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2007-09-09 - 7:12 a.m.

Westley thought I was being MEAN when I would try to talk to him about OCD habits I saw in him.

I thought perhaps I was a bit TOO judgemental when I would hire staff that the first thing I did was look at the applicants hands and I have an inclination to not want to CONSIDER a nail biter. I assumed they would be nervous and not able to handle the stress of working with autistic and developmentally disabled residents' behavioral outbursts with a calming demeanor good for our residents.

(SO I didn't follow that inclination ONE TIME and our staff I hired then ended up actually having some severe mental illness himself!He was TERRIBLE at the job)

It turns out that NAIL BITING is indeed an OCD BEHAVIOR

Which is why I was so very concerned when Soren started to do that when here in VA. (He also started to TOUCH ever item on shelves when we went out and a few other weird counting things. I was concerned about those behaviors I noted and now note the same ones in Sadie which worrys me a little)

I was relieved that when Soren went to live in Buffalo with his Dad HE STOPPED that behavior of nail biting. It was a sign that it was due to anxiety in him from being around Westley and it was the right thing for him to be out of this toxic environment.

Westley is a chronic nail biter.

Raitlin too now has this impulsive nervous habit and I have been trying to address it with her with positive reinforcement: giving gum to chew instead, offering to paint her nails pretty colors if she refrains from biting long enough for them to grow. Westely used the technique of TAPING kids finger tips which I thought was a pretty effective one, but you have to do it all the time. Soren was HAPPY to try that at home over a few school breaks when we lived here and it worked TEMPORARILY for a brief while--- until the next time he was hit.

In the news today there is a story of a man who is devoting his job to trying to assist clients in beating it:

That's good news. I imagine that Westley, like many other adult victims of child abuse when they grow up do feel self consious of that trait. It is indeed a physical manifestation which for some must be akin to wearing a SCARLET LETTER A

It is a sign for the whole world to see of their inner pain and suffering and turmoil, and they feel very exposed.

I think the man who is devoting himself to that work, indeed is doing a wonderful service to such individuals.

And it really does help to evoke empathy and undertanding that the hard outer shell of agression and perfectionism and competition is a mask to try to FEEL more secure.

Perhaps this man will truly help many feel secure in knowing they CAN control their impulses.

If not, well, there is always ANAFRANIL.... maybe those who can't beat it will turn to other help to have happy lives and get rid of those internal demons.

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