The Urge to Hurt

By Kristina Randle, Ph.D., LCSW

So when I was only eleven years old I was sexually assaulted by a seventeen year old boy and ever since then I’ve been, not exactly what you would call the normal teenage girl. I am deeply fascinated by serial killers and such. Lately, and for a while now, I’ve been irritated really easily and have had the urge to hurt or kill people. Of course, I haven’t actually killed anyone but I have verbally (and in one instance physically) abused a few people. I don’t exactly feel bad for these people because they deserved it. I also have had abnormally high levels of stress to the point where I can’t do homework or any things I need to do. My parents think I’m doing really good considering I haven’t self-harmed in a while (which was an issue for a long time) but I feel some guilt in asking to go see my therapist or anything again because 1. I don’t want to need help and 2. It would probably break my mom’s heart. It’s not like I’m gonna just come out and say, “I want to go back to my therapist because I want to hurt people,” because then I don’t know what would happen.

A. Imagine, as an 11-year-old, you were the victim of someone’s reckless driving and you sustained serious physical trauma. You then underwent intensive physical therapy to treat your injuries. But occasionally, you feel pain and return to physical therapy for “booster” sessions as necessary.

In that scenario, having to return to physical therapy would not likely elicit feelings of guilt and embarrassment, yet the prospect of having to return to counseling makes you feel bad about yourself. It shouldn’t be that way.

You were the victim of a sexual assault. It was undoubtedly traumatic and has caused psychological distress. It is a natural response to being victimized. There’s no reason to feel guilt or embarrassment for having to return to your therapist for “booster” sessions.

You are no more equipped to treat your own psychological problems than you would be to treat your own physical injuries. That’s nothing to feel bad about; psychological problems should always be handled by trained professionals.

The bottom line is this: if you are suffering and are in distress, then you should seek help from your therapist. Refusing to seek help only leads to more suffering.

Don’t worry about your parents; they’re adults and can handle life problems. They would likely be very upset to learn that you prolonged your suffering simply because you didn’t want to hurt their feelings.

You don’t have to explicitly tell your parents that you have the urge to hurt other people. You can simply say, “I’ve been feeling bad again and I would like to return to my therapist.”

I hope that you make the wise choice to return to therapy. It’s the right thing to do. Please take care.

Dr. Kristina Randle

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 27 Jun 2014

APA Reference
Randle, K. (2014). The Urge to Hurt. Psych Central. Retrieved on December 22, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2014/06/27/the-urge-to-hurt/