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Thoughts of killing my children - anyone else have them?

(45 Posts)
BattyBetty Sat 26-Feb-11 20:57:25

Shocking huh but apparently completely normal. Wish I'd know that for the last 25 years.

I have what is known as 'obsessive neurosis' which are terrifying thoughts of harming/killing the things I love (namely the DCs and my parents when I was a teenager for a brief stage - never worried about killing DH though even though I could sometimes smash his face in!). These thoughts have haunted me for years and I have been in complete agony all the times I have been alone with the DCs which has been a lot as DH was working away. Basically I fear I will lose control and go crazy and hurt them - which is especially frightening when I have to use knives/scissors. In fact at one point I threw all our sharp knives away and we ended up with one small paring knife to use grin.

Of course I could not tell anyone about this until I told DH last year and he laughed at what has been torturing me for years hmm and told me he sometimes has these thoughts as well but they don't bother him, he just dismisses them immediately. Until this time, I had no idea 'normal' people did this as well.

I found the courage to see my GP (of course expecting SS to be called and for me to be sectioned as an emergency) and he just shrugged and said 'poor you, to have been suffering for so long' shock.

I now know all about this 'illness' but cannot bloody well get rid of it. I tried Prozac as obviously these thoughts depress me but it made it 10 times worse. I have just completed CBT but it really has not made much difference - all it achieved was me confronting my mother about my abusive childhood which has alienated the whole of my family from me hmm.

So anyone else been/going through this and come out the other side??

BattyBetty Sat 26-Feb-11 20:58:56

Tried reading 'Brainlock' as well but cannot put it into practice sad.

MogadoredMemoo Sun 27-Feb-11 12:42:29

Do you get much support? I think you need to push for a different kind of therapy. CBT can be helpful but not for everyone. Do you think the thoughts are caused by anxiety about the well being of your children?

Articulate Sun 27-Feb-11 18:39:37

Yes, I have exactly the same thoughts and fears, I could have written this post myself.

DH announced this week that he was taking DS1 away on holiday (I can't travel far as I have travel phobias), and my first thought was that I would be on my own with DS2 for a week...what if I lose the plot and hurt/kill him.

TBH, I have found consolation in the fact that somebody else has the same thoughts. Like you, hurting one of my DS's is the worst possible thing I could ever imagine doing, I love them both so dearly.

I saw the doctor about it when DS1 was a baby (he's 4 now, DS2 is 2) and he said that these thoughts were common, I'm pretty pissed off I still have them now though. Apart from saying that they were common, he didn't offer any more advice.

It's truly awful and upsetting, and you have my sympathy. You're not alone in this.

BattyBetty Mon 28-Feb-11 09:41:04

Articulate - good to read your post! When I first found out that I was not the only one like this, the relief was incredible. TBH the thoughts only arose at times of high stress in my life, until I started Prozac (18 months ago) and since then they have not left me alone even though I stopped taking it. I can laugh them off most of the time and I know that the thoughts will not happen but even with my best efforts, they can really put me on a downer. It is really like a form of internal torture, sort of like being trapped in a horror film.

I know that plenty of women (and men) have the same thoughts. My therapist actually told me that out of the 500 or so parents of children at my DCs school, at least 50 will have the same fears at any given time.

lelarose Mon 28-Feb-11 11:05:11

Hi there just to say there is a book called The Imp of the Mind about obsessive thoughts that you may find useful, you can probably still get it on Amazon- I have a friend who had the same problem.

livingstonbach Tue 01-Mar-11 20:55:25

This is exactly the type of OCD I have.

I've been battling with this for over 15 years now and have had two serious episodes, and one not quite as serious when pregnant with DD.

The only advice I can give is that it can be managed with the right medication and support (I found sertraline better than prozac) For years I tried to get rid of the thoughts, but actually the turning point came when I accepted that I would always have them, so I needed to learn to live with them.

This approach has been incredibly empowering for me, although it's taken me some time to get to grips with this (it feels so wrong to accept these thoughts!) but once I did, they actually got better.

You don't need to do this alone though - this is a frightening and upsetting illness and there's lots of good support out there.

Like lelarose says The Imp of the Mind is a very useful book, and I found the charity First Steps to Freedom good too.

Hope this helps!

esmerdoo Thu 03-Mar-11 14:01:53

Hi Battybetty

I too have suffered from this since having children.

When I had my first child I too had visions of hurting her and when husband went to work I would lock all scissors/knives in the garage until he came home. I would have visions of picking up my baby and throwing her across the room. I thought something would take over me and make me do these things without being able to stop myself. I was terrified and did not tell anyone.

When I had 2nd child I had PND. I told the doctor and counsellor that I was referred to about these thoughts. Big mistake, SS came out to see me. I would never ever of hurt my children.

Once I went on to anti-d's the thoughts became less frequent.

I did discuss some of this with my sister and I do wonder whether my thoughts had something to do with being physically/emotionally abused by our parents.
I felt that because I was happy and loved my DC so much, something was going to try and destroy it.

melvinscomment Thu 03-Mar-11 15:07:56

@ BattyBetty ... I agree with esmerdoo. It is best to be very careful what one says to any GP relating to possible harm to a child. I think it is very unlikely that anyone who really was intending to harm their child would say that to a GP. However, if someone says they are thinking of harming their child it is quite possible, or even likely, that the GP will inform Social Services and depending on the general circumstances that may lead to the child or children being forcibly adopted!

livingstonbach Thu 03-Mar-11 17:06:04

I'm really saddened to hear of your experience esmerdoo. In my experience GPs and mental health professionals have been nothing short of supportive and understanding.

In fact, it was more likely to be me telling them I needed to be locked up/child taken away, rather than the other way round.

Any GP worth her/his salt will recognise these thoughts for exactly what they are - distressing and upsetting, but thoughts and in no way an indication that they will be acted upon.

OCD is a pretty well known illness now, with lots of support available. Please don't suffer alone and in silence.

melvinscomment Thu 03-Mar-11 18:10:53

@ livingstonbach ... It seems that your GP didn't inform the social workers, but esmerdoo's GP did. Esmerdoo doesn't appear to be someone who is likely to harm her child, which I think "proves" that mothers should definitely be careful what they say to GPs or other medics re possibly harming a child.

therugratref Thu 03-Mar-11 18:33:15

What Livingston bach said. Melvinscomment A one off anecdote on a forum "proves" jackshit. Making comments about forced adoption are unhelpful and frightening to someone who is obviously feeling pretty crap.
Not telling your doctor means you go on suffering when a simple prescription may well sort you out. It is a recognised disorder.

MogadoredMemoo Thu 03-Mar-11 18:36:02

Melvin are you a journalist?

Eleison Thu 03-Mar-11 18:39:43

Agree strongly with therugratref: no need to be apprehensive about speaking to the relevant professionals.

Although I don't suffer from absessive neurosis or anything like the prolonged anxiety that you have in this respect, I did once -- when dc1 was a tiny newborn -- have a frightening flash-image of myself kicking him across the floor like a football, The fear was that is would be so easy, and that there was nothing to stop me. Or something. Entirely irrational and born of my high anxiety of keeping a so-precious thing safe. So even I, a total non-professional, can hear of your suffering without feeling shock, or anything but sympathy.

Eleison Thu 03-Mar-11 18:40:16

absessive obsessiveblush

DerangedSibyl Thu 03-Mar-11 18:43:35

it is (in my opinion) the fear of turning into a bad parent and Nobody Stopping YOu - because nobody stopped your own bad parent.

I had obsessive thoughts about Ds1 when he was a baby. I used to have visions, terrifying ideas that I just couldn't shake off.

Luckily, I had the most fantastic midwife who, when I explained, understood immediately that I wasn't vocalising a desire to hit my baby, or even a chance that I would, but merely a fear that somehow i would go completely batshit for thirty seconds.

And my father was, by today's standards and probably by the standards of the 80s, abusive.

She asked me about that and told me that she thought I feared a repetition. That surely (in my head) he must have loved me as much as I loved my own baby, and so his behavior must have been an abhorrance and out of his control - and therefore (again, in my head) it could happen to anyone - including me.

Now I know that his behavior was always in his control, had he wished to control it. And so is mine. My children are now nearly eight and nearly five and I have never even come close to harming either of them, although their behavior has driven me to the edge of reason!

livingstonbach Thu 03-Mar-11 18:54:01

Fair point melvinscomment.

I'm aware I'm probably being terribly naive here about SS and GPs, but I can only comment on my own experience.

My concern is that people continue to suffer in silence, fearing that by seeking help they will be at risk. For me, these thoughts started when I was about 8 years old. I thought I was the only person in the world evil enough to have them, and didn't tell a soul until I had a breakdown at 19.

I can't tell you the relief I felt when I was given a diagnosis, and realised that I wasn't mad, or 'bad'.

I hate to think of others suffering like this.

BeerTricksPotter Thu 03-Mar-11 19:00:16

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

livingstonbach Thu 03-Mar-11 19:08:21

Thanks BeerTricks, seen the other thread just now.

melvinscomment Thu 03-Mar-11 19:09:46

@ therugratref :- I refer to what esmerdoo said above ... "When I had my first child I too had visions of hurting her......When I had 2nd child I had PND. I told the doctor and counsellor that I was referred to about these thoughts. Big mistake, SS came out to see me. I would never ever of hurt my children."

domesticslattern Thu 03-Mar-11 19:45:27

I want to recommend a book called "What Mothers do: especially when it looks like nothing" which discusses all of the feelings which come with being a mother. The author, Naomi Stadlen, is a psychotherapist and has 2 or 3 pages about the feelings that you may harm your child, and sets it in a context in which it actually makes a lot of sense- you are getting your head around the fact that you suddenly have an immense amount of power over this tiny defenceless creature, and you are thinking through the worst case scenarios so that you do not do them.

Clearly she is writing about the surprisingly common and everyday level of these thoughts, which can be frightening and which you probably don't talk about at baby group! But I realise that for some, it's stronger and has much more history, and is more like OCD. But for anyone who has had these thoughts- well, it's a good book generally.

twopeople Thu 03-Mar-11 20:28:17

Message withdrawn

DerangedSibyl Thu 03-Mar-11 22:30:30

twopeople, your method is so much cleverer than mind. I usually just flick my ear very hard and derail the obsessive thought process!

twopeople Fri 04-Mar-11 09:21:27

Message withdrawn

esmerdoo Fri 04-Mar-11 09:25:02

There probably are some very good GP's out there it just so happened that the one I spoke to didnt seem to have much knowledge of this condition which is obviously quite common.

I have never been violent to anyone, smacked my children etc.

My children are the most precious thing in the world to me. When they were both born I'd never been happier.

I never told my husband until I told the doctor. He understood that I would never have harmed the children.

I wish at the time that someone had told me these thoughts were quite common.

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