It may be normal in the sense that there is a certain percentage of the population who experiences violent urges but purposefully hurting an animal is never a “normal” response to stress. It is a maladaptive response. By maladaptive I mean it doesn’t help you, it doesn’t improve your situation or it hurts you. People sometimes develop these types of responses when they lack the skills to respond appropriately. They may have never learned how to handle strong emotions. If they knew a better way, they probably would have behaved differently.
I see this as potentially a problem of your lacking healthy responses to strong emotions. Though that’s my best educated guess based on only a small amount of information. I would need to interview you professionally to have a more concrete understanding as to why you responded in the manner you did. A professional evaluation would help to explain what motivated your reaction.
The good news is that you can develop more appropriate responses to strong emotions with counseling. People often need to be taught these kinds of skills. When they are lacking, people resort to negative responses which can include overeating, violence, self-harm, using drugs, alcohol, etc. Counseling is the ideal solution to this problem.
If you are truly sorry for what you have done, then you must do whatever is necessary to ensure that it never happens again. How you respond will demonstrate whether or not you are remorseful. Your writing to us here at PsychCentral is a step in the right direction. Your next step should include seeking treatment from a qualified professional. Depending on the nature of your symptoms and the level of control you have over your behavior, medication may also be recommended.
I would recommend consulting multiple therapists over the phone. Discuss these issues and ask how they can help you. Choose the one with whom you feel the most comfortable. Use your letter as a guide for describing your concerns. A therapist will not be shocked by the contents of your letter or think of you as a “monster.” A “monster” would not have felt remorse nor would they be actively trying to ensure that this type of thing never happens again. A “monster” would have never cared about hurting a dog or anyone else. Your seeking help would undoubtedly prove that you are as sorry as you say you are.
Once you find the right therapist, be as honest as possible. The more they know, the more they can help you. They will assist you in developing better responses to stressful situations. It is an important skill to learn. There are many problems that invariably arise and you need to have the right skill set for responding to difficult life circumstances. I wish you the best luck. Please take care.
Dr. Kristina Randle