Think back to when you have had a baseless, futile argument with someone. Who wins a baseless argument? The person who doesn’t listen to the other side. The person who does listen to the other gets so caught up in the other person’s arguments that he believes some of it, tries to argue with some of it and gets lost in intellectualizing rather than winning. Crude as it sounds, it is true. A baseless argument is won more by sticking to your stand no matter what the contention of the opposite person, rather than actively trying to win it with logic.

Your Harm OCD only likes to argue with you. And it wins because of precisely this reason. The internal dialogue that you have with your Harm OCD or Jay is something like this.

Jay: What if you are a psychopath?

You: No, I am not. I have always been a good person.

Jay: Then why do you get thoughts of killing your dog?

You: I don’t like these thoughts; they are intrusive thoughts.

Jay: But what if you don’t have OCD and are only hiding behind that excuse but are really a killer at heart?

You: No, I don’t want to be that person.

The more you argue the lesser you believe in yourself because Jay can present an endless number of arguments. As the German proverb goes, one fool may ask more questions than seven wise men can answer. So, you cannot answer all of Jay’s questions anyway. This rumination may lead to further compulsions like checking, monitoring, self-reassurance, etc. Jay wins.

Now consider a different conversation with your Harm OCD or Jay:

Jay: What if you are a psychopath?

You (knowing you have to lie back to Jay): What if I am? I don’t care.

Jay (losing his grip on you): Oh, you mean you don’t mind hurting others?

You (lying again): No, I don’t mind hurting others.

Jay (raising the stakes): You are secretly evil and enjoy the thoughts of hurting or even killing others, don’t you?

You (lying yet again): Yes, I am evil and I do enjoy the thoughts of hurting or killing others. In this conversation, you refuse to take the bait. Whatever Jay is throwing at you, you are deftly evading by merely agreeing with Jay’s words without agreeing with the meaning of the words. You are in effect de-fanging your Harm OCD by not letting the catastrophic scenarios painted by Jay get to you. You are choosing not to engage, no matter how real the fears seem. You are thus not only winning the argument but if you handle every attack by your Harm OCD in this manner, you will eventually even win your war with Harm OCD. This is how you can use bullheadedness to win arguments with your Harm OCD and avoid its traps.

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