Article written by Dr. Michael Zatkowsky, published in the OCD Newsletter of the
Obsessive-Compulsive Foundation, Inc., December, 1997, pages 4-5
The Enemy Within
I am OCD. I am your enemy. I am a monster, a demon, an alien intruder. I am here to make you suffer. My weapons are fear and anxiety. My battle strategy is to make you believe that I am part of you. This is not true! Don’t ever forget that I am your enemy. I am here to control you. I am here to be your abusive albatross.
Abuse is all about control and power, and that is what I am about. I am an emotionally abusive enemy, attacking your self-esteem, your mood, your relationships, your very ability to function. Don’t ever be fooled. I am in no way your friend. I am very powerful. I can control you, and through you control those you love. I make you and them believe you are the angry one, the controlling one, but it is I, OCD, who runs things.
I am letting you know this secret because things have been too easy for me for a long time, and I am brazen enough and arrogant enough to let you know my secret. I challenge you to see me as being an enemy separate from your self who can still control you.
If a person tried to control you and treat you like I do, you would fight this person with every ounce of your strength. If an alien monster took control of your thoughts like I do, you would devote superhuman effort to defeat the creature.
Well! I am OCD, and I have taken control of your thoughts, your mood, your life. I dare you to take control back. I dare you to stand and fight. I dare you to defeat me. I am an arrogant enemy, a stubborn foe. I believe that I can tell you the truth about who I am and still make you believe I am you. I can make you doubt who you are. I can overwhelm you and make you forget the wonderful person hiding deep inside of you.
I am looking for a good fight. I dare you to defeat me, the enemy within. I dare you to destroy me and uncover the true potential you know you have. If you have forgotten this, forgotten that you are not the OCD, then I am winning. I am accomplishing my goal to take over you, to consume you.
I am OCD. I am your enemy, the enemy within. Just because I have invaded you doesn’t really mean I am part of you. Don’t you get it? If I make you believe I am part of you and not a separate entity, an enemy, then I fool you into believing that to destroy me is to destroy yourself. When you understand my true nature, you take the first step in defeating me.
I am OCD. In years gone by, I could reign my terror down upon you in complete anonymity. I was a mystery to you. You did not know what to call me. I could disguise myself in a thousand different masks of my malignant choosing. I had you running around in fear. Your panic caused criticism and blame to be laid down upon you and your parents. My life was so easy then. Easy and boring, may I add.
I am OCD, a warrior of the most negative kind. A sneaky and vicious soldier, a true monster. I destroy for the sheer sense of power and control. I keep my enemies off balance, feeling inadequate to fight me. I kept my enemies so fearful that they had to protect me, and they dared not fight my evil bidding. I am OCD, the destroyer of lives.
I am OCD, and life got boring. I fought for the power and control that your suffering could give to me. I kept you isolated as any abusive being knows to do. Fearful and alone, you could not fight me.
Today, the arena, the battlefield, has changed. Some of you have realized that knowledge is power, that in unity there is strength. You have begun to come out of the closets that I erected for you, the closets of shame, guilt, and fear that kept you from even testing the locks, much less opening the doors and stepping out.
I scoff at your meager efforts, I laugh at the paucity of your legion, brave enough to stand and be counted. Yes! In unity there is strength, but I know that too few of you stand together to fight me. I am OCD, the greatest abuser of all. As is the case with most abusers, I have beguiled you and others into believing that you are the abuser, that you are the controller. Don’t you even know that I have you all fooled?
But wait! There are some who know and understand my secret, but not enough to really matter. I am OCD and I am still in control, still able to abuse with anonymity. You are blamed. “Can’t you control this and just stop? I can’t put up with your demands and control anymore.” They threaten you for what I do! They look down upon you for what I force you to do to them and to yourself.
I am OCD and I am still winning. I am OCD and I am just like any other abuser. If you listen to me or engage me on my terms, you will lose. If you engage me by not following my commands, I will force you to suffer the most heinous emotional agony I can muster upon you.
Even though some have won, I fool you into believing that you can’t win. I am OCD and I can hide my abuse as well as I can hide my identity in public. Most of us abusers can do that – make the victim appear to be the abuser. I am OCD. I have the power to make you suffer, and through you make others suffer. I am OCD and have the power to make them blame you so that I can remain invisible, as a force separate and distinct from you.
I am OCD and I challenge you to fight me. There are some who know how, but I am too arrogant to go quietly into the night. I am OCD and I can taunt you with what I am, and you still refuse to stand, be counted, and fight. My victims lay emotionally mutilated and dysfunctional upon the battlefield of my choosing. I am OCD and I have many times made you forget who and what you truly are, aside from your identification with me.
I see professionals who have engaged me in battle. Many don’t know me well enough to be successful. Those who know me well enough haven’t been able to teach you how to fight me, to defeat me.
I am OCD and I have robbed many of you of your spirit – at least I have convinced you that I have your spirit, and that is good enough. Without your spirit, the belief in who you are independent of me, you cannot defeat me. I am the abuser and the abuser always blames the victim for the abuse, and is usually successful. I will win, unless you stand and are counted in legions grand enough in number to defeat me.