I Still Suck My Thumb As An Adult; Is This A Problem?

Last updated by Katie M.

In general, thumb sucking ends around the age of 6. I say “in general” and not “normally”, because as an adult I don’t feel weird or particularly bothered by it. When I get stressed, I allow myself to let go and return to my childhood self by sucking my thumb. Those who know about it or catch me by surprise make me realize I should be ashamed… But is this habit a big deal? What if it makes me feel better? It’s certainly no worse than lighting up a cigarette or biting your nails…

Contents:

Thumb sucking in adults, psychology? The effects of thumb sucking in adults.

What do you think about this habit?

If I suck my thumb, it’s to reassure myself

Nobody laughs when they see a baby separated from its mother or a young child left to cry on the pretext that you shouldn’t give into them. They have no other way of expressing themselves than crying. Seeing that it has no effect on those around them, they then turn to their thumb to reassure themselves and find the comfort they lack.

➡ Despite what others think, it’s just a comforting, soothing and reassuring ritual, a little cocoon I seek to recreate to protect myself. Some people bite their nails or play with their hair, others suck their thumb. Everyone has their own ritual. This one is less common and more childlike, which is why it’s frowned upon by society. But the aim of the action is the same: to reduce my anxiety.

>>> Discover the signs of anxiety

There’s nothing wrong with returning to your childhood

It’s often said that children are cruel to each other, but sometimes adults are no better. After a certain age, sucking your thumb is seen as something to be ashamed of, and is met with mockery. This gesture makes me look like a big baby and gives the image of a fragile, vulnerable person, who tends to withdraw into themselves.

However, there’s nothing wrong with going back to your childhood and taking refuge in your cocoon for a little while, just long enough to be carefree again and to reassure yourself. I’d like to know anyone who has never enjoyed watching a good old Walt Disney cartoon snuggled up under a blanket! Psychiatrists and psychoanalysts are quick to point out that it’s sometimes good to let go and allow yourself to regain a part of your childhood. As long as the means used to combat the stress are minor.

Mockery

But be careful not to regress into the Peter Pan syndrome, that keeps you locked up in a childlike world

In the end, sucking your thumb at any age isn't really a big deal

When you think about it, sucking your thumb is a healthier and less expensive addiction than smoking. It will make me less fat than if I stuffed my face with food as soon as I got stressed. So it’s neither a harmful habit nor a serious act! The problem is that sucking your thumb in public can be really embarrassing. The famous psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud, like most people, said that “it’s primarily an act of autoerotic exhibition, hence the embarrassment of others who catch you in this intimate moment”. And what if I tried to reverse the situation?

🧠 I think first about my well-being. If it relaxes me, I don’t deprive myself of it because of teasing that’s even more childish than my act. I don’t hesitate to tell myself (or them!) that they’re the ones with the twisted minds!  

>>> Discover why I always make the wrong decisions

The editor's opinion – The real problem is elsewhere

If you want to put an end to this nasty habit, body therapies can help you release the emotional overload. Sophrology, reiki or mindfulness meditation are some examples. There are also tricks like putting plasters on your finger or applying nail polish with a horrible taste. It’s important to remember that we suck our thumbs when we feel vulnerable and are trying to fight stress or protect ourselves. The question is, what from! In order to stop sucking your thumb, you have to treat the root of the problem and try to determine the origin of the stress or discomfort.

🤗 Understand yourself, accept yourself, be happy... Let’s do it here and now!

#BornToBeMe


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Article presented by Katie M.

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Comments

Why do you call it a “nasty habit”? Who does it hurt? It’s free, self comforting and safe! What’s not to like? 54 and no goofy teeth. My husband is kind and accepts it as endearing and just sees it as me needing a bit of comfort.

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