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Homicidal Tendencies, Hallucinations, & Degeneration of Self

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I’m uncertain how to reduce myself to 400 words, so I apologise if this seems at all rushed:

Each day, I fantasize about homicide. There’s something about the thought of taking a life that’s empowering. I’ve a collection of homemade weapons that I crafted on compulsion, hidden away around various areas. Often when I fantasize I lose all sense of time: typically up to 20 minutes of my day will just disappear. Shortly thereafter, the hallucinations ensue – something in the corner of my eye takes my attention and disappears within a second, only to reappear and run away again. I’m never able to make out who/what it is, but I’ve started referring to it as Him/He. He is constant and permanent, haunting me like some spectre.

Weapon-making isn’t the only bizarre compulsion I exhibit. It’s been pointed out to me by my girlfriend that I disturb her maybe three or four times a night re-making the bed to a certain standard, and I’m constantly fidgetting in one regard or another. I’ve also been made aware of the fact that I compulsively bite the inside of my cheeks to the point where there’s scarring, and I remove grotesque quantities of skin and nail from my fingertips and toes.

Furthermore, I also seem to have a quantity of anti-social behaviours. Within my first week at work, I’d stolen ~£100 of equipment, for no reason other than to satisfy some deeper need. I’ve also started a fire or two, and find that I take pleasure in being able to commit such acts without any apparent consequence. I convinced an entire school of students and teachers that my ex-girlfriend (who had cheated on me) was emotionally abusive, causing her attempted and failed suicide. Here I discovered my lack of guilt and remorse, as my regret from this scenario is solely that I failed in removing her from my life with ease and grace.

I’m asking for advice because my girlfriend goes to University in the coming months. For now, I act normal, because in addition to the economic benefits, a relationship also wards off the loneliness of being an outsider. However, when she is gone, I shall be free to act and do as I please. I fear that if I act illogically or miscalculate a scenario, I may land myself in inescapable difficulty.

I’m intrigued to hear your advice.

Homicidal Tendencies, Hallucinations, & Degeneration of Self

Answered by on -

A.

Much of what you have written falls outside the range of normal. To begin, while it may be relatively common for people to have homicidal fantasies, it’s typically a sign of something being wrong. You stated that for you, the idea of taking a life is empowering. Generally speaking, that’s probably true for most people who have homicidal fantasies. Having that level of control, over whether someone will live or die, likely is a very powerful feeling. People tend to fantasize about things they want or desire and don’t have. If an individual lacks power over their lives, then it makes sense that they would fantasize about that which they do not have but wish they did. In that way, fantasies serve as psychological compensation.

Your weapon-making “compulsion” is probably also related to your homicidal fantasies. You regard weapon-making as “compulsion,” though I would not categorize it as such. It may be more of a hobby or perhaps an extension of your homicidal fantasies in the sense that weapons make you feel safe and empowered. People who have a need to be surrounded by weapons often do so because they feel unsafe and vulnerable. Having weapons makes them feel safer and more prepared. Ironically, having more weapons, particularly firearms, makes one less safe. Studies consistently show that states that have higher rates of gun ownership have higher rates of suicide. Thus, the notion of stockpiling weapons to keep you safe is, in reality, risky and dangerous.

The bed-making in the middle of the night, your skin picking and cheek chewing, are all potentially indicators of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). OCD is an anxiety disorder characterized by obsessions and compulsions that consume excessive amounts of time, cause you significant distress and interfere with your daily functioning and normal routines. Thankfully, OCD is highly treatable with therapy and medication.

The antisocial behaviors you have described may be consistent with antisocial personality disorder (ASPD). In the United States, mental health professionals use the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM) for Mental Health Disorders. It is a guidebook to categorize psychological disorders. According to the DSM, individuals with antisocial personality disorder (ASPD) exhibit the following signs and symptoms:

  • failure to conform to social norms regarding lawful behaviors (i.e. commit crimes that are against the law)
  • repeated lying for the purpose of pleasure or profit
  • impulsivity
  • irritability and aggression
  • reckless disregard for the safety of themselves or others
  • irresponsible; blames other people; and
  • lack of remorse or empathy for having hurt or mistreated another person

Relatedly, in other parts of the world, individuals with ASPD might be characterized as having psychopathy. Psychopathy and ASPD are similar conditions but are conceptually different. Generally speaking, psychopathy is considered more severe than ASPD. Psychopathy is characterized by 20 distinct personality characteristics that include pathological lying, superficial charm, lack of empathy, and the willingness to engage in violence in order to advance one’s personal causes, among others.

Please understand that I’m not diagnosing you with ASPD or psychopathy. I’m simply pointing out that you may have tendencies or characteristics that may be in line with those aforementioned disorders. To know if you have those or any other condition, it would be necessary to consult, in-person, with a mental health professional. They would be in the position know what may be wrong, and most importantly, advise you on managing your symptoms.

Your main concern is that since your girlfriend is leaving and going to university, you will be alone and therefore more apt to engage in potentially illegal or immoral behavior. That is a realistic concern, especially because you have engaged in such behavior in the past and thus it would be wise to consult a professional. They can prevent you from doing something that may lead to your arrest and or imprisonment. If you want to stay out of trouble, then you must not engage in behaviors that are against the law. It would be especially prudent for you to consult a professional given your homicidal ideations and weapon-making compulsions. Individuals who fantasize about homicide, and who are actively creating weapons to hurt people, are at risk of violent behavior. It would be unwise for you to simply ignore this problem, and simply hope that it goes away. A therapist can also assist you with your possible anxiety disorder.

I hope that this answer provides some insight into your symptoms. I also hope that you will decide to undergo counseling. It’s the most responsible course of action. Otherwise, you risk endangering yourself and the lives of others. Should you engage in illegal behavior, you may wind up in prison, potentially for life. Depending on where you live, and the crime that you commit, you could face the death penalty. That’s not what you want. Please take care.

Dr. Kristina Randle

Homicidal Tendencies, Hallucinations, & Degeneration of Self

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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. (2020). Homicidal Tendencies, Hallucinations, & Degeneration of Self. Psych Central. Retrieved on May 28, 2020, from https://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2020/01/18/homicidal-tendencies-hallucinations-degeneration-of-self/
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 15 Jan 2020 (Originally: 18 Jan 2020)
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 15 Jan 2020
Published on Psych Central.com. All rights reserved.