This Technique Will Have You Stop Your Nail-Biting Once And For All
Start writing a post
Health and Wellness

This Technique Will Have You Stop Your Nail-Biting Once And For All

So long, bitter nail polishes.

106
This Technique Will Have You Stop Your Nail-Biting Once And For All

Ever since my childhood, I've bitten my nails. I can almost remember the exact age I was – four years old. Studies show that obsessive-compulsive behaviors like nail-biting and hair-pulling occur not just out of boredom, but also instability and stress. We start the behavior to comfort ourselves.

Nail-biting, hair pulling, and picking scabs fall into the OCD/anxiety spectrum of mental illness. Some people don't consider it a mental illness because it is a physical preoccupation. But it is how and when it arises that makes it mental.

When I was four, my mom and dad were on the fringes of separation. Eventually, he moved back to Chicago and we stayed in Florida. As the oldest in my family, I guess I had this intuition that my family was falling apart and that I couldn't do anything about it. So I bit my nails and cuticles for comfort until they bled.

It would get so bad that I would develop pus in my left thumb at six years old. I remember this because I had to go to the doctor and have the nurse extract it with a needle. This was my first encounter with a needle that wasn't a standard flu shot. I fainted not only because of the action but because I saw the whole thing transpire, the brackish fluid extracted.

You would think that would inspire me to stop. But I didn't. If anything, it made it worse.

As an adult, I would be so ashamed by the act of shaking someone's hand. I felt even more embarrassed if it was for an interview or networking. I could just see them asking themselves, what professional woman bites her nails?

Honestly, it was really bad. So bad that eventually, the one fingernail I would constantly gnaw at barely existed. Although my grandpa would be sarcastically loving about how frequently I bit my nails and their short length, it would aid my shame about them.

If they ever got long enough, I went to the nail salon and got acrylics. This proved to be an expensive endeavor though. I would take them off and admire how long my nails had gotten underneath the acrylic. But often, I would forget to ask them to clean up the beds or do a simple manicure. And I would be back to square one.

It wasn't until I researched trauma and nail-biting to find a technique called movement decoupling. This therapy consists of touching the area that you inflict your obsessive behaviors on with a soft touch, then diverting that touch to a less obvious place (like the ear) and doing another action to counter that soft touch.

The first time I did this, I'll admit, I almost cried.

I almost cried because I guess part of me thought that I didn't receive love and attention as a child. That the soft touches I gave myself both before and after my diversion were touches that I didn't receive back then.

I still have horribly pink, sharp cuticles. But instead of biting them, I apply lotion and try to keep up with those soft touches. I wash my hands and lovingly put on pink nail polish frequently. I know my mom did these things back when I was younger, but I was too upset by the separation to think that it was done out of love.

I've not bitten my nails in two months as a result. Because nails grow about one-tenth of an inch per month, they're slowly growing to look like hands that are appreciated and loved. Every once in a while, I apply hand lotion to calm the redness and irritation of the cuticles.

I don't mean to invalidate your need to bite your nails. But if you have been/are obsessive about biting your nails like me, then I'm sure that you have experienced the same levels of shame as I have.

I want you to love your entire body, even your nails, because they are wonderfully made. There is nothing to worry about, to be shameful about, in your hands. And if you say to me, "But I would still have ugly hands," I would still tell you to do the opposite and touch them as though you love them.

Chances are, you'll learn to appreciate what your hands look like and can do. It's a small act to love your hands, but it'll then trickle to other areas of your body that you've normally hated and you will start to recognize that you are a beautiful, mystical creature that deserves love in all forms.

Report this Content
This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
Featured

Aretha Franklin Will Forever Be A Detroit Legend, I'm Proud To Share A Hometown With Her

Aretha Franklin lost her battle to pancreatic cancer, so we stop to reflect on her powerful journey.

56
Aretha Franklin Will Forever Be A Detroit Legend, I'm Proud To Share A Hometown With Her

Recently, Aretha Franklin, the Queen of Soul, passed away. Ms. Franklin grew up singing in her church's choir in Detroit. Over the years, she decided to make singing a career, first signing to Columbia Records at 18. Years later, she signed with Atlantic Records where her most powerful tunes, such as "Respect," are remembered to this day. Her breathtaking vocals earned her 18 Grammy Awards and made her one of the best-selling artists of all time.

Keep Reading... Show less
Featured

Life Before Emancipation

Contraband Camps in Harpers Ferry

871

When the Civil War first broke out, the United States Army sought to preserve the Union, and did not have intentions on interfering with the institution of slavery in the rebellious states. In fact, in his first inaugural address, Abraham Lincoln promised not to interfere with slavery in the places where it already existed. Of course, at the time of this address, Virginia, North Carolina, Arkansas, and Tennessee had yet to secede, so he needed to keep a moderate stance. When the U.S. Army moved into states in rebellion, generals ensured civilians that they would not interfere with slavery, and would even hep quell potential uprisings. On May 22, 1861, this attitude towards slavery began to change. Prior to then, slaves who escaped into Union lines could be returned to their masters. In some cases, troops with more abolitionist leanings would aid the runaways, but it was not yet the norm. However on May 22, three runaway slaves approached Fort Monroe along the James River seeking refuge. The slaves stated that they were about to be sent South to work on the Confederate coastal defenses in the Carolinas. Instead of returning the slaves to their masters, the commander of the fort, Benjamin Butler, claimed the slaves were contraband of war and put them to work in support of the United States. He wrote Winfield Scott, general-in-chief of all federal armies, "Shall [the enemy] be allowed the use of this property against the United States and we not be allowed its use in aid of the United States?" Following Butler's actions, 900 more slaves would gather in Fort Monroe. Congress would back Butler's stance with the First Confiscation Act in August of 1861.

Keep Reading... Show less
Featured

Juneteenth: The Overlooked 'Independence Day'

If we can't celebrate different types of people and rejoice with them in their season of glee and jubilation, then what kind of "land of the free" is this, anyway?

161
News Desk

I want to begin this article by saying that I was raised to be about as patriotic as it gets. I was born and bred in the "Bible belt" where we learned to say "thank you for your service" before we could even comprehend what those words truly meant. My father is a highly respected and high-ranking Houston firefighter, and he is following in the footsteps of three prior generations of Houston firefighters within our direct lineage. My maternal grandfather served in the U.S. Army, and I have multiple family members and personal friends who have served and/or are currently serving in our nation's military. And lastly (probably most important), my husband is currently serving as a Sergeant in the U.S. Army, as well. So I think it goes without saying that I have the utmost admiration and respect for public servants and first responders of all kinds.

I love our nation's military and I love this nation. But I am not a blind patriot with my head stuck in the sand. I will always support our troops, but I will very rarely support the ugly wars that we fight (both literal and figurative) across national borders and/or within our own walls.

I will be the first person to admit that this great nation in which we love so dearly is filled with hatred, ugly politics, extreme corruption and institutionalized oppression and racism (just to name a few). I love America and I am grateful that I live here, but I am not blind to America's obvious flaws.

War and political nonsense aside though, I think it is worth noting that America is already great, but let's not be ignorant, America is certainly not the "land of the free" for every race, religion and sexual orientation out there. So let's stop treating it as such. The sooner we can recognize our legitimate internal problems, the better off we will be. Our gullibility is getting us nowhere.

Keep Reading... Show less
Featured

Dear Dad, I Love You

Here's a thank you for all the ways you have made my life better, Dad.

1893

Celebrating Father's Day 2022

Keep Reading... Show less
A Letter To My Dad On Father's Day
Carmen Bonora

Dad, you are the strongest man I know. You have raised us girls up to be hardworking strong women and if I do say so myself, you did a mighty fine job of it. You have helped us become strong and independent women.

Keep Reading... Show less

Subscribe to Our Newsletter

Facebook Comments