"Violent" thoughts


I freely admit that one of my failings is that I am prone to fantasizing about maliciously inflicting harm on people I don’t like. However, this topic does not pertain to these sort of thoughts.

Oftentimes, when I am bored or otherwise doing something mundane, I will occupy myself by looking around, then running through scenarios in my mind that basically boil down to “what would I do if somebody suddenly came through that door/around that corner/etc. and tried to harm/kill me/somebody else?” Naturally, these thoughts segue into me thinking about how I would stop the attacker, usually involving inflicting harm or death on them.

I tend to be scrupulous, and I am wondering now if these sorts of thoughts are sinful?


It’s my understanding that scrupulosity if a form of obsessive compulsive disorder.

Some people have obsessive type thoughts, and personally, if a person has obessions, it’s really questionable how much of this they are actually responsible for.

Some people who have these thoughts, often can’t control them, need professional help, counseling, and or, medication.

Key to obsessions is often not in resisting, but more so in just trying to ignore the thoughts. By resisting the thoughts, with obsessions, it can actually do the opposite, make them even more intense.

So, again, I am unsure how much fault one incurs if one has something like that. Surely, it must at the very least, diminish one’s ultimate responsibility. It’s not the same with someone without obsessions having these thoughts and someone with. Those are apples and oranges, and surely, God, who knows all, would realize that, as well.

Had you ever considered getting some form of treatment for this?


I do this too. It seems to be a way of keeping alive martial arts skills I learned when I was young. Some people get obsessed with fantasy fighting scenarios. But an active imagination does not equal obsession.

What would you really do in a confrontational situation? Would you really play the action-hero? Or do you have other instincts for survival which would come to the fore?

Have you ever been mugged and managed to engage the mugger in some dialogue? One cannot expect an instant conversion, but perhaps a seed could be planted to sprout later. Sometimes I rewind an imagined physical engagement, and see if I can replay it with a different outcome.

Some time ago I was privileged to witness a fulsome manifestation of demonic posession. I fought hard alongside eight priests. It was a long fight. We only used words and silent prayer. The violence expressed by the spirit was truly appalling. What a waste all my martial skills are! The real fight is right before me, every day. I was glad, on that day, that I had spent less time in the dojo, and more time before the Blessed Sacrament.


You have these thought, so what? They aren’t sinful. You are just immagining what you would do in immaginary scenario. And if you don’t have sadistic thoughts (those which include pleasure in other people’s pain) I don’t see why would they be sinful. It’s like 90 year old “planing” bank robbery… I, however, sugest you not to fantasise to much if you don’t really enjoy it. I sometimes do it and I am sonetimes frustrated because of wasted time…


I have had similar thoughts, but not so much violence, more heroic. I will think what if a shooter came in. Would it be best to hide or try to tackle them? If they asked me about my faith, how would I respond? I think it’s okay to think about these situations to prepare ourselves in case we ever end up in them. Just be careful not to get too wrapped up in them. We probably won’t ever be in these situations, so we shouldn’t spend too much energy thinking about them.

These thoughts don’t have to be violent though. Try to change your thoughts from killing to simply subduing. If a shooter walks in, you can wrestle with them to take the gun away. You don’t have to shoot them after.


I don’t know if they are sinful, but you might want to talk to a mental health care provider. I have depression and PTSD and what you describe is very similar to thoughts I still sometimes have and used to have a lot before getting treatment.


Thanks for the thoughts and comments, everyone.

It’s not that the thoughts come to me unwanted, out of the blue. I want to think them, because they pass the time, and I see them as being useful practice in the event that something ever does happen (I have received some limited instruction in self-defense and fighting, where maintaining situational awareness and thinking of all the possibilities are implicitly encouraged.)

In my mind, I think of it in the same way that a person would make detailed contingency plans in the event that they wake up to find their house on fire, or what a police officer might put through his mind when he pulls over a suspicious vehicle.

I guess my hangup is that I think of these thoughts as being similar to the malicious thoughts that I don’t want, in that they both involve the thought of doing violence to others. But whereas the malicious thoughts involve doing so for evil intent, the thoughts being discussed here involve doing so with the intent to preserve my life, or the lives of those around me.


I do it too, sometimes. It’s kind of like daydreaming. Like, ‘what would I do if I woke up in the middle of the night and heard someone breaking into the house?’ kind of stuff.


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