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  • Writer's pictureStacy G. Smith, MS, LPC

10 Lies OCD Tells You

OCD Lies

Below are the biggest lies told straight from the voice of OCD. If you or someone you know is suffering, these lies may sound all too familiar. They sound quite convincing(!), don't they?

But remember, every statement and explanation below is a lie. Stay tuned for next week's entry where I will provide a truthful alternative to each of the lies below - told straight from the voice of recovery.


1.) Pay attention to that intrusive thought. It means something about you.

Yes, that frightening and crushing thought about using that kitchen knife to harm a family member, about poisoning your child, or about screaming an offensive comment out loud in the middle of your work environment. It means you are an evil, cruel person. Why else would you have those thoughts? No "normal" person has them. Do whatever you can to get rid of these thoughts, and monitor them closely to make sure they are going away.

2.) You must control your thoughts.

If you are having thoughts you don't like, find a way to control them! Try and stop thinking about them, do whatever you need to mentally undo having them, and while you work on this, reassure yourself that you're a good person. Say it over and over so you can fully believe it; even ask others to reassure you. You want to be a good person, don't you? Also reassure yourself that the time you sacrifice to work on this goal is worth it. You want to be completely, 100% free of upsetting thoughts, right?

3.) If you don’t do this ritual, something bad will happen to you or your family.

Tapping, washing, counting, mentally repeating prayers, or phrases... do whatever you have to do in order to protect your family - and make sure you don't mess up.

4.) Make sure you do that ritual correctly.

Compulsions done incorrectly are just as bad as not doing them at all. So if you make a mistake, or even think there's a slight chance you might have messed up, start over. Spend as long as you need, even if you're late to work or late picking up your son from school. This ritual is more important. Don't you care about the safety of your family?

5.) You have a great responsibility to keep everyone safe.

It will be all your fault if your house burns down, if a family member contracts an illness, or if you run someone over in the street. Don't be an irresponsible person. Replay every potentially dangerous situation to make sure you didn't do anything wrong. Did you leave any items out of place? Did you unplug the toaster? Are you sure? How sure are you? You don't want to risk being wrong, do you? Did you drive around the block and look enough times in your rearview mirror? Check again, maybe you missed something. Remember, you're the one responsible!!

6.) Do one more ritual so your anxiety will go away.

You don't want to feel anxious for the rest of the day, do you? You won't be able to function. The only way to find relief is to do your rituals. Who cares if they don't make any sense. They reduce your anxiety, right? Just spend five minutes; I promise that's all it will take. It's certaintly better than a full day of unrelenting anxiety.

7.) Rituals will help give you the comfort of certainty.

The world is a scary place, so you always want to be certain you'll be okay, that your friends and family will be okay, and that you haven't done anything that would leave you responsible for someone else's pain. Think about all that guilt you would feel! Keep looking for certainty. That way, you won't have to worry about all of that. You'll be free from responsibility and harm. Worth it, right?

8.) Having a frightening thought means it is likely you will act on it.

Pay extra close attention to all those frightening thoughts that indicate you're a dangerous human being. If you have distressing thoughts of possibly harming your child, you're better off keeping your distance. Don't get too close, and perhaps have your partner take over with parenting responsibilities. It's too risky, and your husband is probably safer for your child to be around than you are.

9.) You’ll Feel Better with Reassurance

Remember, you need certainty to feel calm. If you're unsure about a situation, ask your friends and family for reassurance until you feel better. If you can't get the certainty you're looking for with mom's response, ask dad. Then go to a friend, or even ask your children. Ask multiple times if you need to, or that anxiety you're experiencing will never, ever go away. And remember, you can't function with anxiety, so all the more reason to keep asking.

10.) You'll Never Beat Me (OCD), So Don't Waste Your Time Trying

I'm strong, aren't I? And I'm not going anywhere. Just keep doing what I say, and I'll eventually bring you the comfort you're looking for. All this Exposure and Response Prevention you're doing in therapy only increases your anxiety, which is exactly what you don't want, so why even bother going through with it? You know your compulsions eventually bring you relief.


DISCLAIMER: The blog posts shared on contain the opinions of Stacy Smith, MS, LPC, and do not reflect the opinions of any organizations or affiliates. While Stacy is a licensed mental health professional, all blog posts on her site are for informational purposes only, and are never a substitute for professional advice catered to your individual needs. Stacy Smith is not liable for any diagnosis, treatment plans, or decisions made based on the information presented on this website. Furthermore, commenting on posts does not mean a treatment relationship has been established with Stacy Smith.

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