Looking for a word relating to bad urges

I’ve been having trouble for a while pinning down the word I need for a story, so I thought I’d ask here.

I’m looking for one word that means something like “bad urges” or “self-destructive tendencies”. Something like that.


I guess “temptations” or “sinful thoughts” won’t do, huh? There’s a whole lexicon out there in the religious and spiritual life.

The Thirst
The Hunger

Notice the capitalization.


desire, urge, enticement, lure, impulse, seduction, wish, want, lust, crave, covet, force, drive, impel, itch, long, yearn, ache, hunger, spur

Obviously, you’ll need to modify to fit your sentence (yearning instead of yearn, and so on).


Not really a word but a helluvah cool phrase, I’ve always thought.

This is the first thing that came to my mind.

Wayward? I assume malevolent is too strong and mischievous too weak.


My HS English teacher was fond of “foibles”.

Vices or Demons

Did I win?:smiley:

Some versions of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) may be what you’re thinking of:


See also Intrusive Thoughts:


I’m also bad at articulating what word I need, but if I was good at describing it I’d probably have it already.
I’m equally bad at articulating things late at night, but now it’s daytime and more of my brain is functioning. Like, I remember to add actual context.

So, context: it’s a fanfic that’s implicitly comparing two characters who Went Bad; one listened to his wife and reformed, and one didn’t. The POV character is thinking about the wife who got listened to and what she was thinking, and she’s subconsciously thinking about her own situation with her husband. So she’s describing one thing in a way that’s also referring to another thing.

(I promise I write better than this in my stories, but I can spend weeks to get a single sentence right, and I obviously don’t have time to do that for a message board post).

So POV is imagining the hope, the prayer, that he would put his love for her over his ____. I initially put down pride, but that really only applies to The Guy Who Didn’t Listen. As far as I can tell, the reason The Guy Who Reformed went bad was that he liked breaking things. (I mean, it’s possible there’s a sentence buried somewhere in the twelve volumes of History of Middle-Earth that proves me totally wrong, but I’m not that obsessive). I can’t think of a similarity between what drove them, so I’m trying to see if there’s a word that encompasses, well, the sort of thing that drives an addict to keep drinking even though he knows it’s costing him. The refusal to stop in the face of consequences.

It may there isn’t anything that fits, or it’s two words, but I figured I’d ask here. I really apologize for the unhelpful OP (I’m gonna have to stop posting right before bed), and thank you for your patience.

FWIW, when I read the target sentence, “the hope, the prayer, that he would put his love for her over his ____,” I mentally completed it with “compulsions”, as was mentioned by a couple of people up thread.

Does “an irresistible urge to behave in a certain way, especially against one’s conscious wishes” not come close to what you’re getting at?

craven desires