Committing Murder


Committing Murder


your avatar   Theo, 22-year-old man

I grew up from the age of five without a dad. By age ten my dad completely stepped out of my life when my little brother was hit by a plow truck. Soon after my 16th birthday my mom had a heart attack right in front of me. My dad stepped back into my life at that point, but only to take my younger brother so that he could get paid for taking care of him. But there's more to my life than that.

I've had dreams since the age of 13 about killing people - not just one person. Anyone - could be someone I don't even know who didn't say or do anything to me. I also think of killing people who I do know. Some I kill fast while others are more slow and painful. Yet it's never a women or child - always a male. Most of the time it's someone bigger - not stronger, just taller or fatter. But in my dreams or daydreams I smile while dreaming of doing these killings. I am short-tempered for no reason - I'll wake up that way.

My dreams feel like a drug to me. There are days when I'm totally focused on ways to commit the perfect murder. I don't know if I would go through with it, but I've been to jail and I'm truly not scared of it nor am I scared to die myself. I would never kill myself, but I do like pain. As for my emotions, they are few and far between - it's either mad or a dead straight. So my question is, what can help me control these dream and urges?


    Bob Rich, Ph.D.

Dear Theo,

I don't have to tell you where the killing urges come from. You have told me already in your description of your background. When you were a little boy, you decided that the world was a terrible place, your father to be a terrible man, nobody loved you, and maybe that nobody could ever love you. You hated him, and hated the world that allowed your mom to die and your father to neglect you.

So, these dreams help you to let off steam. You don't actually kill people, because you do the killing in your imagination, which is much better.

You know, you are not what you think. You are what you do. OK, you've been in jail, and have so far not done anything good with your life. But you have choices. You can continue the way you have lived so far, and copy your father in being irresponsible, or you can build a good life for yourself.

I think the reason you posted this question is that, without having put it into words, you have decided to change. You no longer want to be a young criminal, but to choose your own path, and have a good life. You can do that.

Emotions, thoughts and urges are habits. You have them because you had them in the past. But habits can be broken. And the best way to break a habit is to learn a new one that gets in the way of the old habit.

You can design your own new habits. Some suggestions: when you see a person you want to kill, remind yourself that this person has feelings like yours. This man or boy deserves a good life, just like you deserve a good life. He hasn't hurt you at all, so why should you hurt him?

If you make a habit of thinking thoughts like this, the urges to kill will get weaker and eventually go away.

In the meantime, remember: you are not a kid any more. Now you are a man. The thoughts you developed as a kid were helpful to you then. You don't need them anymore.

Have a good life,


This question was answered by Dr. Bob Rich. Dr. Rich has 30+ years of experience as a psychotherapist. Dr. Rich is also a writer and a "mudsmith". Bob is now retired from psychological practice, but still works with people as a counselor.For more information visit:


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