Reflections: Goals

When it is obvious that goals cannot be reached, don’t adjust the goals, adjust the action steps.  -Confucius

If you struggle with Dermatillomania or Trichotillomania, it is crucial that you establish concrete goals for changing your picking or pulling.  Equally important is that you have realistic expectations about achieving those goals. If you set a goal that you do not immediately reach, you may feel discouraged, ashamed and hopeless. These self-defeating feelings are likely a function of having unnecessarily high expectations about your ability to quickly achieve your goals. The disappointment you experience when you fail to meet an unrealistically high standard might leave you feeling like your goal is unachievable, and may ultimately contribute to a relapse.

But short-term outcomes do not define who you are as a person, and what you are capable of accomplishing. While it is important to create specific, concrete, achievable goals, it is just as important to examine the action steps you have or have not taken in situations in which you have fallen short of reaching your goal. If you examine the action steps that have contributed to not reaching your goals, and make corresponding adjustments in order to continue towards those goals, you will make steady progress in your recovery.

The more you understand what is and is not helpful, the more awareness you build. When you begin to build this awareness, you might discover some interventions work better than others in specific situations. Every person and every situation is different, and you will likely need to try different interventions and make adjustments. Furthermore, what worked for you last week may not work for you this week.

Ultimately, having flexibility and patience with yourself will be extremely helpful in reaching your goals.  If you do not reach a goal this week, adjust your steps accordingly and keep moving forward. Over time, changing your picking and pulling behaviors will help you to reach your goals, and to live a life that you find fulfilling and valuable.

1. What specific goals related to picking or pulling have you set that you have not yet achieved?

2. What action steps have you taken that you think may have contributed to not achieving those goals?

3. How can you adjust your action steps in order to achieve a new goal?

Tip of the week: Keep a log of specific, realistic, achievable goals for this week and how you plan on implementing them.  If you are unable to reach those goals, examine what factors may have contributed to the outcome. How can you readjust the action steps you take for the following week in order to increase the likelihood that you will achieve these goals?

Written by Kelley Franke, BA and Tom Corboy, MFT
© 2014 OCD Center of Los Angeles

What Defines You?

It is heartbreaking to see the frustration, anger, and depression that comes when someone gets done pulling their hair out, and they feel hopeless. It can destroy them emotionally because they see it as a reflection on who they are. Everything comes down to whether or not they had control over trich today. If they didn’t, they decide that they are worthless. This upsets me. We have gotten so far away from where our identity comes from, that this is where we end up.

 The bible is super specific. Our identity comes from the Lord. He directs our path. He breathes life into our lungs. He is the one that decides our destiny, gives us our spiritual gifts, and blesses us with good things. If our identity lies there, bald spots take a back seat. People’s opinions lose their power. Relapse is a temporary setback. Beauty comes from something Real. Relationship is no longer built on how much someone can feed my ego. Truth is set in stone. Intimacy is deep and satisfying. Fear is replaced by Unconditional Love.

When we hear “Love your neighbor as yourself”, we usually concentrate on the concept of loving our neighbor. We put that in the front, and brush away the “as yourself” part. According to this scripture, loving our neighbor reflects how much we are able to love ourselves. If we hate ourselves, how much are we going to love our neighbor? Obviously, there is a strong importance in loving ourselves and how we were created.

The enemy is continuously working to kill us off. If he can’t kill us, he will try to cripple us by stealing our very identity. By consuming us with what we are NOT, so that we forget who God created us to be. His goal is to make us so afraid of stepping into our position as Heir to the Throne, with all of the authority and power that comes with that. The enemy comes to kill, steal, and destroy. Bill Johnson from Bethel Church in Redding, CA says that the good thing is, the enemy tips his hand ALL THE TIME. He gets too big for his britches and reveals his plan.

I have to put all of my time, energy, and focus into letting God define me. I need to soak up His words, change the things in me that aren’t from Him, and removing the things that grieve Him. Trichotillomania doesn’t grieve the heart of God. I’m not in the wrong here. I’m not dealing with a lack of faith. I’m not hiding a secret sin that is keeping me from healing. What grieves the heart of the Father is when His children place more importance and “truth” in men than in Him. It’s idolatry, plain and simple. I idolize man when I seek their opinion over God. THAT is what grieves the heart of God. I refuse to be accused of that. It is through God’s strength that I continue to fight trich.

Up in Flames

Today something very upsetting happened.  When lighting the grill, a huge flame puffed up and burned my bangs that I have worked so hard to grow to a normal length.  The ends were all kinky and I knew that would lead me to pull out the hairs, plus it looked crazy.  So I cut my bangs, just cut off all that hard work.  It was depressing, but a few inches of hair is better than the bald spot I probably would’ve created….19 day PF on my scalp and this happens, geez. 

            Positive Spin

  • I did not suffer any injury from the rogue flame.
  • Dinner was delicious.
  • Hubby will handle the grill next  time.
  • I did not pull my hair.
  • I still do not have an urge to pull my hair.
  • My hair will grow back.
  • At least I didn’t pull out my hair. 

I have no urge to pull from my scalp, but am not doing as well with my eyes. I need to do something differently because I’m seeing a pattern.  Lately,  I have been going 2 or 3 days PF and then having a stronger urge, followed by a moment of weakness in which I pull.  I usually get about a 2 or 3 on these days.  Today was a 3.  My short term goal is to make it to 5 days completely PF as 4 is longest I have gone lately.  I need to stay away from the mirror and keep my hands down!