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Am I a psychopath?


confusedboy16
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Right, I've posted this before -- well similar -- and it was accidentally deleted. So, as I told you all before, I have an urge/ do hurt my cats'. I don't burn them or stab them, just squeeze them. I don't know why I do it, I, just, do. I want it to stop, and need some advice. What shall I do? I've got a doctors appointment booked for next Monday. Also, I've been worrying about hurting people, I think I may have H-OCD. To add to this, I have anxiety.

Edited by confusedboy16
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Hi Nathan,

Wow... just a bit bold there with the red (puts sunglasses on). I read your previous post and had some questions, but before I ask I wanted to see if you had solid evidence that would suggest you do, such as the following:

This disorder is characterized by a long-standing pattern of a disregard for other people's rights, often crossing the line and violating those rights. This pattern of behavior has occurred since age 15 (although only adults 18 years or older can be diagnosed with this disorder) and consists by the presence of the majority of these symptoms:

  • failure to conform to social norms with respect to lawful behaviors as indicated by repeatedly performing acts that are grounds for arrest
  • deceitfulness, as indicated by repeated lying, use of aliases, or conning others for personal profit or pleasure
  • impulsivity or failure to plan ahead
  • irritability and aggressiveness, as indicated by repeated physical fights or assaults
  • reckless disregard for safety of self or others
  • consistent irresponsibility, as indicated by repeated failure to sustain consistent work behavior or honor financial obligations
  • lack of remorse, as indicated by being indifferent to or rationalizing having hurt, mistreated, or stolen from another

Which of these do you KNOW fit you? On a scale of 1-5 (1 being low and 5 being extremely high), can you rate yourself on each of these categories.

Also, as a child, did you often wet the bed and play with fire?

I know this must be a bit confusing and even troubling, but the interesting thing is that if you were a psychopath, as you suggest, it's very highly unlikely that you would write in to ask about this. I didn't address the anxiety issue but I thought to look at this first and then step forward with the anxiety.

David

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Unquestionably you want to be heard, confusedboy.

Is there any way to remove the cats so you won't be able to inflict harm upon them? What are you feeling when you have an urge to hurt them? Do your emotions feel overwhelming? Maybe try taking some steps to alleviating your anxiety in the moment. Anything you can do which might relax you? Maybe when you feel this urge, redirect it with a different type of behavior. Squeeze your pillow instead. Go for a walk or jog. Listen to music. It's good that you are seeking out some help. I hope the doctor can help you with these difficulties.

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Hi Nathan,

Wow... just a bit bold there with the red (puts sunglasses on). I read your previous post and had some questions, but before I ask I wanted to see if you had solid evidence that would suggest you do, such as the following:

This disorder is characterized by a long-standing pattern of a disregard for other people's rights, often crossing the line and violating those rights. This pattern of behavior has occurred since age 15 (although only adults 18 years or older can be diagnosed with this disorder) and consists by the presence of the majority of these symptoms:

  • failure to conform to social norms with respect to lawful behaviors as indicated by repeatedly performing acts that are grounds for arrest
  • deceitfulness, as indicated by repeated lying, use of aliases, or conning others for personal profit or pleasure
  • impulsivity or failure to plan ahead
  • irritability and aggressiveness, as indicated by repeated physical fights or assaults
  • reckless disregard for safety of self or others
  • consistent irresponsibility, as indicated by repeated failure to sustain consistent work behavior or honor financial obligations
  • lack of remorse, as indicated by being indifferent to or rationalizing having hurt, mistreated, or stolen from another

Which of these do you KNOW fit you? On a scale of 1-5 (1 being low and 5 being extremely high), can you rate yourself on each of these categories.

Also, as a child, did you often wet the bed and play with fire?

I know this must be a bit confusing and even troubling, but the interesting thing is that if you were a psychopath, as you suggest, it's very highly unlikely that you would write in to ask about this. I didn't address the anxiety issue but I thought to look at this first and then step forward with the anxiety.

David

David,

Thank you for your help, I appreciate it. I would rate myself as a 1 or 2. I have never wet the bed or "played with fire." Not that I know of, anyway. One thing I must say is that, recently, well, around 6 months ago a cat of ours died. I was truly upset by this, and felt really guilty for hurting that cat. I'm sorry if I come across as quite jumbled, I'm trying to get everything out at once. Two years ago, I stole some money of my father, I don't know why, and I don't know what was going thru my head, I just did. I though that it was important to tell you that. I still don't understand why I am like this wiht animals, it scares with, as it could potentially lead to something worse, like hurting humans, and could lad to major implications.

Nathan.

Edited by confusedboy16
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Unquestionably you want to be heard, confusedboy.

Is there any way to remove the cats so you won't be able to inflict harm upon them? What are you feeling when you have an urge to hurt them? Do your emotions feel overwhelming? Maybe try taking some steps to alleviating your anxiety in the moment. Anything you can do which might relax you? Maybe when you feel this urge, redirect it with a different type of behavior. Squeeze your pillow instead. Go for a walk or jog. Listen to music. It's good that you are seeking out some help. I hope the doctor can help you with these difficulties.

Irma,

I don't think there is, they are family pets' not just mine. I don't know what I am feeling, I guess, anger; I'm not like this with humans', I've never had an urge to hurt humans'. I think I'm doing this to animals' because they can't help themselves/ respond, I find this scary. I don't want to grow up hurting animals'. I'm not a nasty person, which is why I don't understand why I'm doing this. Thank you for you help.

Nathan.

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Nathan,

Irmajean gets at something here and this was my next question-- your anger. Can you talk about it some? What kinds of things have happened that have "caused" you pain, hurt or disappointment? Or do you just feel angry in general and need an outlet? Secondly, have you ever taken this anger out on yourself, such as by hitting yourself or hurting yourself in some way? When you "hurt" one of the pets, do you feel a release or discharge of emotion? Finally, was the death of this cat a result of something you did, and if so, what was it?

Write back,

david

Edited by David O
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Natahn,

Irmajean gets at something here and this was my next question-- your anger. Can you talk about it some? What kinds of things have happened that have "caused" you pain, hurt or disappointment? Or do you just feel angry in general and need an outlet? Secondly, have you ever taken this anger out on yourself, such as by hitting yourself or hurting yourself in some way? Finally, when you "hurt" one of the pets, do you feel a release or discharge of emotion?

Write back,

david

David,

Many things have happened in my life which could attribute to my anger. I've had a few deaths in the past couple of years, also a few other problems, but would this really make me angry? I don't constantly feel angry. I also use to get bullied, not massively, just every so often someone would say "gay" and "poof", which hurt me. I've never taken the anger out on myself, never. I don't know, I guess. I just feel like I need to squeeze it, when squeezing the cat, I feel extremly angry. Recently, I've wondered if I could actually kill an animal, I don't think I could, which, again, worries me. I'm confused, I don't want to grow up being a serial killer, or a murderer.

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I'm on my way to work, so I don't have much time, but I was considering what might be the original drive and motivating factor that makes you proceed with harming the cats. Does the anger occur before you harm them or does it seem to build up during the action? Does it feel like a form of release? How does this behavior serve you in that you keep desiring to do it?

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Hi Nathan,

I have to disagree that you have never taken the anger out on yourself. I believe that is precisely what you are doing by convincing yourself you are an inherently "evil" person or some sort of sociopath. It seems as if you feel completely unable to express yourself about the things which are very real in your life, which involve specific situations with specific people. So rather than look at those things, you are convincing yourself that you are the problem.

At the same time I want to convey that your doing this is very understandable and normal based on your circumstances.

I am just going to fly by the seat of my pants here and tell you the sense I have about you and your circumstances. It seems as if your existence, from your perspective, has no bearing on anyone around you. In other words, despite your presence - and all of the parts of you - your goodness, your pain, your need to be recognized, your love, your hurt - all of you - those around you simply exist just as they would exist even if you were not alive. It is as if you live in a glass bubble and you can see everyone and everything around you, but the exterior of that bubble has smoked glass and no one can see you and you cannot reach them. Even if they do see you or are aware of your existence, they simply go about their lives the same way as if you did not exist. Yet because you are so sensitive and so loyal, you justify their behavior (in some cases anyway) and surrender your attempts to be known. Even though you are phyically present in your home, for example, it is as if no one really has the slightest idea of who you are and what your internal world is all about.

Having said that, I would like to hear about what specifically is going on in your life. You have touched on a few things,but very vaguely. Your focus has been about where your imagination takes you. You have mainly discussed your conerns about being a pedophile, sociopath, serial killer and hurting animals. It seems more valuable and more real for you to focus on the cause of these worries and behaviors, rather than focus on the symptoms, which remain unreachable or unfixable when discussed alone - absent of you.

While I am very sorry that your anxiety is so deeply troubling, my heart really goes out to you when I think of what your reality is like and I sense the deep sadness you have, which is what compels your imagination to kick into over drive.

I also would like to ask you to do something. From this point forward, please reply in a normal text and less bright color. I am not asking you to do this because your expression is unworthy of big, bold letters, but rather to assure you that you are worthy of being heard without having to "scream". You are a fine young man and it feels sad to me that you would feel so unrecognized that you have to increase the size of your expression. You do not. In this context and on this forum, you are understood and we will do our very best to provide you with feedback, inisght and genuine understanding just because on your own, you are so very worthy of it.

Peace,

JP

Julian,

Do you? I don't feel that. What if I am? What if I'm not telling you everything? I'm not saying I'm not, well, I don't think I am. I'm just confused. My family are a very loving family, but I understand what you mean. I'm starting to worry about hurting children, I'm worrying about hurting 'actual' people. I don't want it to come to that. What should I say to the doctor? Should I tell him everything? Or should I only tell him some things. I feel like I'm about to explode, like I'm ticking inside. Tick... tick... THEN BOOM! Is this normal? Am I beyond help?

Edited by confusedboy16
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I'm on my way to work, so I don't have much time, but I was considering what might be the original drive and motivating factor that makes you proceed with harming the cats. Does the anger occur before you harm them or does it seem to build up during the action? Does it feel like a form of release? How does this behavior serve you in that you keep desiring to do it?

That's ok, thank you. The anger occurs before, I don't know whether it feels like anger though, not like actual anger, I just feel weird. I don't have to be angry to want to do this to the cats'. I just, do. Yes, it does feel like a form of release. I'm trying to avoid them, but I don't think it's helping.

Edited by confusedboy16
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How about trying to figure out what it is you need to release, so you can release it a different way?

Is it worth talking about how you feel, at home? What is your day like, what are the sources of stress and pain, what else could you do to get rid of those?

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How about trying to figure out what it is you need to release, so you can release it a different way?

Is it worth talking about how you feel, at home? What is your day like, what are the sources of stress and pain, what else could you do to get rid of those?

I feel very sad about my mothers drinking, it worries me. I worry that she'll die. I can't think of anything else, I worry about this but somewhat don't feel this is the cause of my aggression/ anxiety. If it's not, then I don't know what is. I feel afraid I guess. Countless times I've tried and tried to make her stop, but she doesn't. She wants to, but just can't. It's an addiction, I understand that, but it's ruining my life.

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CB,

I don't think you are intentionally holding back specific information. I just think that you have developed a technique or habit of diverting your own attention from very real issues so that when you convey what is going on in your life to others, such as here on this forum, you simply do so in the same manner that you allow yourself to see it - by diverting attention away from the more genine issues. I also think that doing just that - abandoning your own heart and its expression, is precisely what leads you toward anxiety.

You have said that there have been a few deaths and a few other problems, but then your focus immediately switches to the details of your concerns about being a pedophile, sociopath and hurting animals. I wish that your last thread was not lost because there were other things that were mentioned "in passing" that some people could write an entire book about. I believe I asked about your father, but never got a response??? You mention that your mother is an alcoholic, but pretty much stop there, except to somewhat justify it by referring to it as a disease. You say nothing about how this FEELS or how it has affected your life.

If your mother posted here, I would be the first one to jump in and offer her my support and assurance. I would likely make a point to soften any guilt or shame she feels about being an alcoholic mother, which typically runs quite deeply. However I am not corresponding with her right now, but rather with you. I am hoping to appeal to you emotionally, rather than to the more "adult" or intellectual part of you who can easily dismiss, justify, or minimize the impact of your experiences such as with your mother. Regardless of any justification, nothing changes the fact that having an alcoholic parent is hurtful and confusing, at minimum. Being the recipient of your mother's love if she is sober is very different than being the recipient of your mother's love if she is drinking or struggling with alcohol and its accompanied, complex issues. I am doing my best to NOT put words in your mouth so that you can take some time to think about how you have FELT over the years and how you FEEL today. It seems to me that if things within your home were as they should be or as you deserve them to be - and your relationship with each parent is solid - then the last place you would end up is a mental health forum desperately searching for answers about why you might be a pedophile or sociopath.

You have provided us with lots of information and facts, but the only details and feelings you have expressed are specifically around the unfounded concerns you have about being a pedophile/sociopath. The details of your beginnings, your home life, your real life experiences and mostly, your feelings are where the "compulsion" to convince yourself of there being something fundamentally "evil" or "wrong" about you come from.

Now that you are here and you have people who have given you good indication that we genuinely care and would like to help, then bring it on. Bring on the truths about how your life has been and is today. I know as I write this that it isn't going to come naturally or even easily for you to do this. As I said earllier, I believe you have developed a habit of dismissing the very thing which you need to express in order to move passed all of this. Besides, if it were easy, it would not be so important and even vital, for yu to do it.

If for whatever reason, you are unwilling to share personal feelings on this forum, I suggest that you think about it, write about it, and attempt to connect with yourself emotionally prior to your appointment with your doctor, or at least make THAT a goal that takes precedence over pedophile/sociopath issues.

JP

J

ulian,

You seem to believe my anxiety is the cause of me hurting the animals', I don't. I don't know why I do it, I just do. I've said this before. Sorry if I'm coming across as arogant, I'm not advertently doing that. Me being a pedophile has gone, I ever acted on that, but I have acted on being a sociopath, by hurting these animals'. I've acted on this, and afraid of doing it again, I don't want it to come to that. I'm confused. Please read my post to malign, as I've gone into detail - a bit. Also, the intrusive thoughts have come back, I keep thinking about killig people. In the last five years, we've had a few deaths in our family, but the anxiety didn't start five years ago, it started less than a month ago. I'd never had these thoughts or worries before, which is why I strive to comprehend them. There has been alot of drama in the last year. My cousin -- who was staying with us -- lost her baby. Not lost as in, died, but the child was taken into care because the father of the baby had abused children before, and hurt them, he has had 8 kids' with 7 women. He was also very abusive towards my cousin, he was racist and a natsty person. It all started when in December 2008, he wouldn't let my little cousin (who's 2 now) come to his birthday party we had organised for him, for his 1st birthday. My cousin and her boyfriend has seperated thn, for a while, and he was just having the child for the weekend. My cousin called social services to get him, they retrieved the baby, and everything was fine. So, the baby and my cousin lived with us. A few weeks later she went back to him, as he's very minipulative, we was all very angry. So, they were living back with him, and one morning my cousin was in town, and got a phone call from th social services, they said they're taking the baby away from him, and she can either go with them and the baby will be with her, or stay with him and the baby would be taken into care. So, she left him and went into a refuge with the baby. She was told what he had done, and that he was dangerous. So, she lft th refuge a few weeks later and came and stayed with us, with the baby. Everything was fine untill h started texting her. In April last year, she went to visit him, saying to him she was coming back to live with her, she got to his house and tried to stab him, so the baby was taken into care. He's very manipulative, he's been lying to social services. The baby is still in care, but comes to visit us, and he's eventually coming back to live with us, after they go to court. Also, whilst all this was going on, the guy shot our car windows. Sorry it's all jumbo, I'm not good with writing stuff down. I hope you can understand.

Nathan.

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Nathan, that's a whole lot of stressful stuff happening in your life. I'm sorry that you have been dealing with all of this sadness and difficulty within your family. :) And all of this on top of your mother's alcoholism... I imagine it is very frightening when this seems beyond your control and you may not even feel safe at home. Do you have any source of support or anyone to confide in, share your concerns and feelings?

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Good morning confused,

I continue to read your thread and was trying not to project my own life experiences onto your situation, but will do so with the understanding that the key issue is not where you and I got our destructive patterns and anger, but that it may have came about in a similar way.

I never made the connections it seems, not until much later in life, when I was in my late 20’s and early 30’s (and after 9 years of therapy with 13 psychologists, analysts and psychiatrists), that my need to hurt myself and our “pets” was tied to my own pain. For the first 14 years of my life we lived in Mexico (we‘re talking in the 1950’s and 60’s), and the country was run by a brutal dictators whose Federales (soldiers) were little different that the Republican Guard in Iran or the Taliban. They routinely killed, raped, tortured, pillaged and destroyed communities, homes and families. My family and I were survivors and I was a survivor of hundreds of incidents of physical and sexual abuse, traumas and most disturbingly, of being forced to do horrific things. We eventually migrated (illegally) to the US to work the cotton, onion, garlic, tomato, potato and lettuce fields. We were a very peaceful and hard-working people, but the Americans were unfriendly towards the much the much darker, dirtier and non-English speaking foreigners—so they routinely chased us in their car and trucks to beat us with sticks, chains, bats and their fists—all the while whooping and hollering. I learned to hate yet again, but this time it was the Americans and I dreamed of a day I could retaliate in a way that would stop the pain, the endless chatter in my head and that would send a strong message to the world of not only that they recognize my trauma and pain but also that I was done. But this dreaming also made me suspect that I might not be any better than those who hurt me... that perhaps I too was a sociopath since I not only wanted to hurt others, but I didn't feel remorse for the thoughts.

So, my first 15-16 years were slightly unpleasant. We had family animals (not pets like American) who worked for a living also, they were not recipients of our affections as is done now. I had a dog who I would, in moments of anger (which was really an extension of deep pain, hurt, trauma and grief), hit, pinch, bite or squeeze—but the dog loved me and always responded with crying sounds and later on, affection and renewed trust. I also, if unable to find the dog, would take my fists and pound them into my face and head until I bled. There were times my disturbed anger was so severe that I would hurl myself head-on into the walls until I lost consciousness.

OK Confused, I’ve now gone far beyond what I thought I could and am trembling inside-- I think I need to stop here as there is so much more that I’ll never have true closure with and that may not serve my purpose in writing here.

Confused, I don’t say this to gain your pity or to have you feel something for me (in fact I would prefer you didn’t, but that you absorbed the implications only), I say it because I think it may help explain how sometimes our own pain leads us to hurt others in ways we can’t imagine. It may lead us to be abusive to the most vulnerable things around us and even tho we may be experiencing shame or guilt or remorse over what we’ve done—that alone cannot crush or quiet the inner turmoil and unrest that drives us to hurt something besides ourselves.

One doesn’t have to go thru what I went thru to do what you and I have done. I’ve seen thousands of children and adults who hurt others b/c they hurt, and that deep wound often comes about not thru having lived as i did, but thru the simplest of events-- not feeling heard, being ignored, feeling disconnected, the watching of a family member suffer needlessly, not feeling loved or not being able to show love or have it received as intended. It’s a temporary discharge, but never a solution. And for those that can’t and won’t hurt others, there is always the hurting of self.

It’s now been >30 years since I’ve been self destructive or since I tried to hurt someone or something else b/c of my own pains, stress and grief.

I’m wondering that if you looked deep inside with an open eye, could my experiences help you see how yours may be involved in the hurting of the pets and the desire to hurt people? What do you think?

David

Edited by David O
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Nathan, that's a whole lot of stressful stuff happening in your life. I'm sorry that you have been dealing with all of this sadness and difficulty within your family. :) And all of this on top of your mother's alcoholism... I imagine it is very frightening when this seems beyond your control and you may not even feel safe at home. Do you have any source of support or anyone to confide in, share your concerns and feelings?

Imra,

Thank you for your help. I do have people to confide it, but it doesn't seem to release the anger. I don't know what will.

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Good morning confused,

I continue to read your thread and was trying not to project my own life experiences onto your situation, but will do so with the understanding that the key issue is not where you and I got our destructive patterns and anger, but that it may have came about in a similar way.

I never made the connections it seems, not until much later in life, when I was in my late 20’s and early 30’s (and after 9 years of therapy with 13 psychologists, analysts and psychiatrists), that my need to hurt myself and our “pets” was tied to my own pain. For the first 14 years of my life we lived in Mexico (we‘re talking in the 1950’s and 60’s), and the country was run by a brutal dictators whose Federales (soldiers) were little different that the Republican Guard in Iran or the Taliban. They routinely killed, raped, tortured, pillaged and destroyed communities, homes and families. My family and I were survivors and I was a survivor of hundreds of incidents of physical and sexual abuse, traumas and most disturbingly, of being forced to do horrific things. We eventually migrated (illegally) to the US to work the cotton, onion, garlic, tomato, potato and lettuce fields. We were a very peaceful and hard-working people, but the Americans were unfriendly towards the much the much darker, dirtier and non-English speaking foreigners—so they routinely chased us in their car and trucks to beat us with sticks, chains, bats and their fists—all the while whooping and hollering. I learned to hate yet again, but this time it was the Americans and I dreamed of a day I could retaliate in a way that would stop the pain, the endless chatter in my head and that would send a strong message to the world of not only that they recognize my trauma and pain but also that I was done. But this dreaming also made me suspect that I might not be any better than those who hurt me... that perhaps I too was a sociopath since I not only wanted to hurt others, but I didn't feel remorse for the thoughts.

So, my first 15-16 years were slightly unpleasant. We had family animals (not pets like American) who worked for a living also, they were not recipients of our affections as is done now. I had a dog who I would, in moments of anger (which was really an extension of deep pain, hurt, trauma and grief), hit, pinch, bite or squeeze—but the dog loved me and always responded with crying sounds and later on, affection and renewed trust. I also, if unable to find the dog, would take my fists and pound them into my face and head until I bled. There were times my disturbed anger was so severe that I would hurl myself head-on into the walls until I lost consciousness.

OK Confused, I’ve now gone far beyond what I thought I could and am trembling inside-- I think I need to stop here as there is so much more that I’ll never have true closure with and that may not serve my purpose in writing here.

Confused, I don’t say this to gain your pity or to have you feel something for me (in fact I would prefer you didn’t, but that you absorbed the implications only), I say it because I think it may help explain how sometimes our own pain leads us to hurt others in ways we can’t imagine. It may lead us to be abusive to the most vulnerable things around us and even tho we may be experiencing shame or guilt or remorse over what we’ve done—that alone cannot crush or quiet the inner turmoil and unrest that drives us to hurt something besides ourselves.

One doesn’t have to go thru what I went thru to do what you and I have done. I’ve seen thousands of children and adults who hurt others b/c they hurt, and that deep wound often comes about not thru having lived as i did, but thru the simplest of events-- not feeling heard, being ignored, feeling disconnected, the watching of a family member suffer needlessly, not feeling loved or not being able to show love or have it received as intended. It’s a temporary discharge, but never a solution. And for those that can’t and won’t hurt others, there is always the hurting of self.

It’s now been >30 years since I’ve been self destructive or since I tried to hurt someone or something else b/c of my own pains, stress and grief.

I’m wondering that if you looked deep inside with an open eye, could my experiences help you see how yours may be involved in the hurting of the pets and the desire to hurt people? What do you think?

David

David,

So, you used to hurt your pets' too? I'm sorry to hear your story, it must have been terrible, I can't begin to imagine that it would have been like, it's a a whole world away from the life I live. I understand you don't want me to pity you and feel sorry fo you, but you can't help it. I know -- personally -- I would have hated that to be me, it just puts it into prospective that this world is a very nasty place. Don't get me wrong, alot of people in this world care giving and caring, but many of them are nasty and coniving. You mentioned you had anger, what was this angr like? How did you surpass this anger? Hearing your story touches me, but deos not make me want to stop hurting these animals'. I still find myself doing it, I want it to stopl but I can't. I don't know how to. I know, the reason I hurt the animals' is because they can't do anything and tell anymore, which as I mentioned before scares me. Yourself and Julian have really helped me though, you've made me want to change - if that doesn't sound contradictory. It feels like the anger (or feeling) is building up, and building, and building. I feel like I am about to go POP! But I don't want to. I don't know if I'm fooling myself anymore.

Nathan.

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How about this, Nathan? Would you tell someone around you, your mom, perhaps, that you have all this anger? Maybe that would make it less important that the animals can't tell, because you'll be telling someone. In my experience, it's the things that we try to hide that end up causing the most problems.

[EDIT]Hey, you're my 1,000th post, Nathan! That has to be worth something ... :-) [/EDIT]

Edited by malign
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HI Nathan,

This is where I'll quickly switch gears on you-- it isn't that I dealt with my anger issues (although I have addressed them and now I'm a left leaning marshmallow) but that I developed better and healthier ways of coping.

The most basic insight and one that likely affects 75-90% of those who I see and probably many of us who write into the forum is just this (and all of its’ cold reality):

Most unwanted behavior occurs because we, in part, want it to occur and put ourselves in situations where it is hard to avoid or don’t make the complete effort to remove ourselves from the settings that trigger it:eek:. The would-be dieter has more than 1200 calories of food on hand;); the smoker trying to quit has a whole pack on him/her instead of just 5 cigarettes; the recovering alcoholic has hidden the booze in the closet in his own bedroom or in the basement in an old crate; the gambling addict whose tried to quit 15 times keeps a role of quarters or dollar bills socked away somewhere in his car;… the list is endless.

Most people struggle with this idea and so they create arguments and all sorts of private logic, mental gymnastics and cognitive/emotional distortions to not have to face it-- but it is a hard truth I've had to face and one that most of those who are or have been in therapy have also had to confront, but usually in less harsh terms.

David

Edited by David O
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Nathan,

First, I have had no thought of you being arrogant at all. Far from it, in fact. Second, yes I absolutely and wholeheartedly believe that the pain you respond to by feeling compelled to hurt animals is directly in response to your anxiety and the circumstances of your life. 100%.

I am sorry that you feel sad over your mother’s drinking. Furthermore, it breaks my heart that you have had to endure feelings of fear that she will die. That alone, is an enormous tragedy which induces profound and complex emotional responses. I am sorry that you feel this.

I am confident that your mother does not have an understanding of just how widespread the pain of her drinking is. As is true for all alcoholics, for as long as she continues to drink, her ability to understand or assess things accurately is gravely thwarted, if not shut down altogether. However, I think it is very, very important for YOU to know that she CAN stop. I am not saying that to place her in any negative light at all. However, the only way there is any hope for anyone who struggles with such things is to acknowledge that it is a choice. Otherwise, it cannot possibly ever change, yet millions of people have changed it, including me. Even for those recovered who accept alcoholism as a disease for which one is “powerless” over, which I do not, if they are no longer drinking, clearly on some level, they made a choice to stop.

One of the reasons why I believe this is so vital for you to acknowledge and understand is because I believe however it is that you came to believe “she can’t stop”, flows over into your own life and infects your own ability to choose and be in charge of your life - in many, if not all areas. In turn, you have placed your self-judgment and self-definition in the same place as your mother’s powerlessness over alcohol – beyond your own reach and power. That is unquestionably FALSE. It is no wonder why you so easily believe that your ability to stop hurting animals for example is beyond your control. It is easy to understand why you would almost NEED to believe this. If you were to discover that your mother has had a choice to stop drinking all along, then the pain of knowing that despite your terror, she continues to drink, is beyond what you want to feel. I don't blame you. I also would deem my life out of control if being in charge of it meant feeling the pain of my mother not being in charge of hers, despite her ability. Outside of simply being a powerless role model, her choosing not to stop, in the face of how hurtful it is to you, has to leave you feeling - worthless, insignificant, unloved, abandoned, scared, alone....... those feelings are really for you to decide.

Once again, you dismiss the deaths which apparently happened five years ago as having nothing to do with your anxiety. The fact that your anxiety has only plagued you for a month is no indication that earlier experiences are not a contributory factor. In fact, I feel confident to say that the most powerful contributors to your anxiety are from your earlier, more formative years. I am not saying that whoever died and whatever the circumstances were around those deaths is definitely related to your anxiety, but it could be. Either way, the experiences, like all others, have contributed to how you feel today. That is true for all of us. Perhaps it wasn’t the actual deaths which affected you so much, but rather how those deaths were handled within your family. I don’t know.

You have once again ignored my question about your father, which simply leaves me more suspicious that there is a story around that which also contributes to your anxiety. I am not asking because of curiosity. I am asking because it seems relevant and I would like to help put together the pieces of your puzzle. You cannot dismiss any pieces of the puzzle without distorting the big picture or the end result. Your self assessment as well as your overall perspective of the world is distorted and void of certain pieces. Voids equal pain and anxiety and “compulsions” in place of truths. I would like to help you fill in those voids with truths which in turn will replace the pain or at minimum, equip you with an ability to cope with your pain.

Is this making sense to you or am I just pissing you off? I really don't want to be too confrontational here, but I do want to be a little confrontational. Only because I think you need someone on your side before you fully join forces with those who are unknowingly and faultlessly NOT on your side. In other words, I want you to be able to rally for yourself where others have inadvertently failed you before you identify yourself as unworthy of anyone doing that. It is easy to just accept how things have been as how things will always be. As easy as it is, it is also tragic and sad. So hang in there for yourself and do your best to think beyond how things have been presented to you.

You are a good guy - especially for so humbly tolerating my poking and prodding.

JP

Julian,

Sorry I'm only just replying, I needed time to take in the information. Thank you for understanding. I dismiss these deaths, because I see them as being inconsequential attributes to my anxiety. I didn't realise I had ignored the message about my father. I'm not too close to my father, althoug he does live with is. He's not abusive, well sexually, but he's just not a father father. He persistently moans about money, I think my dad thinks everything in life is about money and it's all we live for. He's not very family orientated, like my other family. When growing up, my parents' would argue quite frequently. I never witnessed my father being aggressive towards my mum, but heard was. My mother is tough enough to fight her own battles, so never really needed anyones help. Again, this agression was brought on by finacial worries. We always say, "we're a dysfunctional - functional family." We all get along, and infact are quite close, last Christmas we had 18 family members around for Christmas dinner. Everyone has there problems, but we're close. No, you're not pissing me off, not in the slightest way, I appreciate your help. Thank-you Julian, you are also a good guy, you must be if you're willing to take time out and help someone you don't even know. People have mentioned getting rid of the animals', but I can't just do that, they're family animals', they're not just mine. I'm trying so hard to not hurt them, but when looking at them I feel I must. It's also the same as when I didn't want to see children because I thought I was a pedophile, now I don't want to see the animals incase I hurt them.

Nathan.

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How about this, Nathan? Would you tell someone around you, your mom, perhaps, that you have all this anger? Maybe that would make it less important that the animals can't tell, because you'll be telling someone. In my experience, it's the things that we try to hide that end up causing the most problems.

[EDIT]Hey, you're my 1,000th post, Nathan! That has to be worth something ... :-) [/EDIT]

Malign,

I have told my mum, she doesn't fully understand. She's a bit unsure. She keeps saying, "let's see what the doctors say." I'm at a loose end, I don't want to start hurting children or humans.

HAHA, that's great. : D I feel so privileged!

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Well, you are special, Nathan, whether you think so or not.

Not because of that number, though. :-)

Well, when you see one of the pets and get that urge, can you short-circuit it, maybe by saying out loud, "I won't do that"? Or talking to your mom about the urge, when it happens, if she's available?

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