Thank you. My kid sister is 61 years of age, and has begun reverting to an infant-type of verbal communication and strange body language submissive ‘wriggling’ (like a very young puppy or kitten when it’s scolded) after 20 years of total domination by her aggressive isolating husband. She reverts now at all times of stress to speaking and gesturing as if she were a submissive 4 or 5 year old.

I cannot recall but I once read of the psychiatric term for this behaviour/response – and need to communicate in a once-only accurate warning to Family (so they can research or describe to their advisors)

Your advice will be HUGELY appreciated. Kind regards.

A. You may be asking about regression. Regression is a defense mechanism that involves an individual exhibiting earlier childhood behaviors when under a great deal of stress. For example, an overwhelmed, homesick college student refuses to leave their bed and reverts back to sucking their thumb.

Defense mechanisms are unconscious. She may not realize that it is happening or may not be able to control her behavior when it does happen. If she is willing, it would be best for her to consult a mental health professional. Counseling could help and so might hypnosis. Don’t hesitate to write again if you have additional questions. Please take care.

Dr. Kristina Randle