Our expert says:
This is an example of a bad habit ( like some people bite their fingernails, or twist and tug at their hair. They do seem to do this either completely absent mindedly or when they are under greater stress. What she needs, though, as this does sound like a variation on the self-mutilation of people who cut themselves, would be to see a good local psychologist for assessment and counselling, as it must look ugly, and it suggests that she is more troubled than she admits.
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