Am I a Sociopath in the Making?

By Kristina Randle, Ph.D., LCSW

First off I will start with my background: I was abused sexually and physically at a very young age. It was severe and lasted for nearly two years before I was brave enough to walk out of the situation and try to move on with my life. The beginning of this year (2010) I was diagnosed with Bipolar and Schizophrenia and don’t know much about it.

Now to the problem: Lately I have been having these increasing feelings of lashing out on people. I mean really lash out. I was watching teen mom on MTV and was dreaming about abusing a child (I am very embarrassed to come out and say this so I don’t feel like I can bring it up in my normal therapy sessions). I felt gratification just thinking about it, which is super scary. I could even visualize myself doing bad things to the baby when it was annoying or something. I also indulge, in my fits of rage, hitting things, sometimes including myself and others. It’s uncontrollable. I can’t seem to get a grasp of my thoughts and turn them around for the better. I’m so lost and confused and don’t even want to post this to a forum because I don’t want people to be scared of me and rude to me. Is this some side effect of schizophrenia or bipolar that I’m completely unaware of or is this because of my past? Should I be hospitalized because I’m a threat to the community? I don’t think I would ever do anything to hurt anyone; the thoughts just invade my mind every so often and completely ravish my brain. I have read tones of stories of people that are schizophrenic that go off on killing sprees and I don’t want that to happen to me.

A. It is a misconception to believe that individuals with schizophrenia or bipolar disorder are violent by nature. Violence is not a symptom of either disorder. There are a very small percentage of individuals with schizophrenia who are violent but it is those who are that often make media headlines. The facts are quite different from what is portrayed in the media. Individuals with schizophrenia and bipolar disorder are much more likely to be victims of violence rather than perpetrators of violence.

I understand that you do not want to be judged for your thoughts but please realize they are only thoughts. No therapist will judge you because of what you think. They specialize in analyzing and correcting negative thought patterns. Thoughts, no matter how violent or horrific, are not able to harm others but if you continue to have them, they may lead to an act of violence.

The mistake you are making is withholding this important information from your therapist. You should report the fact that you are having violent thoughts to your therapist immediately. The other mistake I believe you are making is related to the fact that you “indulge” in your violent thoughts. You should not allow yourself to do this, if you can help it. I suspect that you not “indulging” but instead cannot control these thoughts and that is why it is important to seek help immediately. As you have stated, these violent thoughts have led to uncontrollable fits of rage toward yourself and others. This does make you a danger to others. If you feel that you cannot control yourself and your behavior, then yes, you should go to the hospital because it makes you a threat to others.

The bottom line: the only correct way to handle the situation responsibly is to seek help immediately. This can be done by reporting your thoughts to your therapist or by going to the hospital, if you feel that you cannot control your behavior. There are very effective medications and treatments that can help to reduce or eliminate your violent thoughts. I hope that you are able to get the help that you need and deserve. Please take care. I wish you well.

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 11 Dec 2010

APA Reference
Randle, K. (2010). Am I a Sociopath in the Making?. Psych Central. Retrieved on July 24, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2010/12/11/am-i-a-sociopath-in-the-making/