Horrible thoughts

Hey everyone,

For over a year now i have been having horrible thoughts. If i look at a crucifix or statue of Our Lord or Our Lady i’ll think about doing something sacrilegious to it. I get thoughts of killing people that i really like. If someone mentions something that’s maybe slightly impure ill start thinking some kind of sinful version of it. I basically start thinking anything i don’t want to think that’s bad, and I can’t seem to go more then two days after confession without thinking one of these thoughts. I’m sure this has to do with my scrupulosity.

Any advice on how to get rid of these thoughts/links to things that would be of help appreciated.

Thank you!

Pray for St. Michael’s help:

Saint Michael the Archangel,
defend us in battle.
Be our protection against the wickedness and snares of the devil.
May God rebuke him, we humbly pray;
and do Thou, O Prince of the Heavenly Host -
by the Divine Power of God -
cast into hell, Satan and all the evil spirits,
who roam throughout the world seeking the ruin of souls.

These thoughts are from the devil.

Satan is capable of giving thoughts, and he is trying to disturb and frighten you with them. You can’t get rid of them with anything less powerful than prayer.

I strongly suggest the prayer Della just mentioned above; the St. Michael the Archangel prayer. I say this prayer whenever I receive temptations of any kind that I consider demonic.

What I do is say “Help me Holy Spirit” and help is instant. Then I say “Thank you Holy Spirit”.


Maybe it is due to stress? The devil and it’s minions study and prey on your weaknesses and are most likely to be effective in your weakened state. Demons know when to strike. Please pay attention to your health, well-being and the company you keep. Prayers said.

Discuss this with your priest. Bad thoughts are sinful only if you entertain them. Your priest can help you sort this out.

I will say a prayer for you right now.

Every time a thought starts, try praying. If your mind goes blank and you can’t remember the words of a prayer, head for the shortened version of the Jesus prayer which is one word - “Jesus” and keep repeating it until you can add help me and/or forgive me. Then when your thoughts are better ordered, it will be easier to pray more fully.

If truth be told, many people have sudden stabbing horrible thoughts or surges of irrational anger, so you will never be alone in this. As said previously, it is satan. I reckon that the closer we move to God, the more vicious his attacks are. Keep loving and trusting in God’s mercy.
I am praying for you.

First, if it’s a severe experience, you might seek a counselor of some sort.

I occasionally have minor issues along those same lines. My experience with such things is that it is very hard to purposefully refrain from thinking something. (For me, some stupid thought flits in. Then I say “I must not think X,” but of course that very phrase contains X, which then repeats itself over and over.) There are only two ways I’ve ever had even limited success with:

  1. complete inner silence. Try to shut down the inner voice. It’s hard, and occasionally the stupid thought will flicker.

  2. try to drown it out with repetitive mental prayer. This sometimes works, but unless I really, really, really focus on the prayer (and sometimes even then) the stupid thought I’m trying to suppress will repeat in the background.

Of course, I’m saying the bad thought “will repeat”, and “repeats itself” as though it were it’s own creature and not something that I’m doing, which is false. But certainly isn’t intentional - more reflexive for some reason.

Mainly though, know that as these things are not intentional, they are not sins. Here is an excerpt from the 10 commandments for the scrupulous that I think you might find helpful - it doesn’t directly address what you say, but it does touch on the same issue(there are two different versions of these, both of which are linked below).

  1. You shall not hesitate to look at any crucifix or at any statue in church or at home or anywhere else because you may get bad thoughts in your mind and imagination. If such thoughts occur, they carry no sin whatever.

Although this commandment deals with a situation that is not necessarily a problem for all scrupulous persons, it is nevertheless a real burden for some. If you try to avoid the problem by not looking, the problem will tend to become more severe. It is a much better choice to meet the problem head on. Thoughts and imaginations that occur in this situation are simply not sinful. One should try and confront fear, not give in to it.


You have been deceived either by yourself, by others, or by the devil itself. Pray a lot, read the bible, and set your mind on the love of God in His Son Jesus Christ who is the conqueror of all evil. Pray the Rosary everyday for Her intercession to crush the head of that devil under her feet, and invoke the Holy Spirit to help you to purify your thought.
You might need to see a priest. Above all, you need to reaffirm your faith in Jesus Christ and ponder on how he loves you in his paschal mystery like he loves everyone.
When you look at the cross think about his redemptive love, power to cast out demons and devils, compassion, friendship, generosity, tenderness, justice, peace and all he has shown the world in his life especially in his victorious on the cross and glorious resurrection.
Upon reflecting on these you may be able to bring about his love to others in your own talents, giftedness and charisms.

If you can’t control the thoughts and they bother you a lot then talk to your doctor and/or see if you can get a referral to a psychologist.

You may have a form of OCD.

Long before ANY mention of the devil takes place other factors need to be explored.

Re: Sin
If you have no control over these thoughts then you do not have the “free consent” needed to sin by them… but don’t just trust me, an anonymous stranger on the internet - talk to your priest. I would presume this condition is not new to him.

I suffer from the same thing, very intensely in fact. It comes down to this: we can not control the thoughts that come into our head (the impure ones are from the Devil); we can only control our reactions to them, which is to ignore them or to pray to God.

I often pray that God will stop such thoughts from assaulting me, but that, if he doesn’t, that he will help me with them.

It’s part of our cross, for those of us who suffer this. Don’t give up hope. And, you should know that unwanted thoughts are not sins.

I second that. Repititious thought are a form of OCD. If you are trying to control them you might be forcing yourself to think bad things.

I would first consult a doctor, perhaps a psychiatrist, who can help you with these problems. I would also consult your local priest maybe during the sacrament of penance, or any alone time you can get with him.

Maybe you are too afraid of getting this thoughts and this fear is somehow attracting them. It’s not your fault, but if you would be more relaxed about this problem perhaps you would not experience it with such intensity.
I’m also there sometimes, but I noticed that if I don’t pay attention to the “possibility” of getting them, they almost dissapear completely; but if I say to myself: “I don’t want to sin, I don’t want this thoughts, I feel so bad about having them” and obsessing about it they become more and more present in my mind. We have to accept the fact that sometimes we have bad thoughts, impulses, temptations. It’s not about consenting to them, but saying: “Lord, you know I don’t want to offend you, and if I have an impure thought or something like that, I will peacefully try to distract myself and abondon my soul in your hands”.

God bless!

They can be --but need not be.

Often they happen from natural sources.

Yes such is an ancient problem (one finds in ancient writings say from the 15th century etc). Some with scruples can particularly tend towards this problem (again this has long been observed in those with such).

Also (we cannot give medical advice etc here) those with OCD suffer this sort of thing. But even those without scruples or OCD can experience such at times.

What to do?

Discuss the following with your confessor.

(for OCD one would seek treatment and counsel etc from a doctor etc --Jimmy Akin on such: jimmyakin.com/2005/04/a_crown_of_thor.html).

Ignore them.

Be calm.

Do not consent of course.

But do not try to knock them all on the head.

Do not try so much to directly oppose them (such will have the side effect often of increasing them).

Turn to God (or even some good thing) and let them pass by.

Look at the crucifix and continue your prayer etc (let them pass by).

For a thought that occurs to you to be a sin --one must consent to it. Endorse it with your will.

(and note too that all sorts of thoughts can “happen” to a person contrary to their wanting them and there be not even the slightest sin – nothing possible to confess or even).

yes this very much sounds like intrusive thoughts to me.

Ask yourself: Do you WANT to think these thoughts, I mean, really want to? Probably the answer will be no. (if you are afraid that you may want them even if you don’t really want them, then most likely the answer is also no and you’re scrupulous, believe me I know the problem:o )
As a confirmation question, ask youself what feelings the thoughts cause when they come. Joy or fear?
If they cause fear then certainly you do not enjoy them.
So they are intrusive thoughts and that is mostly a psychological problem.

I have read somewhere that most people sometimes have such thoughts, only they don’t give them much thought and thus power. By fearing them,a s somebody else here pointed out too, we give them more power. Not intentionally, of course. But unintentionally. To very hard try to NOT think of something make that something usually appeard right before our eyes, isn’t it so?

Please be at peace. Such intrusive thoughts do not mean that you are a bad person or that you are committing a sacrilege. You have no intention to do such a thing. Actually they probably mean that your faith is ver yimportant to you, otherwise the thoughts would not cause fear.
Be at peace.
Try to speak with your confessor about it; not ebcause I think it is a sin, but because I think he may help you be more at peace.

:slight_smile: :slight_smile: :slight_smile:

I recently went through a very long period of serious sin with thoughts like these, and I consider it the worst sin I’ve ever done. I have commited it probably a thousand times since I promised never to do it again. I haven’t the faintest right to be angry with you, but I do have some advice: the secret is free will. At least for me, the main reason I had so much trouble with these thoughts was because I was afraid to be ashamed, so I tried to make myself believe that the devil was making me have these thoughts and it wasn’t my fault. Eventually, I had to face the terrible truth: I did have control over my mind. As long as I didn’t try to make myself think otherwise, I was the one in control.
We have free will and can use it to control our minds. The devil may be powerful, but it can’t override free will. My advice is to admit to yourself that you are the one who is really in control of your mind. Then, the thoughts should go away.

Do you mean, the thoughts led you to commit a sin, or do you eman the thoughts themselves were the sin?
Did you talk to a priest about this?
Maybe I really cannot say for sure for anybody else what is an intrusive thought and what is a willful thought, so I would advise to talk in more depth with a priest, preferrably a confessor who knows you, about it… I am too insecure still myself at this point having suffered froms cruples for a long time… ;)… I just want to add that intrusive thoughts is a very known phenomenon and is associated with scruples and OCD…
I would anyone with this problem suggest to read this, written by a priest… a long long time ago.
scroll down to the subtitle “A Favourite Stratagem of the Evil One”, that talks about intrusive thoughts.


I agree with you. When I read this My first thought is that this poster has OCD; I do, as well. Talk to either your own priest or another priest whom you feel comfortable with. Bless you.

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