The Shrink Files

The Wish to Get Mugged

One of the more ironic fantasies I’ve encountered among my patients is the wish to get mugged.  Ironic, because , who in their right mind wants to get beaten up and robbed? (Not that all my patients are in their right mind:  I’m a psychologist, after all). But the wish to get mugged is not really about the wish to get hurt. Rather, it is a wish for an EXCUSE to hurt someone else, anyone, (in this case, the mugger) with impunity. It is a free pass for acting out your aggressive feelings. You’re entitled to defend yourself

Beating up a mugger is not really about the mugger, who is a stand-in for a hated person, or maybe even for the patient himself. Perhaps this explains the recent spate of murders of homeless persons in California. The murderer may be killing a debased image of himself.

Maybe Nietzsche was onto something.

(Note that patient identities are disguised)