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Sudden, Strong Impulses to Hurt or Kill Others

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I have had this problem for the majority of life where it began with a suicidal depression at the age of 9.
I no longer have strong impulses to commit suicide, although these visual thoughts and impulses has changed into hurting or even killing others.
I am a visual thinker, which I guess is why these thoughts seems so lifelike. These thoughts also come very sudden, and are related to the present situation I am in.
I am right now in a relationship with my girlfriend and we have a child (2 years old) and two cats.
I have had previous thoughts of harming my girlfriend, which is usual to me since I get these thoughts often towards other humans. On the other hand it started bothering me when I got very strong, visual impulses to hurt our infant child. I got real reason to worry since I have never been good to remember any dreams, but the last two or three I can remember involves harming or killing our daughter, which is very distressfull.
Sometimes these impulses can be very hard to handle, which is the reason why I chose to register on this website. We got a new kitten the other day, and even that she is in a new location, she has adapted very well. But due to something as simple as her not wanting a cuddle drove both thoughts and action to treat her very aggressively and rough. Stopping myself from harming it, I had to sit alone in 15 minutes to calm myself down. I am concerned that if I can’t control my impulses to something as innocent as a kitten, what can happen in the future towards my daughter?
Thanks for helping.

Sudden, Strong Impulses to Hurt or Kill Others

Answered by on -


It’s encouraging that you have decided to take a proactive approach to solving this problem. It significantly increases the likelihood of a satisfactory resolution.

The way you describe your thoughts implies that they are not within your control. You can, however, control your reaction to them.

It’s unusual to experience suicidal depression at such a young age. You didn’t include the reason why you felt suicidal at nine years old, but it could have been the result of trauma or a difficult childhood. No one, especially children, naturally feels suicidal. Something must have happened to have caused those feelings.

I would recommend therapy. Therapy could help you to understand why you have these current problems and where they originated. They are probably connected to your early childhood experiences. Exploring these possibilities might be necessary in order to correct this problem.

Should you decide to pursue therapy, consider choosing a therapist who specializes in anxiety disorders. It is not uncommon for people with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), a type of anxiety disorder, to have intrusive and distressing thoughts about wanting to hurt or kill people. You might also consult a psychiatrist to determine if medication could help.

This is not a problem that you should ignore. Currently, you are able to control your reaction to these thoughts and to not act on them but that could change. You must do whatever is necessary to ensure that you never act on these thoughts. One way to do that is to seek help from mental health professionals. Please take care.

Dr. Kristina Randle

Sudden, Strong Impulses to Hurt or Kill Others

Therapists live, online right now, from BetterHelp:

Kristina Randle, Ph.D., LCSW

Kristina Randle, Ph.D., LCSW is a licensed psychotherapist and Assistant Professor of Social Work and Forensics with extensive experience in the field of mental health. She works in private practice with adults, adolescents and families. Kristina has worked in a large array of settings including community mental health, college counseling and university research centers.

APA Reference
Randle, K. (2018). Sudden, Strong Impulses to Hurt or Kill Others. Psych Central. Retrieved on November 27, 2020, from
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 May 2018 (Originally: 9 Aug 2016)
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 May 2018
Published on Psych All rights reserved.