Life Advice



Ask Amy: Trauma survivor struggles to cope

Amy Dickinson, Tribune Content Agency on

Trichotillomania is a disorder characterized by obsessive and repetitive hair pulling. This can lead to hair loss and bald spots. Some people also pull at their eye lashes or eyebrows.

This is a form of self-harm. The stress and anxiety of experiencing your childhood trauma — and holding it in — is causing you to literally pull your hair out, which may actually bring some temporary relief from your pain and anxiety.

My first recommendation is that if you are currently in an “off” mode, you must revive your therapy. You don’t say whether you have disclosed your childhood trauma to your therapist (I assume you have). Because you are ruminating and reviving your memories on a daily basis, it’s time to go back (virtually, if necessary), because your body and your mind are telling you something new.

In my opinion, the “missing component” you are wondering about is the choice you face about disclosing this to your sisters.

Just guessing here, but do you think that what happened to you might have also happened to them?

Understand that if your family always sweeps problems or concerns under the rug, your choice to talk about it could be extremely upsetting to others. They might deny, blame, and shame you – not because this trauma is your fault, but because you have chosen to talk about it. This is one of the burdens of being a survivor.


Surviving — even scarred and wounded — is the triumph. You’ve already done that, and you will continue to, as long as you devote yourself to your own recovery.

Dear Amy: My ex-girlfriend recently broke up with me.

Our relationship was fairly short, but I had liked her for some time and was ecstatic to finally begin dating her.

During our relationship, I admit I wasn't a respectful partner and at times I could suddenly be rude to her, and I don't understand why.


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