Why Do I Want Bad Things to Happen to Me?

By Kristina Randle, Ph.D., LCSW

Since I can remember I have wanted bad things to happen to me . . . and I mean bad. For as long as I can remember (but becoming more serious and more prevalent now) I have wanted terrible things so happen to me.

Background: I was in a violent relationship when I was 12-14. It was emotional, physical a sexual. I have recently been being treated for what my psychiatrist says is Bipolar Mani Depression with some Schizo in the mix. I have been depressed and hearing voices since I was a little kid. The voices talk to me and talk down to me (I DO know they DO NOT EXIST, so how I have schizo I don’t know). I have been on medicine for about 2 years now.

Problem: Lately I have been noticing how much I want something bad to happen to me. I read books and read about people getting brutally abused or raped and I FULLY wish it would happen to me. I put myself in situations were I believe I have the chance of getting hurt. I mean the things I want to happen are everything. Let your mind run crazy. However, I want to point out that I have never wanted to die, at least not lately. I mean I dream about getting shot and actually enjoy it. Its crazy and it is so confusing because why would I want something horrible to happen to me? I can’t control the feelings though. I dont think this would tie into my past but you never know. Its just everytime I read or hear about something bad happening to someone else I want it to happen to me (Not to be rude but I have no intentions of wanting it to happen to me and not them! It is not that at all I know that for certain).

I hope this question helps other people out there! Thank you so much for your help. It is driving me insane!

A. What you have described may be passive suicidal ideation. Basically this means that an individual would not mind if they died but they would not actively attempt to end their own life.

It may be passive suicidal ideation but I cannot say for certain because your letter is contradictory. You wrote that you wish bad things would happen to you and you purposefully put yourself in dangerous situations. You also wrote that you have no intention of ending your life and don’t want to die. It is unclear exactly how you feel.

My sense of the situation is that you are sincerely suffering. Much of your focus seems to be wishing yourself harm. This is an unnatural desire. It is psychologically unhealthy to wish yourself harm. All types of suicidal ideation or thoughts of self-harm should be taken very seriously. Individuals having such thoughts should be in treatment.

Another important element of this issue is that you perceive your thoughts of self-harm as being out of your control. What you may be describing are intrusive thoughts. Individuals with anxiety disorders such as obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) often describe having these types of thoughts. Intrusive thoughts are unwanted, often disturbing thoughts that are difficult to stop. Individuals who have intrusive thoughts describe them as being out of their control and frightening. Medication can be an effective treatment for decreasing or eliminating these types of thoughts.

People with schizophrenia also describe having intrusive thoughts. The voices they hear are sometimes similar to what you have described, intrusive and focused on self-harm.

I would recommend seeing both a therapist and psychiatrist. A therapist could help you examine why you are having thoughts of self-harm. He or she could also teach you strategies to stop the negative thoughts. A psychiatrist could prescribe a medicine to help eliminate or decrease your unwanted thoughts. Here’s a link to a directory where you could search for a local therapist in your community. Generally, a therapist can refer you to a psychiatrist.

I’m not certain if I answered your question because I am unclear about exactly what it is. Please do not hesitate to write back if you have more specific questions. Thank you for writing.

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 6 Mar 2010

APA Reference
Randle, K. (2010). Why Do I Want Bad Things to Happen to Me?. Psych Central. Retrieved on December 25, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2010/03/06/why-do-i-want-bad-things-to-happen-to-me/