7 Seriously Disturbing Thoughts Even 'Normal' People Have

Photo: Skylar Kang | Canva 
Woman screaming from dark intrusive thoughts

Do you ever have thoughts that make you feel uncomfortable or strange? If so, you're not alone.

Intrusive thoughts or assumptions can take on many different forms. As a therapist, I want to reassure you that they are common and many people experience them. 

What are strange intrusive thoughts and why do they occur?

Intrusive thoughts are intrusive because they can be unwanted, distressing, and typically difficult to control. They're thoughts that occur to you involuntarily and often repeatedly.

They may also be unusual or unexpected, so they feel out of place.

At some point in most people's lives, they experience this type of anxiety-provoking thought.

And because unwanted intrusive thoughts involve intense emotions, they can be overwhelming and challenging to cope with — it's like a voice in your head that you can't get rid of.

These types of nagging thoughts usually happen when you're stressed, tired, or in a situation where you feel vulnerable.

RELATED: 5 Simple Ways To Combat Obsessive Negative Thoughts — And Become A More Positive Person

Here are 7 seriously disturbing thoughts even 'normal' people have:  

1. Emotions

People with unwanted intrusive thoughts about emotions may fear becoming overwhelmed or losing control.

Examples of these emotions might include feeling like you are about to cry or feeling very happy for no reason. Another thought can be a fear of feeling intense anger towards someone else.

These unwanted intrusive thoughts can be distressing and make you feel like you're going crazy. If you want to take care of yourself and manage this type of thinking, it's vital first to understand your emotions.

Get in the habit of checking in with how you feel to identify your emotions throughout the day.



Think about your mental health as a beautiful garden full of all of your favorite flowers. Just like you need to water and nurture your plants to make them grow, you need to do the same for your emotional health.

Give yourself the time and freedom to feel all different scents or emotions. And remember that emotions are a normal part of being human.

2. Harming others

People with unwanted intrusive thoughts about harming others often worry that they might hurt someone unintentionally. A thought about harming others can be very frightening and may cause a lot of anxiety.

This disturbing information sometimes pops into our heads for no reason at all. For example, you might suddenly think about running someone over with your car.

If you have thoughts about harming others, it is essential to remember that these thoughts are not necessarily reality. You're not going to hurt someone just because you have thought about it.

However, if you find yourself developing a plan and have the means to harm others, please seek support from a mental health professional.

RELATED: How To Change Your Thoughts To Change Your Life's Trajectory, According To An Expert

3. Harming yourself

People with unwanted intrusive thoughts about harming themselves often worry that they will hurt themselves intentionally. Disturbing thoughts like this can include cutting, shooting, or stabbing yourself, which can be highly distressing.

A sense of fear and confusion often accompanies this type of intrusive thought. You may feel like you are demonstrating symptoms of going crazy or being a terrible person. This type of thought can be frightening, especially if you do not want to harm yourself.

If your mind is thinking about harming yourself, it is vital to seek advice, diagnosis, or treatment. These thoughts are not your reality and should not be taken lightly.

Please, call or go to your nearest mental health facility immediately if you find yourself developing a strategy and can harm yourself. You don't have to go through this alone, there is hope, and there is help.

4. Intimate acts

People with intrusive thoughts about intimate acts often worry that they will engage in unacceptable or harmful behavior. Intrusive thoughts about intimate acts can be very distressing.

Your mind may be thinking about acting on certain fantasies or engaging in illicit behavior that you do not want to engage in. You might feel like something is wrong with you because you are thinking about engaging in intimate acts against your values.

If you experience intrusive thoughts of an intimate nature, it's essential to remember that you're not alone. Intimate-natured intrusive thoughts do not mean that there's something wrong with you.

Take the time not to judge yourself or wish your intimate thoughts would disappear. Instead, find ways to cope and manage your thoughts, such as seeking therapy.

RELATED: How To Break Free From A Negative Mindset In 5 Simple Steps

5. Religion

Intrusive thoughts about religion can be alarming, as they many times involve taboo topics or sinful thoughts. Many people turn away from a cognition about religion because they feel ashamed or sinful.

Examples of these unwanted thoughts may include saying something sinful or imagining a violent thought about religious figures. You may discover that your mind instantly goes to guilt, shame, and fear about intrusive religious thoughts.

If you're struggling with unwanted thoughts about religion, it's essential to remember that these thoughts are not reality. Nothing bad is going to happen to you for having sinful thoughts and you're not a terrible person because of them either.

Life is full of gray areas and intrusive thoughts about religion are a part of that gray area.

6. Death, dying, or suicide

Intrusive thoughts about death can be very frightening and make you feel like you will die. These disturbing thoughts often involve thoughts about your death or the death of a loved one. 

You're not going to die just because you have intrusive thoughts about death — this is not valid! Death thoughts are pervasive and they don't mean that you're going to die. 

Overwhelming thoughts about dying involve thinking about what it would be like to die. This type of intrusive thought can be accompanied by fear, anxiety, and a sense of doom.

If intrusive thoughts about death occur, it's crucial to seek support and have your symptoms reviewed by a mental health professional.

7. Losing control

Intrusive thoughts about losing control can be distressing and may cause a lot of anxiety. These intrusive thoughts often involve fears of misbehaving or acting inappropriately in public — they often involve intrusive images, sounds, or feelings that are hard to ignore or block out. 

For example, you fear that you'll say something inappropriate, do something rude, or make a mistake in front of others. In addition, your thoughts may be about losing control can also involve a fear of harming someone else.

If your thoughts are about losing control, staying calm and practicing deep breathing is essential. Next, remind yourself that you're learning how to practice self-care, and you can free yourself from this fear.



Intrusive thoughts can be hard to deal with so if you're struggling, reach out for support!

You don't have to go through this alone, and there is always someone who will listen. Reach out today if your mind starts wandering in uncomfortable directions or when it's filled with disturbing images.

Just know, you're not the only one dealing with these types of thoughts — they happen to more people than you might think!

If you or somebody that you know is experiencing a mental health crisis, there is a way to get help. Call SAMHSA’s National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357) or text "HELLO" to 741741 to be connected with the Crisis Text Line.

RELATED: Why You Need To Stop Letting The Voice In Your Head Get The Best Of You

Barbara (Blaze) Lazarony, MA is a registered associate marriage and family therapist, registered associate professional clinical counselor, transpersonal coach, best-selling author, and speaker.