by Kathryn Brunkenhoefer (U.S.A)
June 27, 2019
"With GNM, I was able to help my child like never before"
My 7-year old daughter (she is right-handed) would get dry coughs several times a year. Every time, it would last for about a week and it was always worse during the night. It was the most relentless night coughing! For her, getting a cough meant five miserable nights of coughing. Nothing would help. We used cough suppressant medicine, cough drops, tea with tons of honey, and a humidifier with eucalyptus oil, but the poor child would lay and cough.
This past March, my daughter got another one of her dry coughs. I had discovered GNM about 18 months prior and by this time, my daughter was very familiar with the concept of identifying conflicts to relieve symptoms. In this case, we recognized that a stray dog I was fostering in our home was the conflict. I knew a cough meant a "scare-fright"* and she was afraid of the dog biting her.
The dog was young and teething so he was constantly biting and his new teeth were sharp. My daughter did not like the dog because of this and demanded him being in his kennel at all times. Since it wasn't possible to keep him locked up, I showed my daughter how to keep a chew toy in her hand and whenever the dog wanted to play with her, she could offer him the toy to nip at instead of her. It turned out that engaging with the dog made her more scared. His teeth looked large and his loud snapping and wrinkled snout all were very threatening to her. Unfortunately, I was not very understanding. It was difficult to keep her and the dog separated and her shouting every time the dog moved was stressing me out. Also, the poor dog went into healing having found shelter in our home from the cold and rain, and it was having terrible bloody stool [the healing phase of an indigestible morsel conflict]. It seemed like my daughter was constantly yelling at the dog to go away, and I was worried it was making his serious condition worse. The dog had been passing significant amounts of blood in each bowel movement for nearly two weeks. So finally, I scolded my daughter for being so insensitive and I demanded she try her best to be brave and use the chew toy. She ended up extremely sick. She had high fever and frightening sleep disturbances with what seemed like hallucinations. I knew it started with the dog so I used social media to find it a new foster home. With the support of animal rescue groups in my community, the sweet dog was in a new home that very day, and with enough fundraiser donations for proper veterinary care.
My daughter recovered from the high fever and diarrhea (she must have also experienced the situation as an "indigestible morsel”) but, of course, a cough also appeared, which lingered and kept her from getting the rest she needed. For two more days she coughed but we didn't discuss the conflict as I figured she just needed time to heal. On the third day, she tried to lay down for a much-needed nap but she coughed and coughed. I went into her room and reminded her to make the connection that the coughing was caused by the fright of the dog but that the dog was gone and her home was safe. From the room next to hers, I lay and listened to her incessant cough for about five minutes until I remembered that I also scared her with my scolding. So I went back in her room to also remind her how very sorry I was that I added to her fright by raising my voice and demanding she try and get along with the puppy.
I told her how much she means to me and that no dog would ever be as important to me as she is, and that I am here to protect her from harm and give her a safe home. I went back to the next room and listened. The coughing continued. Exasperated, I asked myself, "What on earth is this coughing track??" I thought about what she's doing when she coughs. "It's when she's in bed," is all I could come up with... until I remembered something.
It's hard to admit but once, when my daughter was four and asleep in my bed, she awoke with this dry coughing and we couldn't get it to stop. I got up and got her the glass of water, a cough drop, etc. but she still coughed and coughed and we couldn't get back to sleep. I was under enormous stress at the time and I lost my temper and shouted "Quit coughing! Try swallowing when you're going to cough! Stop coughing!!!" It was the middle of the night and I probably wouldn't have remembered this if it weren't for my daughter telling my sister about it a few weeks later. She said, "Mommy got mad at me for coughing." Embarrassed, I protested that I wasn't mad; I was just tired in the night. But she argued, "No, you yelled at me. You told me to stop coughing." Sheepishly, I apologized. It was true, I acted so selfishly.
Fast forward three years later as she lay in bed trying to nap. I go to her room for the third time. This time I ask her if she remembers the time I yelled at her in the night for coughing. She does. I told her I think I made her feel afraid to cough. I had yelled at her in such a way that made her feel like she was going to get in trouble if she coughed again. So the feeling of needing to cough itself was scary because it would make mommy mad if she did. I admitted my behavior that night was awful and I deeply regretted it. I assured my daughter that it was safe to cough, that she could cough all day and all night forever and I would still love her and need her and kiss her and hug her because she is my one and only baby girl who I am so blessed to care for. I promised no matter how tired or grumpy I may be, I would never be mad at her for coughing ever again. She gave a sleepy smile, said "ok mom" and fell asleep. Again I went to the next room to listen. This time I couldn't stop smiling and even giggling because the minutes without coughing continued until it was hours later and she still hadn't a single tiny cough. I acted regrettably in the past but with GNM, I was able to undo that harm and help my child like never before. At least that I could be proud of.
Since then, she has had coughing in the night twice, but both times we stopped it instantly. We were never able to do that before!! One time it was after a girl scared her at the park, and the other was after she saw a scary movie poster at the theater. Both times I went to her in the night and I mentioned what it likely was that scared her (the girl at the park, the movie poster) and I also reminded her that it's okay to cough as much as she wants. Both times she didn't cough again and went back to sleep the whole night. The female scare-fright conflict** related to the bronchial muscles has the additional aspect of feeling stuck or "unable to (re)act." Since I literally told my daughter not to act ("Do not cough!") this must be her specific conflict and things that scare her are tracks: the girl in the park, the movie poster. Knowing this, it's important that we not only identify "scare tracks" when she coughs, but also that I remind her it is safe to react (cough).
Many times trying to identify conflicts and the associated tracks is overwhelming. Especially when I'm trying to help my children and the conflict so often points back to my own behavior toward them. But this, in turn, has provided me with a way to become a better person and mother. There aren't words to describe how grateful I am. My whole world is completely different in the most wonderful way.
P.S. The dog found a forever home with a nice retired couple and also made a full recovery from the intestinal symptoms.
*GNM Explanation: A dry bronchial cough, controlled from the bronchial muscles relay in the right temporal lobe, occurs during the Epileptoid Crisis (see coughing fits). For a right-handed female, the associated conflict is a male territorial fear conflict (the equivalent to the female scare-fright conflict). This implies that at the moment the girl had the DHS (the frightening dog), she was already conflict-active with a conflict linked to the left temporal lobe. Kathryn confirmed that her daughter used to have vocal tics “where she was compelled to hum, like “mmmmm” and she couldn’t make it stop.” Vocal tics (a constellation) involve the laryngeal muscles and laryngeal mucosa in the left temporal lobe, linked to scare-fright conflicts for a right-handed female. These were most likely the scare-conflicts the girl experienced at the age of four. The territorial fear conflict triggered by the scary dog was her second conflict. The prolonged coughing was caused by the coughing itself (an extended track linked to the scolding by her mother).
It is impressive how Kathryn is able to connect the “GNM dots” and how she employs the knowledge of GNM as a caring mother. Thank you!
Disclaimer: The information in this testimonial does not replace professional medical advice.