Mindset | Blog

Scrupulosity OCD and Thoughts


When you struggle with scrupulosity OCD, you probably experience thoughts that are not congruent with your beliefs, who you are, and who you want to become. The natural response to having unpleasant and unwanted thoughts is to want to get rid of them.

When they show up, you may wonder, “What do these thoughts say about me? Do I want them? Is that why they won’t go away? If I don’t fight against them, they may become reality. If I let them be in my head, it means I am as bad as if I were acting on them.” These responses can be daunting AND the good news is that you can change the way you respond to your thoughts!

First, let’s briefly clarify what thoughts are not, and what they are so you can start learning how to change your relationship with not only your thoughts but also your feelings evoked by your scrupulosity OCD.

What thoughts are NOT:

  • They are not equivalent to actions.
  • They don’t make an event likely to happen.
  • They don’t predict your behavior.
  • They don’t represent who you are.

What thoughts are:

  • They are words that come from your mind.
  • They are part of your inside world.
  • They are natural, internal, private events.
  • They can be helpful or unhelpful, and you get to decide which ones you want to act on and which ones are not helpful. Thus, you can let them be.

Your OCD mind might have you believe that if your thoughts are “bad,” it might be your fault. Please know that this is a common thinking error. Individuals who struggle with OCD often experience this type of thinking.

You can learn principles and skills founded upon exposure and response prevention (ERP), the gold-standard treatment for OCD, and acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT), an exposure-based treatment model that will teach you how to become flexible with your thoughts and feelings.

You no longer have to punish yourself for not living your faith perfectly. For more information about how to better respond to your “imperfect” thoughts, my book on scrupulosity OCD “Imperfectly Good” is available on Amazon.

Don’t let scrupulosity OCD get in the way of your faith!