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To rip her hair out?! Arggggghhh

(61 Posts)
Zola1980 Tue 15-Dec-15 08:59:21

I sit next to a girl at work with very long straggly curly hair. She is constantly sat there inspecting the ends, raking her fingers through it, biting the split ends off, sniffing it(!) and generally making me puke by pulling strands out and putting them on floor/bin whatever is closer.

She's a lovely girl but I just can't block her out of my view! My day is instantly better when she comes in with her hair up and out of the way!

Is it just me being intolerant or should I say something before I go mad?!?

catfordbetty Tue 15-Dec-15 09:00:41

Definitely say something. You could show her your OP.

agapimou Tue 15-Dec-15 09:03:38

It sounds like she has trichotillomania. I have had it for 19 years its not fun sad

Don't say anything to her, she is probably already embarrassed enough about it. (If it is actually that).

Zola1980 Tue 15-Dec-15 09:04:34

I think I would come across slightly unhinged! Maybe an anonymous email?! Seriously it is constant.

Zola1980 Tue 15-Dec-15 09:10:32

I've just googled it and doesn't seem to fit, I think it's just habit rather than anything stress relieving. It's the split end checking and biting that she does the most rather than physically pulling out.

agapimou Tue 15-Dec-15 09:16:38

It sound exactly like it tbh. Don't picture people tearing their hair out in a frenzy for stress relief. Its actually a calm ritual where the person sorts through the hairs methodically and then pulls/bites/sniffs or passes the hair along their top lip. Many also eat the white hair root.

I get its disgusting for other people, but its unbelievably hard to stop. I have tried everything, hypnotherapy, drugs, CBT, counseling, nothing works.

My hair is now in such a state (different lengths, broken hairs etc.) that it was either shave my head or turn it all into dreadlocks. I went for the latter. Maybe suggest that to her? grin

LynnetteBird Tue 15-Dec-15 09:18:00

I believe it is really rude to comment on other people's habits. She can touch he own hair as she likes, and you should focus on your own behaviour (ie: not looking at her)

Zola1980 Tue 15-Dec-15 09:19:03

Sorry if sounded insensitive.
Your description of it sounds more likely. I will have to be more tolerant! Or turn my back to her ;)

Zola1980 Tue 15-Dec-15 09:20:06

So if someone was sat picking their nose you would turn a blind eye lynette?!

Gasp0deTheW0nderD0g Tue 15-Dec-15 09:25:03

Oh come on, Lynnette, there has to be a balance, surely? What if OP's workmate was constantly picking her nose and eating it? Surely it would be reasonable either to ask the workmate to stop or to raise with a line manager/HR and ask them to tackle it. There are all sorts of hygiene issues or just matters of personal consideration to your workmates that it's legitimate to comment on. Eating smelly food in an open plan office might be irksome to a workmate, for example, or constantly singing/humming/muttering to yourself, or wandering around without any shoes on, or insisting on having the window open/shut, or wearing clothing with offensive slogans. The list is endless.

Gasp0deTheW0nderD0g Tue 15-Dec-15 09:25:39

Cross post with zula Two minds with but a single (loathsome) thought! grin

Zola1980 Tue 15-Dec-15 09:28:01

glad it's not just me! ;)
I have seen grown men pick their nose and eat it on my commute several times, it is vile!

LynnetteBird Tue 15-Dec-15 09:34:02

I think I would have to ignore nose picking. It's disgusting (to me, one of my grossest peeves) but I wouldn't dream of shaming another adult by pointing it out. It's none of my business.

LynnetteBird Tue 15-Dec-15 09:37:16

I would be more likely to comment about smelly food, but very very unlikely to comment on an actual person (the nose picker) because I see it as a bodily boundary whereas with smelly food I don't.
I'd possibly address it if I was a manager and the visible nose picking was happening at the reception desk, but between colleagues I think minding ones own business and respecting others bodily autonomy is best.

Zola1980 Tue 15-Dec-15 09:37:20

Seriously?!?! They should be shamed for that, it is complete anti social behaviour! If she was nose picking now I would definitely say something, its in a different league!

maras2 Tue 15-Dec-15 09:39:24

I don't think that it's Tricotilomania,which is a recognised distressing pathological condition,I think that it's a habit.Many years ago when my hair was long I started this hair picking/sniffing malarkey usually when bored but never actually plucking it out.My DH and some work colleagues fortunately had the guts to tell me to pack it in as it was grossing them out.Bite the bullet and tell her.Good luck.

KakiFruit Tue 15-Dec-15 09:47:02

How are your desks arranged so that you are forced to watch her?

Zola1980 Tue 15-Dec-15 09:49:02

Alongside, so visible in my side vision. I have tried pushing my hair forward to block the view but doesn't work!

LynnetteBird Tue 15-Dec-15 09:50:29

I think politeness requires ignoring other people's gross habits. I judge silently ;) but I think it is mortifying (and sometimes schoolyardish, depending) when people call each other out for stuff. I was raised by someone very physically overbearing though, so I think that's why I find body boundaries really important as an adult.

shinynewusername Tue 15-Dec-15 09:56:27

YANBU - I have a bit of a thing about other people's discarded hair. Can't bear it when people brush their long hair next to me on the Tube and shed everywhere <shudder>

Don't think you can reasonably say anything to her though, unless there is so much discarded hair that it is actually a hygiene issue.

ShebaShimmyShake Tue 15-Dec-15 10:17:26

She has trichotillomania. Read up on it and try to be understanding. It is a potentially devastating condition, not helped by the fact that nobody's heard of it. It's a form of OCD and it can ruin people's lives. A friend of mine cancelled her wedding because her hair pulling meant she was nearly bald on the day with no eyelashes or eyebrows either.

If someone has it for a long time then yes, there will be a strong element of habit in there too, but it is at heart an OCD condition. Don't assume she's not doing it out of stress relief, you don't know what's in her head.

goodnightdarthvader1 Tue 15-Dec-15 10:24:02

Love the armchair DEFINITE diagnosis. It's DEFINITELY trichotillomania, not a gross habit. Yet she can put her hair up sometimes and not do it, according to the OP. But it's DEFINITELY trichotillomania.

OP, think you'll just have to ignore. Or you could try and gently engage her on the subject, see if she does have the condition. Not that that will make her stop, but maybe she's not even sought therapy for it.

Zola1980 Tue 15-Dec-15 10:31:50

She has A LOT of hair, definitely no baldness going on here!

ShebaShimmyShake Tue 15-Dec-15 10:34:34

goodnightdarthvader1, I find your lack of intelligence disturbing. I felt a great disturbance in the Force, as if millions of voices suddenly cried out in terror and were suddenly silenced when a single ignoramus on the internet who knows less than bugger all about their compulsive hair pulling suddenly revealed that in fact all they have is a 'gross habit'.

She is displaying every classic sign of trichotillomania. Long standing OCD does indeed go hand in hand with habit, and there are some standard coping mechanisms such as tying up your hair or wearing headscarves (not always possible in a work environment), which can help as a kind of barrier technique. But that's not enough to cure the condition at a proper level. CBT is usually necessary for that, and a lot of hard work.

The only voice that should be silenced in a discussion about a complex recognised condition like this is yours. Search your feelings. If you have any.

ShebaShimmyShake Tue 15-Dec-15 10:42:24

OP, not every trichotillomaniac has the condition to the same level. Some people don't pull from the head at all, some pull until they are nearly bald, some have it more mildly. People are different and unique and OCD affects different people in different ways. People with thick hair are 'lucky' in that they can pull more often before it starts to show.

You're allowed to find the condition disgusting. Most people do, especially those who actually have it and have to live with this kind of response to it. Much like overeaters who are driven to continue overeating when they're always being told how disgusting they are, trichotillomaniacs are driven to pull when they're told how vile they are.

Anyway, now you know what the condition is, it's up to you what you want to do with the knowledge. You don't have to find the sight of her attractive, but you might like to be a little kinder in how you discuss it.

Alternatively, you could join the Dark Side where Darth Vader is already inviting you to join in the gross oversimplification and ignorance of a nasty mental condition simply because you don't understand it. I can't stop either of you you and I'm not going to waste all day on the internet trying to. There will be plenty of stuck up, half-witted, scruffy-looking Nerf herders to keep you company if you do.

But do at least try to consider that this may be an opportunity to learn something, as we should all do every day. And may the Force be with you.

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