For the parents of children with encopresis (enco for short), the debate about whether to believe if your child can or cannot feel or smell him/herself is tricky. Do you believe your child is telling the truth, that he or she can NOT physically tell if had an “accident” or smell…or is it just denial? I have read in some websites (in my research for my book) of parents taking their kids to see a psychologist about it, to come back without a solid result. “Your child is normal”…and yet, still soils. Why do we soil? Why do we say we can’t feel or smell it when everyone else says we do??
As an encopresis survivor, I can definitely verify that if your child says he/she can’t smell or feel it or “hasn’t had an accident”…for us, it is the truth. Whenever my parents could smell me and ask if I had done it, and I said no, to check my pants and find out I did…I was accused of lying. “If you know it’s wrong why do you keep doing it?” the screaming mantra of my life, at me, over and over again. Crying each time saying “I don’t know”…because I do NOT know why. I couldn’t feel I had an accident (rarely if I did), coudn’t smell myself either, so far as I knew nothing had happened. Simple as that. It’s not denial and it’s not lying…for me, and others like me with enco, this is the truth. A truth that was punishable. Why do parents teach their children to not lie, and yell and scream at them when they tell the truth…with enco??
This not knowing has been that bad that I had not only school kids tease and bully me saying I smell (for hours), but a school teacher put me in a separate classroom!! Ostracising your child because of a body mal-function isn’t fair. No matter how many times I would cry and appologise and say sorry to my mum for soiling, the constant mantra was “Sorry isn’t good enough”. If sorry isn’t good enough, then what is? What is good enough? Why can’t being your daughter be “good enough”?
There has been research done to verify that due to the nature of encopresis, the hardened stool can accumulate within the intestinal tract that it eventually stretches the wall, numbing the nerve senses. It would be stretched so much that to be able to actually “feel” the need to go would mean the stool has to be physically huge to reach it. And that’s painful, really painful. Some tests indicate that as one is so used to the smell that it becomes ignored. The smell receptors in the nose can’t smell what it should, unless it’s really strong. Why that is I don’t know…all I know is that, with enco this is what I had to deal with.
So to answer the question honestly, YES….it is true your child can’t smell or feel the accident. By the time we know we have done it, it’s already been done. Everyone else knows before we do. Sometimes the wives are the last person to find out about an extra marital affair….the child with enco is THE Last person to know about what’s happened. We aren’t mind readers and in this case, we especially aren’t body readers. This is my story…and I’m not alone.