Taming the Monster in the Mind - Tips to Overcome Trichotillomania and other BFRBs
October 30, 2019
A long time ago I attending a TLC Foundation for Body Focused Repetitive Behavior's (BFRB) webinar (bfrb.org) that shared tips on how to overcome trichotillomania (hair pulling disorder), dermatillomania (compulsive skin picking disorder) and excessive nail biting (all different types of BFRBs).
One thing that resonated and stuck with me was the idea of externalizing the behavior. I think much of the shame and embarrassment and self-stigma imposed is due to internal thinking that WE are causing this damage.
If you can give up ownership of your BFRB to the "Monster" that needs to be tamed, it becomes easier to challenge this disorder.
Here's a few ways to begin to look at your BFRB as the "Monster":
First, name it, to tame it! By giving your "monster" a name, you are detaching yourself from it. You need to remember that these behaviors are because our "fight or flight" response system has gone awry -- YOU are not the "problem."
Next, draw it! This will help you give your BFRB human qualities and help you visualize something in your mind to challenge vs. this elusive and invisible disorder. Drawing is also cathartic art therapy exercise.
Third, talk to it! Instead of responding to urges with berating negative self-speak, I've found that challenging the monster in my mind, with questions like "That's all you got?!" squashes the urges.
You can then enlist your support circle and join forces to help you keep the BFRB monster away.
You can become whole again. Courage to let go of fear, and self-love, can open a way to freedom. My hope is that you stay on the path to healing.
wishing you love, strength & awareness,
~Aneela & The HabitAware Team
About Keen by HabitAware
HabitAware makes Keen, a smart bracelet that helps manage nail biting, hair pulling, thumb sucking, and other subconscious behaviors. Customized gesture detection brings you into awareness and helps you develop healthier habits.
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In this guest post Dr. Richard Lopez, Cognitive Neuroscience, PhD, looks at how how behavior change research can inform the management of body focused repetitive behaviors. The article also highlights how HabitAware Keen2 delivers evidence-based behavior change strategies. Perhaps one day this system of behavior change can become an official treatment for trichotillomania (compulsive hair pulling), dermatillomania (skin picking) and onychophagia (nail biting).
When I was a kid, stepping on extra crunchy leaves, sticking my bare hands in snow, playing with bubbles from a bubble bath, were all little things that I’d look forward to. I just wanted the satisfaction that only certain textures could bring. I annoyed so many poor kitties and puppies for the chance to shove my face into their velvety soft fur. Every time my parents got a package, I begged to shred the packing peanuts apart, or pop all of the bubble wrap. And honestly, when confronted with these objects, my impulse control was really low.