hurt me. I was so successful that I mostly forgot about the abuse, the incest . Most of the memories were safely tucked away till I had a breakdown in my late twenties. The one BFRB behavior that persisted right to my late twenties was hair pulling. I used to do it unconsciously, till one of my colleagues at work began making fun of the habit, though I became conscious of it I was driven to do it in private. Finally, I stopped it post my son’s birth a time that I was busy and my mind was filled with being with loving human being.

When my son, began biting his nails soon after beginning school I realized that I was being too pushy wanting him to be the best and the other reason was his school was not at all child friendly. I found a job in a residential school, which gave both of us the space to relax and be safe. His nail biting miraculously disappeared.

The Throat chakra is functioning we become conscious of the person we are, our internal and real worlds that make us who we are. It  helps us express ourselves creatively and effectively

What all parents need to understand, when their child’s behavior becomes dysfunctional, do a little retrospection and think of how your behavior has impacted your child’s mental state for him to resort to abnormal compulsive behaviors or OCD instead of taking him to a specialist to find a cure.

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