Now you will learn about the numerous and diverse types of obsessive thoughts. This Chapter contains some very specific and obscene examples. It may seem to you that such reading can provoke an increase in anxiety disorder and agony, because you are so actively trying to avoid these thoughts. We know, however, that, in spite of temporary distress, it will be extremely useful to discover to what type your own set of obsessions belongs.
Such examples will be given for several reasons. Perhaps you are so ashamed or afraid of your obsessions that you have never shared them with anyone. Or maybe talked about them indirectly, losing part or selecting a neutral expression. There is nothing shocking about these thoughts for us, because we know that they do not cause any harm. However, until we consider them in detail, you run the risk of believing that your particular thoughts are more dangerous or disgusting, or worse, that what is said here does not apply to you. So, we invite you to read this information and find out that you are not alone. If you feel uncomfortable reading the examples, remember that the goal is to find a way out of suffering, and to go that way, sometimes you will have to accept a certain temporary inconvenience. When you recognize yourself in these descriptions, you will feel a great relief, because we are talking about respectable, mentally healthy people who suffer from such thoughts, not being either crazy or perverts or villains.
Secondly, some people do not realize that they have obsessive thoughts. All they know is that ideas, impulses, or certain traits of character make them feel terrible, as one of our clients did when he said, “Whatever it is, it is most likely the result of a severe mental disturbance.” We encourage you to recognize your personal case in this Chapter and say, ” there! That’s me! This is exactly what is happening! That’s my problem! Now I know that others are facing it, and I can do something about it.”
These examples were provided by exactly the same people as you. Good, kind and sensitive people who, however, are faced with stuck thoughts that cause suffering. As you read this Chapter, pay attention to your feelings. You may feel fear, disgust, rejection, skepticism, or even a strange elation. Or you will be relieved to look at your thoughts in a new way. Any of these reactions are quite expected, and there is nothing wrong with it. Give yourself time. Move at your own pace.
If you’re worried about picking up other people’s obsessions, it might be helpful to know that you tend to stick to your own obsessions, although sometimes their content may vary somewhat. We have heard people say that they would gladly exchange their obsessive thoughts for some others that, at first glance, seem less terrible. But any thoughts are terrible to the one who has them, and they all, in fact, affect the consciousness in the same way. No thought is more reprehensible, significant, or important than another. Remember that there is no danger in reading this Chapter. You may feel uncomfortable, but the result is likely to be a great relief.