Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Harm OCD?

I have always had an obsessive streak. My favorite movie is Vertigo, which is all about obsession. My current therapist attributes this to me having features of obsessive compulsive personality disorder (not OCD). It's interesting because I've always thought of my obsessiveness as being a sociopathic trait -- possibly a symptom of hyper focus or other attentional issues -- but he sees it as being somewhat inconsistent with that diagnosis (at least of an ASPD diagnosis). 

Somewhat along those lines, here's the self-report of a youngster who has been diagnosed with Harm OCD (which I had never heard about before) but questions whether there are actually elements of psychopathy about it:

Hi, I'm 13 and I've been reading your blog a lot lately, I think you are the right person to ask.

I know that I can't ask you for too much without paying you, but I hope you at least tell me whether I'm actually psychopathic or I have Harm OCD, I've asked a psychiatrist and he told me that I have Harm OCD

It's a long story but I think that it'll help you to improve your opinion I should tell you everythinhg.

Sorry if there are many mistakes but I'm spanish.
(Is the ability to learn a second language by yourself a psychopathic trait?)

Two months ago I was playing videogames with my friend and he was searching "Scary Videos". He stumbled upon a really scary one, but at the moment I was just scared and nothing else. 
The real problem started when I went to bed, so I had a horrible intrusive thought (Do you need me to tell exactly the thoughts for a better diagnosis?) about my young brother, who sleeps in the same room as me. I started sweating, shaking and crying and wanting to hit my head against the wall until the thoughts left. So the next few days I was worried and searching compulsively about it on the internet, just taking sanity tests.

Also during those days I was overly nice to my family, is that psychopathic?
But in like three days I just woke up and the thoughts didn't seem to be there.

I kept worrying a bit about exactly why I had had those thoughts but I just tried to ignore it.

It was a week later when I was having lunch and I thought 'Have I had these thoughts lately?No'. And then some other intrusive thoughts came in. 
So it was then when I just started impulsively surfing the Internet reading every article and taking every test about psychopathy that I found. I was just so confused because it kinda didn't really fit me but I just kept thinking about it all day long. 
Then it was all more or less the same.

But I found your blog and it was like heaven, I read them and they were pure relief.
But some of my biggest doubts is that sometimes I get graphic intrusive thoughts and sometimes they're just like " I hate this person" when I just don't.

And also taking everything from my past and analisyng them as psychopathic signs
For example: I loved a girl for some years and I didn't ever dare to talk to her, and I just started thinking 'Maybe that's psychopathic' or 'Maybe I didn't love her', while before the thoughts I spent most time  thinking that I should've talked to her and was completely sure that I loved her.

Also lately I've gotten angry very quickly and I just wanted to be alone crying without them noticing, and I started classes today and it has affected me really badly, I'm at school and I just wanna surf the web trying to find out whether I have OCD or actually something horrible.

I have also been having suicide thoughts, but they're not as the intrusive thoughts, they're coherent ideas and actually the only reason keeping me from killing myself is that I don't want my brother grow up in that situation; but then I thought Ïs it better to kill myself so that I make sure I don't hurt anyone but affect his childhood, or stay alive hoping I have OCD and not something worse.

Also I've been wishing to go to a therapist but I don't really know what to tell my parents. Like, it's all been so sudden; before the summer started I just cried monthly because I didn't talk to the girl I love, but when the thoughts came I want to cry every three minutes. 

Most nights I dream about going to therapy and I beg that if there's some god it must either kill me or take the thoughts out of my mind. I haven't had any mental illness in my life, or at least I don't know about having any (maybe I've had some slight depression when I found out that I wouldn't be able to ever talk to my first love (because I changed of school).

Also I've stopped doing some things, I loved watching movies but lately I just can't, I watched two movies other day but no more.

I also have noticed that lately I've been crying a lot because of the death of Robín Williams or Philip Seymour Hoffman or sad news on TV. While I didn't do that often.

Now I'm gonna tell you what I think is the signs that might define me as psychopathic: 
When I was a kid and I got caught doing something bad I would feel guilt, but I would lie so I didn't could get away with it. I also have a high IQ and bedwetted until I was 9.

Can you explain this all?, ask me whatever you want, Will this affect me at school? Am I psychopathic? Is this dangerous? Will I do something bad? How can I tell my parents that I need a therapist? (I've never told anyone about this because I thought it was something worse?) Thanks a lot and if you can help me a bit thanks, thanks and thanks.


  1. Vertigo is an excellent movie; "all about obsession" is the right way to put it.

    I have frequent intrusive thoughts of harming others, but just merely thinking about is never a source of distress for me for I simply don't feel for others in any way significant. I never act upon these fantasies unless in some way there's no possibility of backlash, and if that's so then I enjoy myself completely guilt free. Why? Because I can.

    1. Do you ever try to supress the thoughts or cry about having them?
      Are they pleasant to you?
      How do you stop the urges?
      Do you worry about hurting anyone?
      Are you diagnosed with antisocial personality disorder?

    2. 1) No. If I feel no guilt over my own internal thought process of how I think about (mis)treating others, why would I cry about it?
      2) That depends on if I know I can get away with doing it. If so, then yes.
      3) I would only want to stop these urges if they were distressing (... which they are not) or if I acted upon urges that consequently are harmful to my life style. Neither is the case, although sometimes I act upon a urge that I misjudged as a good choice. I don't see them as mistakes though, just experimenting.
      4) Zero calorie conscious. At most I analyze the pros and cons that I immediately perceive and go from there.
      5) A diagnosis would only serve to confirm what I've already concluded.

    3. "I never act upon these fantasies unless in some way there's no possibility of backlash, and if that's so then I enjoy myself completely guilt free. Why? Because I can."

      Exactly. Though I haven't experienced thoughts like that obsessively for a long time now, but each time I step onto the train platform and see someone near the edge I wonder what it would be like to kick them into the path of the train. It's not so much obsession as curiosity.

  2. Obsessions are easy to dispel. You just realize that the obsession is
    in your own mind, and something you do to yourself.
    The problem is "thinking." Thinking really isn't good for anything except for
    mechanical routine things you do everyday like work, and finding your way home
    after work. Worry is a waste. Trying to sort out emotion is a waste of time.
    You don't resist emotion. You just study it dispassionately. Feel the sting of
    emotion, but don't rush for comfort. The pain will dissapate if you don't sweep
    it under the rug.
    The upset is in your reaction. Other people would not be affected in the same
    exact way.
    The only "universal" urge, is the urge to survive. That's why EVERYONE flees
    a burning building. Generally, what's important to you, IS NOT important to
    another person.
    BTW, M.E. DOES remind me of Madeline in Vertigo. She's done her homework.
    I wish I could play "Scottie," to M.E.'s Madeline. At least he got to touch her.
    Unfortunately, I'm much more like Norman Bates. A second rate Norman Bates.

  3. Obsessing and worrying about intrusive, negative thoughts doesn't make you a sociopath! Everyone experiences this to varying degrees, you aren't as weird as you think you are. Also, the fact that you are worried about others (like your brother) and how they would react to your suicide makes it sound like you are able to think of how your behavior might affect others. Sociopaths don't care. They are interested in having their own needs met and will do whatever they need to do, in general, to get what they want. Sociopaths don't feel remorse.
    You are 13 years olds. Adolescence has hit you and it can make you feel a lot of different things you most likely have never felt before (like "love" for a girl). Obsessive, intrusive thoughts can be really frightening, but you are obsessing about a personality disorder that I would highly doubt you have based on the scenario you shared. However, your obsessive behavior is definitely something you should get help with. It may be difficult, but please talk to one or both of your parents and tell them how you are feeling and that you really want to talk to someone. If for some reason they don't help you, go to your school guidance counselor. Good luck, and stop surfing the internet and freaking out. No matter how intelligent you are, you are certainly not in a position to be diagnosing yourself.

  4. But most children behave like psychopaths, killing bugs for fun & stealing things with little care of consequences?

  5. Sounds exactly like Harm OCD. I have Harm OCD and I was told the same thing, either by my therapist or online: "If you're worried about your thoughts, it's OCD." I was also told that, as Lore Lei acknowledged, that those with high levels of psychopathy wouldn't care if they had the same thoughts. I was concerned, like you are, that I may be a psychopath. You also mention big peaks in emotion, anxiety and sadness, which I thought Psychopaths don't experience very much or at the level a lower to what a non-psychopathic individual would experience. It sounds like you have a lot of anxiety and I would suggest, as others have and will as well, seeing a therapist and practicing mindfulness (being aware of your thoughts, not judging them, and letting them pass). Force yourself to do the things you used to like doing. Hang out with your friends, watch movies again. By not doing those things you used to do, you're telling your brain that something is wrong and you are avoiding those things in an attempt to fix it. By doing those things again, you are showing your mind that nothing is wrong and that you can still be as you were before these obsessive thoughts started taking control. Seeing a therapist, practicing mindfulness, and doing exactly what I did before the peak in OCD is what has helped me a lot. I wish the best for you!

  6. If your thoughts haven't killed anyone them why worry about them? It's useless to feel guilty for things you haven't done.

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  9. Similarly as with a wide range of OCD, it is not the idea itself that causes impulses or significant pain, however one's response to that idea. While the normal individual has an infrequent thought or dream of acting in a fierce, perilous, and improper way, he or she can turn it off and block it out, perceiving that the contemplation is errant and unimportant, and doesn't as a matter of course infer future activity.

  10. More people need to be on http://sociopath-community.com/

    !!! it used to be connected to this blog but was disconnected over a year ago. We need fresh blood and lots of interesting things have happened recently (relates to kiwifar.ms drama: https://archive.is/M2tXa) that will go down in the forum's history! Be sure to check out http://www.psychforums.com/antisocial-personality/ too, as some of its regulars are regulars on SC too!

    Goddamn ME refused to reconnect the blog to the forum so we SC goers will just have to spam advertisements for the forum in the comments section. ;)


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