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Confessions of a Nail Biter

April 8, 2016

My name is Leah, and I bite my nails.

Yes, that’s right. I’m a nail biter. I’m not proud of this habit. I’ve been doing this since I was a kid and I want to stop.

nail polish

How does one become a nail biter? Did I one day decided I needed an oral fixation and decided to bite my nails? Maybe it began in childhood when the pacifier was taken from me.

In the writing class I took last summer, each student had to reveal to interesting things about themselves. I told the class that I can’t stand clutter and I bite my nails. My writing teacher made an interesting observation that perhaps the two idiosyncrasies are related. Maybe I bite my nails to get rid of the excess nail or skin around the tip; to even out the area, if you will. Essentially, to remove the physical “clutter” on my hands.

This little girl who went to daycare with Sophie was a thumb sucker. One day she just stopped, but in it’s place, she started biting her nails. So perhaps our minds look for one habit to replace another. I wonder if kids are able to naturally grow out of their oral habits, would they take up another one? Sophie was a thumb-sucker, but luckily she didn’t take up an annoying oral habit when she finally stopped two years ago. And so far, she hasn’t inherited my nail-biting habit either.

My mother used to bite her nails. I once asked her how she stopped, and she said her grandmother told her when she was a teenager that no man would marry her with bitten fingernails. That was enough to stop her. Clearly that threat didn’t work on me (although I know Bryan finds this habit quite annoying).

I notice I bite my nails most when I’m sitting on the couch watching television. What’s interesting is that I don’t even realize I’ve chomped my fingers until after I’ve done it. My mind is so entranced in what I’m watching and then suddenly I realize I’ve been biting my nails.

I won’t bite my nails when I’m in public, or when they’re freshly manicured. The thought of wasting money and ruining the polish trumps my biting obsession. But I can’t afford to have my nails freshly manicured every week either. Don’t tell me to give up television, or to get acrylic nails either. I did that before my wedding and ended up tearing off all the fake nails while on my honeymoon. Romantic, I know.

So what should I do? Maybe I’ll put a nail buffer board on the couch. And anytime I notice myself biting when I watch television, I’ll use that tool instead. Maybe I should try hypnosis. Or wear gloves. All I know is it’s a nasty habit and I want to break it.

My name is Leah, and I bite my nails.

Do you bite your nails or have an annoying habit you want to break? How did you break a former habit?

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. December 18, 2010 11:37 am

    They say that admitting you have a problem is the first step.

  2. December 19, 2010 2:54 pm

    Hi Leah 🙂 No great words of wisdom here. I stopped biting my nails during my late teens. One day my grandma (Oma) told me that if a boy looked at my nails he would barf and run away, nice huh. Then I dreamed that night a giant ball of bitten fingernails in my stomach would one day explode. Try those and see if it works. Gotta remember, tho, that we are NOT in our teens anymore.❤

  3. December 19, 2010 3:16 pm

    Hi Leah, my mom was a nail-biter and believe or not she stop biting her nails only when she moved here. She was 58 years old…. It seems to me she needed a stress of moving from Russia to US at her age to finally kick thishabit. Now my both sons are biting their nails, but there is no way I am moving anywhere 🙂

  4. April 8, 2016 7:16 am

    I’m a nail-biter, and I don’t care. Ha ha. I can very easily STOP biting them. Done it many times, and my nails grow SO quickly, that in four to five days, they are quite long (in fact, last week I was in Utah and came home to long nails, which I quickly bit off when I got home. Ha ha). I just HATE the feeling of nails obstructing what I’m doing — and the way things get trapped under them so easily, even when you’re ‘careful.’ Biting them may not be a sanitary input, but once they’re bitten, they’re a sanitary output. That’s my story, and I’m sticking to it. (I also hate trying to type with nails. The clack clack is so annoying to me. I’d rather have my stubby-nailed finger pads that give me some control). There are worse vices! 😉

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