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November 22, 2014 - Welcome Guest!

Advice » Hard Knocks

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Why do I want to commit murder?

Question:

I am 18 years old and I have an urge to commit crimes. I am not scared to go to prison and I don't care how long I spend there because I honestly think I would be better off incarcerated. I have done petty crimes such as shoplifting and taking drugs (cannabis) but lately I have had this urge to kill someone. I even sit at home and plan it out and I don't care if I am caught. Why do I want to kill someone?

Somebody (18 year-old woman)

Answer:

Dear Somebody,

I chose your message because it sounds like you are wrestling with a terrible monster, and need all the help you can get. However, there is not that much that I can do for you, specifically. All I can offer is generalities.

This is because I know absolutely nothing about you. Your message is far too short, and lacks detail. Psychologists are not mind readers or magicians. We need information in order to be able to make suggestions.

If you have returned to QueenDom and found my answer, I suggest you do the following:

  • Read my response below, try out my suggestions and see if they help you.

  • Either way, email me at bobrich@bobswriting.com I'll be delighted if I have managed to help you. If I haven't, post a longer, more detailed message and let me know when it's there. I'll then have a go at answering it.

  • Include an email address. This doesn't have to reveal who you are. There are hundreds of places offering webmail addresses, for example QueenDom, Hotmail, etc.

MY ANSWER:

First, I would like to congratulate you. Despite the terrible urgings of this set of thoughts that have invaded you, you have been fighting back, and so far you have been successful. You write that you don't care about being caught, but it's more than that. It's clear that you DO NOT WANT TO DO IT. If you did, you would have gone out and killed someone. Instead, you posted a message for help.

So, it's clear to me. You are a good person, haunted by obsessive thoughts that urge you to do bad things. And you do care.

Second, I think you need face-to-face help, urgently. Wherever you live, there may be free services for teenagers in need of help. If not, find an adult you may be able to trust. If you are still at school, there may be a school counselor. Such people obey a code of ethics and will not betray your confidence.

Third, there is nothing wrong with planning things you will never do. Crime writers do it all the time! So far, you have stopped short of action. Please continue to do so. Write down your plans for killing people, and send them in to short story competitions. If Stephen King can make money out of horror, why can't you?

There are some simple things you, or anybody, can do to get rid of unwanted thoughts. One is "thought stopping". You need to establish a new habit: cutting thoughts off in mid-stream. For this you need a trigger: a phrase you can say inside your head. Mine is "Shut up!" You can make up your own. It doesn't matter what, because nobody else will hear you say it.

You train the trigger like this: Put a thick rubber band around your wrist. Start saying your unwanted thoughts aloud, then when you're well into them, snap the band against your wrist and say your trigger phrase. Do this several times a day for a couple of days. After that, you can throw the rubber band away. You can stop any thought by just thinking the trigger.

Another standard way of getting rid of any unwanted habit, including a habit of thought, is to keep a special kind of diary. Each time you catch one of these awful thoughts, write it down, then write down what went on immediately before: where, when, with whom, doing what. Then write down what happened as a consequence of having the thought (for example, you had vivid visual images, or got depressed, or thought of a particular person you hate, or whatever).

This makes you into a detective, gathering information about what sets these thoughts off. And it works like magic. As soon as you start tracking them, they'll become less frequent.

And finally, one thing that helps many of my troubled clients is to honestly try and find an answer to the questions: "Why am I here on this planet?" "What is the lesson I can learn from my sufferings?" "In what way can I become a better person from having gone through these bad experiences?"

I wish you continued success in your struggle with these obsessive thoughts, and hope to hear from you.

Bob Rich

This question was answered by Dr. Bob Rich. Dr. Rich has 31 years experience as a psychologist and is registered with the Australian Psychological Society. He practices in Australia. Dr. Rich is also a writer and a "mudsmith".

For more information visit the site or compact information page on QueenDom.

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