I Have Thoughts of Killing

By Kristina Randle, Ph.D., LCSW

I should probably mention before I explain further, in my youth I was a very quiet boy I kept myself to myself I was also bit of a bookworm, I was very placid until I reached the age of fifteen-sixteen.

for some reason at this age I became bit of a tear away I had a very hot head on me and used to get into fights and trouble with people I shouldn’t have, now my love for books never left me, and I through reading acquired skills that would make me a very efficient fighter and if the need ever came to it, killer.
Thankfully I have never killed anyone, I only ever got into fights and I never hospitalised anyone I had some restraint.

Now for the past couple of years after I lost my friend I have been on the straight and narrow I have a good job, I am with a beautiful brilliant woman for the past four years, everything is good for me, but I have always had my temper but I am proud to say up until the recently I have been able to control my anger although it has always been there, but I am finding it harder and harder to keep calm, no matter what I do I can’t calm down it seems I am always angry, I have tried breathing exercises everything I can possibly do but no luck.

Now it was today that I experienced a wave of anger and all of a sudden I had a thought pop into my head I reflected back on a book I read in my teenage years depicting a killing technique, it calmed me down instantly, and I have reflected on all I know about killing and it seems to have kept me calm, however I am worried normal people aren’t calmed down by such horrific thoughts I even made myself sick at one point, I know I won’t hurt anyone because my thoughts aren’t of anyone in particular, but I would like some advice as to whether these thoughts are remotely normal or not? Please help.

A. In the American culture, it’s nearly impossible to avoid violence. Violence can be found in television shows, movies, books, and thus it is unavoidable. In your case, however, your thoughts of violence and killing are coupled with anger. You experienced a wave of anger which triggered thoughts of killing. It is not a healthy response to anger.

No one has the right to harm another person, even when they are angry. Anger does not justify violence. Some people might respond to anger with violence but it in no way justifies their behavior. It is good that you have never harmed anyone. It’s important to ensure that it never happens.

My recommendation is to enter counseling to learn to deal with your anger. It’s concerning that you thought of killing in response to anger. Thinking of killing and the act of killing are indeed very different but your thoughts might indicate that your anger is growing. You’ve tried breathing exercises but they did not work. You should consult a mental health professional who specializes in anger management. There are many approaches to treating anger including group therapy, psychotherapy and medication. Please take care.

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 12 Feb 2014

APA Reference
Randle, K. (2014). I Have Thoughts of Killing. Psych Central. Retrieved on November 25, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2014/02/12/i-have-thoughts-of-killing-is-this-normal/