Controlling bad thoughts


Controlling bad thoughts


your avatar   Vincent, 18-year-old man

Before I was born, my mom and dad were put in jail for child pornography. My mom was bailed out. Growing up, everyone hated me. My mom was always high on pills or in the hospital. My old home was pretty violent. My mom couldn't raise me because she had problems, so I moved in with my grandmother and grandfather.

For my entire life I thought of murder. I've been controlling it but now it's getting out of hand. Like when I see a knife I really want to use it, and bad memories start to flood my mind. I tried to talk to my grandparents but they wouldn't believe me. I told my new friends but they only encouraged it. Now I'm stuck and sometimes I blame myself for everything. Also, I sometimes think I'm insane just like my mom. Help me as soon as possible.


    Bob Rich, Ph.D.

Dear Vincent,

I have good news for you. You are not insane, and not evil. You are traumatized. This means that the events of your childhood have hurt you, inside.

Life has been very unfair to you, hasn't it? Even before you were born, your parents did terrible things - so bad that they were put in jail. And if they were into child porn, it's likely they did nasty things to you when you were a baby and a small child.

A violent childhood has a hidden message. "I am more powerful than you. If you do something I don't like, then you are bad, and I have the right to punish you!" Is it surprising that you have kept thinking of murder? As a child, you probably had those thoughts aimed at your mom and dad. But as you grew older, you saw that other kids had better lives, and that everything, the whole world, was unfair. So, your resentment grew, and now you have urges to kill other people, maybe anyone who has it better than you.

Do you agree that anyone who had a childhood like yours would have a good chance of thinking like this? So, you are NOT insane. Violence, drugs, porn are the pattern of your mom and dad. Whatever they do is wrong, so you can decide, deep in your heart, that you will do the opposite in everything. It takes a lot of work, but you can change this. How?

Instead of violence, go out of your way to do good things for people. Make it your aim to become the kindest person you know. It doesn't matter how you feel inside or what you think. ACT kind.

You've seen what drugs have done to your mom's brain. So, don't use drugs, including alcohol. Instead, eat healthy, do a sport that'll get you fit and strong. A martial art would be good, because that teaches you self-control, inner strength and responsibility.

Porn is the same as violence. It looks at another person as a thing to be used, not a person. The opposite of that is respectful love. Man or woman, boy or girl, old or young, treat everyone as if you felt respectful love for them. This should even include your mom and dad, if you can do that. If not, that's fine too.

By doing these three things to the best of your ability, you will train yourself to become the opposite of your parents. You've gotten to your teenage years, and have all this time stopped yourself from murdering anyone. Willpower is the hardest way to resist an urge - but you have managed it anyway, using willpower. Well done. Could you have done this if you were evil, if you were insane? Of course not.

Finally, sometimes you blame yourself for everything. Some of it happened before you were born, the rest when you were a small child. Now that you are older, can you see that you had no power to do any of it? That thought is a leftover from being a traumatized little child. Little kids have the belief that they are responsible for whatever happens, even when this is obviously wrong. So, you can see that belief is wrong. This is helpful. When you have an urge to murder someone, you can say to yourself, "This thought is just as silly and wrong as blaming myself. It's only noise." Because it is.

My dear young friend, you are welcome to email me back.

Your new grandfather,


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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