A Trichotillomania Recovery Blog and Online Support Group

Trichotillomania and Abuse in Childhood

While heading up a FaceBook Trichotillomania group, I am confronted with the simple, undeniable truth;

Trichotillomania and abuse are connected. I can’t say every person who has hair-pulling disorder was abused. I can and do speak from personal experience and from the place of leading a FaceBook group of 100+ teen and adult hair-pullers when I say …. it’s a common trend.

By and large, these souls who dare to be vulnerable to me, to share the darkest spots in their histories, share a truth with a common theme; Abuse in childhood. And it’s ugly; much of it is sexual abuse. I imagine that the puller re-experiences the shame felt of being sexually (or otherwise) abused again in the moments of hair pulling. I’ve been there. It is our bodies re-telling their story of pain and of being made to suppress this pain. Pain can only be stuffed down for so long before it resurfaces. It is up to us how we deal with the re-emergence of intense emotions. I find myself often recommending therapy to group members. I would never suggest someone do this feeling-work by themselves. To do so would be re-traumatizing; it would mean facing their pain alone, again, as they were made to do in the original trauma. You don’t have to be alone, anymore.

What’s more, is many people are completely unaware that what they experienced as a “normal” childhood was in reality, riddled with abuse. Abuse takes many forms.

Abuse is not letting a child have their feelings. Hair pulling is about not allowing oneself to feel feelings.

Abuse is assigning the child the inappropriate role of care-taker in the family.

Abuse is making the child be mommy’s little surrogate spouse or daddy’s little surrogate wife, called, Emotional Incest. And this is for the most part socially accepted.

Abuse is humiliating the child for their mistakes or short-comings. Abuse is yelling, screaming, raging at the child and in general, being scary.

Whether you are the abuser or the abused…

Get willing to get help. You are now an adult; no one is going to come to your rescue. You will get help when you seek it and not a moment sooner. Change is possible so long as you are willing and take action.

An excerpt from “For Your Own Good,”


There will surely also be some change in parents’ behavior when they learn that what they have previously practiced in good faith as “necessary disciplining” is in reality a history of humiliating, hurting, and mistreating the child.


I am not here to blame the parents. I am here to hold them accountable. Above all, I’m here for the child who still suffers, the wounded inner child in you.

Until an individual is willing to look at their childhood and feel their anger towards their caregivers or abusers- realizing their anger won’t kill them- they will continue to experience symptomatic behavior. Everyone has a story. Everyone tells their story in their actions. Your self destructive patterns don’t lie!

The earth-shattering book that helped me confront the truth about cruelty in child-rearing is “For Your Own Good” by Alice Miller.




  1. babytrich

    Good Lord! Its a brain disorder nor a result of abuse.  How do you explain baby Trich then?  1 year old children pulling and eating hair with ZERO history of abuse?  Glad to see you healing yourself but its irresponsible to say this is a result of abuse.

    • Anonymous

      In my experience, small children pull out of a sensory need and often out grow it.
      I didn’t say everybody who pulls was abused, I said it’s a common theme. If it was a brain disorder, there would be no healing and I myself and many others have been freed from the grips of trich.
      It has been my experience that trich is an addiction and we heal from it by treating it as such.

  2. I have trich. and was in a very abusive home. Screaming. Name calling. Chaos. Beatings.
    Scary. Pulling hair was a time for escape for me. And now….25 years later, I still have this disorder.

    • Kat

      Hey ((((Carey))), those are hugs.

      All that abuse and dysfunction is stored in your body. Until you sit with a phenomenal therapist, one who has their own recovery, it remains there.
      I encourage you to watch all parts of this dated but relevant broadcast.

      God bless you in your search for freedom–you’ve taken the 1st step by being willing to see truth.

      www .youtube. com /watch?v=5q2tZa1gp8Q

      take out the spaces

    • Gigi

      Love John Bradshaw! That’s a great link. Also look up his oprah show. He does several exercises for healing that are great!

      I pull pubic and eyebrows. Just the loose ones. And play with the hair on my head. I try to make it soft and then run it over my mouth. Feels nice. Don’t like to pull out hair on my head, but like to break the rougher hairs one by one.

  3. I have had trich for almost ten years. I grew up in a home where my mom, who was frustrated with Dad constantly, chose me to be the one she unloaded on emotionally; my dad stopped interacting with me at puberty beyond scoldings and lectures; and both parents yelled, screamed, hit, and bullied me when I “failed”.

    • Kat

      Your mom made you her surrogate spouse. Look that term up. It’s completely inappropriate for a parmet to unload on a child. I’m sorry to hear about the many ways you were mistreated by the people who were supposed to love you and keep you safe.

  4. Tori

    I have trich and mine started in kindergarten when I was 6. As far back as I can remember our house was always a high-stress environment, as my mom gets easily frustrated and has a tendency to snap. It was constant yelling, screaming, and biting her knuckle with us three kids and my dad. I can only remember the physical abuse starting in around 6th grade with my mother. It occurred mostly in the car ride on my way to school where she would ask if I picked that night, and when I wouldn’t answer she would swing her fist into my chest. In other instances, she would yank my hair back or grab my face and dig her nails in to get a better look at my eyes. There was also the name calling and degrading statements, but that’s just how she is. I’ve never told anyone about the abuse because I was afraid she would get reported, and I love my mom. The physical abuse stopped when I was a Freshman in high school. I am 21 years old.

    • Kat

      I am so, so sorry you were treated like this. Your mom shamed and humiliated you about trich. Among other things! You did not deserve this. Funny how we always protect our abusers…

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