Having a loved one to support and encourage you when you are suffering from a disorder is always an advantage. However, most people are not aware of how little they understand about body-focussed repetitive behaviours. This can sometimes cause barriers in communication in the relationship between you and your loved one and can create obstacles to recovery.
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Often the condition is considered to be just a “bad habit”. The biggest mistake that loved ones make is assuming that they can stop the picking by policing the behaviour and preventing the picking. It’s important to understand here that the only person that can stop the behaviour is the person themselves. Making the person aware that they are picking is not always helpful unless it is done so collaboratively.
Even though done with good intention, policing the behavior can be perceived as shaming. It is therefore important ro be mindful of your tone and manner of support, being careful not to use a tone of sarcasm or resort to tactics that elicit feelings of guilt as this will only serve to discourage the person further.
Every person with dermatillomania wants to stop what they are doing, but cannot resist the urge to pick. This is not an indication of weakness or lack of character, this is an indication of a recognized clinical disorder as classified by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM5). As with any other mental health condition, no matter how much support someone has, the ultimate responsibility for recovery lies with the sufferer. Therefore it is important not to take over the recovery process. Your loved one needs to be empowered to take control of his or her recovery process as this will lead to far more sustainable results. Signs that you have become over involved can be:
Most importantly, know that when you choose to be in a relationship with someone, you choose to love that person with all their imperfections, just as they choose to love you with all of yours.