Hangnail Rubbing (and other fun stuff) ;)

by Katie Pollard
(Wickenburg, AZ)

Me and my kids

Me and my kids

I originally came to this site and just made this comment on somebody else's texture blog, but I figured, why not make my own blog and see how many people can relate?


"OK...so I cannot seem to find anything on this issue but I know I can't be the only one! I love rubbing my hangnails on the inside seam of t-shirts or on blankets that have started to ball up and will catch the hangnail in a certain way. I will rub until the hangnail is gone and sometimes to the point of bleeding and I don't even realize it! I also like to rub my chapped lips on the same types of material hoping to catch the dry skin on a thread. Typing it out makes me sound so lame...but I've done this my whole life!! Does anyone else out there have this issue???"

This habit is a very calming sensation for me. Whenever I see a certain blanket that I like I can't resist but to break into this behavior. I also like to smell the blanket. LOL...so embarrassing to admit, but it's true. Must just be a childhood thing that I've brought with me into adulthood.

I also have a very sensitive nose/sense of smell and can smell things that most are unaware of. I've been able to 'sniff out' and find things that were burning (light bulbs, old electric cords, etc.), leaking gas, pet accidents and rotting food.

Things that freak me out and make me cringe:
Filing nails
Pushing back cuticles
Cutting my toe nails
Writing with a wooden pencil on paper
Erasing with a wooden pencil on paper
Touching Porcelain
Anything touching or entering my belly button (finger, etc.)
Watching someone else touch inside their belly button
Someone pulling on my fingers or toes in order to pop them
Watching someone else pull on their fingers or toes to pop them
God just typing it out and thinking about it is making me wig out!

If you can relate and would like to talk more about these issues feel free to email me at KatieMama101482@gmail.com :)Look forward to hearing from you :)

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Aug 20, 2017
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The Soreness Hurts So Good
by: Anonymous

I don't particularly like having the hangnails that form on top of the finger, by the cuticle...but the sidewall ones, where the skin is a bit tougher (at least on my fingers) is the sweet spot!

I'm a hair braider, so hangnails happen to me a lot! Taking sharp objects and digging into the core or center of the spot where the hang nail formed...Ahhh Nirvana!!!

I also like pressing, or overly massaging sore muscles, like after a vigorous work out, where you can hardly move the next day, good stuff! I'm freaked out by watching/hearing knives enter/tear/rip in/through skin though...because of this I've missed a lot of probably good movies and shows.

Good to know there's a club for all of us exceptionally different folks!

Aug 09, 2017
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Yes...Me too
by: Anonymous

I also have a habit of rubbing my ring finger's nail again and again when I become tensed. I usually run it against my t-shirt or any smooth piece of clothing. It feels so soothing.

Also, I sometimes like to feel that nail by rubbing on my lips. It has become so smooth due to this habit of mine that it is almost reflective ! I used to ask my mom to let me rub her fingernails and feel the smooth texture of nails when I was small.

Aug 08, 2017
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Oh gosh
by: Crystal

Everything that you posted here, I could have posted. I came here looking for info regarding my hangnail/fingertip skin rubbing compulsion but the cringe list you wrote are all things that I freak out about too. My fingers and toes are curled thinking about them.

I also hate dry towels rubbing gonna skin.What in the world would cause us to be this way? Is it just quirkiness or something more.

I kinda feel like a freak.

Aug 06, 2017
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Hangnail enthusiast
by: Anonymous

This post and subsequent comment thread makes me feel comfortable enough to share my habits that I've never spoken to anyone about out of embarrassment.

I can totally relate to those comments about making your own hangnail with a clipper. I always do this on my baby toenail so it's less noticeable.

After creating this 'hangnail' I twirl the nail until it turns into a sore hangnail and then either rub it on my sheets when I'm in bed or tug at it gently and let go whenever I'm bored. Even after the hangnail is gone I press and dig into the sore spot to feel what I call 'the sweet pain'.

Currently rubbing as I type. I may need help.

Aug 01, 2017
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Lip picking
by: Anonymous

I suck my fingers (middle and ring finger) while picking at my lips until they bleed and crack in small areas. Always have.

Jul 30, 2017
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Rubbing hangnails against lip
by: Anonymous

i have a bad habit of rubbing my cuticles/hang nails against my lips and my ring finger cuticle keeps getting lower and lower from rubbing and it's gotten to the point where it really hurts that spot on my finger but i can't stop

Jul 12, 2017
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Cloth rubbing?
by: Anonymous

Since I was at least 4 or 5 yrs old, I have rubbed cloth on my lips. It started with my pillowcase, since the opening would be near my mouth.

After a while, I started to use a pillowcase by itself, then a piece of tshirt or sheet. It has to be a certain thickness of cotton, not smooth, not flannel, but tshirt material.

Sometimes I will look for a shirt at a store that is just the right texture and use it to rub my lips. I also love the feeling of the cloth between my fingertips.

I like rubbing hard objects, like my nails, a table, or even the back of my bf's hand!! I don't know what this is called but I've been doing it for 40+ yrs!

Any ideas what this could mean? Oh, and I would take a nail cipper and clip off any of those little white spots you get on your tongue. And I have peeled back a ragged cuticle down to the first knuckle!

Yikes!

Jun 29, 2017
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Same thing
by: Anonymous

I do something similar. Rubbing the rough dry skin on my knuckles under my upper lip. I used to do this with my blankie when I sucked my thumb as a child. No thumb sucking just the tactile stimulation. My ring finger knuckles are thickened and red. Often do this when stressed or bored...mostly stressed.

May 23, 2017
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No longer alone
by: Anonymous

I'm not alone! I even use the edge of fingernail clippers to create a sharp indentation in my nail so I can use it to scratch and grab onto whatever fabric I'm scratching on. I've found I like it best to scratch an shirt or yoga pants in wearing since it's easier to access, and in my mind it's not as noticeable to others than just picking at random piece of fabric nearby.

It does end up tearing up my fingernails something fierce though... Till the point where they are so short they burn, but I still can't stop doing it. I just feel so much better if I'm scratching... I always just thought I was the only one who does this though... Thank goodness I'm not just weird all by myself. Lol.

May 08, 2017
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Another one here!!!
by: Anonymous

When I was little I used to get my mom to "click" my cuticles in bed before I went to sleep because it felt so good and soothing. Now its moved to my thumb knuckle where I pick and press until it hurts so good!

May 05, 2017
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ME TOO!!!
by: Linda

I do the exact same thing and have wondered for a great deal of time what is wrong with me. I love the blanked with the satin like edging because I can catch my nail on the thread!! Hems of clothing is also great! Is this an anxiety thing??
Linda

May 05, 2017
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Ok, fellow pickers and rubbers.....
by: Anonymous

I am 44 yrs old. I have been diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder and suffer from chronic pain. I open with this because idk if either is related to what i am about to cautiously share, i have never told anyone. I pick my cuticles with tweezers and have even restored to using the sharpest kitchen knives i can find. Of course this results in sore, raw and bleeding fingers, i apologize for being so graphic. Of as the skin heals, it harder and uneven thus results in more picking. Recently, i had an ulcer on the tip of my tongue and i found myself using a nail file to "sooth" that irrataing feeling of the ulcer! Yikes, i have another ukcer and yes i went straight for that nail file. I just can't stop and it results in a hugh sore. But i keep doing both.....why!!

May 03, 2017
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Terrible hangnail picking
by: Anonymous

OMG, I'm glad I'm not alone. I obsessively pick at the skin in my fingers (hangnails) until they're ragged and often bleed. I'm embarrassed to show my hands and someone once told me I have "man hands" from all the picking. I just can't stop and it gets worse when I'm nervous and anxious, which is most of the time.

I don't think I have sensory processing disorder but I do think I have dermatillomania. Anyone else out there? Do you have any suggestions on how to stop? My thumbs hurt so bad just now.

Apr 17, 2017
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Re: My thumbs are like ground hamburger meat
by: Anonymous

Oh, I should add that biting my hangnails for the last 25 years or so caused me to get TMJ disorder (pain and dysfunction in the jaw), and I had to wear a retainer for two years in my mid-20s. And now my front teeth are uneven, because I always use the right front tooth to bite, so it's getting pushed forward. I don't know if it's noticable to others, but I hate it; I think it makes me look like an idiot.

And still I am unable to stop. Ah, well. :)

Apr 17, 2017
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My thumbs are like ground hamburger meat
by: Anonymous

I've taken the hangnail biting to a new level lately, to where the entire thumb is involved, on both hands. The pain gets so bad that I will essentially lose my opposable thumbs for days at a time. But I just can't stop. I'm desperate to find a therapist in Phoenix who is qualified to treat adult SPD.

Oh, and I'm the official household smeller. :) My sense of smell is through the roof, and my roommates frequently ask me to smell things for them, like whether the clothes in the washing machine have mildewed at all, or whether the leather couch still smells of cat urine (which it does). Unfortunately, it's only yucky smells they ask me to ferret out. :)

Oh, and I also just found out about misophonia. I had no idea it was a thing. (Or even just SPD in general, until about a month ago, actually.) I thought I was just a freak, not being able to stand hearing eating/chewing/lip-smacking/etc. sounds, and flying into an internal rage when I do. (*Always* just internal, though; I would never take it out on anyone.) Sitting next to a gum-chewer on an airplane, for example, is truly a form of torture, and my iPod absolutely changed my life. :)

SO very nice to hear from others who have these same issues. :)

I don't know what the treatment is for adults, but I sure hope there's *someone* in Phoenix with experience in treating adult SPD.

And as someone in here said earlier, y'all are my peeps. Thank you all for posting. :)

Mar 31, 2017
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I've found others!
by: Eliza Grant

Wow! I can't believe so many people do this too! I have horrible anxiety/depression and suffer from ADHD. I always assumed it was from those things. My "sha-sha," my blanket, was actually one of those old fashion burp cloths/cloth diapers(my parents got me hooked on it bc it was easy to replace if lost or damaged without me knowing the difference) and man let me tell you.... if you want a perfect material for rubbing dry lips or nails.... THAT is your material! The threads would pull out when you hooked a good dry piece of skin, it was soft, it caught literally EVERYTHING!!!!

I no longer use those cloths as I can't find them anymore. I have always picked my lips and have noticed I usually pick my lip to a certain point without removing the skin but leaving it for rubbing....Fav things are sweatshirt sleeves or strings, shirt collars, hair ties, lanyards, any seam on softer clothes really. The inside seam, getting that kind of under your nail on the corner or on your lip.... ooooooo ya!!! Sometimes I don't even notice and then I'll go to bed and take my sweat shirt off and notice blood on the wrists or strings!!!! It's so calming. I get teased a lot but o well.

I've passed this onto my son who HAS to have tags on his blankets and when you tuck him in it goes.... right thumb in his mouth, left hand holding the tag, rubbing it on his lips and nose. My daughter didn't catch this but always points it out to me. Lol glad to know I'm not alone!!!

Mar 25, 2017
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Thought I was only one
by: Anonymous

For years I have had the habit of biting, twisting, rubbing and digging my upper lip. I will press down with the tip of my pinkie and rub across the inside of my upper lip until it cracks and stings. Sounds weird but I will purposefully split open the middle of my upper lip & then either dig into it with my pinkie nail or start rubbing it. I don't understand why, but I like the pain from the stinging. My lip will swell & seems like the more it swells, the more I rub it. Only Carmex helps me stop. I have been wondering if I subconsciously do this to force my brain to release more endorphins...I am a recovering opiate addict. From my understanding, the brain stops releasing natural dopamine when you abuse pain meds. So could it be that I do this as a way to subconsciously release endorphins by creating pain? Anyone have any thoughts on this?

Mar 11, 2017
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Clinical diagnosis??
by: Katie

Hi there! I too wonder about the "label" for this odd behavior. I suck my thumb as well from time to time. But "scratching" as u call it happens on a regular basis. Im just taking it as SPD for now...there really arent any studies that have explored this behavior. I agree it would be nice to know! Nice to meet another fellow scratcher!

Mar 11, 2017
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Is this called sensory processing disorder?
by: HE Ghosn

I have this too! Ever since I was a baby. I used to fall asleep scratching my fingers peels and sucking my thumb.. odd right?

So is this callas sensory processing disorders after all??. I'd like to have a name to call it~

Mar 07, 2017
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Not alone!
by: Anon Med Student

I don't like to catch hangnails on things per se but I do get some perverse sort of pleasure from ripping them off and letting the side of my finger get sore and then pushing on it. It helps soothe my anxiety and stress levels (which I have a lot of currently due to med school) and it just feels really fricken good like when you push on a sore knotted muscle.

I also hate filing my nails, and my mother always thought I was weird (I am but in other ways haha) that I would cringe when she gave me mani pedi when I was younger. These days I have to listen to loud music so I can file my nails smooth and I have to keep them regularly trimmed and filed as per med school regulations.

And god forbid a kush ball or anything like it touches me. Serious heebie jeebies!

In closing I'm glad I'm not alone. :)

Feb 22, 2017
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Holy cow
by: Summer

I'm stunned! I've been thinking that I was all alone in this. I also have the very keen sense of smell, my family and friends comment on it often and I smell everything before I eat or drink it.

I'll use one finger or nail to rub the sides of the fingernails to create a hangnail, and then rub it back and forth or try to catch it on fabric and have it pull. I have always done this and I'm a 30 year old woman. I do it to the point where it hurts and is sore and bleeds, but the comfort I get from doing it makes me feel so much better.

I've tried to stop many times because it makes my fingers and nails look bad, but the satisfaction I get always wins. I'm so so so glad to know that I am not alone! How weird/awesome is it that most of us share the sense of smell trait?

Feb 14, 2017
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Yikes
by: Anonymous

I am currently reading this, while rubbing my hangnails on my blanket (blankie from childhood) and I am a 26-year-old wife and mother. Yes, I totally get it! Also rub it on my lips and am a blanket sniffer....

Feb 12, 2017
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My other half hates it...
by: Anonymous

I catch myself driving to work rubbing the strings of my Hoodie, rubbing anything my dry skin can catch on. No understandING what I do it, frequently catch myself doing it. I always thought it was an A.D.D. or A.D.H.D. thing or maybe ocd. I'm glad to know I'm not the only one. It causes alot of turmoil between me and my other half. I'm glad to see there's other people out there. Thank you

Feb 07, 2017
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Me too
by: Anonymous

Add me to the list. I'm a 49 yr old male and have done this as long as I can remember. Some of the descriptions here are uncanny in describing fabric and textile surfaces that I am drawn to. Unlike some here I will not create a hangnail to perform this but can always find some bit of loose skin around the fingertips that will snag on the right surface. A lot of automobile headliner material can be a very attractive nuisance, btw! ;-)

Feb 02, 2017
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So weird
by: Anonymous

I thought I was the only one who did this.

Feb 01, 2017
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I feel normal now
by: Anonymous

I can't believe I came across this thread I always thought I was freaky because people would look weird when I randomly whip out a piece of silk and just feel away at it, it feels so nice to know it's common maybe lots of people do it but won't admit to it but I cannot resist sometimes I'm 20 and I've been doing it since primary school with the labels on my polo shirt ahhhh it's pure euphoria

Feb 01, 2017
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another one
by: Anonymous

Hi all,
as i was typing in google about rubbing fingers on clothes, i was expecting it to come back 'sorry no match found'! I was just floored to see the list come back - and then these comments from all of you guys!!!.

So it sounds like i have had spd pretty much my whole life, earliest memories of skin picking on ears and fingers, lips, around 8-9yo. pushing 45 now.

Pick certain places till it bleeds and then poke at those with rough dry finger tip skin and side nails to make it sting. Love it!

Recently started to run fingertips over fabric- the dry skin catch on the fibers - the feeling and sound is too captivating. To visually describe it when the skin is catching on is like when a jet fighter lands on an aircraft carrier, the hook that catches on the cable to help stop the plane.

I feel relieved that i am not alone in whatever it is that we suffer from. I too have the other characteristics of sensitive smell and depression issues.

Thank you all for sharing.


Jan 05, 2017
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it just feels good
by: cyndi

I rub my hang nail with my other fingers. I like it so much that I've used clippers to make a hang nail so I can rub it with my other fingers. I do it every day to the point that my fingers hurt and are sore from constent movement. And burning from the hang nail I made. It's crazy. But I've done it as long as I can remember. What's worse I'm an adult thumb sucker. 33 years old and still suck my thumb. Wow it feels good to type that. I've never told anyone. My siblings think I've stopped. The only person that knows is my husband...thanks for this blog

Jan 02, 2017
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Me too
by: lsu14soccer

Oh my gosh I am the same way! Mine aren't hangnails it's the skin below the finger tips that I pick at to make like a hangnail so that it catches on different fabrics. Mainly tshirt seams, hair ties, scrub pant strings, and some microfiber cloths. But I usually rub it to much to get the same effect. Doesn't work for me if it's too furry. Sometimes when I'm standing talking to people I know well I will just start rubbing their tshirt seam on their sleeve. And they look at me like I'm nuts. I do it all the time. On my wedding day I totally forgot about not having anything to rub until I was walking down the aisle and I had nothing to rub. As soon as we took our pictures I got a hairtie to keep in my hand. My kids think I'm nuts. My husband is used to it. I've been doing this since I was a kid as well. Helps me calm down and focus.

Dec 13, 2016
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Hang nail disorder
by: Anonymous

Oh my! I thought I was the only one. I like to rub my sore hang nail spot after the hangnail is gone. I like to rub it to feel he pain which comforts me and helps me to sleep. I do this all the time, and will do it on sharp corners of sheets, paper naplkins, tags on anything. I also have a heightened sense of smell and I am 46 years old. I'm a female.

Nov 04, 2016
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Still loving it
by: Anonymous

I love that more and more people are commenting and relating to me. I will also bring a certain blanket with me in the car if i know I have to drive a long way. And even tho I can sleep without it I really prefer not too. As it helps me to relax and fall asleep as well. If I dont have it with me I will then use the inseam on my tshirt or sweatshirt. Love hearin bout the hair tye, and the sock and how some of u have labeled the behavior. Even tho Im 34, my inner child rejoices each time she hears shes not alone :).

Nov 04, 2016
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Sensory needs
by: Anonymous

Oh yes, the right kind of material is a lovely feeling when rubbing, catching hangnails and rough skin around nails that have picked. Problem comes when stressed, pick too much, get very sore fingers have to put on plasters.

Driving is a big picking time so often have to wear gloves. As a child, I sucked my tongue whilst rubbing, my Mum thought i had SEN but stopped when had a brace. We all need to meet our sensory needs!!

Oct 29, 2016
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Hair tie rubber
by: Melissa

Oh my goodness! I thought I was the only one! I am 31 years old and have this very odd habit as well. I used to have a stuffed animal that I would sleep with every night and had to rub it's ears with my fingernails & cuticles. I literally rubbed the long ears off to nothing!

I now rub a hair tie every night to fall asleep. Sometimes I rub it when I'm driving and when I'm just watching tv. I like to stick with the same hairtie because the more often you rub it, it changes the texture, making it easier to snag on my fingernails and cuictals. I've lost several of these hair ties and end up having to start over with a new one lol it sounds so crazy but it's just so relaxing to me. I've also rubbed blankets and even shoe laces. And as you said, I have a very heightened sense of smell. I'm so glad I'm not the only one :)

Oct 18, 2016
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Scratching
by: Anonymous

My whole life i thought i might be the only one in the world who like to rub on fuzzy stuff and catch it with dry lips dry flaky cuticles. Wow i found my family lol

Oct 12, 2016
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Yesssss
by: Anonymous

I've rubbed flaky skin at the tip of my fingers and dried lips on cloths my whole life. Some cloths are much better than other ones. Farthest I remember doing this is at 3 years old and loving my then blanket. BUT my grandpa once was hospitalized and my mom stayed the night with him and saw him do the same thing! I've never seen my grandpa go to sleep. This is a completely genetic thing, not learned at all. Today, I have a sock with stretchy cloth that is my "Sockie". I lose my shit when it gets lost because it is my relaxer and helps me get sleepy. I do it automatically all the time without noticing. I wish there was a term for this behavior or know what it is that it does chemically to us. I'm sure us who do this release serotonin or something when we do it.

Sep 21, 2016
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I can't believe there are others like me.
by: Anonymous

I can not remember how my habit started but I know I've been doing it for as long as I can remember. I'm a male, 22 years old and I love scratching my hangnails.

When I was little I had a blanket that had thin ropes that swing from both ends and I always slept with it, I will scratch it and sniff it and fall into a deep sleep. I call my habit "scratchy" I have a string that use to be inside my shorts to keep them from falling and I took it off and to this day I still use it to go to bed. Over time the string created particles around it so my hangnail could get stuck and feel the amazing pain from it. I LOVE IT!

Sometimes when I loose it I ask my siblings... Have you seen my scratchy? Lol my shirts are all used up from scratching them. My blanket is all torn up from all the edges, but the feeling is just too addicting.

Sometimes I take my string scratchy while I drive or when I'm watching tv. It helps me think clear or fall asleep when I'm tired. I'm so glad that there are people I can relate with. Thanks for submitting your responses.

Sep 05, 2016
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Wow!! :)
by: Kathleen

Thanks for all the responses!! :) It is so nice to see that I'm not the only one! I will also rub the hangnail "spot" even after the hang nail is gone...so odd haha! You guys are my peeps! Love you all...cheers to the woobie and t-shirt rubbing. I also have holes in some of my t-shirts from compulsive rubbing...its so soothing! lol...so crazy!

Aug 19, 2016
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omg there are others out there!
by: Amy

I do the same thing!I have an old pillow case that's a rough silk feeling and I rub my fingernails or even dry lips on it at bedtime. I'm 33 years old and I have a hard time sleeping without it. Sometimes I rub on other materials like scarves or clothing and it makes me sleepy when I do it. I call it "picking" and my boyfriend finds it funny how sleepy it makes me. Such a comforting feeling.

Aug 09, 2016
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Similar
by: Anonymous

I pick at my hang nails. I like peeling the skin back and exposing the new skin. That sharp pain very soothing for some reason.

Jul 08, 2016
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So I'm not alone
by: Anonymous

First I have found of anyone talking about this. Sense of smell, hangnail pain, yes to both. Wife will squeeze the hangnail for me until it bleeds sometimes. I only wish there was some type of small automated vice that could squeeze the hangnail. I've actually thought of designing one, though pretty sure the market for hangnail vices is fairly small. Ha.

Wife has the extreme belly button fear. Older sister told her when she was a child that she would bleed to death if you put anything in there.

Jul 03, 2016
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Hangnail rubbing
by: Anonymous

I do the exact same thing! I ruin my shirts from tubing so much to the point wear u have made holes. And I pick at the skin around my nails .

Jun 30, 2016
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Fun with hangnails
by: Anonymous

I love playing with my hangnails, rubbing them, hanging things on them

Jun 10, 2016
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yes
by: Anonymous

i thought i was the only person in the world like this

May 11, 2016
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!!
by: Tbuck

I was trying to explain my habit to a patient today and was left feeling like a complete weirdo. Ever since I can remember, my mom and I would share our scratchy blankets and relax. To this day I scratch while relaxing and often put myself to sleep, though nowadays I snag my three year-old's paw patrol blanket. Seems ridiculous, but humorous to know I'm not the only one :)

Dec 14, 2015
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Mee too
by: Anonymous

I do the same thing. I take it even further and rub the hangnail or the sore finger where the hangnail used to be and I rub it on anything. Hair ties, cardboard, etc. For some reason small moments of the slight pain feels good and I get obsessed with it for a couple of days and then stop. I feel really strange about it and don't like to tell people. I do ask my husband to rub it sometimes and grab it and let go. He laughs at me. I have done this since childhood also. Funny thing I have a keen sense of smell also. I ALWAYS smell things before everyone else and I have to smell everything before I eat or drink it. I also LOVE the small of New rubber tires.

Nov 13, 2015
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yes someone else does it too!
by: Richard

So glad to see others do this too. I'm nearly 40 years old and the calming effect of doing this is just the same as when I was child. I think it began because i used to have a comfort blanket that would get frayed and just felt nice I guess. It's certainly a bit of a weird habit when you think about it but its not doing anyone any harm so I'm not too concerned about stopping it. It's funny you mention a heightened sense of smell too I have pretty much the same experience with them must be a link there.

Jul 25, 2015
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Hangnails
by: Anonymous

OMG SAME!!!!
I THOUGHT I WAS THE ONLY ONE!!!

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