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Encopresis and Enuresis

Posted Jun 18 2009 12:00am
I suppose I should explain these two phenomenons for those of you who have not had the pleasure. Encopresis is the word used to describe a condition when a person poos in places other than the toilet. For many abused children, this means that they hold their poo so long that it leaks out into their pants. For some, it means they poo in inappropriate places, like the closet, hidden back behind things. For others, it means that they desire control so much that they use it as a way to punish others around them. This is what my son does. He holds his poo so he can go into his bedroom and defecate on the the floor, on the bed or on toys. He then wipes it all over the walls and blankets and his pillow. If I ask him why he does it, he says "because I am mad." Mad at what? He doesn't know.

Enuresis is the same thing with urine. My son just tries to be mean with it. He saw me clean his light switch plate and back of his door the other day when I was cleaning his bedroom for him, so immediately when I went out of the room, he peed into his firetruck, rubbed his hands in it and began painting the lightswitch plate and door. Werid, huh? Why would he want to do that?

I choose to take the calm approach. I explain to him that it does not bother me. That I will serve him in that way if that is what makes him happy, because all I want is for him to be happy. If watching me clean up his feces and urine is what makes him delight, I will do it for him with a happy heart. I sing praise songs and scrub my heart out. I explain to him that I don't think it's bad, though it can be unhealthy, and since my job is to keep him safe, I clean for him. I tell him that I am choosing to love him as God chooses to love all of us--even those who do not choose Him or serve Him.

It is worth noting that a year ago, my son was not doing this. He was doing it at 4, but not to this degree. Once he was 5 he traded the behavior for eating the wood on the windowsills and paper off the walls, among many other things. I have to remember this because sometimes encopresis comes from a medical problem where the child cannot control his bowel muscles. This is not the case for my son. He chooses to do this.

The Reactive Attachment Disorder books say he's trying to control us because he is scared of us loving him (because we might change our minds and leave him). That he wants us to not like him, that he doesn't feel lovable and this is his way to prove it. That he wants to "break up with us before we break up with him". That is understandable, but I often have to ask myself, "really?" "A 7 year old little boy is seeking to make me NOT love him, NOT give him all the cool toys he should want, NOT have a wonderfully cute bedroom, NOT enjoy a nice, cozy, clean bed, etc?"

The Fetal Alcohol Syndrome information suggests that he just may not be able to remember that he doesn't like the consequences of all of his negative actions. He may know one day that if he poos on his bed at night he has to sleep next to poo, but not remember that the next day.

I don't know. I won't ever understand why he tears apart everything we give him. I won't ever understand why he covers his room in poo and pee. I won't ever understand why he won't embrace the love that's here for the taking. I know that I cannot choose for him, so I pray for him and keep my responses loving.
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