She told me that I didn't hurt her, and I... - My OCD Community

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She told me that I didn't hurt her, and I'm confident that I didn't, yet I lack the confidence to move on.


Hi guys, I'm a 23 year-old man living with Asperger's Syndrome, as well as clinical depression, generalized anxiety disorder, as well as formally undiagnosed (yet abundantly apparent, as another comorbidity of ASD) obsessive-compulsive-disorder. At the moment, I feel like I'm in a good emotional place where I can finally say I've beaten the pure-'O' manifestation that began nearly two years ago, as a result of an emotional breakdown (that I've since fully overcome) caused by a difficult first year of undergraduate study.

Yet, as the title of this post suggests, I'm having trouble just letting one final, nagging intrusive thought go. So, in October 2012 when I was 14, during a Wednesday afternoon rehearsal for my school's production of 'Oliver Twist!', I remember approaching my friend Anya (also 14), who was with me as well as half-a-dozen staff members and assorted kids in the main hall. From there, I remember going up behind her, while she was standing at the lectern, fiddling around on the computer, searching for something. I know intuitively that I never groped her buttocks, breasts, private parts, or anything like that (nor was that my intention, then or ever). I put my arms around either sides of her shoulders and gave her a hug, and she smiled, saying something to the effect of, ''Oh, hey love!''.

Then, I hugged her again, and (as far as I can remember), I walked away out into the cafeteria. As I'm typing this, it seems so silly to be making a post about this, as my experience with pure-'O' has luckily been one wherein getting reassurance from my closest friends/family members, or the person in question who I think I've 'wronged' is typically enough for my brain to dismiss it. This is because the OCD can't then contort their honesty into anything else, as I know they wouldn't lie to me. I've also found sporadically popping up on here under different usernames extremely helpful during periods of extreme stress, just to gauge an impartial view.

What my brain is trying to contort that interaction with Anya (that lasted less than a minute, maximum) into is one in which I dry-humped, ejaculated or otherwise physically violated her; none of which I remember wanting to do or doing. While I certainly found her physically attractive because of her breasts (as most boys are conditioned to do, I guess), at age 14, I had a tentative understanding of what constituted sexual assault, and would innately never want to touch anyone who didn't want to be touched.

She was fine with me for the rest of our work on the production, I was never worried/ashamed at all, I never spoke to anyone, least of all myself about it (as I often do to organize my thoughts). Her twin sister was never disgusted with me, and we'd often speak normally. Anya herself gave me a Christmas card two months later in December, that I distinctly remember saying ''You're kind, sweet, and fabby-tabby-tastic!''. In addition, whenever I saw her around town in the summer of 2017, I wouldn't feel guilt or anything, it'd just sometimes be thinking, ''Oh, I don't want to have to make small-talk with someone from high-school''. She'd be with her boyfriend, and she'd always wave, and/or say, ''Hey love!''. That year, she also wished me a 'Happy Birthday' in November, when I turned 20.

I have dry-humped people three times before, but in all cases it was solicited by the other person. The first time was at 19, by a 32 year-old lady at a gig. Then at another gig while 19 by a 20-ish lady (who I consented to, but then became suddenly panicky towards as I worried that I might be making her uncomfortable, so I quickly stopped after a few seconds - she then looked back at me, looking confused as to why I'd stopped so abruptly). Finally, at 21, while with a lady (20) I had then recently began dating, and whom I approached in a similar way to Anya, with simply a hug from behind (not expecting anything); it was then she who started grinding her backside into me, which I consented to.

Fast forward to the stress of lock-down last July, and as you can imagine, when this mental image of me doing such a thing to Anya came into my head, I was distraught. I messaged her on Facebook, and was terrified to get her response. She was totally bewildered, and didn't have any recollection of me doing this, which made me feel lots better. As I said before, since I'm now on the cusp of beating this pure-'O' forever and am in a much healthier space, I just feel this 'what if' is still frustrating me; needlessly, I know. After reading a Guardian article about a new development in the awful Harvey Weinstein case in August, I was triggered into apologizing again - this time, for 'pushing my pelvis inside her or for it touching her bum' (see how the OCD thought will contort itself into being slightly different, each time). She said; ''Dec, honestly, it's fine. You didn't put anything in me, you gave me a hug from behind. It was years ago! Don't worry about it, you're good''.

The rational side of my brain (which is slowly conquering the ridiculously anxious irrationality of OCD) tells me that with this evidence, and also knowing my intentions at the time, and knowing how she dealt with me ever since, tells me I didn't do it. I know I should (and do) believe her, as she wouldn't lie. I know I'm not like Weinstein, or that horrible men who traumatized Daisy Coleman, or any one of my close female friends' assailants. I know that I'm an over-worrier who has deeply-held feminist values and is a good person, yet I just need an impartial voice to weigh in, I guess.

What do you think?

6 Replies

Have you read the book "Overcoming Harm OCD" by Jon Hershfield ? I'm about 1/2 way through the book right now. I have Harm OCD and it is a very good book.

Declan05 in reply to 3BirdLover

I haven't read that, but I read, 'How to deal with intrusive thoughts' by Stuart Chase (I think that's his name). It really helped me realise the artifice of these images in my head, insofar as they're reflective of a good person who wouldn't do bad things. So with this, I was terrified that I'd humped my friend gently, but then thought, 'well, did she hump me back, and that's why I never thought of it?'. But I realise that she would've said something, her sister would have said something, I would have been shunned socially, felt crippling shame, and since none of that happened, and also she's told me on two separate occasions that I never touched her with my reproductive organ, I just have to trust her. Thanks for your reply, that book sounds like an interesting read.

Hi Declan, I'm in the same situation as you. I did something about two weeks ago and I'm terrified that I was trying to hurt the person. I've tried reassuring myself, trying to ignore it. But somehow i just can't let it go. It feels too true. And I feel like I have to get reassurance from my mom before I can move on. I had a rather nasty night last night cause I was scared it was true. Ocd just sucks!! It's one of the cruelest things I've dealt with. I hate it. I just want to live my life without this ridiculous fear. Also it's scary like what if I'm this terrible person! What if all these ppl who are trusting me find out I'm not who they think I am?? 😨

Anyway sorry I know this isn't helpful. 😢

Declan05 in reply to Ocdwarrior

No need to apologise, I hope you're okay and things work out for you. What I've been learnt over the last year and a half of experiencing the 'purely obsessional' variant is that oftentimes our worries reflect things we would never do or say in real life. So with yourself, I'm sure you're a lovely person and as somebody told me on here last summer at the height of my anxiety, ''Your level of distress means that you're good''. Also, as someone on another forum said, ''If you do something, and in the moment are conscious that you're doing it, you can't then retroactively deny you did it''. I hope this helps you as it has helped me, and that things clear in your head soon:).

Ocdwarrior in reply to Declan05

Thanks Declan! One question. Something that I'm really wanting to hear from others about. Have you or anyone else reading this, ever had involuntary movements with OCD? I've heard a little bit about this from two ppl who have OCD and now help others. But I would love to hear from some others on here.

Declan05 in reply to Ocdwarrior

No worries, and I have sometimes, for example when I had an irrational fear of hurting children, if I'd be scrolling through YouTube, I would keep my hands firmly clasped on either side of the phone and actually hold it far above my head, so it wasn't near my body; I guess that's an irrational compulsive, involuntary movement that I've just had to uncondition myself from doing. Hope that helps:).

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