Nail Biting 101

Last modified on October 15th, 2010

It’s true, I’m a nail biter. I have been for as long as I can remember. I blame it on my mom, she was a nail biter too!

The thing is, I’ve been biting them so long that for the most part I don’t even know I’m doing it. That’s what makes it a hard habit to stop. It’s not like smoking where you have to go find the pack, pull out a lighter, and then light up. I’ll literally be on the couch and realize my hand is in my mouth and I’m biting.

I’ve actually never been successful quitting, but I’d really like to stop. I’ve tried all those fancy polishes that are supposed to help you stop, but I eat those like no one’s business. In fact, I’m pretty sure I could marinade my fingers in shit for a few days and still come to the realization that I was chewing them.

I’ve spent the last week making an effort not to bite, and I’m been moderately successful, but I’m starting to seriously consider wearing gloves around home for the next few weeks to retrain my brain not to bite. I’m pretty sure once I manage to stop for a few weeks, I won’t do it any more.

The only other nails I’ve ever seen that are as close to as bad as mine are Elijah Wood’s — there are a few close up shots in Lord of the Rings where you can see just how bad his are, and mine are about the same.

So, here goes. Hopefully I’ll be able to quit before heading out on my journey.

7 responses to “Nail Biting 101”

  1. GusF says:

    I’ve been in your shoes 6 years ago. I used to be a heavy nail biter and even bite the skin off around my fingers (yeah it’s gross I know).

    I made an effort, much like you are doing now, but everytime I caught myself with my finger in my mouth, I would think of all the horrible germs that are under the nails. That thought helped me greatly and I can now say I no longer bite my nails.

    Alas the only drawback now is remembering to trim my nails 🙂

  2. curtismchale says:

    I’m a nail biter too I’ve never really tried to stop and don’t know if I ever could.

  3. Beth says:

    The only way I can keep myself from biting my nails is to wear nail polish. Probably not something that would work for you given that (a) you don’t seem the nail polish type and (b) if the horrible tasting polishes that are made specifically to get you to stop don’t work, wearing colours on your nails probably won’t either. But I find that when I do wear nail polish and stop biting my nails, I end up picking up a different habit to relieve my anxiety (like scratching with my long nails!) I should probably just be working on my anxiety!

  4. I’m not a nail biter, but one thing I’ve wondered is whether it’s really all that bad a habit. Yes, you end up with chewed-up fingernails, but other than that are there really enough negative consequences that it’s worth the stress of trying to stop, and maybe (like Beth) referring the stress to some other habit that might be worse? Maybe I’m missing something and there is something about it that is worse than it seems to me, but it’s not like smoking where you’re putting your overall health at substantially greater risk, is it?

  5. Duane Storey says:

    Well, a couple of reasons. I don’t really care about the sanitary part of it. In fact, I haven’t had a cold in about four years, so there may be something to the germ phobia where lots of people think aversion to germs is partially to blame with people being sick all the time (if your body isn’t exposed to germs, it can’t form antibodies for them).

    But I do chew them unconsciously to the point where the hurt, and more rarely, bleed. So that’s not very cool. I also don’t really like how it looks socially.. I’ve seen myself in photos with my hand in my mouth, and it looks stupid.

  6. Val Storey says:

    I quit 8 years ago when I quit smoking. I don’t how, but when I quit smoking I never bit my nails again. I had been a nail biter all my life until then. I agree socially it looks much better and it’s nice that your fingers don’t hurt anymore. Your Granmother bit her nails for over 80 years and just quit a couple of years ago. Good Luck Son it’s a hard habit to break but when you are ready it can be done!

  7. Gage says:

    I guess the bad part is that it really is a soothing habit isn’t it? For whatever reason and even if it hurts, it’s still comforting to do.

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