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Questions & Answers

Trichotillomania

First posted: February 7, 2005

 

Question

"Trichotillomania" is the name given to a condition where the person has a compulsion to pull out his or her hair. What is the spiritual root behind this compulsion?

 

Answer

To get to the root of the issue, we must first understand the spiritual meaning of "hair" and of the "pulling out of hair" according to Scripture.


The "root" of hair

The word for "hair" in Hebrew is "sear", which, strangely enough, is derived from the word "saar" meaning "to storm, shiver, dread". This means that the word for "hair" is tied in Hebrew with the concept of "fear". We are afraid when we perceive a threat against us, and every threat creates a need for "protection" (or "covering") of our weakness from that threat. I guess this explains why "hair" and "fear" are related, since "hair" speaks of "covering".

The "loss of hair" is associated in Scripture with the loss of protection (i.e.- with our weakness being uncovered), and its "non-loss" is many times associated with God's protection (or "covering") of our weakness, as can be seen from the following passages:


"51And it was told Solomon, saying, Behold, Adonijah feareth king Solomon: for, lo, he hath caught hold on the horns of the altar, saying, Let king Solomon swear unto me to day that he will not slay his servant with the sword. 52And Solomon said, If he will shew himself a worthy man, there shall not an hair of him fall to the earth: but if wickedness shall be found in him, he shall die." (1 Kings 1:51-52)


"16And ye shall be betrayed both by parents, and brethren, and kinsfolks, and friends; and some of you shall they cause to be put to death. 17And ye shall be hated of all men for my name’s sake. 18But there shall not an hair of your head perish. 19In your patience possess ye your souls." (Luke 21:16-18)


"33And while the day was coming on, Paul besought them all to take meat, saying, This day is the fourteenth day that ye have tarried and continued fasting, having taken nothing. 34Wherefore I pray you to take some meat: for this is for your health: for there shall not an hair fall from the head of any of you." (Acts 27:33-34)


The plucking out of hair

In some passages of Scripture, the "plucking out of hair" is associated with shame over sin committed. The person who is plucking out his or her hair can be the person committing the sin or a person who is closely related to the sinning person and who thereby feels that he or she shares in the shame of the sin committed:

"2For they have taken of their daughters for themselves, and for their sons: so that the holy seed have mingled themselves with the people of those lands: yea, the hand of the princes and rulers hath been chief in this trespass. 3And when I heard this thing, I rent my garment and my mantle, and plucked off the hair of my head and of my beard, and sat down astonied. 4Then were assembled unto me every one that trembled at the words of the God of Israel, because of the transgression of those that had been carried away; and I sat astonied until the evening sacrifice." (Ezra 9:2-4)

[Notice how the brothers and sisters who sat with Ezra were filled with "fear" after Ezra plucked off his hair; they felt shame and lack of protection from God's judgment because of the sin of the people]


"23In those days also saw I Jews that had married wives of Ashdod, of Ammon, and of Moab: 24And their children spake half in the speech of Ashdod, and could not speak in the Jews’ language, but according to the language of each people. 25And I contended with them, and cursed them, and smote certain of them, and plucked off their hair, and made them swear by God, saying, Ye shall not give your daughters unto their sons, nor take their daughters unto your sons, or for yourselves. 26Did not Solomon king of Israel sin by these things? yet among many nations was there no king like him, who was beloved of his God, and God made him king over all Israel: nevertheless even him did outlandish women cause to sin. 27Shall we then hearken unto you to do all this great evil, to transgress against our God in marrying strange wives?" (Nehemiah 13:23-27)


In these passages, the connection between sin and the plucking out of hair is based on the "fear factor". Those who recognized the sin of others close to them made them aware of God's coming judgment against that sin. Since the sinning parties were unrepentant, those who recognized the sin felt "unprotected" or "uncovered" from God's judgment. They felt the shame of being "uncovered", and they expressed it by plucking out hair.

Because of the "shame" factor mentioned above, the plucking out of hair also has a connotation of being rejected by someone else:

"Cut off thine hair, O Jerusalem, and cast it away, and take up a lamentation on high places; for the LORD hath rejected and forsaken the generation of his wrath." (Jeremiah 7:29)


Therefore, we can say that, when another person is inflicting shame on us, it is equivalent (spiritually speaking) to that person plucking out our hair as if to say, "See, you are doing things wrong, and you are worthy of judgment; you haven't changed, and you are unprotected from the judgment that is about to befall you. You are as good as 'bald', because you are unprotected from judgment".

In the Nehemiah passage quoted above (Nehemiah 13:23-27), it was Nehemiah himself who plucked off the sinning people's hair because he was moving under the holy zeal of God's righteousness. However, Scripture also shows that the unrighteous may want to inflict unjustified shame on us to keep us down:

"5The Lord GOD hath opened mine ear, and I was not rebellious, neither turned away back. 6I gave my back to the smiters, and my cheeks to them that plucked off the hair: I hid not my face from shame and spitting. 7For the Lord GOD will help me; therefore shall I not be confounded: therefore have I set my face like a flint, and I know that I shall not be ashamed. 8He is near that justifieth me; who will contend with me? let us stand together: who is mine adversary? let him come near to me. 9Behold, the Lord GOD will help me; who is he that shall condemn me? lo, they all shall wax old as a garment; the moth shall eat them up." (Isaiah 50:5-9)


In the passage above, the one speaking is the righteous prophetic remnant who abides in God despite the attacks of man and satan. Notice, however, that there were people who were unjustly plucking off his hair (v6), trying to inflict shame on him. Yet, he remains determined, with his face "like a flint" (v7), unwilling to yield to the attackers' pressure to feel shame. Therefore, he appeals to God as his justifier, as his vindicator (v8-9), and he openly declares that he will not be ashamed because God is with him (v7). In a larger prophetic sense, this passage applies to the prophetic-remnant believers who are attacked by other believers who want to force them to abide by the Church's earthly structures and paradigms, yet, it can also be applied in a more specific way to any situation where someone is trying to make us feel unjustifiably ashamed because we somehow do not fit in to what they (not God) perceive to be "decent" or "appropriate". As you can see in verse 5, the person speaking says that he "was not rebellious", meaning that he is being accused of "rebellion" for not abiding by earthly rules, choosing instead to abide by God's rules. The person speaking in the passage above understands that we need to be "non-rebellious" in the eyes of GOD, not man. Many times, true obedience to God is perceived as "rebellion" by man.

 

The shaming spirits

Of the 7 types of evil spirits, the ones most given to inflict shame are the Jebusites, the Amorites, and the Girgashites. If you revisit the "triangle of evil" we described in an earlier article, you will see that these 3 spirits are the spirits that form the entire right side of the triangle. As you may also notice from the triangle, those under the influence of Perizzite spirits are trapped inside the right side of the triangle. Perizzite spirits make people feel "little", "spiritually insignificant" and "ashamed". The right-side spirits (the Jebusites, the Girgashites, and the Amorites) work in tandem to produce a sense of shame and "irrelevance" in the lives of people under Perizzite influence. They attack any "Perizzite" person the minute they perceive that the "Perizzite" is beginning to assert his or her spiritual authority and value in God before others. In a way, the right-side spirits (especially the Jebusites) love to say, "Who do you think YOU are? You are worthless and irrelevant."

From all of the above, we can say that "trichotillomania" is caused by an unresolved sense of shame brought on by the external pressure of Jebusite, Girgashite, and Amorite spirits in the person's life. These spirits do not relinquish their oppression on people without a fight. This means that, every time a former Perizzite tries to stand up and assert his or her spiritual authority and value in Christ, these spirits will do everything in their power to bring that person down, and the only way of overcoming them is by setting one's face "like a flint" (Isaiah 50:7) and refusing to feel ashamed when there is no justifiable reason to be ashamed.

 

The spiritual shame-coverer

Obviously, shame is justified if we have sinned. It would be anti-Biblical to say otherwise. However, the recognition of shame brings a need for "covering", and the covering that we can place on our souls when we have sinned is true and sincere repentance. When we repent, our shame is covered, and we are restored unto righteousness in Christ:

 

"8If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 9If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." (1 John 1:8-9)


"And I beheld when he had opened the sixth seal, and, lo, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became as blood" (
Revelation 6:12)

[Notice that this passage speaks of "sackcloth of hair". Sackcloth was used in ancient days as a symbol of grief for sin committed and as a sign of repentance before God. This means that our repentance acts as "spiritual hair" that restores us from the shame of sin.]

 

Shame and lameness

The Perizzite spirit produces a sense of "lameness". In other words, it makes people feel like they are useless and permanently dependent on others. With the passing of time, Perizzites lose their initiative and become paralyzed by the fear of walking "on their own" (humanly speaking). As we have said before, Perizzites become spiritual Mephibosheths. Therefore, a key to overcoming the Perizzite spirit is to believe and seek after a direct relationship with the Lord without permanent dependence on human intermediaries. Obviously, God places people around us to support us and help us along the way, but it's never His intention to make us permanently dependent on others. The only One in whom we are permanently dependent is God Himself, and God wants us to walk in the Anointing and the Authority that He has given to us. When others help us and support us, we are to see it as God supporting and helping us through them. If they, for one reason or another, are taken away from us, we are not left "helpless", because God continues to be with us.

"4Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me. 5I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing." (
John 15:4-5)


"15If ye love me, keep my commandments. 16And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; 17Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you. 18I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you. 19Yet a little while, and the world seeth me no more; but ye see me: because I live, ye shall live also. 20At that day ye shall know that I am in my Father, and ye in me, and I in you. 21He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him." (John 14:15-21)


"38And he commanded the chariot to stand still: and they went down both into the water, both Philip and the eunuch; and he baptized him. 39And when they were come up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord caught away Philip, that the eunuch saw him no more: and he went on his way rejoicing." (
Acts 8:38-39)


A flock of goats

In various passages such as Song of Solomon 4:1 and 6:5, the Lord refers to His beloved bride's hair as "a flock of goats". Why? Because the word "goat" is a translation of the Hebrew word ez, which in turn is derived from the word "azaz" meaning "to be strong". In Scripture, "weakness" is associated to the "soul" (or "woman"), whereas "strength" is associated to the "spirit" (or "man"). In other words, God is speaking of the strength of our spirit nature. When you walk in the strength and righteousness of your God-given spirit, you become the "judge of all things", and nothing (and no one) can "judge" you:

 

"There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit." (Romans 8:1)

 

"15But he that is spiritual judgeth all things, yet he himself is judged of no man. 16For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ." (1 Corinthians 2:15-16)

 

Kings

In Song of Solomon 7:5, the Lord refers to His beloved bride's hair as being "purple". The color "purple" was associated in ancient times with "royalty". Fellow believer, you and I are "kings" in Christ (Revelation 1:6), and God has given His beloved the spiritual authority to conquer the nations in Him:

 

"7I will declare the decree: the LORD hath said unto me, Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee. 8Ask of me, and I shall give thee the heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession. 9Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron; thou shalt dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel." (Psalm 2:7-9)

[The word "heathen" in verse 8 was translated from the Hebrew word goyim meaning "nations". Therefore, verse 8 should really say, "I shall give thee the nations for thine inheritance".]

 

The first verses of this psalm show how Amorites, i.e.- the earthly kings, don't like to see the manifestation of God's kings:

 

"1Why do the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing? 2The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the LORD, and against his anointed, saying, 3Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us. 4He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh: the Lord shall have them in derision. 5Then shall he speak unto them in his wrath, and vex them in his sore displeasure. 6Yet have I set my king upon my holy hill of Zion." (Psalm 2:1-6)

 

Conclusion

Since "trichotillomania" is rooted in unresolved shame, the key is to overcome this Perizzite spirit of shame. From all of the above, we can conclude that, according to Scripture, this is how we overcome unjustified shame:

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Recognizing that God removes our shame when we truly repent (1 John 1:8-9)

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Setting our face like a flint whenever Jebusites, Amorites, or Girgashites try to reinstate our shame (Isaiah 50:5-9)

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Overcoming Perizzite lameness and inadequacy by ...
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... recognizing that our permanent dependence is in God alone (John 14:15-21)

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... allowing our hair to become a "flock of goats", meaning that we will walk in the authority of our God-given spirit nature (Song of Solomon 4:1, 6:5)

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... walking in our king-anointing, being aware that God has called us to take the nations of the Earth for an inheritance, even if the Amorite kings try to discourage us by raging against us (Psalm 2)