Hello there, I am a 34-year-old male, happily married with kids. I love my kids and i love kids in general and have always been affectionate towards kids and infants in general. I have observed that in the recent past (since 3 – 4 years), i feel a strong urge to hurt specific infants. By hurting i mean only pinching, or slapping or scratching (basically anything that can make them suffer and cry a bit) but i don’t feel any greater harm. This feeling of hatred or urge to hurt is only for specific infants (3 infants of my wife’s sister, 2 infants of my wife’s brother and 1 infant of an old female friend’s brother). Apart from these infants, i don’t have this feeling for any other infant in the world. I like children and infants in general and do not have any bad feelings for anyone else. My relationship with my wife’s sister is very good and i do not have any problem with my wife’s sister or her husband and we enjoy a warm family relationship however i do not like my wife’s brother as such.
The interesting point is that once these infants grow up to 4 years, i stop having these feelings to hurt them and my feelings for them become normal. 1 of my wife’s sister’s son has grown in to 4 years and now i do not feel the urge to hurt him anymore. This applies to only male infants and not to female infants. Interestingly, all these children live in other cities so i do not have any interaction with any of these children but the feeling of hurting remains specially if i see their pictures.
Could you help me understand why is it happening and what can i do to overcome these feelings? Thanks
Unfortunately, I don’t have enough information to know why this urge has developed. It’s not the norm. Often, people who have a desire to hurt others describe a feeling of powerlessness. Others are unhappy and angry at the world. The urge you have described does not seem to fit those categories. Yours is unusual and seems very specific to you.
You didn’t explicitly write this in your letter but it does not seem as though you have acted upon your urge. If you can control it and no one is in danger, then this may not be much of a problem. However, if children are at risk of being harmed, then you should seek treatment.
If this is causing distress in your life and you want to feel better, it would be wise to consult an in-person therapist. They will try to determine the cause of the problem. Even if the cause cannot be pinpointed, counseling could eliminate your problem.
Good luck and please take care.
Dr. Kristina Randle
Wanting to Hurt Certain Infants
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. (2019). Wanting to Hurt Certain Infants. Psych Central.
Retrieved on November 17, 2019, from https://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2019/05/17/wanting-to-hurt-certain-infants/
Last updated: 15 May 2019 (Originally: 17 May 2019) Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 15 May 2019 Published on Psych Central.com. All rights reserved.