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Husband having intrusive thoughts please help

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  • #366309
    Indebt
    Participant

    Hi, I don’t know where to turn, my husband of 3 years (been together 5) has told me he is deeply struggling. He said he can’t stop thinking and worrying. He said for about a year now he has been having “bad” thoughts then getting fixated and worrying about them, he said he thinks what would April think if she knew I was thinking this and then that makes him feel worse and he feels so down and depressed. He said he even had thoughts of suicide just to stop the thoughts but said he won’t do that.

    I said it sounded like intrusive thoughts, I asked him what they were but he wouldn’t tell me. I said is it like sometimes when you’ve had a baby and you’re walking down the stairs the thought might pop into your head “what if you just threw the baby down the stairs” and you feel horrified that your brain would even do that and know you never would? He said yea that’s what it’s like but then I keep thinking about it over and over and what a bad person I must be but I know I’m good. I asked him if he’s every acted upon any of these bad thoughts and he said no, I asked him if he’s ever wanted to and he said no. I said then they are just random thoughts. Everyone gets to some extent but it sounds as though because he has become fixated on them it’s really badly affecting his life. He said the only thing that helps is alcohol but only while he’s drinking then the days after drinking the thinking and bad thoughts and worrying are worse.

    ive read online about pure O and intrusive thoughts and it sounds like that, the reason I’ve posted is that since he talked to me about it he said he feels like a weights been lifted but I cannot stop thinking about it, it’s like I’ve started obsessing about his obsessive thoughts! I think because he refused to tell me and just kept saying they were “bad” my brains trying to work out what they are and then I start feeling really down.

    ive read the intrusive thoughts can be all sorts of horrible things and I feel bad for being so selfish but the thought of him having thoughts about things I can’t even type here they are so bad makes me feel sick to my stomach. Even though I know they are just thoughts and it’s actions that count it’s just swirling around in my head.

    he was abused as a child and I think it might be stemming from that, I have gently suggested psychotherapy which he said he think might help but I don’t want to push him into it.

    I want to be a loving and supportive wife but I feel so scared and distant from him. I don’t feel like I can talk to anyone in real life about this as he has asked me not to.

    please help

    #366310
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Indebt:

    Reads to me that you having a good understanding of his condition, that he is suffering from Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, without the compulsions (Pure O is not a medical term, it refers to OCD without the compulsions).

    Regarding you “obsessing about his obsessive thoughts!”- I want to understand better, therefore I ask: are you worried that some of his obsessive thoughts are about harming you?

    anita

    #366311
    Indebt
    Participant

    Hi Anita

    Thank you for replying although I think I understand and I know rationally that the thoughts are just thoughts and have no power. There is still a part of me who is trying to work out what his bad thoughts are, are they about harming me or others or are they unspeakable things that I have read pure o suffers can have as intrusive thoughts. Then I feel sick thinking he is thinking horrible things and in what context and I start thinking about are they intrusive thoughts or are they things he wants to do and is he the person I thought he was. Then I feel guilty because I know rationally that the intrusive thoughts people with pure o get are nothing to do with how they really feel and doesn’t mean they want to do those things or that they are had people. Then I go round in circles.

    becuase he won’t tell me what the thoughts are I’m imagining they are the worst thing possible but then I get annoyed at myself because it doesn’t matter what the thoughts are they are not real life.

    how do I support him when it’s tearing me apart?

    #366312
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Indebt:

    One thing that concerns me is your sources of information regarding “Pure O”- like I wrote to you, it is not a medical term, so I question the info sources on “pure O”.

    To read more accurate information, perhaps look at government sponsored sites on OCD.

    I suffered and was diagnosed with OCD. Your husband is afraid that his thoughts indicate that he is a bad person, and that his thoughts might somehow cause the bad things he thinks about and imagines to happen in real life.

    Problem is that a very small percentage of people who suffer from OCD do act on their thoughts, a very small percentage, but he may be one of those people. I suggest you make an appointment with a medical doctor, talk to the doctor personally about your concerns, and have your husband see that same doctor individually, then see that same doctor with your husband.

    I will be away from the computer for a few hours. If you post again by the time I return, we can continue the conversation.

    anita

    #366338
    Indebt
    Participant

    Hi thank you for your reply, he said he wants to try and help himself first, meditating, eating well, exercising and not drinking alcohol. He seems much happier since he talked about it and said it’s a weight has been lifted. I said I think therapy would help him especially dealing with abuse from his childhood and he is quite keen on therapy but wants to try to do things to help himself first.

    I feel very confused about how I feel, because at night when I can’t sleep I think and ruminate about what these “bad” thoughts he talked about are. Are they about harming me, are they horrible unspeakable things that none of us would want to think?! And what do they mean? I feel so alone

    #366339
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Indebt:

    You are welcome.

    “he said he wants to try and help himself first”- he will have a lot of helping himself to do in the context of professional help; quality professional counseling/ psychotherapy requires the client to help himself!

    It is not just about him needing help- you need help too. Once he told you that he had “bad thoughts”, but refused to tell you what those were, and you asked him if it is similar to a mother thinking about harming her baby, and he said yes- naturally you would think (as I would in your place) that he is thinking about harming you.

    Because he told you what he told you, and he can’t un-tell it, he owes you to go to a medical doctor, a psychiatrist, for an initial evaluation, like I suggested in my earlier post to you.

    It is not necessarily that he suffers from OCD or from the unmedical term Pure O. If you are not aware of him being significantly obsessive in the past- it may  be that his “bad thoughts” are not a part of OCD. There are people who did not suffer from OCD, who had “bad thoughts” and proceeded to put those bad thoughts into action, and there are examples of those in court cases.

    anita

    #366340
    Indebt
    Participant

    Okay I will approach the subject about seeing a doctor again. I don’t know that they are about harming me I have no idea what they are just that they are bad and he doesn’t want them and that he hasn’t and doesn’t want to action them. They pop into his head and he worries about why they popped into his head and then gets down about it.

    #366342
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Indebt:

    I understand that you don’t know for sure if his thoughts are about harming you, but he did say that his thoughts are bad, and that they are similar to the example you gave him (of a mother thinking of harming her baby)- so it is reasonable to suspect that his thoughts may be about harming you in one way or another.

    Let’s say his “bad thoughts” are not about harming you.. it just occurred to me to ask you: did you tell him that you are afraid that his thoughts are about harming you?

    anita

     

     

    #366346
    Indebt
    Participant

    No I haven’t told him that I am afraid his bad thoughts are about harming me.

    The reason i haven’t said that to him is because the information I have read about intrusive thoughts are that they are not what a person wants to do in fact they are the very opposite of what the person wants to do which is why they cause them so much distress.

    I have never felt like he would hurt me, he’s never so much as raised his voice to me.

    I guess it’s the unknown that’s making my mind fire up and try to work out what the thoughts are and what they mean when in reality the information I have read tells me they don’t mean anything!

    #366348
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Indebt:

    “the information I have read tells me (his “bad thoughts”) don’t mean anything!”- I hope that his thoughts don’t mean any danger to your physical safety, but they mean something to your mental health and the state of your marriage (“I feel so scared and distant from him… I feel so alone”).

    You sort of diagnosed your husband as having “intrusive thoughts”, and “Pure O”, and figured that what you read online about these terms is true to your husband. But all that you read may not be true to him because:

    1. Only psychiatrists and some mental health professionals can diagnose a person, after meeting with the person and evaluating him. This means that you are not qualified to diagnose your husband.

    2. The people who posted their input on Pure O- many, if not all are not professionals, and none met your husband. So, what they posted may not be scientifically true, and none of their posts is specific to your husband.

    -This is why I suggest again that you see a psychiatrist, or another mental health professional who is able meet with your husband face to face, evaluate him,  and diagnose him if needed; then meet with you and your husband together, so to and come up with a plan as to what to do next, so to guide the two of  you about how to communicate on the topic.

    To no longer be scared and distant from your husband, feeling so alone in your marriage, something needs to take place, a better communication with him, a connection. He needs to know that you are feeling the way you do, and he needs to see that professional with you, to help himself, you and the marriage!

    anita

    #366350
    Indebt
    Participant

    Hi Anita

    i have had another chat with him and he is going to make an appointment tomorrow. Thank you for the advice.

    #366352
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Indebt:

    You are welcome. I am glad to read that he is going to make an appointment for tomorrow. Post again anytime you want to, if you do. I would like to read how this proceeds. I wish you and your husband well.

    anita

    #366419
    Zora
    Participant

    Hi Indebt,

    It definitely sounds like he has Pure O, obsessive-compulsive intrusive thoughts. I have also had multiple episodes of Pure O in the past and can relate a lot to what he’s going through.

    Personally, I’ve never told the exact content of my worse Pure O thoughts to anyone, and I don’t think it’s necessary to tell them for healing. The exact content of the thoughts means nothing. He feels ashamed and embarrassed about the thoughts, but the first thing for him to know is that the thoughts are no indication of him or his character. They are something randomly generated by the mind, thoughts that anyone can have, and the fact that he feels so bad and guilty about them indicates that he would be the last person to even act on such thoughts.

    What helped me was starting to say “So what?” to the thoughts. When they would come up, I would say or think “So what?” toward the thought, and just act as if the thought was a random passing cloud that has truly nothing to do with me – because that’s what it truly is, a random passing disturbing cloud. The less attention and importance was given to the thought, the more its grip loosened. He must lose fear of the thoughts and treat them as if they’re nothing and random. It has nothing to do with him, and many people have faced the same thing and overcome it, even with extremely disturbing thoughts.

    Sometimes Pure OCD intrusive thoughts can feel as though they’re going to last forever, but I would assure him that they won’t and that he’s going to get past this. My episodes varied, first one lasting 4 years, and the second one lasting 2-3 years.

    As far as how to best support him, he’s going to need a lot of love and compassion to remind him of what a great person he is, that the content of the thoughts is irrelevant, and that he will get passed it – he’s not cursed with it forever and it will be gone soon. He’ll have peace of mind again. 🙂

    I recommend on Youtube, a channel called Chrissie Hodges / Pure OCD Advocate. Super helpful channel for help, support, and guidance! Wishing all the best luck to both, you will overcome this 🙂

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