A Bit About Harm OCD

This is particularly disturbing OCD subtype as the person has thoughts, feelings and even urges of violence to themselves or others. They can be quite intense, and they often feel like they are on the verge of doing the violent act. They feel absolutely terrified much of the time. Many of them feel like killers and develop a personality that says they are a killer of some sort.
I’ve done therapy with a guy who was convinced he was a serial killer. Of course he’d never hurt a soul and he never would, but I could not convince him of that. The obsessions were powerful, continuous, and 24-7. They were so persistent and tenacious that he had given up all hope of resisting them. They had also become quite strong in that the illness was actually telling him or ordering him to commit the violence.
He had suffered from this for 15 years in the time I met him. Of course, he had never come close to committing any violent act in that time. This is a case of a good person who is being mentally tortured every waking hour.
I spoke to another woman, a young schoolteacher, who had thoughts of killing her students all day. She was shaking like a leaf, as she put it.
A young man, a multimillionaire, has been more or less housebound with Harm OCD for 4 years. I talked to him on the phone for 1 1/2 hours and helped him more than the best and most expensive therapists in his country had in a long time. He was spending $1,500/week on therapy and not getting much better.
I told him he was fine and told him to put a knife into his pocket and go out shopping. Of course he could pull out the knife at any time and start carving up passerby, but he didn’t. He told me that I had gotten him out of the house for the first time in 4 years (an exaggeration).
The avoidance with this type of OCD is particularly severe. They start to avoid all human contact for fear of the violent thoughts, urges, etc. It’s also very disturbing for laypeople, and most laypeople think they are dangerous.
Curiously, these people either never or almost never (I’m not sure if there have been cases or not, but I’ve never heard of one) act on these strong violent feelings that may wrack them every waking hour or even minute. Something is preventing them from doing it. Fact is, they really don’t want to hurt anyone, and they are trying not to do it all the time. Furthermore, acting on the thoughts would violate their morals.
I’ve heard that a person with violent obsessions is actually the least likely person to ever commit any violent act. This does not seem clear to the general population, and I’ve talked to people with this condition who tell me that others are terrified of them, people often say that they are killers, criminals, etc.
This is clearly a most bizarre illness! The person least likely to commit any act of violence is wracked by violent thoughts, feelings and impulses day and night that they will never act on in a million years.
How can we make sense of this? We can’t, except maybe to consider that the best people have the worst thoughts. The least impulsive person (a person with Harm OCD is a very non-impulsive person) is wracked by terrible impulses through the day. The illness targets the persons least likely to do something and convinces them that they are most likely to do something.
It doesn’t make sense until you understand human nature. The best people feel the most guilt. The worst people feel the least guilt.
Obsessionals feel incredible guilt, yet they never do anything aggressive.
Antisocials commit tremendous aggression, yet they feel no guilt at all.
Here we go beyond psychology and into the realm of religion. Priests and ministers have always understood such things, going back hundreds of years. The best people do the least harm because they feel the most guilt. The guilt keeps them from doing bad things. The worst people do the most harm because they feel no guilt at all. The lack of guilt is what causes the bad behavior.
The worse the behavior = the less the guilt.
The better the behavior = the more the guilt.
It’s so paradoxical, but if you have any sense of human behavior, of course it all adds up. And a priest understand this intuitively. He’s nodding his head before you are done explaining it to him.
We wonder what the mindset is of the person who commits violent acts. Let us say the sociopath. For example, let us look at the serial killer.
This person typically has violent fantasies a good part of time. It’s how they like to pass the time. The crucial factor here is that the violent thoughts are not resisted and attempts are not made to stop them. This person enjoys thinking violent things, thinks them all day long to his heart’s content, and never tries once to stop them or resist them.
When he kills people, he’s simply doing what he likes to do. He feels no guilt and is incurable, since you can’t put a conscience into someone who lacks one, and anyway, he’s having fun. He doesn’t want to change. He doesn’t want to get better. He’s already fine. He’s in hog heaven, killing away, doing what he loves. Why give it up?
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109 thoughts on “A Bit About Harm OCD”

      1. Thank you for trying to make this movie. This is coming from someone who experienced the same thing last year. There is a lot of people out there who need this.

    1. Hello Robert and all those who have harm OCD.
      My name is Ash, I’m 22 years old and I developed harm OCD this past July. It came on so suddenly and practically out of no where, I am in desperate need of help and advice.
      I’ve been struggling with these thoughts…horrible and almost seemingly real thoughts… I’m constantly burdened with images such as stabbing my husband, snapping my dogs neck, or even being alone with someone. The plain vulnerability strikes me and I go into panic mode where I feel like I’m watching myself from an outside perspective.
      I’m constantly watching my hands and it feels as if my face is in a constant frown. I’ve tried therapy, they pill pushed me to the ends of the earth until I felt like a zombie. I feel like this will never end, I’ve contemplated suicide but I would never go through with it. I just don’t understand what happened… Up until all this I was happy, laughed about anything really, not one care in the world. Then it strikes and now my own existence disgusts me. Although I still have the thoughts continuously, I feel rather numb when they occur. I’m not sure if this indicates I want to act on them or not but one thing I tell myself is that if I do do anything, I’ll deserve whatever punishment awaits me.
      I used to love life, now it’s a chore just watching myself every day. The only peace I get is when I sleep but even there the nightmares follow. It’s fucking endless.
      Why me?

      1. Hi there, email me, ok? After a while, you numb out to the thoughts, and that causes even more anxiety.
        It is extremely common to get feelings and urges along the thoughts, and the Harm OCD will often make you feel like you want to do these things.

    1. As a fellow OCD sufferer with Harm O i surely can tell you – YOU DONT have harm o and neither does that guy you mentioned. I actually get really angry to even read that you think you and that guy has it.
      If no guilt or anxiety then no OCD, DO YOU KNOW WHAT AN ANXIETY ONE HORRIBLE THOUGHT EVEN BRINGS AN OCD SUFFERER?!. This is a nightmare to live with and words can not describe how painful it is!!!!! And if you really have been diagnosed with harm o well then your doctor
      must be really STUPID.

    2. Where can we email you? I desperatelly need to talk to someone. I am pretty much in the same position as Ashley. To the point that I feel like I cant live with myself anymore. Help!

  1. I’ve been searching for an article like this for months and I’m so pleased to have found something that actually puts in to words exactly what I’m feeling. I’ve been suffering with this illness off and on since I was 10 or 11 and I’m now 33. I had a good 6 years in my twenties whereby it left me alone and I felt great. At the age of 32 it hit me again and I’ve now been struggling with it for a year and a half. I’ve consulted as I want rid or at least want to be able to control it. Thank you Robert with all my heart for your understanding on this subject. I’d really love to chat to anyone with similar experiences so please feel free to contact me on samueljohn1978@live.co.uk. Robert, if you ever get to read my article then id love to hear from you. I’m going to beat this thing and live a normal life x

    1. Well, maybe you do have it then. You certainly describe the symptoms of it at any rate. I have always been confused about your case.
      The only thing that doesn’t really seem right is that you love gore, you love serial killers, etc. In fact, you are a serial killer fan. That’s not really typical for someone with this condition.

    2. I think there is a difference between being a fan of horror movies and reading stories pertaining to murder and suicide as opposed to harboring inherent desires to commit said violent acts. I know sometimes I like horror movies or films with serial killers because I find many of them to be overtly-sensationalized, which sometimes makes it easier for me to disassociate my Harm thoughts from reality, thus causing me less anxiety. Different strokes for different folks man.

    3. Cari was an extremely difficult case. I haven’t communicated with her beyond her comments on this site you read here. When I first read her comments, I thought, my God, this is one sick, depraved young woman. No way is this OCD or Harm O. Forget it. Whatever it is, it’s something else. Now that I read her symptoms again, she very well describes the symptoms of Harm OCD. On the other hand, she is a depraved person. She thinks Jeffrey Dahmer is the bees knees and she has a webpage up about how she wants to marry him and have his baby. She has pages on there with photos from the Dahmer killings glorifying the killings and seeming to cheer them on. She is also part of a female fan club for another serial killer who is currently incarcerated. She is writing to the guy and is apparently convinced that he is innocent or something. So she’s a serial killer groupie!
      On the other hand, there are limits beyond which she will not go, that is clear. And her Harm OCD thoughts. She really does NOT want to actually do any of these things, especially to loved ones and those she cares about. So while Cari is a bit of a sick puppy, she’s not a 100% sick puppy. There is indeed a moral line that she will not cross, and that is where her OCD is showing up.
      She was a very interesting case.

    4. No way did Dahmer have OCD or Harm OCD.
      I have talked to many, many Harm O folks for years now. Haven’t met one who acted on one of these thoughts yet. I personally don’t think they ever do it, but I could be wrong. If they do, it’s extremely rare.

      1. If a Harm OCD’er acted on his/her thoughts; it would be an impule and they would not become a serial killer and try to get away with it. NOt at all.
        To kill someone you have to be very impulsive, to kill many people and be so callous as to try to get away with it and then laugh in front of the jury you have to be a huge asshole.
        I have OCD myself and the worst compulsion you can have is studying serial killers. My compulsions have taken me to read biographes to make sure I’m not like them and even read interviews with Ted Bundy; DOn’t do that. Those people where assholes and lied really well, you might almost think he had OCD; but don’t forget he scored 39 in the PSychopathy Scale, he was one of the worst men in American History.
        Don’t forget he said “I’m as cool-headed as you’ve ever put your fucking eye on”
        When you have Harm OCD, it’s normal to wonder if those people had OCD, if you don’t have OCD; forget it.
        If there was ever a case of someone acting on an OCD thought, it wouldn’t be hiding corpses in his basement, forget it.
        As far as planning goes, sometimes I get a horrible thought like “Stab a homeless guy and clean the knife so you get away with it” I was crying inmediately, pretty different from a sociopath.
        And I’ll laugh my ass off if you ask me wether Dahmer was sociopath.
        There are cases in wich there can be confussion cause they lied so well, like Ted Bundy; but Gacy, Dahmer and let’s stop talking about these people; were completely.

        1. i know that some OCD’ers act on their thoughts, but it looks a lot different from when bad people act on their thoughts. I know because I have met OCD’ers who acted on their thoughts. Just never met any Harm O’ers who acted on their thoughts and hurt people. I have met them who started to act on their thoughts but all they would do is crash the bike and maybe nick up a car or crash the bike and hurt themselves. Guy had an obsession about crashing his bike into parked cars or people walking along the sidewalk.
          I do not worry that my Harm O’ers are going to hurt people. I mostly just laugh at them when I think of them doing such a thing.

    5. There is no way her website was created by someone with ocd. She revels in the pictures of dead bodies, gets some sort of sexual thrill from it. Her fantasies bring her great pleasure unlike the obsessive who’s intrusive thoughts are wracked with pain. Her feelings of self-loathing are’nt signs of ocd, more a sign of a moral fantasist reacting to her deviance, after the fact, or fantasy in her case. It’s easy to imagine an ocd seeking out their obsessions online but not in the way Cari does, with glee.
      If she were a man, she would probably have acted on her fantasies by now. As she’s a woman, I suspect she needs a male catalyst to take her fantasies to the next level.

    6. I actually think she has OCD. She doesn’t want to have these strong feelings and urges, she hates them and wants them to go away. She has to “sit on her hands” to keep from assaulting people. Harm O types have told that exact thing many times.
      I think we need to get over the idea that all OCD’ers are wonderful folks. Clearly some of them are rather nasty. But HOW nasty are they? That is the question, and the OCD is showing us the limits of just how nasty they are. For Cari, the limits are actually attacking her friends and loved ones.

    7. Do you think someone with gay ocd would put naked pictures of themselves in a gallery of homo pornography? That, to me, would be something different than ocd as it implies a desire, a lust, rather than an obsessional thought. I realise she hates some of these thoughts but she hates them after she revels in them, that’s consistent with a fantasist.
      Even sitting on her hands may not be a symptom of ocd as it’s conceivable that people with real violent urges may suppress them with similar methods. What she says about Dahmer is right though, he did feel guilty after his first murder and I think went through several years of suppression and alcoholism until he finally caved and killed again. During that period of abstinence he may have been indistinguishable from a proper ocd case, fretting and worrying over his obsessions.
      I don’t care, one way or another, but she seeks the company of cannibals, I don’t think that’s consistent with ocd. As you have said in other articles about ocd, obsessionals have intrusional thoughts about what is anathema to them, so a gay would think straight and vice versa. If someone gets off on dead bodies then they would’nt obsess over the fact they want to fuck/eat dead people.

    8. I don’t think so. She can’t stop the thoughts, she fights them all the time, they go all the time and they won’t stop, she tries to stop them but she can’t.
      Ok look. That’s OCD. If you try to stop it, it’s OCD.
      I asked a therapist once, “What about people who really do this sort of thing. Do they ever try to stop the thoughts?”
      “No, never,” he said.
      “Not even once?” I asked.
      “Not even once,” he answered.
      I asked another therapist, “If you try to stop it, it’s OCD?”
      He said, “Well, that’s about right. That’s about it.”
      Resistance is the hallmark of OCD. Where you have strong resistance, you have OCD. Pretty much by definition.
      People who do these things think about them in a variety of ways I am sure (not that I know much about that) but the thoughts are not resisted as unwanted intrusions.
      Also, obsessional thinking doesn’t escalate into serial killing, rape, homosexuality, child molesting or anything like that. Obsessional thinking is obsessional thinking.

    9. But Dahmer did try to stop his thoughts and hated having them yet still went on to kill. I don’t think he was ever an obsessional but clearly there may be an overlap of behaviours that could confuse diagnosis. I think his guilt was primarily confined to his first murder, after that I think he was laissez faire. So I think it’s possible for a persons morality to break down as they give in to their urges. Who’s to say where Cari is, but I don’t think she’s an ocd. She may just be a fantasist that takes it nowhere. She may be the real thing. Either way, she’s pretty sexy, I wish she had more personal pics on her site.

    10. Show me one bit of evidence that Dahmer tried to stop his thoughts. I simply do not believe it. Forget it. No way. I doubt if he hated having them either. This guy was all wrapped up in sick shit ever since he got obsessed with death and dead animals as a very young boy.
      I have talked to many folks with Harm OCD. No one has ever acted on a thought yet.
      I have never heard of one single killer who had thoughts resembling anything like OCD type thoughts.
      It’s true that there is something called “morbid preoccupations.” Some sickos have this. Their thoughts pretty much go all the time, but tbh, they like them. The differential dx between morbid preoccupations and OCD is that in morbid preoccupations there is little to no resistance. That’s the differential dx between OCD and everything else: resistance.
      There are some pre-rapists who have rape thoughts and fantasies going all the time, and some are worried that they are going to act on the thoughts. It’s true that some of the more moral ones feel guilty about their sicko desires. But there is no resistance in these cases.
      I have talked to a number of true pedophiles over time. Some of them used to not like their pedophilia and some still don’t accept it. They get incredibly turned on by their pedophilia, but afterwards they feel very guilty. This looks more like an addiction than anything else. At any case, there is no resistance.
      People with “addictions” (morbid preoccupations) do sometimes feel guilty about their preoccupations.
      As a general rule, serial killers are guys who just walk around all the time thinking about murdering people. They think this because they think it’s fun. Thinking about this shit is their idea of a good time. Do they ever try to stop the thoughts? NO.
      Resistance is generally the hallmark of OCD. Where there is resistance, there is OCD.
      Now it is controversial whether people have acted on Harm O thoughts or not. There may or may not have been some cases down through the years. This is still not certain. But way over 99% of the time, simply nothing ever happens. The person with Harm OCD thoughts is actually the least likely person to ever commit any kind of violent act.

    11. I’m relying on my memory of reading stuff about Dahmer years ago and from what I can remember, after his first killing he felt guilty and tried to deny his thoughts and succumbed to alcoholism as an escape. Ultimately it was fruitless because he enjoyed thinking and doing serial killer stuff. Once he got up and running, dissolving bodies and whatnot, he did’t feel guilty at all.
      We’re not a million miles away here, just because a person like Dahmer could feel some initial guilt about his thoughts and actions, I’m not suggesting ocd’s are poised, about to kill/rape/molest/whatever. I suspect that Dahmer went through a process similar to a closeted gay, rather than a person with gay ocd.
      Our difference of opinion boils down to – I think she has ‘morbid preoccupations’ and you think she has ocd. I’m sure we both think she has several other problems, besides. I just think that a person with ‘morbid preoccupations’ is likely to idolise a serial killer. A person with ocd, may be fascinated with serial killers and their crimes but I can’t see them worshiping them.

  2. Hallo!!! My name is Maria and I’m diagnosed with OCD…many years now, almost 10…the type of OCD was mostly the hit and run one…And harm people…after 4 years of recovering…and after a big love that came to me, I suffer from a past idea…
    This is the one: once I have gone to someone’s stranger’s house to check one of my obsessions, the woman cricked out, she said…go, I will call the police, she might got afraid, I think she didn’t even open the door…and I think I caused her death, like a heart attack or something…I feel guilt…I can’t be happy…is that OCD…? That I think I caused her death?? Why came again into my mind after 4 years??? Please help me!!
    Thank you very much for reading my mail…

  3. I’m glad to know I’m not the only one who has had thoughts like this. I’ve had homicidal thoughts invading my subconscious on and off for about 14 years. It’s nice that I could finally put a name to this thing, and NOT think/feel like I am *completely crazy.

  4. Robert,
    I believe to have developed the symptoms described here when I was 9 years old (prior to this having had intrusive thoughts involving destructive thoughts towards property when I was 7). The Harm O has never gone away since and has varied in its intensity over the years. Of course, prior to this year I never realized this condition actually existed, so I’ve kept silent about the thoughts for a long time (my family still doesn’t know). I’m 21 now. Do you have any advice for me? Your opinion would be greatly appreciated if you ever have the time.

      1. I just did! Well… tried to. I hope I sent it to the right address otherwise whoever reads that is going to feel a little confused/awkward. It’s a bit lengthy, but given that I only realized recently that Harm O actually exists I had no clue where to start explaining anything. I’ll apologize in advance if the email seems overbearing. 🙁

  5. Hi I need help with harm OCD I’m afraid I’m like Jeffrey dahmer now because of that post I have harm OCD bad I don’t think I have guilt either I want guilt I want to be good please help me! 🙁

    1. If you feel guilty for thinking you don’t have guilt, you probably still have guilt. Don’t worry. You’ll be fine. Deep breaths. The anxiety sucks, but you can get through it.

      1. This is pretty typical. For some reason, in this theme, people seem to become numb, feel that they have no guilt or love anymore, that they don’t care about others and their lives, and feel evil. They REALLY do not like to feel this way, in fact, they hate it.
        So, yeah, if you are worried that you don’t feel guilt anymore, I would say that you still feel guilt. 😀

  6. Hi, I think I have OCD and I have for about two years. I’m wondering what it means if it’s aimed at one person more so than others. Is this indicative of trust issues or being a bully towards a kid? I lived in a stressful environment for a number of years and I was aggressive towards my younger sister. I stopped after the guilt ate me up but now I have OCD and I hate these thoughts and I wonder why it’s about her more than others. She doesn’t deserve this and I’m tired of crying every night about this.

    1. I think maybe because I love her the most but you know how can I be like this towards her, towards members of my family? What is it? Could it be obsession? I’m just worried.

      1. I would say it depends on how often and for how long the thoughts have been occurring. It could be because you love her the most that these (possibly intrusive) thoughts have been occurring directly towards something that you fear. If you feel that these thoughts are 1) unwanted 2) cause anxiety 3) beyond your control (intrusive); one may associate them with a form of OCD. However, given my limited knowledge of your situation, I cannot say for sure. Having Harm O and knowing others with it myself, I would also be happy to provide you with any insight I have.

        1. She has Harm O. That’s pretty certain. I talked to her. There’s not a lot of differential diagnosis with Harm O. People read the articles and pretty much diagnose themselves. I haven’t met one person yet who had something other than Harm O.
          I think that the people who are really going to do these things unfortunately simply don’t come in.

        2. Ive been practicising relaxation techniques, and trying to not frel so anxious with the thoughts or at least thats what I read on how to deal. However, the urges make me question if im a good person and i ended up accepting that im not and that I feel more relaxed sometimes just feeling this way if it means not feeling anxious 24/7. Sometimes I rell myself maybe being bad isnt so bad but then its like God how is that okay?? Maybe its my anxiety being so difficult to handle? Sometimes I hope its OCD cuz I worry im an ANdrea YAtes in the making. Sometimes I even feel like something inside me telling me do it, this is who you are and im just..so tired of this. And i hvent been able to let go because of fear of lack of control but its the urges that are perhaps the most alarming..and now with relaxation techniques, feeling less upset is bothersome too although how can I say im more relaxed when I feel my wrists and chest just tense like someones pinching my nerves.

        3. And its like you hear “oh deep down you know who you are” I just ..mm 🙁 DOnt feelthat way anymore..im so tired..im so tired and that makes me wprry even more

        4. I also did take out my frustration on my sister through slapping when she upset me and stuff and once I had my fist up and she just started crying and said you would punch me? And I just knew I had to change that the guilt from it and just knowing it wasnt right. So it makes me cry thinking back to that and it makes me worry cuz ocd sufferers are not supposed to be violent and I just feel like i became a monster..like theres some dark side to me. What if I dont have OCD?

        5. Lastly, sorry for all the messages but sometimes I push myself to think this. Maybe its self destructive tendencies, maybe I dont want to let go of what has felt familiar and ‘safe’ for years, to just let it destroy me..:'(

        6. No unfortunately RObert everytime ITried I felt so helpless. The idea of getting help made the anxiety worse..theres anti anxiety meds I have. Maybe I can take some to relax but I havent been able to get better when icant believe that im no good and thst im capable

        7. Therapy is expensive, and Im stubborn lol. It just gets hard to fight this when you feel so sure that youre bad and hence worry about the possibilities that could come up from that. Also telling myself its my OCD after awhile becomes unbelievable.. The thoughts arent there as much but thats probably ecause im worried about having them all the time..mm

      2. My boyfriend thinks I might have borderline personality disorder as well which worries me because a symptom is aggression

        1. No true Borderline would worry about such a thing. Borderlines LIKE being angry, unstable, flipped out psychos. They get off on it.
          One thing I did see was some deep Depression going on with you. A lot of real despair and maybe even suicidality. OCD’ers don’t usually commit suicide, and they rarely even attempt it, but Depression complicates OCD. Your despair is so deep that you really need to do something about this stuff.

        2. That depression alarms me as well. Im kind of just praying for school to come back, keep me occupied. Yes I feel like everything is inevitable and Im tired, upset and anxious all week. And then periods of numbness..the hospital is cost effective but its worrisome, i dont know if the social workers would be any good on campus in terms of being educated in cbt and i dont want to spend an unreasonable amount of money on a therapist, psychiatrist are probably covered but my parents have trouble understanding and theyre very old school so im wondering what is best to do. I almost feel like they wont help either, what do you suggest?

        3. Yes I hit “rock bottom” when I posted my first comments here. And its embarrassing, im young i should be enjoying life like who am i? 🙁

  7. I don’t think anyone was trying to poke fun at you. It was more about having a frank discussion about your posts and possible dx. I’m sure you can admit that having a website dedicated to a serial killer/gorey photos while also having harm ocd is a strange combination. And this being the internet, people will comment and dissect the things you say.
    Anyway, what do I know, I guess you do have ocd but I think you have morbid fantasies as well.

    1. Listen dammit, I am banning your ass. I’ve had it with you.
      People with violent and antisocial or self harm obsessions don’t act on them, bottom line. That’s all there is to it.
      Dahmer did NOT have OCD. He had a paraphilia. That’s 100% different kiddo.
      You are correct though, people do not act on Harm O obsessions. You got that one right. And they do use avoidance a lot to avoid acting on the thoughts or being around people with the thoughts or whatever.
      Now take the fuck off.

  8. im a 32 year old woman and have had harm ocd for over 16 years. i live in constant fear that i will kill someone. its gotten so bad that ive spent the best part of 5 years in a mental health institute. where i may add is my avoidence technique(i could have been out many years ago but i kept on sabotaging my “progress”. at least in here i cant hurt my family, yes there are other women but i have a lot of staff around me so i know the minute i start to be violent(not that i have) id be jumped on and put in seclusion. i hate myself for havimg these violent thoughts and i constantly think that im a future serial killer. it distgusts me to my very core that i could take someones life. im always thinking that id the world would be a safer place without me in it because i know i will get out (SOMEDAY SOON) and im absolutely petrified. before i got locked up i drank and did hard drugs to block out these thoughts but they were always in the back of my mind.
    im really glad that ive found someone else that expieriences harm ocd because up untill now ive beleived that im the only one and there is something inately evil inside me. i have no idea how to get better or how to make myself beleive that i wont commit these acts. so any advice would be appreiciated.

      1. unforntuantly i cant use email in this hospital it has been blocked. i dont mind you helping me through this forum though.

  9. Hello ( sorry for my english In from Qc Canada )
    I have a question regarding the Response prevention in ERP . If Example my ocd is around fearing being gay , i heard Therapist said during exposure to react by saying to yourself ” Im gay im gay!!” and others therapists by ”I MAY be gay” and others therapist said to react by ”accept the tought without giving any signifiance you PROBABLY not gay” . I really found this confusing , i mean if I fear killing my son , Do I tell myself ”Im gonna kill my son” or ”I MAY kill my son”…My point here is Do i have to believe what im fearing 100% or believe the possibily i MIGHT . Because I heard different answer from the therapists !!
    Thanks for the help I really need it!

    1. I have not yet figured out a good exposure regimen for people who have Harm OCD. I honestly don’t feel like telling them to think, “I am going to kill my son,” “Maybe I am going to kill my son,” etc.
      Harm OCD is a tough one and it’s hard to figure out good exposures for it.

      1. Hey robert !
        Really like your work by the way . I would like your opinion on this one . I started the 4 steps method in brain lock and it helped a LOT but when you read ERP classic therapist they suggest to never tell your self ”its just a irratinoal tought ” and instead to believe your obsessions may be true and you will probably one day realise that the fear consequence never happen ect ect ….
        For me these are two COMPLETELY different approach ( brain lock and erp ) and the old school erp therapist seems to not really believe in brain lock even if it ”cured” thousand and thousand of people..So my 3 questions are :.What your opinion on this , erp better than brain lock ? Are they related exept the face that both technique ”expose” the sufferer .. And do you think that any technique is good as long as you resist compulsion…?
        Thanks !!

        1. My ocd were pure-o ( harm ) and another rare form of OCD who’s to remember insignifiant things for no particular reason ( i many time i entered this room , What color was the shirt of that guy yesterday ect…) Surprisigly my rare form of ocd was giving me more anxiety if I wasen’t remembering the insignifiant things .
          I got really better with brain lock but recently reading ERP straightforward Therapist who told to react the opposite way brought me a lot of confusion .

  10. Hi Robert Lindsay, I have been suffering from harm OCD for the last few years on and off. I go through periods of time where it gets really severe, but I manage to overcome it somehow. This time, I feel my harm OCD has taken on a new form in that as some mentioned above, I not longer fear the thoughts and my mind is just on obsessional mode all the time. This is not like something I have ever dealt with before even though I have gone through periods of time where it has been pretty bad. Please, if you could somehow advise me I would so appreciate it.

    1. Hi there, I am quite familiar with it. I think you are still quite afraid of the thoughts tbh, even though it feels like you are not. For sure you are afraid you might act on them, I can guarantee that much. It just seems like they don’t make you afraid because you are so numb now.
      Please contact me at my email address on the contact page.

  11. Hi robert, I have never used this type of website before, but was so intrigued, I thought I would give it a go. Have you heard of anyone being frightened of watching the news or reading a newspaper about an attack or murder then being frightened that they may have done it and perhaps somehow forgotten it? I have had these horrible isolating thoughts for years and have trouble convincing myself that I could not do these things. I am a kind and caring person by the way, who has never hurt or wanted to hurt anyone. I cant even kill a slug!
    Thanks a lot

  12. This post seems old so I hope I can get threw to you, how do I email you, i am having trouble with harm ocd, or at least that’s what I hope it is, you seem really informed and I’d like to go into detail, is it possible to email you and if so where do I get the address?

  13. “They had also become quite strong in that the illness was actually telling him or ordering him to commit the violence.”
    This has been happening to me lately and I am terrified! I don’t want to hurt anyone I can’t hurt a fly (i think)!? Its as if there are two sides to me I’m horrified!! I don’t want to do anything but I keep hearing my ocd say ‘have to, have to, have to… why don’t you do it? .” and then I say “have to what??? I don’t have to do anything” I wish to have none of these thoughts and I am terrified!

      1. Hello I’m wanting some help a year ago I freaked out and thought of a scary thought towards my son I didn’t understand it then I thought I wanted to hurt them I had scary urges to do it I resisted all thought and they got worse and worse I got scared and removed the knives. I couldn’t even look at him now a year later of living in fear if I go stay away from them my mind say kill them when you get home why and then I red a scary story and believed I was that person now Im paranoid and very anxious of thinking I’m guna plan it I’m at a loss I think I’m numb I feel like shit

  14. Why the FUCK would you write this? Jeffrey Dahmer did NOT have harm OCD. And telling those who DO is like THE WORST THING YOU CAN DO.

  15. This page , amongst others have helped me so much in coming to terms with my condition.. I am so terrified on a daily basis that I would hurt or harm anyone ; so bad to the point that I do feel more comfortable laying on my hands & sometimes even just going to sleep. I’ve been this way since I was about 6 years old & I’m now 20. The thoughts and unwanted impulses have taken a huge toll on more than half of my life , and for a while I was able to take control… The last month and a half has been all down hill for me, everyday is a constant battle and it feels like the only thing to do from here is sleep. I keep going back trying to figure out what I did to rid these tiring thoughts before , but can’t seem to do anything to help. Sometimes I look at people & even just the simplest thing they are doing & think how lucky it must be for them to just live without harm ocd.

  16. HI,
    I have very bad anxiety, i have panic attacks whenever i go out. One night while watching a crime TV show, the commentator made a comment about how a man just went up and shot his wife because he was tired of her. and i got a vision in my head of "what if i killed my little brother" i shook it off and went to bed as per normal. the next night while watching another episode i went to bed and thought what if i killed someone right now?" and i told myself "nah im too lazy to" and that thought scared me, i thought about it for a week and while watching the tv show on a 16 year old that killed a boy, I had a panic attack. i threw up everything i had in my stomach. i thought about it for a few more days. it plagued my thoughts. I’d look at someone and think "i bet they have never thought about killing someone." i worried about "what if one day i find it acceptable to kill some one?" i decided id kill myself if i ever thought it ok to take someones life. I stopped going near knives and anything dangerous like that. i go through phases where id think "i’m bored of life". i dont want to have a boring life.. i go through moods where i think "its just a thought, i make my own decisions " and i reach calm and tell myself that there is no reason as to why i would kill someone (I’m not a violent person, i adore my brothers and sisters) then i get back into a panic and think "maybe i want this thought, maybe i want to kill someone". and then i feel numb and think “maybe i don’t love any of them”. i also go through phases where i honestly want to kill someone. i think of how average my life is and how i don’t want to have a normal life. then after i reach calm i realise i do want a normal life. also i like the thought of prison.These thoughts dont scare me anymore, i dont have panic attacks when ever i have them. i started thinking like what makes someone a psycho, i feel as if i have no emotion and that makes the thoughts worse, and then i was watching a sad movie and i didn’t cry and it made me scared that maybe im turning in psycho. it sounds ridiculous but i cant stop thinking about it, sometimes i don’t want to stop thinking about it, and that scares me even more, like on the bus I wanted to think about it and made myself think about it. please help me.

      1. I feel exactly like you, seriously; some sentences you thought are exactly like me.
        Do you he’s OCD, Robert? (I think you are)

  17. hi, was researching harm ocd and stumbled upon this site. It was a good read, thank you.
    I’m here to confirm that there are people who act on their thoughts. It is rare, but it happens. It happened to me. My obsession was not to kill, but one that is just as morally wrong.
    My situation was documented and dealt with many years ago and treated as an extreme case of OCD

  18. I’ve never written on a site before, however, with endless searching since july I am hoping you could give me some insight. I had a baby last sept. And I wad constantly worried about SIDs so I’d check her breathing everytime she was asleep. I would constantly read and re-read food labels and medicine bottles to ensure they were ok. Everything concerning the baby I was worried something bad would happen. In July, I had a terrible anxiety attack and was wrecked with.anxiety all month. Suddenly I started having horrible thoughts of hurting the.baby, my spouse, family, strangers, even myself. Things like jumping out of a car, stabbing people, etc. It feels like my body is trying to force me to do things that I would never do. I feel like I will snap and lose control of myself. I refuse to be alone with the kids or be alone because of the unwanted suicide thoughts. i had my boyfriend take all the knives, scissors, anything sharp out of the house and lock up all the medication. I cannot see a psychiatrist for 4 weeks and am starting with a therapist next week. Is this like harm ocd? I also worry because I have these thoughts of hurting people and myself and I dont want to. However, when I was 16 up until about 3 years ago I was a cutter (no intent to kill) I stopped and never want to go back to that but fear that because I used to do that I may lose it and do it unwillingly. Any advice would be appreciated or if someone could email me id love to hear some insight. YamahaKTM2008@outlook.com

  19. Hello, I have these constant unwanted thoughts on harming others. I hate these thoughts and I’m also sometimes about to do it, but I don’t. Can you please help me? Thank you!

      1. Hi Robert can I email you please as I have only just stumbled across this page and I have become a little concerned over what I have. Thanks a lot

  20. Hi..I too have harm ocd…a bad one rather…5 years back when suddenly one evening I was studying and something awfull popped my mind..i thought i had pushed somebody off the train…and that too a couple of days back…initially I tried to push the thought away thinking that how is it possible… Something like this happened and I didn’t even realise.. But then things changed suddenly..I started doubting myself..my personality…my character…and from then my focus from studies has disappeared.. Gradually I developed other obsessions too…after a long delay I consulted a Psychiatrist.. Jus 5 months back..now I’m feeling better otherwise…other obsessions are not that active..but the one that haunts me still is abou poisoning my family…my mum dad and brother..somehow by doing something with their toothbrushes..medicines that they take daily..and those thoughts are not just thoughts now..I feel I have already done that…and I have to keep on checking for assurance again and again… All day 24/7…this is terrible..now the condition is such that..I am already convinced that it is not just a thought…but I already act on it…and then I loath that checking part..coz it makes me go more crazy…coz once I return after checking..I am still not satisfied that I have genuinely checked it….and this continues for ages..I have already made my mother throw her thyroid pills twice..brand new bottle…fear accompanined by a feeling of actaully doing it is my major problem..need help if somebody relates to me and have some solution to this

  21. I just want to say, I am at nothing but ease right now. Everyone reading this – you are NOT alone. I have suffered with harm OCD since early 2014. I lost my brother in 2013, and truly I think my harm OCD royally peeked after that. I’ve had so many disturbing thoughts. I’m afraid of knives in fear of hurting others. I try to put my thoughts in perspective, “why would I think that? I’m not crazy.” And we’re NOT crazy. ive suffered from ocd for years but it recently came out that I’ve noticed it’s more intrusive, disturbing thoughts. I’ve never read anything more reassuring in my life. It is hard! And you are almost embarrassed to tell anyone.. Because if almost sounds sociopathic. Like you can’t explain yourself fully without someone walking away backing up towards you with a look of panic on their faces. I get it. I can honestly without a doubt say that I feel ten times better about my situation from merely reading articles. It is a breath of fresh air. Have you guys noticed that it comes in waves, though? I’ll have a solid 10 good days where my triggers and my avoidances, don’t bother me at all! It’s really a strange phenomenon of the brain.. I don’t get it.

  22. Hi Robert, could I have your e-mail? I’ve been having intrusive thoughts for a month now, and I’m pretty worried here.

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