Confessions of a Nail Biter

2 years ago
This article was written by a member of the SheKnows Community. It has not been edited, vetted or reviewed by our editorial staff, and any opinions expressed herein are the writer’s own.

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 my daughter, 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.

Leah Singer | Leah's Thoughts

Originally published on Leah's Thoughts.

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