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kapri
01-05-2011, 03:16 PM
I love in Florida now, so I haven't experienced this in a while. But in the past when I've driven through mountainous regions, I've had an almost overwhelming urge to turn the wheel so that the car goes over the edge of the cliff. I also had this urge when standing next to the Niagara River near the head of Niagara Fall--I wanted to jump in and experience that pulling rush of water.

I call this urge "The Pull." I've even written a short story about it with that title.

Has this ever happened to you? What do you think it is?

Absolute
01-05-2011, 03:50 PM
Well, I've felt what you're talking about, but I would not call it an "almost overwhelming urge". More like a "terrifying realization that it would be so easy to do something horrible."

But I have definitely felt it, in all kinds of situations. I've felt it while driving. Also when hiking, when I could leap to my death in a single movement. Sometime while holding a knife or a gun.

I've even felt this while talking to people. The realization that all it would take is a few words to change someone's opinion of me forever. Saying "shut up, you fucking nigger" to my black boss, for example. I would never even think about saying that - but it's scary that just saying a few words could completely screw up my life. Just like it would only take a little tug on the steering wheel to send my car into a bridge abutment.

If you really feel this as an "urge", well...I'm glad I don't live in Florida.

Onomatopoeia
01-05-2011, 03:50 PM
I don't know if I would call it a "pull", but the thought definitely presents. There's a long stretch of road going up a mountain in Pennsylvania on the way to Johnstown where, if you're not careful, you could actually careen off and down into oblivion, guardrail notwithstanding. I wonder, in such situations, how it would be to just go for it ...not that I ever would.

By the way, I really want to read your short story.

River Hippie
01-05-2011, 03:54 PM
Well, I've felt what you're talking about, but I would not call it an "almost overwhelming urge". More like a "terrifying realization that it would be so easy to do something horrible."



Well put, that sums up the closest I've felt to what the OP asks.

Terraplane
01-05-2011, 03:54 PM
Not an urge for me so much as the thought that I could and that it would be so easy. It's not that I have any intention of doing it, I don't. Sometimes it's strange to think about how oblivion could be just a few seconds away during some mundane activity, and yet you're perfectly calm. "Yep, just driving my car. Relaxing and listening to The Arcade Fire and narrowly avoiding death with my every decision. Sure, I could move the wheel over a few inches and plow into that retaining wall, but I won't. It's all good."

I read somewhere, probably here on the dope, that it's relatively common.

kapri
01-05-2011, 03:56 PM
If you really feel this as an "urge", well...I'm glad I don't live in Florida.

Well, obviously I've been able to resist doing this so far.

Also, there are no cliffs to drive over here, so I think we're okay.

hogarth
01-05-2011, 03:58 PM
More like envisioning it in my mind, rather than actually wanting to.

Walmarticus
01-05-2011, 04:03 PM
Well, I've felt what you're talking about, but I would not call it an "almost overwhelming urge". More like a "terrifying realization that it would be so easy to do something horrible."

I call it the "huh".




...Poe called it "The Imp of the Perverse." Sort of, I guess.

SeldomSeen
01-05-2011, 04:11 PM
"....when you gaze long into an abyss, the abyss also gazes into you." - Friedrich Nietzsche

Edward Abbey claimed this "pull of the heights" was latent acrophilia.

And yes, I've felt it.

SS

Max the Immortal
01-05-2011, 04:13 PM
Well, I've felt what you're talking about, but I would not call it an "almost overwhelming urge". More like a "terrifying realization that it would be so easy to do something horrible."

But I have definitely felt it, in all kinds of situations. I've felt it while driving. Also when hiking, when I could leap to my death in a single movement. Sometime while holding a knife or a gun.

Yeah, that's what's it like for me. Once I was with a tour group looking at some nice scenery, and realized, "I could shove that lady off this cliff to her death if I wanted to." Of course I didn't, and didn't even want to, but the realization was there.

Come to think of it, odds are pretty good that several people have had similar realizations about being able to spontaneously murder me. I wish I knew better than to dwell on such things.

Ludovic
01-05-2011, 04:26 PM
No in person. When I imagine driving in situations like that (or climbing in treacherous situations or on steep climbing walls), I imagine being either shaking from fear or having an urge to drive/jump off, but when actually in the situations, I do not.

WOOKINPANUB
01-05-2011, 04:27 PM
Absolutely. I'd be more surprised to hear someone say they've never felt it. My latest and most often occuring is the fear that I'm going to stick my hand down the garbage disposal while it's running.

Ferret Herder
01-05-2011, 04:34 PM
...Poe called it "The Imp of the Perverse." Sort of, I guess.
Yeah, that very phrase has been used to discuss the sensation here previously. Board search would make it hard to find since you could only search on "perverse" ;) but a Google search on the board's server name would work. It seems pretty common, all things considered. I experience similar stuff while driving, standing near trains, etc.

interface2x
01-05-2011, 08:57 PM
There is a big atrium at my office with walkways as high as five stories up. I was talking with a consultant that is in our office lately and mentioned how I don't really like going near the edge on the higher floors. She said that she doesn't either because she's afraid that she'll throw her pen off the edge. Strangely enough, I understood.

Khadaji
01-05-2011, 09:19 PM
Good lord no.

Kyla
01-05-2011, 09:23 PM
I am in no way suicidal, but I definitely know the feeling. It's crazy, and when I feel it, I KNOW it's crazy and that I'm not actually going to do it, but the impulse is there.

Suburban Plankton
01-05-2011, 09:37 PM
For me it's not so much an 'urge to do it' as a 'curiosity to know what it would be like'. Of course, I understand that curiosity can be harmful to men as well as cats, so I imagine this will forever remain a mystery to me.

Happy Lendervedder
01-05-2011, 10:03 PM
I lived on the 20th floor of a highrise in downtown Detroit for several months, and the giant windows all opened wide with no screens or guard rails on them. Terrifed me to no end.

Despite having the fear that I'd at some point tumble out, I would often open them up as far as they'd go, sit on the couch, poke my head out and look out over Comerica Park. There were never any urges on my part, just a weird fear that I might tumble/fall/jump.

I imagine that if there were screens in those windows I never would have felt any of this. But all that open space so high off the pavement below...gives me the willies just thinking about it even now.

Tixenfleaz
01-05-2011, 10:07 PM
Whew! You guys made me feel better. I used to get these feelings too. I think Absolute stated it perfectly.

For me, it was a cruise ship at night. Knowing that I could jump over the rail and disappear into a lonely and horrible death. An irrevocable action.

I wouldn't have done it of course, but the feeling creeped me out enough to leave the deck and go to my room.

msmith537
01-05-2011, 10:09 PM
Capt Jack Sparrow (@ 2:00): "You know that feeling you get when standing in a high place and you get that urge to jump? I don't have it." (http://movies.yahoo.com/movie/1809791042/info)

gregorio
01-05-2011, 10:21 PM
to my black boss, for example. I would never even think about saying that

Um, yes you did think of it.

And yes, I have felt it as well. Plenty of opportunities to veer off mountain roads, jump off a mountain ledge, drive into oncoming traffic. Haven't done any of those things yet.

Wesley Clark
01-05-2011, 10:44 PM
Well, I've felt what you're talking about, but I would not call it an "almost overwhelming urge". More like a "terrifying realization that it would be so easy to do something horrible."

But I have definitely felt it, in all kinds of situations. I've felt it while driving. Also when hiking, when I could leap to my death in a single movement. Sometime while holding a knife or a gun.

I've even felt this while talking to people. The realization that all it would take is a few words to change someone's opinion of me forever. Saying "shut up, you fucking nigger" to my black boss, for example. I would never even think about saying that - but it's scary that just saying a few words could completely screw up my life. Just like it would only take a little tug on the steering wheel to send my car into a bridge abutment.

If you really feel this as an "urge", well...I'm glad I don't live in Florida.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p1_YFmzPPCQ

Vinyl Turnip
01-05-2011, 11:23 PM
"Right. Well, I have to... I have to go now, Duane, because I... I'm due back on the planet Earth."

NinetyWt
01-05-2011, 11:26 PM
Absolutely. I'd be more surprised to hear someone say they've never felt it. My latest and most often occuring is the fear that I'm going to stick my hand down the garbage disposal while it's running.

Similarly, for some reason I imagine getting my hair caught in the A/C fan as I walk past it.

Sometimes I think about jumping from a moving car, or other odd things.

When my children were babies, I'd envision them falling out of the car or things like that, but I think that's different; some mommy-fear of some kind.

Taenia spp.
01-06-2011, 12:04 AM
Oh hell yes. This happens most often when I'm driving on the freeway at high speeds. I wouldn't call it overwhelming or obsessive, but I'd consider it recurring fancy to sharply turn the steering wheel to one side. In discussions with my sister, she's been horrified to learn that I want to do this, but then counters that she has a similar fancy to smash in the back bumper of another car when they are stopped at a traffic light.

Fang
01-06-2011, 01:01 AM
The French have a word for this sensation. It's called "l'appel du vide", or "the call of the void".

I get it too. Not necessarily the urge, but more the fear that the urge will overtake me and I'll do something crazy or stupid. Last week I was on the observation deck of a very tall building in New York. It would be pretty much impossible to jump off if you wanted to, but I had my gloves in my hands, and I just kept thinking, "Don't throw them off the top, you're not supposed to throw them." I remember one time in high school wondering, "What if I just started freaking out and screaming in front of everybody for no reason? I'd get in trouble, destroy my social reputation, be considered a freak. Don't do it, don't do it." It's a weird sensation.

Patch
01-06-2011, 02:02 AM
Ayup. Whenever I'm near a ledge, I just have this mental image of me going to the edge and jumping. I really don't like heights for that reason.

Rhiannon8404
01-06-2011, 02:03 AM
The French have a word for this sensation. It's called "l'appel du vide", or "the call of the void".

I get it too. Not necessarily the urge, but more the fear that the urge will overtake me and I'll do something crazy or stupid. Last week I was on the observation deck of a very tall building in New York. It would be pretty much impossible to jump off if you wanted to, but I had my gloves in my hands, and I just kept thinking, "Don't throw them off the top, you're not supposed to throw them." I remember one time in high school wondering, "What if I just started freaking out and screaming in front of everybody for no reason? I'd get in trouble, destroy my social reputation, be considered a freak. Don't do it, don't do it." It's a weird sensation.

This describes it perfectly for me. A couple times a year I drive out to the coast along some winding, mountains road and I'm always thinking to myself, "Don't drive off the cliff. Don't drive off the cliff." I know I wouldn't really do it. I don't even want to do it, but what if I do it?

congodwarf
01-06-2011, 02:07 AM
I frequently get the urge to take off my seat belt, open the door, and step out of the car - while it's moving.

TriPolar
01-06-2011, 02:38 AM
I haven't felt the pull, but I've felt the urge to push several times.

chizzuk
01-06-2011, 02:56 AM
The French have a word for this sensation. It's called "l'appel du vide", or "the call of the void".

I get it too. Not necessarily the urge, but more the fear that the urge will overtake me and I'll do something crazy or stupid. Last week I was on the observation deck of a very tall building in New York. It would be pretty much impossible to jump off if you wanted to, but I had my gloves in my hands, and I just kept thinking, "Don't throw them off the top, you're not supposed to throw them." I remember one time in high school wondering, "What if I just started freaking out and screaming in front of everybody for no reason? I'd get in trouble, destroy my social reputation, be considered a freak. Don't do it, don't do it." It's a weird sensation.

Wow, I feel less crazy now. When I ride the Metro, I often fantasize about myself jumping down onto the tracks and going to touch the third rail. The rational part of my brain knows that this is absurd and I won't do it, but the irrational part thinks that I just might and thus I won't go near the edge of the platform until the train pulls in. Because what if I leap onto the tracks and electrocute myself?
Good to know I'm not alone in these strange types of ideas.

Mangetout
01-06-2011, 03:10 AM
Well, I've felt what you're talking about, but I would not call it an "almost overwhelming urge". More like a "terrifying realization that it would be so easy to do something horrible."

I can relate to this. Sometimes, the realisation seems terribly alien, almost like the little angel/demon on the shoulder device so popular in cartoons. I've heard this referred to as 'The Dark Passenger' (and something else, I think, but it's on the tip of my tongue and I can't recall it).

Koxinga
01-06-2011, 04:09 AM
Yeah, that very phrase has been used to discuss the sensation here previously. Board search would make it hard to find since you could only search on "perverse" ;) but a Google search on the board's server name would work. It seems pretty common, all things considered. I experience similar stuff while driving, standing near trains, etc.

Not gonna go dig up the thread, but I seem to remember the mod in that discussion being very heavy handed, to the effect of "You have a psychological problem and this is not the place to talk about it. Go away. Now." So apparently not everybody believes in this.

As for the "imp of the perverse," I imagine every parent of a newborn has horrifying thoughts they would never in million years act on. My wife rationalized it was probably some way of your subconscious warning you to be very careful with this tiny totally vulnerable creature who is so dependent on your every action.

Ike Witt
01-06-2011, 09:31 AM
A previous thread on the urge to jump (http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showthread.php?t=535083&).

Antigen
01-06-2011, 09:34 AM
The French have a word for this sensation. It's called "l'appel du vide", or "the call of the void".
I get it too. Not necessarily the urge, but more the fear that the urge will overtake me and I'll do something crazy or stupid.

Happens to me all the time, and it freaks me out. It's like the urge is always there but I'm controlling it... what if I lose control?

shiftless
01-06-2011, 10:23 AM
High speed, two lane roads scare me for this reason: I sometimes have a slight urge to just turn the wheel a tiny bit, into upcoming traffic. While I'm confident of my ability to resist the urge, I sometime wonder if other drivers have my strong willpower.

FuzzyOgre
01-06-2011, 10:47 AM
Topics like this is why I love you guys.

Back up a bit so I can take a group photo? Dont mind the crumbly edge, its perfectly safe.

The Imp of the Perverse or the call of the void happens to me too. Swerve into oncoming traffic, off a cliff. We are all a little crazy, but it doesnt make you insane. You aren't (probably) going to do it in a million years.

Over at an aspergers forum we have a long running thread "you might be an aspie if..." and one of the ones that made me laugh referenced an impending supermeteor strike on earth. Sure, you'd die a horrible death, but wouldnt it be neat?

I think thats related. We all just want to live(and die) in interesting times. I am sure people outside the first world countries dont get these crazy urges so much.

hogarth
01-06-2011, 10:53 AM
I haven't felt the pull, but I've felt the urge to push several times.
That's slightly different. Whenever a policeman's back is turned, I often wonder if I could steal his gun...

Love Rhombus
01-06-2011, 11:36 AM
Boy, you guys are all NUTS! :eek:

Kidding, I still get that urge. I also get the urge to grab money and make for the door (I work in a casino). Though, the way my car payments are looking...

Edward The Head
01-06-2011, 11:44 AM
When my children were babies, I'd envision them falling out of the car or things like that, but I think that's different; some mommy-fear of some kind.

Dads get that too, or at least I do. I sometimes wonder what would happen if one of them jumped off the bridge or down to the floor below in the mall. Then I get mad at myself for thinking such stupid stuff.

I get this feeling on the motorcycle as well as in the car, though I think I get it more in the car.

jsgoddess
01-06-2011, 12:07 PM
Temptation

That's the tempting itch, the thought of death
that makes a bridge abutment whisper fly.
It's why I keep no toasters near the bath,
no rope stored on a rafter. Bottled lye
stays at the store. It's easy to eat earth
or bullets, but too hard to mention why.

dangermom
01-06-2011, 12:19 PM
Sure, I totally get that urge, to throw myself off a cliff or whatever. Unless my kids are with me, then I'm way too busy imagining them falling off and holding on to their hands so they can't. They laugh at me, but I'm saving their lives!

RTFirefly
01-06-2011, 12:29 PM
I love in Florida now, so I haven't experienced this in a while. I don't get it: what does your locale for sex have to do with this? ;)

nikonikosuru
01-06-2011, 12:31 PM
The Imp of the Perverse is my backseat driver.

RTFirefly
01-06-2011, 12:35 PM
The Imp of the Perverse is my backseat driver.At least he's not your copilot.

Prelude to Fascination
01-06-2011, 12:46 PM
"Right. Well, I have to... I have to go now, Duane, because I... I'm due back on the planet Earth."

I voted yes, but before I tell about it, this was what I was thinking as well. As a matter of fact, I watched that movie last night. :cool:

I used to work downtown, and would walk across an overpass which crossed the interstate. Even though there were high fences meant to keep jumpers from offing themselves, I often felt the urge to go splat right on the pavement some 20 feet below, or if possible, right on someone's windshield.

I kept walking until the feeling passed. For one thing, it'd be a horrible thing to do to some innocent driver. I'd ruin the person and his/her family, probably, not to mention what it'd do to my family.

I've also felt the urge to push someone off a ledge at an overlook, or something. Never even moved my hands to do it though, nor would I. But in my mind? Sure.

simster
01-06-2011, 01:19 PM
Every normal man must be tempted at times to spit on his hands, hoist the black flag and begin to slit throats.

I think there is a difference in the urge between doing to others or doing to yourself. (causing someone on a deserted road to go over the edge vs. driving off yourself)

One, I think, is helping to keep you aware of your situation - helping you survive by showing you the possibilities of your actions.

I'll leave it to the reader to decide which.

nikonikosuru
01-06-2011, 01:30 PM
At least he's not your copilot.

Ahahah dammit, that was the word I was looking for! I was like "Hmm...'shotgun' doesn't sound quite right and neither does 'backseat bitch'..."

Hypno-Toad
01-06-2011, 01:56 PM
For me, it's not an urge. It's the chilly sensation of contemplating the consequences.

kapri
01-06-2011, 01:58 PM
This describes it perfectly for me. A couple times a year I drive out to the coast along some winding, mountains road and I'm always thinking to myself, "Don't drive off the cliff. Don't drive off the cliff." I know I wouldn't really do it. I don't even want to do it, but what if I do it?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pGtFWAivsqY

kapri
01-06-2011, 02:03 PM
I used to work downtown, and would walk across an overpass which crossed the interstate. Even though there were high fences meant to keep jumpers from offing themselves, I often felt the urge to go splat right on the pavement some 20 feet below, or if possible, right on someone's windshield.

Oh noooo. I've never had the impulse to do that. And I guess that's the word I should have used in the original post--impulse, not urge. Although to be honest . . . the feeling I had when I wanted to jump into the Niagara was more of an urge. Think about how cool that would be! (Until you died at the end.)

Laggard
01-06-2011, 02:38 PM
Driving and stopped at a light and knowing that I could instantly seriously hurt or kill someone crossing the street in front of me.

I also feel the pull of throwing my car keys or cell phone in the river when walking across it on a bridge or walking on the shore.

Minnie Luna
01-06-2011, 02:58 PM
It's one of those fleeting thoughts that you know you would never act on, but still have them. IANA psychologist/psychiatrist, but I would assume it is fairly normal and nothing more than a curiosity of the human brain. Repeatedly acting on such impulses would probably be characterized as some sort of mental defect or disease, if you didn't kill yourself first.

sitchensis
01-06-2011, 02:59 PM
I never think about jumping off a cliff or bridge

I only sometimes think about the car off the cliff thing

But I always imagine putting my hands into chainsaws and the belts of running motors. I canít walk past a table saw without thinking about cutting off my fingers.
I think it comes with the excitement of totally and completely changing my life with one simple stupid move.

Anne Neville
01-06-2011, 03:31 PM
Happens to me all the time, and it freaks me out. It's like the urge is always there but I'm controlling it... what if I lose control?

I get this. This is why I don't like heights without railings. I don't want to jump, but I'm afraid of what would happen if I lost control of that impulse to jump.

Over at an aspergers forum we have a long running thread "you might be an aspie if..." and one of the ones that made me laugh referenced an impending supermeteor strike on earth. Sure, you'd die a horrible death, but wouldnt it be neat?

You're sure this isn't "you might be an astronomer if..."?

I saw a professor from my grad school on one of those "disasters" shows once, talking about gamma ray bursts. He was talking about what would happen if one happened too close to Earth, and how terrible it would be. But you could tell from his face that some part of him thought how cool it would be, too.

Autolycus
01-06-2011, 11:08 PM
The Imp of the Perverse is my backseat driver.

Cool song lyric! Also... don`t you live near HELL, Michigan? Reckon a lotta imps be around them parts.

I get this impulse quite a lot too, especially while driving. Especially as a kid, I always wanted to open the door and either jump out or at least watch everything go flying out. (This actually happened once, due to no action of my own, and unfortunately it was as every bit terrifying as I had imagined it would be exciting)

I wouldn`t go as far as calling it a strong urge, but it`s definitely something that takes effort (or rather conscious non-effort) to put out of the mind. It`s part what-if, part fascination of the sheer simplicity of such a terrible act, and part perverse desire for self-annihilation... what a fascinating world we live in!

Rala
01-07-2011, 01:38 AM
http://xkcd.com/706/

I've felt this "call of the void" (I like that phrase) too. The impulse to throw myself off a dam or into the path of a train, to drive straight into a wall, to cut my finger instead of the carrot I'm slicing. The most recent one that's been bugging me is that when I'm shaving my armpits I think about taking the razor to my nipples instead. I know that I really don't want to know what any of these things are like, and I'd never follow through with the urge ... but what if I did? It'd only take a momentary slip ...

Happy Lendervedder
01-07-2011, 06:18 AM
The most recent one that's been bugging me is that when I'm shaving my armpits I think about taking the razor to my nipples instead.

Of all the impulsive and violent urges mentioned in this thread, this is the only one to make me cry out in horror.

FuzzyOgre
01-07-2011, 07:45 AM
I saw a professor from my grad school on one of those "disasters" shows once, talking about gamma ray bursts. He was talking about what would happen if one happened too close to Earth, and how terrible it would be. But you could tell from his face that some part of him thought how cool it would be, too.


Haha! Exactly.

nikonikosuru
01-07-2011, 08:33 AM
Cool song lyric! Also... don`t you live near HELL, Michigan? Reckon a lotta imps be around them parts.


Nah, more on the east side, about 20 minutes from Detroit. And believe me, there are a lot of perverse imps here!

Zsofia
01-07-2011, 09:43 AM
I tell people I'm afraid of heights without railings, but not afraid of heights in general. Actually I'm afraid that I'll get the urge to jump off. Not because of any suicidal longing, but I think maybe because deep down I think I can fly - I remember reading a comic book (Sandman, maybe?) that had a bit about that and I was all excited because I'd never heard anybody express that before.

Goblin Queen
01-07-2011, 12:47 PM
I don't feel the pull so much for myself in high places, but I do feel a sort of pull to throw whatever's in my hands over the edge (usually an expensive camera, or my purse). I think this maybe could be because I know what would happen if I jumped off the edge--I would die--but I don't really know what would happen if I threw my stuff over the edge. How long would it take me to get a new camera? How do I get a new license or credit card? What would people say?

Driving, I don't feel it.

However, I have these kinds of thoughts all the time in much less physically dangerous situations. I too feel the impulse to drop my phone or whatever is in my hand down a storm drain or whatever. Also, something I haven't seen mentioned yet (or maybe I missed it) is the impulse to do utterly inappropriate things. Like, "What if I groped/kissed/punched this person?", with the person being someone that I don't actually want to do any of those things to. For some reason middle school and high school were the worst for this.

Lamest for last: If I am wearing my hair in a ponytail or braids and I happen to cut something, I have visions of taking the scissors or knife and cutting off my hair. I like my hair, I swear...

kapri
01-07-2011, 08:28 PM
Lamest for last: If I am wearing my hair in a ponytail or braids and I happen to cut something, I have visions of taking the scissors or knife and cutting off my hair. I like my hair, I swear...

Oh, I have this, too! I think I have great hair, but somehow the urge to cutting it all off, especially when it's in a ponytail, is strong.

Acid Lamp
01-07-2011, 08:50 PM
Oh yeah. Usually when driving over bridges. (florida native) I occasionally get the Kick someone off the edge ones, and Since I usually sit in the exit row when I fly, I occasionally get the urge to open the door mid flight.

Count Blucher
01-07-2011, 09:40 PM
...can it be for posting?

"Should I? I think its funny. OK. Sure. *click*. No, wait, thats misspelled. And its not funny. Damn, its going to be read as offensive. Who am I kidding, It Is Offensive! O Hell, I'm agonna get Banned!!! Sh-t!!!! Un-click! Unclick! Unclick, you Mouse B-stard!!! GAAAAHHHHH!!!!

...

Ok, where's that anxiety attack thread...."

xoferew
01-09-2011, 09:52 AM
When I was little I had a fear of killing my parents. They were supposed to be all-powerful and protect me from making really bad choices, but when they were sound asleep if I snuck into their room with a kitchen knife, they wouldn't stop me.

Also as a kid when I was snooping in someone's home and found a handgun... "Of course I'm too smart to pick up this gun and put it to my head and pull the trigger but if I did, no grownup is here to stop me! Scary!"

Often when I am aware I'm dreaming I take the opportunity to do unacceptable things -- break everything in a store, take my clothes off in public, hit people over the head with appliances. I guess I do this in order to find out what it feels like to give in to the "Pull." And I think, "I sure hope I'm right about this being a dream."

Koxinga
01-09-2011, 09:57 AM
Often when I am aware I'm dreaming I take the opportunity to do unacceptable things -- break everything in a store, take my clothes off in public, hit people over the head with appliances. I guess I do this in order to find out what it feels like to give in to the "Pull." And I think, "I sure hope I'm right about this being a dream."

From what little I've gleaned from the news so far, wasn't the guy who shot Rep. Gabrielle Giffords going on in his blogs about how he was living in a waking dream or something? Seems to me to be kind of chilling in the context of this thread.

Jaledin
01-09-2011, 10:12 AM
I've done and said a lot of stupid stuff to people IRL,but never had the urge to harm me or another. But, even absent any real reason, such occasions have resulted in bizarre injuries which were not self-inflicted directly -- I chalk it up to having a big mouth and an imposing physique, and probably too much testosterone.

The feeling of a kind of vertiginous impulse is rather familiar to me as someone who struggles with anxiety, though -- it always waits for another person to present himself or herself as a perceived and somehow anonymous threat. Such feelings are never present absent a kind of stimulus, but the reality of the stimulus is debatable.

Shawn K
01-09-2011, 12:15 PM
I feel it all the time driving, that it'd be easy to go over the edge, on that same thought I have an urge a lot of the time to do something terrible instead to other people but I've managed to restrain myself so far.

However it's a not a terrible feeling that I could do it, rather a "I could do this to someone, better not."

Sunspace
01-09-2011, 12:50 PM
Well, I've felt what you're talking about, but I would not call it an "almost overwhelming urge". More like a "terrifying realization that it would be so easy to do something horrible."

But I have definitely felt it, in all kinds of situations. I've felt it while driving. Also when hiking, when I could leap to my death in a single movement.

I've even felt this while talking to people....

The French have a word for this sensation. It's called "l'appel du vide", or "the call of the void".

I get it too.

Ayup. Whenever I'm near a ledge, I just have this mental image of me going to the edge and jumping. I really don't like heights for that reason.Yup. I get that feeling too.

"The call of the void"--what a perfect name for it. What if I turn my motorcycle across the centre line? What if I insult my boss here in the performance review? It seems to have something to do with internal emotional disconnection.

Mind you, the one time I almost did fall over a ledge to certain death, it went away for quite a while.