I Want to Kill People

By Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker

Every day I have thoughts of killing someone, it doesn’t matter who, I just want to see them die by my hand. I have been planning my first kill and it feels like I will not be able to hold back any longer. I have been a good person my whole life, well pretended to be at least. But I never feel for anyone, I say I have friends but I could watch them die and not shed a tear. My family could fall sick and I could put it out of my mind without a worry. I don’t connect to anyone, the only time I feel anything is when I am thinking of my first kill and seeing someone die in my arms again. I have seen that look before, I did not kill her but I didn’t stop her from killing herself. I find myself wanting to see that again, and again, and again. I am not sure I want to stop myself, but in case I decide that I do, how do I fix this? Or am I too far gone already?

A: Sometimes people who have been through a traumatic experience repeatedly replay that experience (either in their mind or in life) in order to try to gain some mastery over their feelings of helplessness and pain. I may be reaching since I don’t have a lot of information, but it seems possible that the suicide of a friend was traumatizing for you. Why wouldn’t it be? Now you are separated from feelings of love, compassion, and connection and are replaying death scenes over and over. You’re stuck in this go-around until you find a way out. You seem to think that killing someone will do it. It won’t. It will only reinforce the problem. What will help is reconnecting with the good person you’ve always been.

What makes this lack of feeling even more dangerous is that you are a military man. You probably have access to guns and you’ve probably had training in how to kill.

Please — prevent yourself from doing something that will destroy someone else’s life as well as your own. Get help! Now! You’re not “too far gone.” Writing to us here is a statement that you haven’t given up on yourself. A place for you to start is the huge VA hospital near you. Military psychologists are particularly well versed in the various ways that people do and don’t manage traumatic experience.

I wish you well.
Dr. Marie

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 27 Feb 2012

APA Reference
Hartwell-Walker, D. (2012). I Want to Kill People. Psych Central. Retrieved on November 29, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2012/02/27/i-want-to-kill-people/

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