Disturbing intrusive thoughts

Disturbing intrusive thoughts
that make you worry
that you’re a bad person

I get these thoughts. When I see the schemes of the bad guys in a James Bond film I think that it is tame, either they could just shoot Bond, or they could do something like suspend him over a tank of hungry piranha fish, make little cuts to his legs to make the blood flow and then lower him in an inch at a time.

I would not have caved in like Auric Goldfinger when Bond said that MI6 knew of Operation Grand Slam. there was no reason to.be weak. Any psychopath worthy of the name would smile and let the laser do what lasers do.

Well that is the theory.

A cartoon representation of a villain with a large curly moustache and top hat.
A villainic representation
From Wikimedia Commons

But there is my problem, I have a sense that acting like a Bond villain is wrong and as much as I can see that they are not as ruthless as I can imagine a villain should be, I actually have a very strong sense of what is right and wrong. My mind can think up all the evil in the world in a purely logical way, but my moral fibre won’t let me do it. Without a conscience won’t let me. I could never be like Villanelle from the TV show Killing Eve, the only truly psychopathic character I have come across in film and TV, a great performance from Jody Comer. Here is one villain who goes beyond what I can imagine, but I can deal with that as I knew it is fiction. Far more troubling was David Tennant playing Dennis Nilsen in Des as here was a psychopath based in reality. That was really chilling.

I am autistic, which is interesting when you see what people think about people like me. Some have us down as impersonal cyborgs, a criticism levelled at Swedish activist Greta Thunberg based only on her monotone delivery. I have read that we are psychopaths, having no sense of right or wrong. On the other hand research has shown that autistic people are less likely to be involved in criminal activity, and that is supposed to be a bad thing. I wrote about that last year.

We are not monsters

We do not have moral judgement, that is a bad thing. We do have moral judgement, that is a bad thing. Make your minds up. We do have Theory of Mind, the ability to attribute mental states to ourselves and others, although Baron-Cohen (the psychologist not the actor) said in 1984 that it develops more slowly in autistic children. That last sentence, translated into English from science-speak means that we are not monsters.

What this means is that when someone crosses me I often feel like killing them, so I work out the logic of how I would do it in the most painful and humiliating way possible. Of the two humiliation is the worst. Then I don’t do it. That is the important bit, not doing it. I find a way to apologise for my part in the disagreement, which is important as rising anxiety can make if increasingly difficult for me to apologise as time goes on.

But I worry. I worry that because I am capable of thinking bad things that that makes me a bad person. Not that I’d do any of them, but the thoughts are directed at real people. I’m not very good at hiding negative thoughts either, if looks could kill I’d be a mass murderer. I have no intention of killing anyone, ever. But I do wonder why I get these thoughts, even when I wake from a dream. I dislike the fact that these thoughts can come out of my subconscious, If they are there am I bad?

Go with your hunches

The best advice I have ever received in this is, “Go with your hunches.” That is a far better way of looking at things, my hunches are not to harm, no matter what comes up in waking dreams. That good advice was unusually from a Christian. I say unusually because most of the advice has been along the lines of, “You must pray more,” without asking how much praying I do. Or that I am sinful and must confess my sin to God. Yes, I do that. Mainly their advice, seeing as I am already feeling guilt is to pour more guilt on it as if that would help. It doesn’t. If I go with my hunches I approach it as the real me. This also helps with praying. I don’t believe that God wants me to beat myself up over my subconscious thoughts, come as you are.

But we are not immoral robots. Autistic people have a deep sense of right and wrong. Greta Thunberg is a great representation of that trait.

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