Another Anon but same OCD…

I have to wash my hands sticf´tfully and sometime more than two times and it injures my skin. If I take a shower I don’t really feel the need to be strict with my body but my hands always have to be clean. Or if I feel like something that touched my pubic area(awra) I feel like crazy washing that part. I just feel very impure and non of my deeds will be accepted. And yes I am wasting so much soap. I don’t know you said find the reason and I tried – part 2;

Continued…SO I thought about my past and I found out that I was masturbating without knowing that it is wrong. When I got a guilty feeling after some time after doing such stuff I told my mom and she got mad at me. And since then it is a BIG NO NO for me. And since I did it with my hands they got kind of “ugly and impure”. I never touched my down there even if it was for cleaning purpose I would wear gloves and what not. But I try to learn that my body isn’t something impure. I am a teenager now and I got a boyfriend, I regret it and I didn’t have sex or anything I broke up befor but he was very sexually, like his jokes and stuff. And I didn’t have the power to say stop it. But one day I did and blaah. But now I felt like because of my loneliness that I have to masturbate. I did it without knowing. It just happened. And I got a feeling and I was WTH was that. And I just did it till one told me that you have to do ghusl. Soo.. this plus my OCD is freaking me out. I am loosing my self trust I start to question everything. Did you reallllyy wash that part, did you wash your mouth did you do it 3 times. And it is just exhausting. So I kind of got addicted to masturbating but I have to take ghusl after it but I can’t. Actually I do now since I know but it is like going through hell. Why do I have to masturbate? I have to think on sexual stuff all the time. I can’t controle it anymore. I just don’t want to do anything else than sex… it’s so embarrassing I don’t know what to do

Assalaamu Alaykum,

For starters, I would set the labels aside. OCD, although it may be a fairly good description of the behavioural tendencies you’re feeling about cleaning yourself, has such a huge stigma attached to it that without realising it, you end up trying to deal with the stigma more than you’re dealing with the actual problem. The real issue is what is driving you to feel so dirty or impure, and secondly, why the need to pleasure yourself as often as you do.

 

I’m not going to go into the issue of labels again, because I think I’ve debated it ad nauseum recently, so having said all that, I think you need to start by accepting that the past is the past. Whatever you did then is done and cannot be undone. So rather than reminding yourself about past mistakes, limit yourself to referring to the past only to explain present behaviour, but not to undermine what good you may have achieved since then. And more importantly, accept that your duas for forgiveness have been accepted and trust in Allah’s mercy. Doubts around that are only encouraged by Shaytaan because that’s his way of convincing you to feel helpless which makes you do things to distract yourself from the guilt or persist in what you’re doing because you don’t see the point in stopping.

The positive thread through all of this is that you appear to be genuinely concerned about changing the behaviour that is proving to be destructive for you, so that’s a good starting point. The problem with attaching negative labels to yourself is that it makes you feel inherently unworthy. In your case, that appears to be triggering a vicious cycle because you feel dirty, you try to clean, you touch yourself to clean and then get drawn into pleasuring yourself, which results in the guilt, which results in you trying to clean yourself excessively, which is leading to physical harm to your skin, etc. The cycle needs to be broken, but that’s always easier said than done.

The sense I’m getting is that there is a low self-worth underlying both issues, i.e. the ‘OCD’ as well as the masturbation. If you’re feeling disgusted about yourself for whatever reason, it would stand to reason then that you would not be able to imagine yourself as being attractive to anyone else (or at least not anyone that you would want to find you attractive), so automatically that would lead you sub-consciously to want to ‘take care of yourself’ since it’s unlikely that anyone else will want to take care of you that way. However, you’re also committed to your moral obligations, which leads to the guilt associated with doing what you’re doing, so that just adds to the vicious cycle.

To break it, I think you need to consider a dual approach. Firstly, you need to identify what are the ideal circumstances under which you are able to masturbate without fear of being caught. You’ll probably be able to find some helpful ideas and information here about ways to break the habit. In fact, read through some of the posts relating to masturbation on that site and you’ll realise that firstly, you’re not alone in this, and secondly, it is possible to break the cycle.

The problems you’re facing with excessively cleaning or washing yourself needs to be dealt with slightly differently. You’re doubting whether or not you cleaned a certain part of your body already, which suggests that there is again a lack of confidence or self-worth, hence you doubting yourself so easily; and secondly, you need to establish a fixed routine about how you go about bathing, or making ghusl. What I mean is, if you fix a routine that says that you’ll start with your hair, then wash your face, then your ears, then your arms, etc. and you ensure that you follow exactly that routine every single time, you’ll have less reason to wonder whether you cleaned a certain part already or not. Another option is to not rinse the soap off any part until you’re completely done. That way, if it’s still soapy, you know you already cleaned it.

Insha-Allah as it becomes habit/routine, the confidence will improve and the self-doubt will decline, which will allow you to assume a more flexible routine around cleansing yourself. If you want to discuss this in more detail, please email me directly. You’ll find my email address on my homepage. I hope this helps, and please don’t hesitate to discuss this further with me or my wife, if you’ll feel more comfortable going into more detail with her.

Insha-Allah you’ll overcome this and realise that your shortcomings do not define who you are, how you deal with them is what determines your character and your self-worth.

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