What is pure OCD?
Imagine for one moment your worst fear:
Hurting a loved one?
Having paedophilic thoughts?
Hurting a stranger?
Having suicidal thoughts?
Pure OCD is a form of Obsessional Compulsive Disorder that plays on your worst fears and makes you react in ways that confirm your guilt!
The only difference between someone having similar thoughts with or without pure OCD is their conscience.
A sociopath or paedophile will not have a conscience and therefore DO want to hurt people for their own gains.
Whereas for a person with Pure OCD, their thoughts are abhorrent to them, often leading them to go to long lengths to make sure that they do not follow out their thoughts - and this can include suicide!
In my career I have seen many cases of Pure OCD, which illustrates how common this type of anxiety disorder is. It is a horrendous mutation of anxiety to have, and I believe that further explanation of its symptoms might help others who are suffering in silence. And they generally are suffering in silence, mainly because they think they will do something that is so bad; how on earth could they tell anyone? They could go to prison or be added to a sex offender list etc if their disorder was misunderstood - which it can be!
For example, if a friend or relative of yours disclosed that they were having sexual thoughts about your child, how would you react? Or what if they disclosed that they had to hide their knives because they feared stabbing you?
You can see how easily these type of disclosures could be heard in a way that the person disclosing may be condemned - but the truth is that they are already condemning themselves. This is why their conscience is important. A paedophile is unlikely to tell you that they are having sexual thoughts about your child, rather, they would just try to find alone time with your child. Whereas someone with Pure OCD would fear being left alone with your child and would avoid it at all costs.
And again a sociopath would not tell you that they feared harming you, they would more likely taunt you about how much enjoyment they would have in harming you.
Can you detect the difference?!
Here is an example of a client who experienced Pure OCD but were treated successfully in psychotherapy.
Sally presented with OCD behaviour, but it soon became apparent that she experienced Pure OCD too. Sally stated that as soon as she woke up, she had to get straight out of bed. She also disclosed that she could not have knives in her house, somewhere she shared with her partner. It soon came to light that Sally was having harmful thoughts towards her partner, which were so horrific to her that she had to change her behaviours to keep him 'safe'. She feared stabbing him, so got rid of knives, scissors etc., which was hard to explain. Furthermore, she had to get out of bed as soon as she woke up because she also feared smothering her partner. She was totally distraught and had started to self-harm to punish herself for having such thoughts.
Once Sally disclosed her fears, working towards a resolve was simple. Firstly I helped normalise her condition and therefore enabled her to A - understand that she was experiencing a known disorder; and B - that she could overcome it with help.
As with all anxieties, the person has been taken over by their animal brain and their behaviours adapt to the fear, which only serves to confirm the fear, not overcome it. Moreover confirming the fear also confirms the guilt and the possibility that they can/will act out their thoughts.
Within four hours of treatment Sally no longer experienced Pure OCD symptoms, had a greater understanding of anxiety and was able to re-establish a loving relationship with her partner.