There is a paradox in Harm OCD that you should be aware of. Harm OCD makes you fearful of your obsessions. You do not want the obsessions and wish that they would go away. For example, the thought, ‘what if I want to drown my cat?’ is an obsession that you do not want.

Your obsessions are however brought on by your triggers. If unchecked and uncorrected, the scope of triggers keeps expanding. You may be triggered by some object that was not a trigger until yesterday. So, maybe until yesterday, a fish tank may not have been triggering but because of the obsession of drowning your cat, the same fish tank becomes triggering today. You then begin to avoid your triggers, so that the obsession does not make an appearance and you don’t feel anxious. Thus, you will not want to see fish tanks anywhere lest you get triggered.

Here is where the paradox comes in. You don’t want to see the fish tank. But your eyes rove around any place to see if there are any fish tanks that you don’t want to see. Meaning – you are seeking out what you think you are avoiding.

This is just one trigger. Imagine seeking out pencils, screwdrivers, pairs of scissors, knives, hammers, chemicals, rat poison bottles, and other potential ‘harm implements’ with a view to avoiding them. Most of these objects are daily use objects and you can come across any of them almost anywhere. By seeking out objects that you want to avoid, you are inviting more triggers needlessly. The solution lies in not seeking out the fish tanks and if you learn how to do that, paradoxically, you will stop avoiding fish tanks and the obsession will lose its power. To however identify your triggers, you could consider making a note of your avoidances, and you may find yourself discovering new triggers that may have become subconscious in nature.

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