Building Bad Habits

My mom likes to sing me a song. It goes, "hecha me a mi la culpa de lo que pasa". A translation: blame me for what happens. Basically, she tells me I blame her for everything. Not true. But this, I will blame her for. I mean, I have to blame someone... Am I right?!

I remember being 4 years old and sitting in the backseat of my parents car. I'm watching my mom, as she absentmindedly puts her finger in her mouth and tears off a piece of her nail. My 4 year old mind watches this and immediately wonders what it'd be like to do what she does. So I do. And I'm hooked. From then on, I have never been able to break the habit of biting my nails.

I've tried many methods to try and break this habit. As a child, we put nasty tasting polish on my nails. And I figured that if I just ensured the taste long enough, it would soon fade. Then when my arthritis adjusted my jaw so that I couldn't bite with my front teeth, I figured I could bite with the side, or just use my fingers to tear. (it's bad, I know). The ONLY thing that keeps it somewhat under control is getting weekly manicures. If my nails are nice, pretty and clean, I won't bite or pick as much. But forget it... You know how expensive that can become?!?!

After watching the show Obsessed on Netflix, I discovered a few things about my habit. The show follows people with severe OCD that manifests in compulsions. While these people are waaaaay extreme, I can see that I share some tendencies. This habit has been with me for soooo long, that it's part of who I am and I'm not sure I can change that. What I have realized that I share with the weirdos on the show is that I do it more when I'm anxious. I also do it to unwind and relax. When someone stops me from doing it, I feel more anxious and I can't stop thinking about how I just need to bite it to "fix it" and then it'll be ok. Only "fixing it" always inevitably makes it worse. It's bad. I know.

But now I'm starting to realize just how much I need to stop. Not for me. But for Marco. Here's what he sees a lot:

And this is what I'm seeing in return:

He actually says that he needs to fix his "nanuls". And he picks and bites. He also asks me if I'm fixing my nails too. Oh jeez, why?!?! So here I am, passing on to my son the same bad habit that my mother passed on to me. What a vicious cycle!!!

But I don't know how to stop it. I do it so absentmindedly that when I realize I'm doing it, it's too late.

I know I need to put an end to it, before I form a habit in him that is unbreakable.


Shawna said...

I have the same habit! I bite mine when I'm bored though...mostly in the car when I'm driving. The only thing that helps is in the winter when I wear gloves in the car haha.

I think it's too late for me :-P


Rita said...

As I always say, "Hecht me a mi la culpa de lo que pasa!"