Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Scrupulosity in OCD

Regular readers may remember me discussing the religious distortion component of OCD. Not all sufferers have this component, but those who do suffer terribly in their spiritual walks. They really believe, strongly, in these distorted notions, so it's hard to train them to recognize them as OCD-related. OCD is a horrible disorder and the more awareness we all have, the better. Those afflicted need our prayers. Thank you.

Examples found here.

Some examples of common cognitive distortions seen in religious Scrupulosity include:
All-or-Nothing Thinking (Black and White Thinking)
    • “I had a passing thought about Satan, so I must secretly be a devil worshipper.”
    • “I mispronounced a few words when I was praying today, so I must have angered God.”
    • “Because I had a thought about sex with someone other than my spouse, God will send me to hell.”
    • “I accidentally left out a detail at confession earlier this week, so God will surely judge me as unworthy of heaven.”
Discounting/Minimizing the Positive
    • “Even though I have consistently and earnestly tried to live my life according to my faith, I had that one blasphemous thought, so I must be a terrible person.”
    • “I volunteer at church every week, but I’m a selfish person because I can’t volunteer today.”
Emotional Reasoning
    • “My prayer wasn’t good enough because I didn’t feel totally connected to God.”
    • “I feel like my donation doesn’t count because I don’t have a ‘giver’s heart.’”
Magical Thinking
    • “I had a “bad” thought while praying, so my mother will go to hell unless I repeat my prayers perfectly and without bad thoughts.”
    • “If I’m late to church, God will punish my children.”
Should/Must Thinking (Perfectionism)
    • “I should only have pure thoughts.”
    • “I must follow all religious laws 100% literally.”
Selective Abstraction
    • “I’ve heard The Wizard of Oz is a wonderful family film, but it includes wizards and witches, so we better not watch it or else the kids and I may go to Hell.”
    • “Bob is a wonderful husband and father who treats me and the kids great, but he is from a different denomination, so I might not get into Heaven.”


Anonymous said...

Gosh that could have been a list of my own thoughts when I was younger. I used to be plagued by guilt. I would wake in the night feeling as if I'd murdered someone but in reality all I had done was try my best. Of course, this was the result of abuse and the abused child's thinking of 'it's all my fault', which then continued into my first marriage and which the ex-husband used to his advantage all the time. I hadn't realised the connection to OCD though, so thank you. I also now think that those thoughts, especially that overwhelming sense of guilt, was a spiritual attack. It makes me sad to think how broken I was and how I had no one to turn to and the one I should have been able to turn to only used my brokenness to further his abuse.
Now that my son has similar thoughts, I think, though he finds it hard to express them, poor lad. It is saddening, isn't it, to think of your beautiful child in this way :-(
Prayer, prayer and more prayer. And then some more!
Thank you for this.
Sandy x

Christine said...

People other than OCD sufferers can have such catastrophic thoughts, but the OCD mind comes up with a compulsion to alleviate the stress of the thoughts. I am so sorry you son is having such thoughts. I will pray, Sandy. Does he have autism with no comorbid conditions? Comorbid conditions are not uncommon with autism.

Anonymous said...

He does indeed. He has a Receptive Language Disorder and when he was younger also had ADHD but that has, thankfully, calmed down now that he is growing up. We are waiting to hear from an educational psychologist, but these things move so s l o w l y. I hope they will be able to help him. He's not unhappy, but he is anxious - I expect you can relate to that with your sons?
Being obsessive goes with the territory with autism - it's just that sometimes the obsessions are positive (like his current obsession with radios) and sometimes they are negative. His current negative obsession is that people think he is different and weird. And he doesn't want people to think he is different. If he could express it, he'd say 'I am not autism - I am me' but he doesn't really understand his own emotions. Thank you for your prayers. I really appreciate that. You and your family are on my prayer list too :-)
Sandy x