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"I Feel Like Killing Someone;" How Normal are Homicidal Thoughts?

As a forensic psychologist, I've been asked more than once how common it is to feel like killing someone. Most of can relate to the white-hot rage that so often accompanies these thoughts, especially during a painful relationship breakup or after a public humiliation. There is such a sense of powerlessness in those situations; fantasizing about doing away with the person who caused it is certainly one way to psychologically feel back in control. In fact, research suggests that the vast majority of adult men admit to having had at least one homicidal thought and women, although to a slightly lower degree, aren't far behind. Sixty percent of teen boys also acknowledge at least one murderous fantasy, joined by about a third of teen girls. These homicidal thoughts tended to be short-lived and directly related to a dispute; once the person cooled down, the murderous thoughts disappeared.


Here's where it gets more complicated. A 2017 study in the American Journal of Criminal Justice also found that certain kinds of homicidal fantasies are not only out of the ordinary, but they seem to be directly linked to a variety of serious crimes. These researchers looked at the backgrounds of a variety of criminal offenders to see what percentage had a history of serious homicidal ideation; 88 percent did not. The 12 percent who did, however, were the "worst of the worst;" they were arrested earlier, committed more crimes, and were responsible for the majority of the violent offenses. We've long known that 5 to 10% of offenders commit 50% of all crimes and 60 to 100 percent of the most severe ones. Now we know they also begin thinking about murder sooner.


So how do we make sense of the fact that most of us have brief homicidal urges and never act on them while the most serious offenders have homicidal thoughts and do? The difference between these two groups seems to be in the details. These homicidal thoughts tended to start in childhood and progressed from fleeting ideas to how they might be carried out and what the consequences might be. They also tended to be an extension of a generally angry view of the world in which people are seen as aggressive and untrustworthy; with this worldview, violence - even homicide - can be rationalized.


So where is the line that separates "normal" homicidal fantasies from prophecies of harm? While most homicidal thoughts don't usually mean a person will kill, they do mean something - unresolved anger, unhealed pain, a way to feel more in control, a cry for help. For anyone who experiences frequent or persistent thoughts of hurting someone else, getting help can be the first step toward emotional freedom. And for those who worry that someone they care about is a walking time bomb, speaking up may save two lives - the intended target and the person you care about.


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Ok so I have a pretty good childhood and a good up bringing but my parents expect so much from me so my life has put a lot of stress for me and at least 3-4 times a week I just imagine killing someone because I feel that it would loosen that stress a bit and I know this is a fact because even when I spar at a gym or punch a bag I feel that stress wash away for a moment and only violence does this for me, not soccer, not therapy, nothing just violence, i also have a lot of built up anxiety and anger and have gotten bullied/picked on at school and in many friend group…

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I am 16. I have a girlfreind. She was being robbed by men with knives while i wasnt there. our schedule is ruined, we cannot visit eachother today because shes busy with paperwork. HOW DO I END THE BLOODLUST. I NEED TO KILL THE ONES WHO DID THIS... THIS FEELING INSIDE ME, IVE NEVER FELT ANYTHING LIKE IT, THE NEED TO FEEL BLOOD BETWEEN MY FINGERS! HOW DO I END IT... I DONT KNOW WHERE THEY ARE, BUT... WHO KNOWS IF I DID... HOW DO I MAKE THE FEELING STOP?... IM JUST HOPELESS AND UPSET SITTING AROUND WITHOUT A SINGLE THING TO DO ABOUT WHATS HAPPENED... THOSE PEOPLE...

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It's only natural to feel that way. Just imagine how you would kill two other people who did not rob your girlfriend. You wouldn't be angry with them, you'd do it like any other job, mechanically, no emotion. Just remember the consequences, this is serious business and you shouldn't let your anger drive you. Whether you kill them or not, you must act rationally, logically. It's the only way.

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I'm a 13 year old going onto 14 in a few months and I keeping having the thoughts of killing someone in the most gruesome way possible. I don't know why but I guess I just like the feeling I get when I think of those things. I don't know if it's anger or my built up emotions I've been hiding for a few years. Mostly I think it's my parents based on the way they treated me in my youth, I didn't like it at all, I remember yelling at my mom once that I would kill her if she touched me again. I meant it, every word and she avoided me the entire day. I told my close…

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I appreciate the fact that you posted this to help him out

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anonymous
anonymous
Mar 12

Im 17. I dont want to kill anyone, i just want to kill this one person i hated and despise so much. He used to get involved with drug but now it seems like he stopped but that doesnt mean he's getting better. He's still as worst as ever. I really hated him. His voice, the sound he make, his footsteps, his existence, everything. Everything about him makes me want to kill him even more. I know what makes me hated him to this extent, but it's a long story. He isnt a good person but this thought that i had is not normal either. I literally planned his murder, how to kill him in an instant, how to get…

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Hey, nobody is responding to this and I just read it cause I feel the same way. Just don’t do it dude. I’ve done some shit and doing that would not be smart. Life sucks. Hate sucks. Just keep it in.

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is it okay if i feel like killing someone and feeding there bodies to animals. im 13yr old boy and i dont feel like killing everyone i want to kill grown men who just disgust me idk why. i act mature and im not okay in the head i just like the feeling of seeing a dead body as a kid i would always watch horror movies at 12 or 11 i watched evil dead rise and i felt so good seeing the blood of people splattered everywhere that movie felt so good and not only i do that i also watch porn and im just not okay for a 13 yr old. there are also alot of people wh…

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