“I need help but am scared to express myself to people. I don’t mind travelling out of the country to see a therapist but my work schedule won’t let me. I have gone to several pastors but none could help. I love my family and can do anything to protect them. Right now I have been far away from my family because I don’t want to give in to the devil. I stay out late and I don’t go home sometimes.
“My wife thinks am seeing another woman but that’s not true. Our marriage is just 9 years and we are blessed with three beautiful and lovely children; two boys and a girl. Our daughter is 6 years old. She is my world and I love her but since late last year I started having sexual urge towards her. When am sleeping with my wife, my daughter’s face pops up, at the office I think about her. I have prayed about it but it’s getting worse. I am scared to stay alone with her.
“Whenever I see her dancing I get a big erection. I can’t stand to bathe her not to talk of dressing her up. I can’t control it so I tried to leave home. I am nasty to her now so she doesn’t come near me. I shout at her for no reason so she will fear me and stay away. She hates me now and also her mum. But they don’t know what I am passing through. I can’t explain to my wife to avoid unnecessary drama because my wife is emotional. I am losing my mind and peace; everything that makes my world is fast diminishing. Please help!!!”
He is suffering from sexual obsession, not “spiritual attack”
This story illustrates one of the problems a number of people face in our society today. And so many lives have been lost to issues like this. Our society’s beliefs and norms have made so many people suffering from issues like this keep to themselves because of what people will think, what their relatives will say and how their loved ones will react.
Some don’t even know it’s a disorder that could be treated. In fact, many often think it’s a spiritual attack from whatever source and so prayers and guidance by their pastors can get rid of the problem. To set the record straight, the man in this story is suffering from Obsessive Compulsive Disorder; it’s also known as OCD only that his type of OCD is sexual obsession which is better known as Paedophilic OCD.
What is OCD and who can suffer from it?
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder is a mental condition or malfunction in the brain which causes debilitating fears about things that are unlikely to occur. OCD is also a disorder in which an unwanted and unpleasant thought, image or urge repeatedly enters a person’s mind causing feeling of anxiety, disgust or unease. People with OCD sometimes are aware that their obsession and compulsion are senseless or unrealistic but they can’t stop. There are many types of OCD. Some of them include;
- Miscellaneous obsessions: this type of obsession has to do with the need to know or remember; the fear of saying certain things, fear of not saying the right thing, fear of losing things, colour with special significance such as black meaning mourning, white meaning death etc
- Unusual obsessions: this type of OCD deals with excessive concern with body part, aspect of appearance, being bothered about certain sounds or noises, cartoons face, losing one’s personalities.
- Sexual obsessions: this type of obsession has to do with the fear of becoming a paedophile, fear of becoming sexually aggressive, intrusive, unwanted state of upsetting sexual behaviours etc
- Harming others on purpose: this deals with having thought that you will cause harm by impulsively hurting someone just because you can.
- Religious obsession: this kind of OCD can involve intrusive religious blasphemous thoughts; compulsive prayer; unwanted concern about committing sin such as receiving extra change from a cashier, accidentally omitting any loved ones from their prayers etc.
What happens when one develops an OCD?
Symptoms of OCD vary from person to person. Below are some of the symptoms of obsessions and compulsion in human:
- The fear of making a mistake.
- The fear of causing harm to another e.g sexual urge from father to daughter, siblings etc.
- The fear of being embarrassed or behaving in a socially unacceptable manner.
- The fear of having evil or sinful thoughts towards a thing or person.
- The fear of having a terminal illness, sickness or disease.
- Excessive negativity, doubt and the need for constant reassurance.
- Collecting, hiding, stealing or hoarding items that are of no value to the person etc.
What and what can make someone develop an OCD?
OCD can be caused due to biological or environmental factors or combination of both.
Biological Factors: Our brain contains billions of nerve cells called neurons. These neurons communicate and work together for the body to function optimally. They communicate via chemicals called neurotransmitters that stimulate the flow of information from one nerve cell to the other. Scientists think that OCD arises from problems in the pathways of the brain that link areas dealing with judgement and planning with another area that flirters messages involving body movements.
It has been established that OCD can sometimes be passed on from parents to children. It can also be caused by a bacterial infection, so a re-occurring and untreated Streptococcus bacterial infection may lead to the development of OCD and other disorders in children.
Environmental Factors: Environmental stressors such as abuse from loved one, changes in living situation, illness, death of loved one, work or school related changes or problems and relationship concerns can cause OCD.
This condition is highly misunderstood especially in the African society where such people are considered to be perverts. But you need to realise that people with Paedophilic OCD are not paedophiles. The two are completely different. People with paedophilic OCD are disgusted by the thought and are scared of acting it while paedophiles enjoy the idea of having sex with an underage. A person suffering from OCD would rather have himself killed than engage in it.
Taking a critical look at the story I shared, you would see that the man in question prefers staying away from home, risks being hated by his wife, but chooses not to act on his thoughts— sexual relation with his daughter. You might want to ask why he is getting an erection if he’s not a paedophile and not enjoying the thoughts. Generally speaking, this form of OCD is of a sexual nature which is registered in the brain as sex. Then what happens when sex is registered in the brain? The brain sends signals to the organs of the body and they start to act accordingly. So he’s not aroused by the thought per say (as it is disgusting). So I can say his brain is simply playing a prank on him.
He’s having an erection but it’s not his fault
That he’s having an erection is not an indication of his own personal desires. A good father will always be interested in protecting his child which is what he’s trying to do. In case you’re suffering from OCD, it’s good not to define yourself based on what you are experiencing right now. Your anxiety and fear of acting out your thought actually make things worse. With OCD, the more you try to fight it the worse it gets. But the good news is that it is treatable with the right help.
Avoiding home is not the solution to sexual obsession; however, here are a few tips to help deal with this problem:
- Seek help from a good psychiatrist and psychologist that specialise in OCD. You can search online for contacts. There are many on LinkedIn.
- Join online support groups with thousands of members that have the same condition as you. This will help to give you emotional support and make you understand that it is common among people and you are not a pervert. They can also encourage you whenever you are having the urge by monitoring and checking on you so you don’t give in to the disorder.
- Don’t avoid your family; treat them well. Stop getting unnecessarily angry with them because once you are cured you will need them.
- Pray to God for His support and intervention because without Him, we are nothing.
Editor’s note: The views expressed in this article remain those of the author only; they do not in any way represent those of Pep Naija.