Tuesday, 14 December 2010

Oral Fixation...

I was just reading Lori's latest post on Glamour. Not.

And I commented.

I bit my nails from the moment I stopped sucking my thumb. As soon as I gave up chewing my nails, the smoking started. I gave up the fags, and the nail biting resumed.

Oral fixation, much?

And I realised that yes, indeed, I do probably have an oral fixation.

An oral fixation (also oral craving) is a fixation in the oral stage of development manifested by an obsession with stimulating the mouth (oral) first described by Sigmund Freud, who thought infants are naturally and adaptively in an oral stage, but if weaned too early or too late, may fail to resolve the conflicts of this stage and develop a maladaptive oral fixation. In later life, these people may constantly "hunger" for activities involving the mouth.
A child who is not fed enough or is fed too much may become orally fixated as an adult.
Oral fixations are considered to contribute to over-eating, being overly talkative, smoking addictions, overindulging in sugar, chewing on straws and toothpicks, and even alcoholism.  Another indicator is constant nail biting, putting fingers in the mouth ...........

I have no idea if I was overfed or underfed or when I was "weaned" as a child - I was a baby of the late 1960's when bottle feeding was totally "in". Aside from that hazy bit though, let's have a look at the rest of my oral history-
0-6 months - apparently screamed the whole time
6 months - apparently I found my thumb, and the screaming stopped, much to the intense relief of  my parents and elder siblings....
6 months - age 11 - committed thumb sucker
Age 11 - gave up thumb sucking and almost instantly replaced this habit with another - nail biting
Age 13 - Desperate to have painted nails, so used will power and liberal amounts of "Stop and Grow" to give up nail biting. Was successful. Also highly successful in starting smoking.
Age 13 - Age 40 - Smoked liked a trooper. Had lovely nails. Overate everything and anything. Long periods of lushness. Constant chewer of pens, gum, toothpicks etc.  High level of over-talkativeness.
Age 39 - Gave up overeating. Switched to sucking Chupa Chups
Age 40 - After 27 years, gave up smoking. Maintained over talkativeness.
Age 41 - Started chewing my nails again.
I suspect, at this rate, thumb sucking is due to resume sometime in the new year.........


  1. Wow that is really interesting. My Mum was a nailbiter, then smoker and now sucks on mints.

    Her Dad was an alcoholic and smoker and gave up to chew gum.

    My daughter bites her nails to the point they look sore and festy and non-existent. If she is not biting her nails she is chewing on sticks, straws, paper.

    I have never done the need to chew thing. Skipped a generation? But is it possible it is hereditary?

    Hmmmmm. Very very interesting. thanks for sharing! Certainly got my mind ticking over far to early today ....

  2. Lucy you do crack me up - love it! But that was actually very interesting to read too. Think I might have been weaned to early as well. Keep up the great posts.

  3. Never been a smoker or a finger nail chewer but I definitely overindulge in the beverages. We all have our vices, I'd like to meet someone who didn't so I could make them my new God. My best friend sucked her thumb until she started high school!! But only at home. She still can't believe she did it, but hey, she's fine now. xx

  4. So funny!
    You know what my visual is now, don't you?? LOL xx

  5. What a great resource!

  6. i've heard that before and as a big (skin) biter, smoker, talker, sugar loving tooth brusher and picker i must say i really resent my mum a little for weening me off after a mere 2 months ...
    as with most things it's ALL her fault. i'll have a vodka lemon on that.
    but i also Love and indulge in a lot of KISSING and I really don't mind.

  7. Shit, what have I done? I am not a thumb sucker, nail biter or smoker, I am a talker of incessant amounts though. I was breast fed about 12 months, yes my Mum was one of those early 70's women thankfully, she even insisted her husband was at the birth of his children, crazy woman that she was... the Dr's were disgusted. But I digress...
    My daughter self weaned at 14 months, and we finally got rid of her dummy some time after her 3rd birthday. She constantly has pens, hair clips, necklaces etc in her mouth... but I often wondered if it was because we basically forced her to give up a dummy when she wan't ready?
    Hmmm, wonder what freud would say about that?

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  9. Lol!! I can just imagine you waiting to pick the kids up from school while sucking your thumb!! Sounds like you have oral sensory needs though, I wonder what acceptable adult alternatives there are except for the smoking/eating/chewing gum?

  10. Jodie at Mummy MayhemDecember 14, 2010

    I'm a hair-twirler. Can't stop twirling my hair. I do it to relax. I do it when I'm anxious or time-pressured. I do it when I'm bored. Can. Not. Stop.

    Understand. ;)

  11. Aww Luce. I so get it. I am an over-talker, a pen chewer, a nail biter,a smoker. I've managed to stop the nail biting a few times, but I replace that with running my cuticles back and forth over my lips.

    I'm also- like Suburp, who commented on my post, I'm also a skin biter.

    Have I mentioned I never fed properly as a baby, and was weaned onto bottles of apple juice at 6 months old...?]


  12. This is me all over! Do we know how to PREVENT oral fixations? I'd give anything for my children to be free! x

  13. Sadly not, I have Googled, but this far come up with nothing useful. Aside from therapy.....arggghh! xx

  14. Eeeek! I know my Mum tells me she used to put oatmeal in my condensed milk in a bottle to fill me up. The mind simply boggles.

  15. Me too Jodie. I only just realised I have a host of bizarre habits.....

  16. Exercise is the only thing that helps......

    And all jokes aside, in times of extreme stress, I wake up and realise that I have indeed been sucking my thumb. So embarassing.

  17. Nah, no guilt. Buggered if you do, buggered if you don't......

    BTW, your Mum rocks.

  18. Nah, no guilt. Buggered if you do, buggered if you don't......

    BTW, your Mum rocks.

  19. KISSING! of course! Off to kiss my kids.....

  20. Haha! Between you and lovely husband, you're both shockers......

  21. I aspire to be your new God......but it'll never happen...xx

  22. On the one hand i think there is something in it. On the other, I think that maybe Freud is outdated. Dunno....

  23. Interestingly enough despite my MANY nervous habits, nail biting has never been among them, until about 2 months ago. Don't know why I've suddenly started this one...bit of a nuisance as I hate it when the kiddos do it!!

  24. I had lovely long nails until I bought a guitar....now they need to be shortish to be able to....pluck!!

    My apologies..I thought I had voted for you on Babble but alas I had not...now I have voted for you...If you haven't voted for me (and I think you may have) could you pretty please??


  25. HEY!
    I am your loyal follower :-D

    I wanted to give you a poke just in case you have missed my Seasonal Shoe PHOTO competition post :-) if you are interested, check my newest entry! Season Greetings! Amber


  26. I always wondered if my mom weaned me too early. She took bottles away from me early, and I have memories of wanting to drink from a bottle (rather than a cup). I seriously go through bouts where I almost chew my thumb off. I bite my nails, bite at the skin around my nails. I'm an on and off again smoker. Mmmm, I love to eat, etc. I think I share this problem. Perhaps?

  27. Hey! I did this whole big comment spiel here a day or so ago about nail biting and could oral fixations be hereditary and stuff and now it isn't here!! How the hell did I stuff that up? Oh well, can't remember what I said. Doesn't matter now. Ciao!!

  28. I wondered about that? I got your lovely comment yesterday morning in an email notitication, and read it (and I wonder, too, whether some of this is simply nature rather than nurture) but for some reason, it never appeared on here?

    Echo, to be frank, is giving me the shits. It may be time to inestigate other options.....

  29. Add me to the list of orally fixated. Interesting post. Great info.

  30. I need to get me some hypnotherapy to resolve......


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