Archive for June 5th, 2008

Statue (c) Lynda BernhardtI have some friends who are phobic of their children getting sick. They go through gallons of hand sanitizer in a frantic quest to prevent their children from getting sick. I have one friend who makes her child change clothes as soon as she walks in the door so she can wash away the germs from the outside world as soon as the child gets home. This level of obsession with preventing colds is not normal.

What really surprised me was when one friend was completely calm when her daughter had to have stitches in her chin. When the child gets so much as a sniffle, the mother goes into a complete panic, but she was 100% calm over her child getting stitches in her face. That’s not normal.

I know for a fact that three of my friends who are like this endured abuse as children. I suspect that their extreme need to keep their children “safe” from germs is really about their need to keep their inner child safe from abuse.

I wonder if these women suffered abuse whenever they were sick as children. Perhaps their abusers were the ones who were called to tend to the ailing child while the parents returned to work. That could explain the mothers’ phobia of the children getting sick. From childhood, being sick = being abused, so they try in vain to remove all germs from the child’s life in the hopes of preventing the child from being abused.

I don’t think any of these women see it on this level, but I have often wondered about this myself. My own personal experience with phobias has been that there is a logical cause. This could definitely be a logical cause for the phobia.

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Photo credit: Lynda Bernhardt

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