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Unwanted Thoughts

Question:

First off, I would like to say that writing is a big step for me because I am very ashamed of what I am about to say. For the last two years or so I have been experiencing very scary thoughts. It all started shortly after my daughter was born. I had a dream, I can’t believe I’m about to tell you this, and it involved me having sex with a child. I woke myself up from this dream. My daughter was only a few months old at the time. I was so ashamed of this dream that, ever since then, my mind thinks any kind of sexual thought it can come up with, is VERY disturbing.

I am not a pedophile. I love my daughter more than words can express. I do not receive any kind of sexual arousal from these thoughts. I have confided in my mother about this, and she has told me that, if I was a pedophile or whatever, I wouldn’t think these thoughts were wrong. That’s supposed to make me feel better but it doesn’t. I can’t seem to get past the guilt and I can’t stop these images that pop up into my head.

I used to be a happy go lucky type of person, but now I’m always worried about what I am going to think of next or I catch myself not thinking of something. Sometimes I am so scared of these thoughts that it makes me sick and I wonder if this is ever goinig to stop!!

Please help me and give me some answers. I want my old self back!

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Answer:

It is interesting that you had a dream but are reacting as though you had sexually abused a child. What you had was a dream and that dream really scared and disturbed you. You are being very hard on yourself because you have done nothing wrong.

Dreams are borrowed from memories of our past as well as items of the last day or two. It is the brain’s way of discarding left over residue. It is true that these dreams also represent problems, emotions, stresses and problems with which we are coping. After all, two years ago, when you had the dream, your child had just been born. That is a very difficult time for mothers and for fathers. Bith is accompanied by lots of worries, self doubts, and anxieties, many of which have to do with questions such as, “how good a mom will I be, will my child be healthy, can I do this right, and others? In other words your dream may have more to do with the trauma and stress that accompanies having a new born child than anything else.

It is possible that what happened is this:

You are an anxious person who always had a tendency to have obsessional thoughts. These are thoughts that intrude and are bothersome. They happen when there is lots of anxiety. OK, you had the dream. The dream may have to do with having a baby. The dream frightened you and that set off your obsessional thinking in a way that never happened before. The thoughts intrude themselves and make you extremely unhappy.

What you need to know is that your brain is playing tricks on you. It may have to do with a chemical imbalance in your brain. Remind yourself that you are not and never have been a pedophile and that you are a loving mother.

I suggest and urge going into a specific kind of psychotherapy called Cognitive Behavior Therapy, or, CBT. There, you will learn how to control and even prevent these unhelpful kinds of thoughts.

Also, please know that what you are experiencing is very common. Other people with obsessional thoughts often feel ashamed of their thoughts.

Please go for help and you can learn to control this type of unhelpful and involuntary thinking.

Good Luck

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