One of the most useful skills you can learn to recover from your Harm OCD is the ability to say ‘I don’t care’ to your obsessive thoughts, as per the ‘acknowledging without agreeing’ principle. If you let your thoughts know that you don’t care, what hold will they have over you? Consider this conversation with your Harm OCD.
Harm OCD: What if you want to push your wife into oncoming traffic?
You: I don’t care if I want to do that.
Harm OCD: What if that means you are a killer?
You: I don’t care if I am a killer.
Harm OCD: What if that means you were never a good person?
You: I don’t care if I was never a good person.
In this small conversation, you are letting your Harm OCD know that you refuse to get caught in its trap and you choose to take its punches on the chin. You are systematically robbing your Harm OCD of any hold that it may have on you.
But one of the concerns that people with Harm OCD have in this regard is ‘What if in saying ‘I don’t care’, I actually do end up ‘on the dark side’ and really don’t care about harming others?’ When they have such thoughts, they may choose not to recover or put enough effort in recovery because of the fear. Here is a simple diagram in figure 3.11 to help you out of this dilemma.
Figure 3.11: The distance from where you are to the ‘dark side’
Point A is where you are – treading carefully, doing all your safety behaviors and compulsions to make sure that you are not even accidentally causing anyone any harm.
Point B is ‘the dark side’ – where you fear you will go, if you stop caring about your obsessive thoughts and work towards recovery.
Point C is the point of balance, where you see other people who do not have Harm OCD. These people neither need to do the compulsions to stay good, nor are they evil or bad people. This means there exists a point between where you are and the dark side, where you can aspire to be. Maybe because of the Black or White thinking due to your Harm OCD, you are unable to see that.
Even if you are at C, there is still a journey from C to B, before you go from an average person to an evil person. But, if it still scares you to attempt to get at C, which is the point of balance, you can at least try to get to D, which is still between where you are and the point of balance.
Even that much will require you to start saying ‘I don’t care’ to your thoughts.