Meditation Basics
Stress management

Hair Pulling is A Creative Way to Cope

Trichotillomania, also known as compulsive hair pulling, is a disorder that causes people to pull out the hair from their scalp, eyelashes, eyebrows, or other parts of the body. For up to fifteen million Americans, it's a way to cope with life difficulties and uncomfortable feelings and beliefs. Yet one of the hardest things for a hair puller to do is to admit how much their behavior is costing.

After all, you are a highly sensitive and intelligent person who found this creative way to cope with your emotional difficulties in life. It worked for you in the past. It continues to work for you to a certain extent still, right? Why should you want to give it up? A simple way to view this is through a lens of the "cost to benefit" ratio.

When you see your hair pulling is costing more than you are getting you'll decide to free yourself. As long as you're receiving greater benefits from hair pulling than it is costing you will continue to do it. Acknowledge your internal dilemma without forcing yourself to move past it. Let yourself have your feelings about it. Are the benefits you receive from hair pulling worth it? Look inside and determine the truth about whether or not you want to give it up. Just how important is it to you? How difficult is it for you to think about letting it go? Once you've come to terms with your feelings, its time to stay with and live with your own truth.

You don't have to tell this to anyone else, just yourself. Stay with your truth for as long as you need or want to; until you're naturally ready to move beyond it. It's okay to have the feelings you're having.

Give yourself permission to have those feelings for as long as you need to have them. For some this may take an hour; others may need much longer. The more deeply you let yourself have your true feelings, the faster you'll naturally move beyond this place and into a genuine desire for freedom. If you feel you've already gotten to this place, congratulations. Take a minute and go back through the exercise again to be sure that nothing has been overlooked that will interfere with your ability to fully heal. If you feel this is too difficult to complete, or if you lie to yourself about your truth, understand it will be very difficult, if not impossible, to heal because the first step towards healing is acknowledging your feelings.

If you aren't willing to do this, you will not progress, and you will keep being held back by your unwillingness to accept your very own legitimate feelings of not wanting to heal. So don't skip or minimize them. Here's the good news: You can always come back and review this whenever you need an emotional boost. In fact, you should do so if you find yourself continually getting stuck and unable to move forward. You will only achieve results if you are determined to move forward, and have the desire to see improvement and results. Now is the time to be absolutely certain that you are being honest with yourself, so that you can move forward and create the most perfect life for you.

Abby Leora Rohrer is an expert on compulsive hair pulling and author of What's Wrong With Pulling My Hair Out? and Pull-Free, At Last!, an at-home program for ending Trichotillomania. Visit or or call 303/546-0788 for more information.


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