Psychosomatics in Children

   "The body never lies", Alice Miller.


   Many cases of physical illnesses like cancers in children and adults can be caused by unresolved emotional issues repressed deep in them. Unfortunately most researchers in the medical field carefully avoid such possibilities, because they want to avoid being confronted with the ugly truth and all the troubling facts that might be disclosed. If we suspect a corpse is buried in the backyard we are not going to dig there unless we believe in justice and the need for truth to be known for the benefit of all. The picture is further blurred by the fact that for many physicians the priority is making profit : they would dig in the backyard only if they suspect a treasure is buried there.


   Ever so slowly these days different people from different backgrounds tend to progress to such ideas, this after all along the 20th century psychosomatics developed in a limited extent since the first discoveries that led to the creation of psychoanalysis by Sigmund Freud at the end of the 19th century were made by Joseph Breuer who happened to have among his patients a young woman suffering from "paralyzed right arm and leg, impaired sight, nausea, mental confusion, delirium and changed personality. A layman might conclude she had had a brain injury that could prove fatal. Yet her vital organs were normal. This and other signs led the physician to one conclusion : her symptoms were not arbitrary or senseless, but embodied the memory of one or more painful psychic shocks when she had suppressed powerful feelings. As the patient recalled the first onset of each symptom and vented her emotions freely the symptoms permanently disappeared" (Nathan G. Hale Jr.).


   "The fundamental problem most patients suffering from a life-threatening disease like cancer is an inability to love themselves, having been unloved by others during some crucial part of their lives, almost always childhood" (Bernie S. Siegel, M. D.).


   Emotions and feelings are seated in the body : repressing them means pushing them back deep into it. Then such a negative accumulated storage causes sooner or later illnesses and disturbances that can look purely physical. Emotions and feelings are expressed by body reactions, whether they are positive or negative : for example, when we experience sorrow and do not repress it, we may cry, which means sobs in our chest and tears in our eyes.
When we feel happy, we experience a feeling of elation which materializes in our body by dilatation of the blood vessels and elevation of cardiac pace.


   To adapt to their environment and try minimize the damages, abused children have to repress their feelings, but this can never be done without harm to their health : bad consequences can happen soon and last a lifetime if not treated properly, unless the victim simply dies of it.
   In other words, as abused children can not prevent nor run away from what is done to them, at least they can suppress the negative emotions they experience during abuses, they disconnect from what they feel, then they are alienated from themselves. Walking the way back can be done thru a painful process called therapy, as it leads to experiencing again the repressed feelings which are always acute and deep sufferings.


   Abuse on children goes way beyond blows and broken arms. Every one of us  knows it well by our personal experience : we can say commonly "it makes me sick to think that...", "it's sickening that..." The physical illness that appears in a child might be the only way the young person found unconsciously to call for help : that possibility is easily verified when once in the hospital the child improves dramatically even though that milieu is not conceived to be a place where to live happily, and the validation is confirmed when once back home the child's illness relapses.


   To become physically sick can be also a protection against sexual abuse : a sick body is less desirable.
   The anorexic girls who starve themselves into living skeletons try that way to avoid being desired by their incestuous father, their body then is turned to mere bones.
   If nobody wants to realize what the situation of such children is, suicide can be the last option left to them to escape their daily hell.


rev. 2015

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