From a teen in Australia: I don’t know why, but I enjoy feeling in control of others more than I should. I manipulate and blackmail to get what I want, which makes me sound like a bad person when I’m really not, but recently I have started to think about and even seriously consider murder. How easy would it be to just stab my parents in their sleep? Of course, I would never do something like that, but for some reason I’m not worried about my homicidal thoughts, when I really should be. I would ask my mother about this, but I’m pretty sure she’d just dismiss my questions, as I have a history of lying to get attention.
I’m usually not one for talking about my feelings, but recently my violent thoughts have become more frequent and I have felt more and more distant from the people around me. I don’t want to end up in jail for the rest of my life, so I decided to seek answers, but I feel more comfortable discussing my issues anonymously, so here I am.
If you’re wondering whether I’ve ever been diagnosed with a mental illness, I haven’t. But I think I may have some form of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, due to the strange obsessive habits I have such as washing my hands with all the taps in my house in a certain order after touching the fridge and some other objects, and my unexplainable phobia of fruit and car seats. In case you couldn’t tell, I’ve researched this. But the Internet can only tell you so much.
Anyway, I think my homicidal thoughts are more of a problem than my obsessive habits. I remember when I was younger, a bird flew into my window. I took it to my grandmother, who said that it was still alive, and told me to put it back outside. So I did. But for some reason, looking at that stupid bird just lying on the ground in front of me made me angry. It looked so helpless like that, and I wanted to hurt it. I think this counts as animal abuse, but I was about eight at the time, so I don’t think I can get arrested… anyway, I took a rock and crushed its head. I can remember feeling scared of all the blood, but I didn’t want to get caught, so I buried it and the rock in the garden and went about my business. I don’t remember feeling guilty though…
is there something wrong with me? Reading this to myself, it really looks like a plea for attention. But I hope you will take me seriously and tell me what’s going on.
I’m most concerned that you believe your mother would think you are trying for attention if you shared your story with her. Of course, there is no way for me to know whether you really aren’t getting enough attention or if your beliefs about how much a person should get is unrealistic. That being said: Is it possible that you are upping the seriousness of your thoughts in order to get the attention you need?
In itself, the incident with the bird doesn’t worry me. Little kids sometimes do horrible things out of curiosity or ignorance. But the way you remember it does worry me a lot. It looks to me that you are projecting your current angry feelings about helplessness onto that event. Is it possible that you hate how helpless you feel? In addition, you report symptoms that do suggest Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder. If that is the case, it could be that the OCD extends to your thoughts as well as behaviors and that you can’t easily let go of an idea once it takes hold.
These are complicated issues. Your letter is very articulate for a 13-year-old. That tells me that you would benefit from seeing a counselor to help you sort them out. I hope you will show your letter and this response to your mother. Some sessions with a counselor who specializes in working with anxiety disorders and teens would help you manage your symptoms and give you peace of mind.
I wish you well.