1. Our TMS drop-in chat is today (Saturday) from 3:00 PM - 4:00 PM Eastern U.S.(New York) Daylight Time. It's a great way to get quick and interactive peer support. BruceMC is today's host. Click here for more info or just look for the red flag on the menu bar at 3pm Eastern (now US Daylight Time).
    Dismiss Notice
  2. Alan has completed the new Pain Recovery Program. To read or share it, use this updated link: https://www.tmswiki.org/forum/painrecovery/
    Dismiss Notice

Thoughts on nail biting

Discussion in 'General Discussion Subforum' started by bold_as_love, Dec 20, 2013.

  1. bold_as_love

    bold_as_love New Member

    Just dawned on me that I've been biting my nails since I can remember, or for about 40 years. Is that a repression mechanism? Always thought it was just boredom/nervousness. Thx!
  2. Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021)

    Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021) Beloved Grand Eagle

    I think it's just a nervous habit. Just switch to doing something else, like massaging the valley point.
  3. Forest

    Forest Beloved Grand Eagle

    I don't know, as I don't bite my nails. I tend to fiddle with the spiky splinter-like hangnails at the edge of my fingernails a little. I used to do it more, but decided to push them down instead of up and that seemed to help. I used to bite my nails, but at a certain point I noticed and was able to stop.

    TMS is generally a strategy that your brain uses to distract you from something. If you are doing the nail-biting unconsciously, then it isn't doing a very good job of distracting you and probably isn't itself TMS. :) On the other hand, it might be a symptom of the same unconscious tension that is also causing your TMS. Bottom line: unless you catch yourself TMSing - i.e. obsessing about the nail biting instead of being present in your life - I wouldn't consider the nail biting as TMS. However, perhaps you can use it as a signal to better understand your tension. As an exercise, you might try listening to your internal energy when you notice you are biting your nails. Is there something you might be tense about, consciously or unconsciously?

    Whatever you do, I'm curious what you find. Keep us updated.
  4. Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021)

    Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021) Beloved Grand Eagle

    Bold as Love,
    Think of all the money you've saved not buying nail clippers. haha
  5. Lori

    Lori Well known member

    I did bite my nails as a kid. Then I discovered how to crack my fingers which seems like a similar habit. Interestingly, I don’t do this on weekends. So now when I go to crack my fingers, I try to be present enough to ask myself what I am FEELING at that moment to have the "need" to crack my fingers, so I can I try to be more aware so I can stop, or at least cut down!
    Last edited: Dec 22, 2013
  6. Leslie

    Leslie Well known member

    I don't know if nail biting could be a repression mechanism for some. I too was a nail biter for as long as I could remember. Started when I was really young and after years and years of unsuccessful attempts to stop, I finally did kick that habit about 8 months ago. I think for me nail biting was more an anxiety manifestation more than anything else. Primarily it was a an unconscious activity. I usually wouldn't even realize I was doing it until it bugged someone else and they told me to stop. I did a lot of what Forest suggested in his post. I gauged my emotional state when I would find myself biting my nails and I looked for patterns. What I found was that I primarily bit my nails when I was reading and it didn't matter what I was reading - a book, a magazine, a billboard, even a computer screen at work. If my eyes were reading my nails were getting nibbled. The more I thought about it and followed the internal energy I realized it made perfect sense. When I was a child I loved to read. I could be in a room full of people and I was very content to sit in a corner alone and lose myself in the fantasy taking place inside the pages of a book. Unfortunately for me, my love for reading displeased my mother. It wasn't so much the activity itself that she had a problem with, but the solidarity of it. If there were other options (especially ones involving interacting with others) she preferred I not be reading. So, the result of that was that I was probably one of the only children who heard "would you put the damn book down already" rather than being told to "go read a book" like every other kid on the planet. I realized that even as an adult, the people pleaser in me was on high alert waiting to be reprimanded for displeasing someone with my reading. What finally worked for me was sitting down with a picture of myself about the age of 5 or so and talking to that little girl. I told her that it was ok if she wanted to read a book. There was much to learn inside every book and learning was a good thing. I also reminded her that Mom was not lurking around the corner in my house waiting to loudly demand that I put the damn book down and go play with my siblings. Once I convinced my inner child that it was safe to read, the nail biting stopped without even trying.
  7. Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021)

    Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021) Beloved Grand Eagle

    Leslie, your story about how you stopped biting your nails is terrific.
    You did some great self-analyzing and solved the problem.

    Your method could apply to any TMS pain.

    My mother also had a thing about my reading. When I graduated from high school
    I wanted to read for pleasure so I bought John Steinbeck's new book, Travels with Charley (his dog).
    My mother said, "Why did you buy a book? You already have one."

    So of course I grew up to be a writer. See a list of my published books at

    Happy Holidays!

Share This Page