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Key issues: Desire for revenge. Anger to do with your boundaries being invaded. Stress. Fear. Uncertainty.

When a business partner of my husband’s had his fingers very deep in the financial cookie jar, I developed the habit of grinding my teeth at night. The situation lasted for some time, while we sought ways to extricate ourselves from this very parasitic relationship. The problem was so bad that my dentist was talking about jaw surgery and special plates that I would have to wear before I did serious damage to my teeth. Once I realized the cause of the problem, I was able to work at forgiving this man and as I became more relaxed about the situation, so the grinding lessened.

Biting is a primal form of fighting – just observe small children who happily bite others when they are not getting their way. For animals biting is the prime form of attack or defense. We speak about getting our head bitten off when someone is angry with us. Combine this with the expressions like a daily grind i.e. something that slowly wears us down, and you have feelings of anger towards another carried for a long period. The anger demands payback: Hence, revenge. Grinding one’s teeth over a period of time, also blunts the teeth, which would lessen the effectiveness of them should we be called on to fight. In softening the edges, we weaken ourselves when we need to confront someone.

When we take a bite of something, we hold onto the object firmly. Are you holding onto someone or something that you need to let go of? Alternatively, do you need to come to grips with an issue, or get more involved?

When we grind something such as wheat, we break it down into a smaller more digestible form. By grinding your teeth, are you attempting to make the problem or emotion smaller and hence easier to digest? We mostly grind our teeth at night in our sleep, which may indicate that much of what we are feeling is unconscious.

Teeth also are situated in the throat or fifth Chakra area. This indicates that expression or lack of it is also an issue. Instead of voicing our anger or fear we keep grinding it or going over it repeatedly and do not swallow or digest it.


[su_nt_quote name=”Carolyn Myss”]Forgiveness doesn’t look attractive until we get to the other side.[/su_nt_quote] Identify who you are angry with and on whom you desire revenge. Then forgive them and the pain they have caused you. Stop wanting to eat them up! If you’re uncertain about an issue, voice that concern and make a decision. Revenge can be motivational, but in the end, we are the person who is eaten up. The more impersonal you can be towards someone who has betrayed you, the quicker you will get through the lesson. If someone has invaded your boundaries, acknowledge that you may have allowed them to do so, and forgive yourself and them. Then set about creating a safer space for yourself. If you are afraid of a situation, voice these concerns to someone who can help you release this fear.

Biting your Skin on the Side of the Fingers

Key issues: Situation or person eating you up. Need to reduce stress and fear. Internalizing one’s anger.

When we were babies, our mothers were our main or only source of nurturing, in the form of food (milk) and touch (love). If we were not given sufficient attention or enough nurturing, we would go through life craving to receive this in adulthood. We would crave for another person to give us affection and love. As this option is not always available, we would seek a substitute, such as food or something to bite or suck, just as a baby learns to replace its mother’s nipple with a dummy. Later in life, this need may transfer itself to the child’s thumb and later to the back of a pen for instance. This provides some comfort, although not replace the subconscious craving.

We may constantly seek comfort from our anxiety, through our mouths. Chewing pens or pencils, overeating, constantly chewing gum and even a biting, sarcastic personality, can all have their origins in a deep-rooted desire to connect with a loving, nurturing breast. Kittens that have been taken from their mothers at too early an age, never lose the need to suckle and will do so even as adults. Our needs have similar origins. When we put something into our mouths, we experience comfort and this fulfills temporarily, our deep need to be loved.

Interestingly enough, if we were over-nurtured, such as being over-fed, or forced to eat when we were not hungry, this same need to bite or suck can also develop.

The difference between chewing and biting is that chewing involves difficulty with swallowing a situation we find unlikable, whereas biting is a more aggressive action and anger is often involved.

When we bite ourselves, we express repressed resentment. We hurt ourselves, rather saying what we really feel and hurting/offending another. We repress what we would really like to express. Deep down we may fear the consequences of hurting the other person, or we may feel that we will be rejected if we express our anger.

The fingers represent our ideas, concepts, thoughts or beliefs. The specific area on the side of the nails where we bite mirrors our ears. So you would need to ask whether your ideas etc. are being heard by others? Are you repressing anger at others who won’t accept/listen to your way of thinking? Are you not listening to our own thoughts?

Do you chew your thumb? What is worrying/angers you with regard to your intellect/beliefs/connection to the divine not being heard? If it’s your index finger you are biting, are you afraid to express your thoughts/feelings? (Often this affects your self-love or your lover.) Alternatively, do you want to point your finger and blame someone else for something, but stop yourself from doing so? The middle finger represents thoughts relating to anger and self-esteem, while the ring finger has to do with relationships and guilt. The baby finger is related to security and family/colleagues. Is fear eating you up?

Hope this sheds some light. My sense is that the issues i.e. grind and bite are connected in some way to the same situation/person as both represent repressed resentment/anger.


  • Liezel says:

    Good Day Ann,

    Thank you for this article on Teeth Grinding and finger biting, this has shed so much light on some issues I have been experiencing for years.

    I hope to resolve this in the correct way and all in due time.

    Kind regards


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