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Should I Worry that I Think about Murder?

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From a 13 year old girl in the U.S.:  1.  I like the thought of concerning things (murder, torture, harming myself), should I be worried? I’ve never acted out on these things, except for the self-harm- but I haven’t done it in a really long time..

2. I have desires to do concerning things (running away, doing cannabis/marijuana, preform in sexual acts), I’m not sure why, but I really do want to do these things.

3. I’ve been to a few Psych Wards for my troubles, and I’ve realized that I really enjoy them than being at my own home. I don’t know why- because I really like hanging out with my friends and being at home with my family, so the thought of a Psych Ward doesn’t really line up.

Just a few notes: I have dealt with sexual abuse in the past, neglectful behavior from family members, and past suicide attempts. I also am seeing a therapist, but I’m too uncomfortable speaking to her along with anyone part of my family.

What could this all possibly mean? And should I tell anyone about this?

Should I Worry that I Think about Murder?

Answered by on -


The most important thing you shared in your letter is that you aren’t telling your therapist about your thoughts. Your therapist knows you. I don’t. Your therapist can help you get to the bottom of these thoughts. I really can’t. All I can do is make a few guesses.

For that reason, I’m going to focus on why, maybe, you aren’t using your therapy well. I wonder if you are avoiding life (and maybe handling anxiety) by thinking about things that are forbidden. Think about it like this: You have two books to read: One is about the exciting life of a murderer on the lam who is using drugs and hiding out in a psych ward. The other book is about the ordinary life of a teen-aged girl who is going about her business doing well in school and enjoying a social life with friends and getting excitement by going on roller coasters. Hmmm. Which book are you more likely to want to read?

The problem with those scenarios is that an “ordinary” life of a teen is seldom that ordinary. Learning how to get along with others, how to manage the demands of school, and how to find exciting things to do that aren’t anti-social is challenging stuff. It’s easier to think about secret forbidden thoughts than to actually do the “work” of being a teen. That “work” is figuring out who you are and how to get along in the real world.

I suggest you take your letter and this response to your next appointment with your therapist. It would probably start one of the most important sessions you will have.

I wish you well

Dr. Marie

Should I Worry that I Think about Murder?

Therapists live, online right now, from BetterHelp:

Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker

Dr. Marie is licensed as both a psychologist and marriage and family counselor. She specializes in couples and family therapy and parent education. Follow her on Facebook or Twitter.

APA Reference
Hartwell-Walker, D. (2020). Should I Worry that I Think about Murder?. Psych Central. Retrieved on November 27, 2020, from
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 30 Jul 2020 (Originally: 2 Aug 2020)
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 30 Jul 2020
Published on Psych All rights reserved.