It’s hard to turn on the news without hearing about violent assaults, murders, and sexual abuse. We probably feel revulsion when we hear about these things, wondering how a person could do something so despicable. We might also fear for our loved ones’ safety, or our own.

For some individuals with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), the fear can take on a very different quality. Rather than fearing that they or someone they love will be a victim, they are gripped with terror that they themselves might commit some horrific act.

Like any type of OCD, this form starts with a thought: What if I do something awful to another person? That thought is the obsession, which triggers anxiety since it would be terrible to do what the person fears. All of us want to avoid anxiety and prevent bad things from happening if possible, so the person will do something—the compulsion—to try to make sure s/he doesn’t hurt anyone. The person often feels temporary relief after a compulsion.

Let’s consider an example:

I’m standing in the kitchen chopping vegetables. My brother comes in the kitchen and asks me if I need any help. I’m about to ask him to wash the broccoli when an image suddenly comes to mind of him standing at the sink with his back to me and me holding the knife behind him. What if I stab him in the back? God forbid I think to myself as I shudder at the thought and try to put it out of my mind—Who thinks such things? I set the knife aside for a minute and say, “I’m good, but thanks for offering. Feel free to keep watching the game.” I wait until he’s out of the room before picking up the knife again.

This example has many of the common features of OCD. First, I’m triggered by a fear: What if…? I then do several things that are meant to prevent what I’m afraid of: I put down the knife, encourage my brother to stay out of the kitchen, try not to think about it, and say a short prayer. I’m also left feeling like I must be really messed up.

In OCD, these obsessions and compulsions happen over and over, taking up an incredible amount of mental space and filling my days with fear and dread. Let’s take a closer look at this form of OCD and how it can be treated effectively (yes, it can).

When Is It OCD?

It’s important to distinguish between OCD about hurting others (Fear of Harm OCD, or Harm OCD for short) and a truly high risk for causing harm. A person who is actually dangerous may have a history of assault and will feel a desire to hurt others. The person may try to resist those urges because of the likely consequences, but not because the idea of acting on the thoughts or urges is incredibly unsettling.

People with Harm OCD usually say hurting someone else is the last thing they would want to do. Even thinking about the possibility is upsetting. To actually commit such a heinous act would be the worst thing imaginable. And yet the thoughts come back, over and over.

But How Do You Know for Sure You’re Not a Terrible Person?

I’m fully aware that trying to distinguish between these two categories, important as it is, will almost certainly feed the doubt in those who have this form of OCD. After all, how do I know I don’t want to hurt someone? And what if I don’t want to right now but then have a sudden urge that I act on without thinking? Or what if I just “lose it” and snap? What if I’ve been pretending all along to be “normal”?

In fact, the quest to be 100% certain I won’t do what I’m afraid of is a big part of what makes it OCD. When it comes right down to it, it’s hard to be completely sure of anything. This uncertainty—or rather, the effort to eliminate uncertainty—is what fuels OCD. When we aim for certainty, OCD always holds the trump card. As we’ll discuss later on, beating OCD means refusing to play its game.

Myths About Harm OCD

As if having Harm OCD weren’t enough, there are unhelpful beliefs about it that compound the difficulty. The primary myth is that having this condition means that “deep down” the person really wants to do the thing s/he is afraid of. In fact, obsessions about harm used to be called “Aggressive” obsessions in the mental health community based on an old-fashioned understanding of the condition.

In a related way, the general public often misunderstands Harm OCD, too. Most of the time when someone says she’s afraid of hurting people, we take these concerns seriously, especially in the current environment where we’re told, “See Something, Say Something.” If we don’t probe a little deeper we’ll miss the crucial point that the person doesn’t want or plan to act on the fears.

I would trust an individual with Harm OCD to stand behind me on a train platform as a train arrives, to hold a knife near me, or to be around my kids. In reality, a person with Harm OCD is probably the last person who would hurt anyone.

Which raises the question, if I don’t want to do these things, why do I think about them all the time?

Why Do I Have These Thoughts?

Often in Harm OCD a person will ask, “But if I don’t want to do it, why am I thinking about it so often? What kind of person does that?” As we’ll see is, the answer is: someone who doesn’t want to do anything wrong.

Our brains are great at imagining things that haven’t happened. They do it in dreams as well as in our waking life. If we walk by a knife with its handle jutting off the edge of the counter, our minds automatically imagine a person walking by and knocking it off, possibly hurting someone. By imagining an accident, we can prevent it: We move the knife away from the edge. So our minds feed us images of bad outcomes to help us avoid them. It’s something our minds are good at and that helps us in countless ways.

It’s important to point out that thoughts like “What if I just decided to stab this person?” are not at all unique to OCD. I have them, others I talk to have them, and in fact the vast majority of people (whether or not they have OCD) will have these kinds of thoughts. The difference in OCD isn’t having thoughts of hurting others but the reaction to these thoughts.

If I have a sudden thought of, “What if I pushed this person in front of the oncoming Amtrak train?” I might think it’s a weird thought and then my mind will move on to something else. I won’t take it seriously.

In contrast, a person with OCD is likely to be horrified by the thought and to worry there’s something dreadfully wrong with him—and that he poses a serious threat to others. If he doesn’t want to be a bad person and doesn’t want to act on the thoughts, then he’ll probably try to make sure he never has a violent thought.

It’s exactly that effort to avoid having violent thoughts that causes them to multiply. As you probably know, it’s virtually impossible to keep something out of our minds without thinking about it—otherwise how will we know if we thought it? So whereas before a person with OCD might have gotten the thoughts a few times a week, by trying not to have them she will start thinking them many times a day, or multiple times an hour, or maybe even constantly.

What’s worse, constantly thinking about these fears can make them seem less upsetting simply from the repetition. Then a person with Harm OCD might be horrified that he’s not as horrified by the thoughts as he used to be, and may mistakenly believe that he’s warming up to the idea of acting on them.

Common Fears in Harm OCD

Obsessions about hurting others can take different forms. Stabbing someone with a knife is a common one, probably because knives are so readily available and the idea is so grisly. Others include:

  • Beating someone with a baseball bat
  • Stabbing someone with a pencil, skewer, scissors, or other sharp object
  • Sexually assaulting someone
  • Shoving someone off the sidewalk into oncoming traffic
  • Pushing someone in front of a train
  • Pushing someone down the stairs
  • Perhaps the most upsetting, being a child molester

Again, the individual with OCD does not want to do these terrible things and is not at a greater risk than the average person for doing them. Nevertheless they might worry that they’ll change in some fundamental way, becoming a cold, callous, sadistic human being, even a “monster.”

It’s important to mention that Harm OCD can also be directed toward oneself: What if I commit suicide? What if I impulsively jump from a bridge? I don’t focus on this topic here because it’s nuanced enough that it deserves being addressed separately.

Common Compulsions in Harm OCD

The compulsions (or “rituals”) in Harm OCD are intended to prevent what the person is afraid of. They’ll generally involve trying to prevent the thoughts, trying to prevent the feared actions, and trying to make sure I’m not a bad person.

One of the most common compulsions is reassurance, either from oneself or others. The person might tell herself, “You would never do that. You’re not a violent person,” or, “Thoughts are just thoughts, thoughts are just thoughts.” Or they might ask their spouse whenever they have a compulsion, “You don’t think I would actually do anything like that, do you?” or, “Having that thought doesn’t make me a bad person, right?”

Sometimes a person with Harm OCD might seek out a professional with expertise in OCD—not only for treatment but as a form of “checking with an authority.” Unfortunately the relief a person generally feels from reassurance doesn’t tend to last long, sometimes not even until the end of the session. Reassurance leads to needing more reassurance.

Others might ask God for forgiveness, perhaps with a set ritualized prayer: “God, I’m sorry to have these thoughts. Please know that I don’t mean them and would never act on them. Please take away these thoughts forever.”

It’s also common to check repeatedly for evidence that the person wouldn’t hurt anyone. For instance, when seeing a story about a gruesome murder, they might read everything they can about the perpetrator to see if they’re similar in any way. These checks can backfire, of course, because they might read about a “seemingly normal childhood” or “no previous history of violence” and realize with horror that they shared a similar background.

Avoidance is also a very common response to Harm obsessions: avoiding the news in case there’s a triggering story, movies and TV shows with violence, knives and other sharp objects, the grocery store and other places with lots of people, and anything else that leads to the obsessions. And while the avoidance might provide some temporary relief, it plays the same role as compulsions in keeping the person in the clutches of OCD.

Consequences of Harm OCD

The real harm, of course, happens to the individual who has Harm OCD, and the fallout can be devastating. An aunt might avoid being around her nieces and nephews for years out of fear that she’s a child molester—and may avoid having kids of her own for the same reason. A man might never go out with friends because he’s afraid of assaulting one of them. Students might not go to class where they worry they’ll attack the professor.

And of course the emotional toll can be severe. Imagine if you lived every day worried—maybe even convinced—that you were terribly dangerous or depraved. It’s common for OCD to lead to depression as a result of these self-condemning beliefs as well as the withdrawal from enjoyable activities and relationships. Tragically in some cases the person may even resort to suicide.

Treating Harm OCD

Thankfully there is highly effective treatment for Harm OCD in the form of exposure and response prevention, or ERP, a type of cognitive behavioral therapy. I’ve covered the basics of ERP elsewhere (see this post on my Psychology Today blog); here I’ll discuss some of the specific applications for Harm OCD.

In a nutshell, ERP is about doing the opposite of what OCD wants. The exposure part will involve doing the things that bring up obsessions. They might include:

  • Holding a knife with someone else nearby
  • Standing behind people on a train platform
  • Being around kids
  • Watching the news
  • Looking up stories about violent assaults

The therapist will work with the person to come up with a list of exposures for the person to start confronting. They’ll start with the easier ones and gradually work up to the more difficult ones. With practice a person will become more comfortable being around these triggers.

Crucially, the exposure will have to be coupled with prevention of the compulsions—exposure without ritual prevention won’t be helpful. So a person will need to stop seeking reassurance, saying ritualized prayers, checking to see if they might be capable of violence, and so forth. Over time it will get easier to do normal activities without compulsions.

With the right treatment, the obsessive voice will tend to quiet down; stepping out of the fight against the thoughts takes away their power. People also generally feel more confident that they won’t act on their thoughts.

However, the point of ERP is not to know for sure that the obsessive thoughts aren’t a concern, or even to get rid of them. Perhaps the most important part of the treatment is becoming more comfortable living with some degree of uncertainty. After all, we can’t be 100% certain that any given person won’t act violently, myself included. And we can learn to better tolerate that uncertainty.

As you might imagine, the work can be challenging—and at the same time worth the effort as it leads to freedom from OCD.

Where to Find Help

I’ve had many requests for more information about how to find help for Harm OCD. The International OCD Foundation is an excellent starting place; check out their website.

There are also several excellent books on OCD and effective treatment. Here are some that I recommend; check your library or click on the link to purchase them from Amazon. (Please note: These are affiliate links, meaning that if you follow the link and end up purchasing the item, I receive a small percentage of the sale. It does not affect what you pay for the item, and does not influence which books I recommend. Proceeds go toward covering the cost and time involved in maintaining this site.)

Overcoming Unwanted Intrusive Thoughts, focuses on upsetting obsessive thoughts like those discussed here, as well as other forms of intrusive thought OCD.

The Mindfulness Workbook for OCD focuses on developing a different relationship with obsessive thoughts, so they’re given less attention and importance.

The OCD Workbook presents the fundaments of understanding OCD and how to treat it effectively, and has a chapter dedicated to breaking free from horrific thoughts.

When a Family Member Has OCD is my go-to recommendation for an OCD sufferer’s loved ones. It’s written by Jon Hershfield, an expert in treating OCD and working with families, who happens to have OCD himself. You’ll find a compassionate and authoritative guide in this book.Freedom From Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder is a classic on treating OCD effectively. It includes a chapter on mental obsessions, and specifically addresses harm-related OCD.

I co-wrote Overcoming OCD with Janet Singer, whose son overcame severely debilitating OCD with exposure and response prevention therapy. Janet tells the story of her son’s recovery, and I provide information on many topics related to OCD. While we don’t focus on Harm OCD, we present general information about the condition, its effects on family members, and the best ways to treat it.

42 thoughts

    • Thanks for your comments, O. That makes sense, doesn’t it? That it would provide temporary relief, but that it would fade over time…. Thankfully with some focused work it’s possible to get a more lasting sense of calm.

  • Thank you so much for this. This just came out of nowhere lately after a very stressful period. I’ve been avoiding loved ones out of fear. It’s terrible but you gave me a lot of comfort

    • Thanks for your comments, Tee. It is terrible, isn’t it? And sad how it can make a person isolate from the ones they love the most. There is plenty of reason to hope, and good treatment that’s available. I wish you all the best.

  • Thank you so much it calmed me down a lot and I’m not thinking about these thought at the moment I cried if refleif that it’s gone for now I’m saying a prayer every night I’m actually 13 and scared to death.❤️

    • I appreciate your comment and am glad you got some relief. I encourage you to talk to an adult you trust so you can find lasting relief and any necessary treatment. This doesn’t have to interfere with your life or make you miserable!

  • Thank you so much for this article, i read it and I did feel much relief. But every time i feel relief, my fear evolves and attacks me somewhere else. Sometimes i fear not fearing and sometimes i feel convinced that i am a bad person and i really dont know what to do .

    • Thank you for your comments, Ian. It’s true that our fears can be a moving target, and we can worry that we’re doing something wrong if we’re not worrying. We often need to seek effective treatment in order to find lasting relief, rather than riding the roller coaster of our anxiety and fear. I recommend iocdf.org as a good starting point for a person who might be dealing with OCD.

  • Thanks so much for this. I have OCD, no rituals but pure O. After years of theraphy and lots of effort I could understand, little by little, that the fears I had were not at all that uncommon. I used to think I was such an alien…

    Nowadays I take minimal medication and have beaten those awful fears.

    I encourage anyone that is reading this to never give up. Work hard and you will succeed. Hugs to everyone.

    • My pleasure, Federico. I’m so glad to hear that you’re doing better. Thank you for your comments and for the encouragement you offered to everyone.

  • Thank you for this. I always thought I was the only person who did this and I would feel depressed for hours and hours after reading about a murder or watching a scary movie of some sort. Constantly scared that I could do such a thing. Also considering I’m only 17 I’m constantly stressing I’m going to snap or something in my coming years and becoming an awful person.

    • You’re very welcome, Em. It’s sad and true that so many people feel alone with this issue. Sometimes it seems that adolescence can be a particularly difficult time for this since one’s identity is still forming and OCD can create intense worry about becoming a terrible person. I wish you all the best.

  • I had this in the the 80’s and there wasn’t much info about it then. I was in my twenties and would read books on end trying to find reassurance that I wasn’t bad and wouldn’t do something horrible. I did find one book that gave me some temporary relief (I still have it) but the added depression from living with the OCD took its toll and I ended up staying at a psych hospital for 2 weeks. I then felt really crazy. I did get the help I needed, mostly medication and therapy, although no ERP and I worked my way through it. A very difficult time. So glad this is out in the open nowadays, I felt so isolated during my experience. Good luck to all, do not suffer in silence! Thank you Seth~

    • Thanks so much for sharing your experience, Janice. It’s good to know there’s more awareness now than in the ’80s, though from the responses to this post there’s still a long way to go. You described a sadly not-uncommon scenario in which this condition leads to one’s own private hell. I’ve seen how tragic it is when a person bases their life around this fear, especially when treatment is available. That’s what motivates me to spread the word. I’m so glad this post is reaching people, and hope others will continue to share it or other resources so we can shine a light and offer hope to those who need it. I really appreciate your willingness to comment.

  • I Googled this topic and found your website. I have had this condition, as you describe it, since I was about 18 years of age, but it has gradually increased in severity (I am now 36). Indeed, I read an article that compulsive neurological conditions actually change the brain, reinforcing the respective pathways (much the way any behavior is learned) and thereby more readily triggering the unwanted reaction. I also noticed an increase in this OCD behavior ever since I became a parent, which makes sense, as this opens both a more stressful and more responsibility-prone (less error-tolerant) chapter in our lives.
    I appreciate your description of treatment possibilities, as I had hitherto been a bit confused about what “exposure therapy” meant in this context, where obviously you do not want to act directly on your fears; now I understand what is meant, which is an exposure to the situations that trigger the fear, and indeed sensing that one does not act on them. The fascinating part is knowing that these fears are not rational, but they are obviously a product of parts of our brain that we do not directly control, much the way you describe in the beginning of your essay.

    • Thank you for your comments, eggman18. You’re exactly right about the changes on the brain from OCD compulsions, and thankfully the right therapy leads to positive brain changes. And good points about what the exposure is——not to the feared outcome, but to the trigger of the fear. Parenting is a common fear related to this concern, for the reasons you described. All the best to you!

  • Thank you for your article Dr Gilligan and the informed and sensitive way you describe this condition.
    I’ve struggled with Harm OCD for 2 years now, mainly focused on my daughter. It is such a traumatizing condition. Everything I took for granted about myself has had a terrible battering. I do not know whether to trust myself as a person. This is not a problem I faced before the OCD struck.
    I’m having trouble getting access to ERP where I live, and my income is limited due to mental health problems. Is it possible in your opinion to use a workbook to undertake ERP? Or would that not be advisable?

    Thank you.

    • My pleasure, Scott. I appreciated your feedback. It’s truly a traumatizing condition, isn’t it? And no more so than when it involves one’s own family members. And yes, access to ERP is a real problem in most parts of the country. It’s a big part of why I’ve written the books I have, to bring effective treatment to people who couldn’t otherwise get it. Many people are able to get a lot out of a good self-directed OCD workbook (like this one). If self-guided treatment isn’t enough, then more intensive options can be considered. I don’t encourage self-directed treatment when the OCD is particularly severe or if there are serious thoughts of suicide. I wish you the best in your recovery. Also you might check out Janet Singer’s blog if you haven’t already: https://ocdtalk.wordpress.com/ Seth

  • Thank you for your kind and thoughtful reply Dr Gillihan.

    I am in Australia where the ERP situation is – if anything – even worse. I’m receiving ACT, which does seem to be helping to some extent.

    I wasn’t able to make the link work for the workbook you recommended. Is it possible to provide its title?

    Thank you.

    • Sorry the link didn’t work! The book is The Mindfulness Workbook for OCD: A Guide to Overcoming Obsessions and Compulsions Using Mindfulness and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy by Jon Hershfield and Tom Corboy. And I’m sorry to hear things are even worse down under….

  • Fantastic article, this is exactly what I needed right now. I had recently come to understand what I needed to do to beat this vicious circle but your article really solidified it for me. From now on I will let myself feel every thought about being scared of hurting someone and I wont try to tell myself it is ok. Ill just be indifferent and not put the knife down when im in the kitchen or look away from who im talking to. The whole idea that I could hurt the people I love is so terrifying to me that ive perpetuated it and turned it into an obsession. Ive had incredible panic attacks about being scared to lose control. Thanks, I will start using your advice right away.

    • Thanks so much for your warm comments, Matt. I’m glad to hear that the article confirmed what you already sensed for yourself to be true. I usually find in delivering ERP that the person isn’t really surprised by the principles. They know that rituals are OCD’s false hope for relieving anxiety, and that avoidance doesn’t work in the long run. I wish you all the best along the way.

  • I been dealing with this for so long I just don’t know what else I can do
    I feel like I need to move away from my family I’m on Prozac to help but the thoughts and fear never leaves
    I can’t be at home or at work a lot of times I feel like I must be locked in a mental institution sorry for my bad English

    • Jose, I’m sorry to hear you’re struggling. Good ERP can help so much. I suggest starting with iocdf.org to look for resources. I hope you find relief soon.

  • Hi, I hope you could help. I have this scenario everyday about thinking I want to kill. No, not just thinking but hearing some noise in my head shouting to kill somebody. Then an image will pop then I’ll loses my consciousness then suddenly I’ll just realize that I was holding a knife and was ready to kill him but then my hand start shaking, my tears will burst up then I will laugh like crazy then my heart will pound loudly and fast. My breathing will be difficult then my body will feel numb. I dont know what is this. I hope you could help.

    • Knife, to be honest the experiences you describe do not sound like what people with Harm-related OCD experience. I would strongly encourage someone with these symptoms to schedule a consultation with a doctor or mental health professional as soon as possible, and to visit an emergency room if necessary. Best wishes to you.

  • Seth – Wow.
    Thank you for such an informative article. My son recently approached me with a similar fear. Having come across this article ( By looking for things on OCD) has been an eye opener. He is young – only 15. Do you think he can manage to curb this before he is an adult? or at least learn to manage it a bit. He is a middle child as well which I suppose aggravates anything like this. I am actively trying to invest time and effort into him to make sure he doesn’t feel a certain way. Unfortunately he is just simply getting worked up as it is decreasing his moral and outlook on himself.

    • Thank you for your comments and sharing about your son’s experience, Trevor. Yes, I do think a person can curb this issue as an adolescent. I would recommend consulting with a professional (iocdf.org is a good place to start) to make sure you’re on the right track. It’s easy as parents to end up giving reassurance that just feeds the OCD, leading to temporary relief that actually continues the cycle. I wish you and your family all the best.

  • I have been living with OCD for years, last year was the hardest for me. Everything caused a chain reaction, being home, not being home, being around family, not being around family. Even eating caused a ritual to rise, I have been looking for an article to explain my version of OCD. When I tend to start having intrusive thoughts I like to research possibilities and when I came across this article it’s like I knew I wasent alone. So thank you, you made me feel like I can live with uncertainty.

    • Ghitza, thank you so much for your comments. I’m glad to hear you feel like you can live with uncertainty, especially because sometimes articles like mine can function as reassurance. That is, they can provide temporary relief and then the OCD-fueled doubt creeps back in: Is it really OCD? Am I tricking myself? Did I understand what they were describing? etc., and then more online research to get reassurance. All the best to you!

  • I posted but i dont it went through 🙁
    I dont if i have ocd. But i keep on getting these awful thoughts. Making me feel like im a pyscho or something. I feel so lost. And i keep on checking my feelings and thoughts. How do i know if im actually not a bad person. What if im actually sicko that wants to hurt people. I get them around my family and my doggies. And i cant hug my doggies anymore cause these thoughts make me scared. I feel so lost, i cant remember who i am.

    • Thank you for your comment, elle. What you describe is consistent with this form of OCD. It is a good idea to consult with a professional who can make a determination. You don’t have to suffer with this. Consider starting with iocdf.org.

  • This website helped me a bit. Hopefully I won’t worry as much for a couple of minutes, maybe hours.
    I’m an almost 13yr old, and have experienced these thoughts for almost 5 months now, and a couple of years back when I was 11 I experienced hocd (homosexual) related thoughts. I also experience thoughts were I fear I want to act on the thoughts, which is completely against my character. On bad days I relapse into my compulsions, and look up warning signs of killers and the such. This always backfires as I find out small similarities between myself and bad people such as having a fascination with fire, and hurting small animals (I once hurt my pet rat because I was extremely stressed, to the point of depression, a misfortune I am extremely ashamed off.) I have talked to my parents about my situation, but recently I have stopped because I have realised they are getting increasing annoyed to the point we’re they tell me I’m making up the thoughts on purpose, ect. As for the theory we’re genes are involved, my dad has experienced depression so crippling, he was bed bound, but I believe this was before I was born. He has also experienced these thoughts in a similar way to me but he was on a strong medication to deal with other complications.
    These thoughts bother me so much, I feel I am constantly on the verge of depression.
    Is my situation normal?
    Thx, sajj

  • Just like Elle I posted but I don’t know if it went through. Just in case,
    I am a thirteen yr old experiencing these thoughts. I also experience thoughts were I fear i want to do the stuff I’m thinking. I have a family history of depression (my dad had depression so crippling he was bed bound but I think that was before I was born.) and on days I feel so depressed because of these thoughts. They strike mostly when I’m alone, when my mind isn’t occupied by the chaos that is my highschool life. XD school is a good distraction, but every now and then I remember the thoughts and get a sad little…pang I guess? In my chest and I kinda go silent and stress for a while before I’m distracted again. If I’ve had a particularly bad day (days were I couldn’t, or almost couldn’t get the thoughts out of my head) I go home and research traits of a future killer, so I can tell myself I’m nothing like them. Usually this backfires, as as you stated I do this, “It’s also common to check repeatedly for evidence that the person wouldn’t hurt anyone. For instance, when seeing a story about a gruesome murder, they might read everything they can about the perpetrator to see if they’re similar in any way. These checks can backfire, of course, because they might read about a “seemingly normal childhood” or “no previous history of violence” and realize with horror that they shared a similar background.” Or I find out other similarities between murderers and myself, such as a fascination with fire, or hurting small animals ( to clarify, I have only ever hurt one animal (that I can remember, obviously) and it didn’t die because of my actions. It was at a stressful time in my life, although I can’t remember why, and I was on the verge of depression. I feel very ashamed of my actions and I haven’t hurt another animal since.) these finding make my thoughts worse. They convince me I’m a horrible person and one day I’ll just… snap. In the past I have had what I believed to be hocd(Homosexual Obsessive Compulsive Disorder) like thoughts. These lasted for anywhere from 5-6 months to a year. It was a couple of years ago now so I can’t really remember. The thoughts I am currently having have been occurring for almost 5 months now. They started after I read a magazine on Australian murders. (I definitely shouldn’t have because my parents told me not to and it’s ruined my life.) I finished reading one of the stories, and wondered; “what if i was a murderer.” The thoughts have plagued me ever since. I do have anywhere from a couple of days to week occasionally where the thoughts leave me alone, but then they are triggered again by stuff in my environment; e.g Tv, peers, ect.
    I have told my parents about the thoughts, I only planned to tell them once, so they knew what was happening, but occasionally I break down and confess. Initially, they were very supportive, similar to when I was having the hocd thoughts, although recently they seem a little… annoyed. They sometimes tell me I’m making it up on purpose, or that I’m “full of it”. Not that they aren’t supportive and amazing parents, or that they don’t understand (my dad had these thoughts before I was born, when he was on some strong medication for other complications.) they just don’t…. I don’t know, “get it”

    I just wanted to know your opinion, because although my parents are incredible, they can’t offer a professional opinion, and I really need one of those right now 🙂 is all this normal?

    Thx, sajj

  • Also sometimes my mind tells me “oh you’ll like to do that” when I’m thinking about bad stuff and stuff like that but I don’t want to like it, I don’t think I do but my mind keeps telling that, Im always doubting myself because of it

    • Hi, Sajj. Thank you for sharing your experiences, and sorry you didn’t know if the comments were going through (they were but they have to be approved before they’re visible).

      The things you describe sound very consistent with OCD—the doubting, the questioning, the wondering even though there’s scant evidence that the person would actually act on the thoughts.

      As you know from my post, it’s a very treatable condition, though it does require finding a professional who gets it if you’re going to work with someone on it. For those who aren’t able to do that, I’ve added some resources to this page. I wish you all the best, Sajj. Help is available.

  • Thank you so much for replying Seth, I was so scared.
    Every time I think I’ve gotten over it, or at least a particular fear, I’ll somehow think up another one. It’s really annoying. XD .
    Thank you! ,
    Sajj

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