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Hopefulwoman , 14 Sep 2011

Finger Picking Obsession

I don't know what compelled me to finally google this finger picking problem of mine, but I am so glad for it led me to this website & forum. I am 52 & have been picking at my cuticles & fingers since I was very young. It's not even fair to say "cuticles" because let's face it, it's the entire tip of my thumbs & forefingers. Everything I've read here rings true for me. It relieves tension & gives me a perverse sense of satisfaction when I peel off a really big piece of skin. I've never vocalized this to ANYONE in my whole life. I understand from my siblings that my parents were worried about me (although they did nothing about it). I was bullied as a kid & think that's why I do this. I bit my nails as a kid but for some unknown reason outgrew that but moved on to the skin. It's my dirty little secret because I will hide my fingers when I've really done a number on them. It's true that acrylic nails prevent me from picking. I could run down & get a full set but you see it would only mask the problem which is me dealing with my stress. Just knowing this is a real problem & others out there experience the same thing is a HUGE RELIEF. I just got some stress balls; keep one at work & one at home. I think they help me focus on when I'm getting stressed. I'm SO tired of doing this over & over again. As soon as the skin begins to heal & callous, I get the urge to tear it down again. After the satisfaction comes the shame & depression. The cycle begins again. Despite all of this, I am hopeful I can learn to manage my stress & beat it.
2 Answers
September 14, 2011
I'm new here too and so relieved (and yet saddened) to find so many others exactly like me. It's a disgusting, shameful habit - no, a disorder I now understand. You can tell where I've been sitting by the skin sheddings all around (I'm sickened and embarrassed to say so even though I have always known). Well meaning people try to tell me when I'm doing it to help me to stop but it only makes me feel more depressed and ugly and a failure and all those low self-esteem things. False nails don't work for me as they are just another toy to pick at - it feels fabulous to slowly weaken the glue until it becomes like a wiggly tooth and eventually pops off with no effort. I don't know what to do. I am in my late 30s and single and this is one of the things that stop me from dating. It is now also progressing from my fingers to my face and scalp. I feel ill. And yet, reading everyone's comments, I am encouraged to seek help.
September 14, 2011

In reply to by AshamedNZ

kcantwell I hope that both hopefulwoman and ashamed NZ will read my post of a week ago titled "possible cure." It describes a mental exercise that has been successful in curing picking compulsions for all those who will follow the instructions. It costs nothing but a little time. If you want more information on how it was developed and testimonials of its effectiveness, I would be happy to accommodate you. E-mail me at I am an individual not connected to any commercial or academic organization. And your e-mails are strictly confidential.

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