Dissociating Mental Imagery?
October 31, 2005 8:51 AM   Subscribe

Any advice on how to mentally dissociate two conflicting concepts, in self?

Back in the day I used to.. jostle the elders, as it were ..and upon conclusion imagine a specific deed being committed. Now being absolutely uninterested in performing such a deed in all rationale, I unintentionally and consistently associate attraction for women with the deed and filter attraction for gals partially based on whether performing it would be easier or more difficult. Any advice on how to seperate attraction and the ? I have avoided romantic relationships in pursuit of eliminating this idea first, safeguarding too strong of a temptation. In reverse, I am relaxed by thinking of this deed, in a bad way. Any non-"so tell me about your mother" suggestions?
posted by vanoakenfold to Health & Fitness (35 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
V.O., I commend you on your courage, but you may need to rephrase this in a less sly way, as it may be too wink-wink for a lot of people to follow.
posted by johngoren at 8:55 AM on October 31, 2005

So, "how does one eliminate a fetish?" (Is that the question?)

I'm thinking a professional shrink is the answer.
posted by LordSludge at 9:05 AM on October 31, 2005

Ok, you used to masturbate to some kind of idea (deed). Now you associate women with whether or not that idea would be feasible or attractive. You like women with whom that idea seems feasible. Now you want to break the association before dating someone because you're scared you might be tempted to either spill your desires or do something else to scare her off. Is that right?
posted by barnone at 9:05 AM on October 31, 2005

Yes, VO. I would like to help but I'm unable to understand your post. If you're reluctant to speak about it publicly, maybe an anonymous post would help.
posted by alms at 9:05 AM on October 31, 2005

Crap. LordSludge (ahh!) is clearer than my suggestion. Breaking a fetish. I think Cognitive Behavior Therapy might work for this. It helps to disassociate behavior and thoughts and change the outcome.
posted by barnone at 9:07 AM on October 31, 2005

It might be hard to remove the association as these things are quite strong.

However, you might well get somewhere adding more new associations. Try and develop your fantasy life and think of different deeds that do it for you. Get different kinds of porn that challenge your tastes.

You might build up a richer mental language of what you like, and over time the original kink might become one idea of many and may evolve in new directions.

Hopefully this would help you broaden your relationship prospects.

IANA kink removal expert.
posted by lunkfish at 9:16 AM on October 31, 2005 [1 favorite]

So, "how does one eliminate a fetish?" (Is that the question?)

I don't have a good answer, but that certainly seems to be what he's asking.
posted by ludwig_van at 9:22 AM on October 31, 2005

Is this a really off-putting fetish? Are we talking a fascination with anal sex or sadism, or a fascination with something that could be considered far more sinister/creepy? I ask because my first instinct is: don't try to eliminate it. If it's something that really gets you off, why not find a woman who is into that or is at least receptive to it? Try not to make it the primary criterion by which you judge a potential partner, but you can certainly throw it in the mix.

Also, there is the possibility that if you finally do try it, that you may become less obsessed by it. Again, unless it's really something that could really be illegal/immoral.

If you're dead-set on eliminating the fetish, I'd try something like lunkfish suggests: expanding your repitoire of erotic imagery. Maybe once you have more variety in your fantasy, you'll be less concerned with this one concept.

I hope I have interpretted the question correctly; I apologize if I'm off the mark.
posted by Uncle Glendinning at 9:31 AM on October 31, 2005

Maybe your problem isn't this fetish, maybe your problem is your reticence in pursuing relationships because of it. So you have something weird that you dig. So what? It's a problem when you can't have satisfying relationships without it. Since you're not sure that you can't, maybe it's not an issue. Don't declare yourself the loser before you even take the field.
posted by phearlez at 9:42 AM on October 31, 2005

I'm also voting in favor of embracing the fetish. You'd be amazed at what some people are into; someone out there can probably accomodate you. If you'd like some help finding them, email me (my screen name at Gmail) and I'll offer some suggestions.

I've even seen fetishes that involve illegal or immoral activities adapted so that they could be safe, sane, and consensual (as the mantra goes). If it's something that makes you nervous ("uninterested in performing such a deed in all rationale") there are ways of approaching or building up to things. Don't discount the possibility just yet. Please.
posted by Clay201 at 9:43 AM on October 31, 2005

Yeah, my suggestion for CBT is if you're really serious about breaking the habit. Poking around on your website leads me to believe you may have religious leanings which prevent/deny you the opportunity to think through these fetishes or desires, and as a result, just want to ban them from your mind and are petrified of it coming out in a relationship. If I've totally misread this situation, I apologize, but we're working with tidbits.

Generally just banning all thoughts/desires doesn't work [nor should it need to, IMHO]: the thing which you are forbidden has the great allure. If you want to explore them, as Clay201 says, there are many avenues and ways to go about doing that. It doesn't have to be an all or nothing outcome.
posted by barnone at 10:11 AM on October 31, 2005

Response by poster: Sorry for speaking in riddles, but the reason for my obscurity in language has both been for a matter of potentially younger readers as well as SFW frankness.

My impressions of fetishes were that their presence was necessary or desired in order for the apex to occur, rather than being bothersomely present at such times. It frankly feels like a rather firm imprint that I can't shake from its foothold, yet.

barnone, you're remarkably accurate, in the 10:11 AM remark.

I wasn't a Christian (the opposition, in fact) before this deed had become so imprinted, and I would be very pleased to simply obliterate the concept, or at least its association. The idea that it would eventually arise in discussion is beyond certain, because being completely honest is what, I perceive, makes or breaks a relationship. Even as a Satanist it is likely an inadvisable subject to worship in such fashion.

I had already considered whether I was avoiding relationships and using the deed as an excuse to get out of them, already, but after much soul-searching I have found the truth to the contrary. Dilution is something I've considered, but I'm fairly sure I now know about most everything else and besides from that, am certain there are few things such "sinister/creepy."

While I am beyond certain I would never do such a thing, merely the idea that thinking of it brings me a relaxed enjoyment is possibly the most unsettling -- and the persistent preoccupation with it (as opposed to preoccupation of the mate) is rather unacceptable.

In regard to relationships, I am convinced (perhaps overly) that revelation of such a fantasy would equal consistent back-of-the-mind worry or constant unease of some variety if merely minor, which really isn't necessary and would rather opt out of a relationship than risk being the direct cause that kind of nagging doubt -- no sense in putting someone thru that kind of anxiety when I could have perfectly quelled it beforehand. I am also rather certain that finding a Christian gal who is into that is rather unlikely if not borderline impossible, even in a clean/safe way as another had suggested.

Combining the deed with a negative association is perhaps redundant, considering I am already repulsed by it (at least in reason, but not automatically) and carry a slip of paper with "in case of" reasons to get myself back out of it should I realize I've been dwelling on it too long.

I consider myself fairly well educated (BA 4yr univ.grad), but feel remarkably dumb for not being able to think of a way to defeat this quibble.
posted by vanoakenfold at 1:23 PM on October 31, 2005

Ooh, now it's like an adventure game. I can understand your plight here, vanoakenfold, but if you're a Christian and are aroused by such things, what makes you so sure that you won't be able to find a Christian woman who feels the same way, or at least would be willing to participate in your fetish with you in a role-playing sort of way, as part of a committed relationship?
posted by ludwig_van at 1:33 PM on October 31, 2005

Alternately, if you are interested in better understanding your fetish and the role it plays in your sexual life, speaking with a therapist would be a good route to take.
posted by ludwig_van at 1:34 PM on October 31, 2005

Translation for the lazy/frustrated: he likes to think about drinking blood, snuff movies and vampirism in general. This gets him off, and freaks him out at the same time. He's scared of going near women in case they indulge him in it.
posted by bonaldi at 1:41 PM on October 31, 2005

Next time you want to obscure a question, use rot13, for the love of all things holy. Picking out all those bolded letters just makes it a pain in the ass and isn't going to fool anyone short of an 8-year-old.
posted by cardboard at 1:47 PM on October 31, 2005

VO, my friend, though incredibly appropriate for Halloween, this is NOT a big deal (from my perspective, at least). As Clay201 suggests, couldn't you arrange a way for this to be perfectly safe and consensual and involve something more like play-acting, rather than the actual deed?

I know at least a couple (stable, law-abiding, model citizen) females who would be fascinated by this with the right, trusted partner, not creeped out. My feeling is that you're intrigued by the power dynamic, not the actual deed.

However, it sounds like you're very unsettled by this aspect of yourself. If it prevents you from attempting to form relationships; or if it's an utter, overwhelming, debilitating obsession; or if you wouldn't be satisfied by the play-acting and would crave the real thing, I don't know what else to tell you besides you need to seek out some professional therapy.
posted by Uncle Glendinning at 1:49 PM on October 31, 2005

I would have sworn he was talking about butt sex. Oh well, 1 out of 2...
posted by LordSludge at 1:57 PM on October 31, 2005

Go check out your local S&M/bondage scene. I would be very surprised if you didn't find a woman who shares your interests. I personally knew a woman who had her bicuspids 'enhanced' and was very interested in what she termed blood sports. I can't imagine that there aren't others.

Now, if you're looking for nice Christian girls who also happen to be into blood sports, I can't help you.

However, if what you're really saying is that you want to stop being turned on by these things, I'd have to say a therapist would be a good place to start.
posted by widdershins at 2:16 PM on October 31, 2005

Check it out: Gothic Match

Beware of cheap imitations.

Happy Halloween!!
posted by LordSludge at 2:28 PM on October 31, 2005

Frightened person: "I have avoided romantic relationships all my life, because I am afraid that if I ever got in bed with a girl, I would not be able to resist the impulse to slash her neck across with a blade, and slake my obsessive fantasies by drinking the blood that flowed from her lifeless corpse. Please help me - I'm so afraid that I'm going to kill some innocent girl that I can't even bring myself to write about it anonymously."

Ask Metafilter: "Sounds like fun! You definitely need to explore this further and act out your fantasies. Fetishes can be normal!"

I am shaking my head here in disbelief. Are you people all mad? Mad, I say!

Sure, there's a good chance this is a creepy Halloween prank, but there's also a good chance that this comes up on Halloween because it's a day with trappings this severely disturbed person doesn't have the mental resources to deal with.

Go find a psychiatrist, man, of any flavor, and quickly - before you get into worse trouble than you're already in.

And if it *is* a Halloween prank, then I'll just play the part of the kindly old doctor whose dire warnings at the beginning of the movie go completely unheeded, leading to a tragic bloodbath.
posted by ikkyu2 at 4:24 PM on October 31, 2005 [2 favorites]

widdershins is dead right. You will indeed find people in the BDSM community who are into this stuff. Folks like Viola Johnson, a fairly well known kinky person. I'm not her biggest fan, but she says that she drinks fairly regularly from certain people. This I believe. She says some other stuff that I don't, but that's neither here nor there.

ikkyu2: Lots of people have fetishes that involve violence and never attack anyone (nonconsensually, anyway). Yes, it's possible that johngoren is having fun with us and it's possible he will one day murder someone, but the odds are overwhelmingly against the second.

As for the first... I'm reminded of something Dr. Ruth used to say. She'd get all kinds of prank calls on her radio show; people asking things like "Is it okay to toss onion rings onto my boyfriend's erection?" She would still treat the question as if it were being asked seriously because, she figured, there might be something in it that would help someone else in the audience.

Well, I'm sure that out there on the internet there are people who fantasize about doing painful things to others or having them done to themselves. And I'm sure that a certain percentage of them are very concerned that there's something wrong with them or that they're going to hell. Maybe one of them will stumble across this thread.
posted by Clay201 at 10:54 PM on October 31, 2005

Oops. Vanoakenfold, not johngoren. I'm way too tired to be posting.
posted by Clay201 at 11:07 PM on October 31, 2005

Go find a psychiatrist, man, of any flavor, and quickly - before you get into worse trouble than you're already in.

Thank you for doing that.

I'm glad someone had the courage.

, you have a serious problem, especially if "I have avoided romantic relationships in pursuit of eliminating this idea first, safeguarding too strong of a temptation." means what I think it means.

You're not well, and you need to talk to a professional about it right away.
posted by AmbroseChapel at 2:01 AM on November 1, 2005

You've probably picked out the nuggets of info in this thread (like the bolded letters in your post, which frankly made me grin) but for what it's worth, here's the way I see it:

So you fantasise about doing something that is maliciously injurious to someone else, potentially fatally so... and it's illegal. Well, a lot of people do this. Maybe not with your particular fetish (although there will be thousands of people that do) but about others (rape, captivation, suffocation, etc etc). Remember that there is a vast difference between fantasy and reality. You're no different from anyone else in this respect.

Where you seem to imply that you have a worry, is in your ability to control your fantasies - and I'm reading between the lines a lot here. I'd suggest that you talk to a professional about this, a counsellor of some description; the goal shouldn't be to prevent these images, but to understand how you currently deal with them. You are perfectly capable of maintaining the distinction between fantasy and reality, and you do it all the time: did you ever get angry enough with someone that you wanted to hit them? And yet you stop yourself. It's possible that the "niche" nature of your fantasies, and your background, have led you to demonise yourself and isolate your feelings on the matter. Well done for taking the first step in talking about it - you should pursue this with a trained and open-minded professional.

"Dillution" may not appeal to you right now, but you may want to give this a chance. And of course, take every necessary precaution. This space is far too small to go into the "safe, sane and consensual" aspects that Clay201 mentions - any good BDSM resource will cover that for you. Be sure you understand it, and don't play any games until you're confident that you do.

I knew a girl who had a knife-fetish (I wasn't in a relationship with her). She told me she found it very sexually stiumlating to have a sharp blade held to her throat during sex. She took plenty of precautions with her lovers. Of course this sort of sex-game can be far, far more risky than the vanilla stuff. Know your territory.

Oh and if this is a Hallowe'en spoof it's very entertaining :-)
posted by ajp at 7:20 AM on November 1, 2005

Response by poster: 1. Not a spoof/prank.
2. Not snuff films, snuffing. I don't enjoy reading/watching/etc about it, but the idea of doing it. It's not the motions/mimicry that bring the rush, it's a draw/rush from the "taking a life" aspect. The method is just style points.
3. The absurd cost of pro.counseling is a bigger obstacle than trying to forget the problem. I'd rather have the problem and all my money back than be broke and it gone -- greater social ills can be arighted with the same funds than simply my quibble over dissociating two topics. I already know its origins/roots, symbolism, relations to social position, passive/etc, and oodles of perspectives of whether it really is "bad" or not -- I just need some dissociation tips.
4. BSDM is absolutely out of the question. Any suggestion about stoking it annihilates my perception of its speaker having any credibility.
5. No knives/blades -- Teeth. Hands.
6. Jeers to the bold spoilers ;-P
7. Not worried about whether it is common or rare, concerned with its oblivion in me.
8. Not interested in bloodsport Xian gals; interested in relationships sans kink. I re-emphasize: I want to douse the flame, not fan it.

did you ever get angry enough with someone that you wanted to hit them? And yet you stop yourself.

The difference being, imagining and dwelling on the punching and enjoying the imagined punching action and imaginary injury, inwardly. While the action was not truly taken, it might as well have been on the imaginer's end --there are still consequences, just not visibly, to the unpunched.

I also reject the idea -- to be clear -- that I'm worried it will actually occur, as an actual event, but instead, that the desire to and follow-thru on the imagination end will arise again and often. I can certifiably guarantee no kill will actually take place, I have already weighed the consequences (both directly such as jail, and ripple-effects like victim's family dismay, etc) thoroughly, and it's not worth it, and that worth is well enough to prevent an legally liable deed. However, festering it with mimicry will only worsen the further legitimatize the rush -- exactly opposite of my request.

Again: any advice on how to mentally dissociate two conflicting concepts, in self?
posted by vanoakenfold at 11:41 AM on November 1, 2005

Again: any advice on how to mentally dissociate two conflicting concepts, in self?

I think you've gotten about the extent of the advice you're going to receive here. Also, that's a very unclear and confusing way to phrase your question.
posted by ludwig_van at 12:23 PM on November 1, 2005

For what it's worth, vanoakenfold - and I realize that you don't have to listen to me - I am concerned that you are not thinking straight, at least with regard to this topic.

As a trained, board-certified mental health professional, reading this thread and examining your convoluted lines of thinking frankly gives me the willies.

Ever read an interview with Richard Ramirez, the Night Stalker? Go dig one up - he restates your own feelings and experiences, nearly word for word. He never thought he'd act on it either, but the drives became intolerable, and one day he crossed the line.

Your goals are commendable, and your reaching out for help here is commendable. But you are not going to be able to do this on your own. You need professional help, stat. Not to 'pathologize' you; nor to ask you questions about your mother - but, instead, to help you achieve the guidance and insight you're going to need to make the changes you want to make in your personality.

I wish you good luck.
posted by ikkyu2 at 9:27 PM on November 1, 2005

I can certifiably guarantee no kill will actually take place, I have already weighed the consequences (both directly such as jail, and ripple-effects like victim's family dismay, etc) thoroughly, and it's not worth it

The simple fact that you can express here, in a very public setting, your "guarantee" that you won't kill or inure some woman, because you've "considered the consequences", tells me that you are quite genuninely ill.

There's something wrong with the way your mind works. Normal healthy people don't think like that. Normal healthy people don't have to guarantee they won't kill someone.

Normal healthy people don't refrain from killing people because they've "considered the consequences". They refrain from killing people because they know at some fundamental level that it's wrong. You don't appear to know that.

You don't appear to know the way your mind works might be considered shocking to others. You've considered that the family of your imaginary victim might suffer "dismay"? That is not the word that comes to mind.

Please talk to a doctor, psychologist, priest, whatever works for you, as soon as possible.
posted by AmbroseChapel at 7:32 PM on November 2, 2005

Response by poster: You don't appear to know the way your mind works might be considered shocking to others.

The reactions of others do not bother me much, because their perception of me is not what matters -- what matters to me is the actual true/false conditions of a situation, not someone's opinion of it -- like a police officer trying to find the facts apart from the hissy fits of a domestic dispute. If someone perceives incorrectly about an assumption they made about me, I am satisfied knowing they are simply wrong without necessity to explain (but indulge in arighting, on occasion) crediting it to their own refusal to consider other possibilities and/or closemindedness. It's not that I don't know it might be shocking, I am merely not concerned with this detail I consider insignificant or remotely notable -- novelty, at best. Thus, this query was not anonymous.

My use of dismay refers merely to all things associated collectively with losing a loved one, not to degrees or intesity of sadness.

I checked out this Ramirez person here and there and found his record, motivations, style and daring to be starkly different from me. I have zero criminal record (never even been pulled over for speeding before), and zero temptation to actually commit any variety of personal/physical harm -- but to think it and dwell on the legally-unchargable action of the imagination -- which I want to stop doing. The actual physical action of harming a person has never appealed to me, but dwelling on the unseen fantasyland has because there are no consequences.

The simple fact that you can express here, in a very public setting, your "guarantee" that you won't kill or inure some woman, because you've "considered the consequences", tells me that you are quite genuninely ill.

The reason I specified a guarantee I would not commit it was because I had already anticipated the like-clockwork perception that some gear was missing a tooth upstairs and that I'd soon be compared with Jack the Ripper or some other serial terror. If you check the original post, the third sentence is just such a clause. In a second follow-up, I also noted it, remarking, "While I am beyond certain I would never do such a thing..." to stifle just such a plainfaced misinterpetation, but apparently each time it was unnoticed, instead opting to read what the emotion festered and not the facts.

You may perceive that I have similar patterns of thinking as any given marauder, but by no means am I such a person -- just as identifying that having ten fingers links me to the digital configuration of Albert Einstein. I have practically no background of exposure to extreme incidents by which to "turning point" me, I have never broken a bone and am possibly one of the most unsponatenous people you will ever meet. I am a very plain, minds-his-own-business person, with a perferance to silence (than to speaking out) and have a matter I'd like dissociated. I have never gotten into a fight and vehemently oppose war (in favor of a rational discussion rather than heated emotion). If anything, I have an dedicated and acted-upon rationale for the humanitarian aspect, sacrificing self's entertainment for the betterment of the third world, with sponsorships in Romania and Honduras. My will is writ with WorldVision as the beneficiary, a Christian (and otherwise highly accountable) charity dedicated to basic provision, literacy, increasing basic knowledge and spiritual awakening, through which the sponsorships have been acquired. Any possibility of stopping my current flow of income (such as a murder conviction would warrant) would interrupt the process of increased donations to such causes, practically guaranteeing your precious proof instead of simply my word it won't happen. Paradoxically, perhaps, the selfsame source of donatable dough would doubly be dashed by arranging appointments with a maven of the mental (English majors, unite).

It seems most of Ramirez' crimes involve theft and showmanship, none of which appeal to me either. If I had a "style" in fantasyland in contrast to Ramirez' penchant for the dramatic, it would involve no pain to the person, very little splatter, and utter silence -- not brazen knife-wielding, shouting or fright of the victim. Ramirez was brutal and uncontrolled, my (preferably un-)treasured flings of fantasy are silent, smooth, and sensual.

The key misunderstanding you may have is perhaps best described as transferrance from fantasy to reality. There is certifiably zero (bold and italic) temptation to actually do this. What I need help is with is a method or formula for removing the synapse between sensual and scythe, a barrier betwixt babe and blood. You're making it a bigger problem than it is. Its transference from fantasy to reality is 100% controlled and substantially if not completely impossible. As ajp noted, Remember that there is a vast difference between fantasy and reality.
posted by vanoakenfold at 10:05 AM on November 3, 2005

I had already anticipated the like-clockwork perception that some gear was missing a tooth upstairs

Well, that's a good first step then - you realize how severely abnormal your thoughts are. And I can assure you, they are very abnormal. Hardly anyone has thoughts like yours.

However, a few do, and most are disturbed by them, as you are. There are techniques which have been used successfully to help a person stop having the disturbing thoughts.

I would direct your attention to this article. While the person this article is about is in a very different state from yourself, I would like to draw your attention to a couple of things:

a) This person had fantasies of killing people with knives. The motivations differ from yours, but what is in common is that the fantasies disturbed him greatly and he wished to be rid of them.

b) The treating physicians shared the individual's desire to free him of his disturbing fantasies, and used what techniques they had at their disposal to try to help. This is pertinent to you, because similar techniques might be of benefit to you also.

Again, I wish you well.
posted by ikkyu2 at 12:14 PM on November 3, 2005

Response by poster: This is pertinent to you, because similar techniques might be of benefit to you also.

Which brings us back to the original question...
posted by vanoakenfold at 9:29 AM on November 4, 2005

They were cognitive and behavioral therapy techniques.
posted by ikkyu2 at 12:51 PM on November 4, 2005

Response by poster: I read it, and it was interesting with a few similarities -- but included no real details about the therapy, but merely that "therapy was performed" rather that citing specific techniques. I'm not going to sign myself to the 'nervous hospital' just to find them.

So as a "trained, board-certified mental health professional" can you suggest any dissociation pointers, irrespective of subject?
posted by vanoakenfold at 6:51 AM on November 7, 2005

posted by ikkyu2 at 11:19 PM on December 12, 2005 [2 favorites]

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