See, that's the thing. If someone else did it to me, it would be abuse. So why isn't it abuse when I do it to myself? My fingers can bleed and be sore for days after I chew on them. I know it's nerves that causes me to mutilate myself like that. (And I asked myself, how is this any different from those who cut themselves? If that is abuse, shouldn't nail biting be considered abuse?)
I have found a way to stop the abuse though. I keep my nails clipped short. Sometimes I'll let them grow out a bit, but then I cut them to keep me from chewing on them. I'm hoping that eventually my habit of nail biting will go away if I can keep my fingers out of my mouth long enough.
Pharmacies have stuff to put on your fingers that makes them horrible to chew on. Even if it's a nervous habit, that would help you quit.
I'm not sure that I'd include a nervous habit as self abuse but it could be. You can take it to one extreme or another, but generally, just biting nails doesn't cut it for me. Making yourself bleed one way or another is in a different category isn't it? And what about intent? You aren't intentionally trying to cause harm - it's incidental to an activity intended to distract you from something else - so I'd give you a break on the self abuse label. But I agree you want to do something to stop it since it causes bleeding unnecessarily.
I've tried the yucky stuff. Stopped using it because I like to lick food off my fingers, and that didn't work out too well. I've been biting my nails since I was a wee one. I guess I got the habit from Mom. My sister got it from her too. Mom just up and quite biting them one day ... and she did the same with smoking. I haven't been able to just up and quite biting my nails. But I do really well since I've been clipping them. Only chewed on them a few times every now and again.
I think when I thought up the idea of biting nails as maybe being abuse, like cutting, it was to get it in my head I need to stop. Cold turkey. We shall see if that works.
If I could quit biting my nails cold turkey, I think I would have done it by now. Clipping them to keep them short does help though. The split nail is really hard to ignore though. It hangs on stuff and just dares me to nibble on it.
I've seen myself on a video that was taken of the family in the audience of a show in Tennessee. It's like someone picking their nose ... it's disgusting. But still hasn't stopped me. I'm alone when I'm at home.
I'm unsure if nail-biting can be considered self-harm in the same way as cutting or hair-pulling. Though it's harmful, it doesn't seem like it would be an intentional way to inflict immediate damage to oneself in the same manner as the methods that are typically considered to be self-harm. And without the intent, I don't know that you can, or even should, try to convince yourself that your nail-biting is the same thing.
What about getting a professional manicure? Maybe if you paid to have your nails done, you'd be less apt to chew on them? Oh! The girls both get their nails done, and have tips put on them. I don't think you'd be able to chew acrylic tips down to the quick, or even if you did, you wouldn't be biting your own nails.
Wait! I know! Get yourself a job in a nursery and garden center. Even wearing gloves, which undoubtedly will have holes worn through the fingertips, your nails will end up stained with dirt no matter how much you scrub. You won't even want to look at them, much less put them in your mouth.
It helps to use a mirror when shaving; I'm not interested in making blood sacrifices.
I don't think you'd be able to chew acrylic tips down to the quick
Okay, guy speaking here, but that sounds reasonable.
I'm unsure if nail-biting can be considered self-harm in the same way as cutting or hair-pulling.
I agree. As I understand it, cutting and pulling are intended to cause enough pain to distract one from some perceived personal pain whether physical, emotional, or psychological. That's not what you described at all.
Last Edit: Sept 22, 2015 19:43:26 GMT -6 by stepper
There was a period of time where I did chew on my nails and finger tips until they hurt and were bloody. Peeled the top thin layer of skin off up to my distal phalanx. Thankfully that time is past. I think it depends on what's behind the nail biting, and how how much damage is done. For me it can be a stress-reliever. Something I do when my nerves are on edge.
My fingers were always too nasty to get a manicure. They're much better now. And even though I've been good about not chewing on them by keeping them clipped short, I still pick at them. The longer my nails get the more I pick at them. So it has to do with nerves, and I need to find a better stress-reliever. Until I do, my nails will probably continue to be fair game.
It wouldn't be too hard to chew around the tips ... chew on the flesh. But clipping them is working, so I should probably stick to that. I have to keep them short anyways while I'm setting up Mom's machine. Germs have more space to hide under grown out nails. As the black light has proven when it's test time. Can see the glow under Mom's longest nails when she forgets to clip them.