OCD and the confusing law of attraction: You will not manifest your obsessions!


OCD and the Law of Attraction


First of all a warning. If you have OCD and easily pick up new obsessions, it´s probably best to avoid this article altogether. However, if you are currently having troubles with OCD and the law of attraction, then hopefully you might find this helpful.


Many years ago, when I was still completely stuck down the rabbit hole of OCD I came across a book that I initially thought might be helpful, how wrong I would be proven to be. The book was about the Law of Attraction (it wasn´t The Secret, but something similar) and how you can use this law to manifest many wonderful things into your life. It all sounded a bit to far out, i´ve always been quite spiritual, but this just seemed too good to be true. But, as we all know, the unfortunate thing with OCD is that when you are really struggling with it, you can become quite desperate to find something, anything that might finally help you to learn to deal with it. This was certainly the case with me, so I carried on reading, eager to try and learn more, not realising that I was about to get completely stuck with my OCD and the confusing Law of Attraction.


About halfway through the second chapter however, I came across something that gave me pause for thought. Something that completely undermined all of the amazing CBT and meditation work that i´d been doing to help me with my OCD. It was something along the lines of this: ´With the law of attraction, you attract what you regularly think of. So if you keep on thinking about becoming rich and you visualize it every day, eventually the law of attraction will make it so. But be careful, because likewise, if you keep on thinking about something negative, then you might also manifest this into your life´. Those final few sentences can be like DMT for an OCD sufferers peace of mind. Even for someone who has made good progress down the route of recovery, if they come across this and they take it the wrong way, it can be very disturbing and debilitating. This was certainly the case with me and I became completely obsessed with the idea that I could possibly make something terrible happen, just by thinking it. Even though I knew somehow that it was absurd, I had to know with absolute certainty that the law was either incorrect or that I had misinterpreted it somehow, but of course with OCD, it´s almost impossible to ever have complete certainty about anything.


Magical and Superstitious Thinking


Magical thinking is when we think our thoughts are more powerful than they actually are. Are we wizards?


One very common type of OCD is magical thinking. With this type of OCD a person feels that they have to perform rituals in order to stop bad things from happening to themselves or people they love. This may involve counting, saying certain words or avoiding cracks in the pavement. Fred penzel PHD, writes in Beyond OCD that “Superstitious thinking makes strange and magical connections between things which logically don’t seem to connect in the real world, thus the apparent ‘craziness’. Some common examples would be the idea that thinking of an unlucky number can ruin your day, that clothing you wore to a funeral can lead to more unhappiness if you wear it again, or that thinking of the name of a disease will cause you or someone else to get that disease”.


You can easily see how a person with this type of OCD could buy into the Law of Attraction in a negative way. For me the obsession with this became really strong and mutated into other OCD sub types, like harm OCD. I became increasingly worried that if I thought about harming someone, then the law of attraction could actually make it happen. After a few weeks of this I was completely worn out and fed up. The bloody law of attraction was ruining all my progress with OCD and I didn´t know how to break out of the negative loop. Luckily for me I had a really great therapist at this time and I decided to talk to her about it. Following the session I was able to look at the Law of Attraction with much greater perspective and it suddenly lost it´s power on me. So what did we discuss and how did it help?


Well first of all we talked about magical thinking. She asked me this. ´Out of the thousands of times that you´ve had upsetting and stressful thoughts about harming someone, have you ever then gone on to actually harm somebody?”. This was a really good point, i´d been having unwanted thoughts about harm for many years and yet not once had I ever even come close to doing anything. That´s because thoughts are not magical and what better proof do you need than that. A lot of people with OCD can spend all day having unwanted thoughts about harm, but they never do anything bad. This was definitely helpful for me to keep in mind. So even if we decide that we want to see things from a more spiritual perspective and that we believe in the Law of Attraction, it doesn’t mean that we are suddenly going to become superhuman and start causing all these terrible things to happen, we have plenty of evidence to confirm from our own experiences with OCD that that just isn’t true.


Opening up and getting help can make all the difference for dealing with OCD.


Next up we discussed my actual interpretation of the Law (if you can even call it that) and how even if it is a thing, it just cannot work in the way stated in the book.

If you are having positive thoughts all the time and your being kind and helpful, then you are likely to attract that same kind of energy back. However, if you are negative all the time and you are always worrying about things, then you are likely to feel negative and to have more negative experiences with other people. Having a negative thought about someone or something is not going to make something bad happen to them or it. The world simply doesn´t work like that. If you have negative thoughts all the time, then you might end up feeling more negative, just like if you have positive thoughts all the time, you will end feeling more positive. This is how the law of attraction works! So let me just repeat, as discussed earlier, there is no way that by having a negative thought about something, that you will attract that thing to happen.


This was all it took for me to stop following the negative loops of thought about the Law of Attraction. I did though notice that in the weeks following I found myself looking for further reassurance online, just to make sure. Reassurance seeking is a very sneaky compulsion and should be short circuited every time you catch yourself doing it. Luckily for me I realized what I was doing and stopped. I reminded myself that I new the law of attraction does not work in the way I thought and that I didn´t need to research it anymore. Whenever the anxiety about it showed up, I acknowledged it, tried my best to accept it and then put my attention onto something else more positive (the principles of ACT). By doing this regularly I soon forgot about this obsession and when I did come across it again in the future, it no longer had much power over me. If after reading this you still find yourself stuck with it, I would highly recommend that you seek out the support of a therapist or specialist in the area. For some people with OCD, perhaps it is best to try not to read about the law of attraction at all as it may keep on leading to them becoming confused.


Find some peace from OCD. Asking for help is the first step.


I hope this has been a useful blog post for people who find this topic difficult. OCD and the law of attraction are very confusing, but if you follow this advice, I think it could really help you move on from this infuriating obsession. In a way it almost seems like a tailor made problem for OCD sufferers to deal with, but if you can view it in the way stated here, you will be able to stop struggling with it. Please feel free to get in touch by email: robertjamescoaching@gmail.com or through my Instagram robertjamescoachinguk.

#ocd #anxiety #lawofattraction


  1. Vonnie Menaker April 9, 2020 at 11:10 pm

    Hello! robertjamescoaching.com site is very useful and inspirational, and I do not think I arrived without a reason. That’s
    why I want to help others share a book that has helped
    me a lot in my life: https://bit.ly/3bZQVAC

    1. Robert James April 30, 2020 at 7:52 am

      Hi Vonnie,

      Thank you for you message 🙂 I will check out the book for sure… I hope you are well!

  2. Nina August 7, 2020 at 11:24 am

    I feel like it is a bit confusing, on one side you say that If you are having positive thoughts all the time and your being kind and helpful, then you are likely to attract that same kind of energy back. However, if you are negative all the time and you are always worrying about things, then you are likely to feel negative and to have more negative experiences with other people.

    This in turn makes me feel like you still kind of say that when one thinks negative that can come true (have more negative experience with other people).

    On the other hand you say that f you have negative thoughts all the time, then you might end up feeling more negative, just like if you have positive thoughts all the time, you will end feeling more positive and that this is how the law of attraction works.

    This then would actually ease fears as it just means that YOU feel more negative/positive but it does not affect the people (outside world) to behave more negative towards you.

    Especially for people with anxiety (like me) I think it would be good if you could clarify what exactly is the way it is because I am, due to my trauma in the past, often afraid people could leave me (although I also try to think positive) and the first one made me think that my thinking could influence other people to do so.

    1. Robert James September 30, 2020 at 8:25 am

      Hello Nina, thank you for your message. You are right, this topic is confusing, which is why I decided to write the blog about it, because in the past in confused me. The best advice I can give you in regards to this is if the LOA is creeping into your anxiety, then perhaps it´s best not to read about it as it is confusing. All i was saying in this blog is that the LOA doesn´t just work so simply as us having a bad thought, that then causes that thought to happen. I wanted to reassure people with anxiety that things just don´t work like this.

  3. Elizabeth Corum October 9, 2020 at 5:27 am

    Hi. I wrote you an email because some of the information I included is private, one of the things I’ve never told a soul, I just hide it. I hope you read it, this article has had a tremendous impact on my soul and I cannot express how grateful I am for you penning it. Thank you.

    1. Robert James October 9, 2020 at 6:52 am

      Happy to hear you found it helpful. I have replied to your email.

    2. Cassie March 26, 2021 at 5:35 pm

      Thankyou thankyou thankyou so much for this.I’ve been dealing with intrusive thoughts and heard about law of attraction.It was giving me so much anxiety so I had to google it and stumbled upon this.I feel so relieved now 🙂 I still kinda have a question though

  4. Amanda October 17, 2020 at 7:52 pm

    Thank you. So. Much. For. This. AHHHH. SO appreciative.

    1. Robert James October 19, 2020 at 8:43 am

      No problem at all. Happy to hear that ypu found it useful 🙂

  5. Anonymous January 1, 2021 at 10:20 pm

    Thanks so.much for this. The fear of manifesting my negative thoughts has been stressing me out. This is a very helpful article. Thank you.

    1. Robert James January 10, 2021 at 10:14 am

      Hi there, happy to hear that it was helpful for you 🙂

  6. Zekk February 13, 2021 at 3:04 am

    The worst thing about ocd+LoA is thinking of affecting everything.For example if i read something bad (about diseases for example or any bad stuff) i imagine something bad will happen to the people i love and i will do my rituals to stop that(washing hands so i can wash negative thinking)…

    1. Robert James February 14, 2021 at 8:24 pm

      Yes, but once you truly understand that it´s just OCD that is making you worry about this you canaquickly move past it.

    2. Cassie March 26, 2021 at 4:25 am

      Thankyou thankyou thankyou..I’ve been dealing with intrusive thoughts and found out about the law of attraction.It’s been causing me so much anxiety that I had to google it and stumbled upon this.I feel more at peace now 🙂 I still kinda have a question though

      1. Robert James March 30, 2021 at 3:59 pm

        No problem, i´m gld you found it helpful. Please go ahead and ask me any firther questions, or if you like you can contact me directly through the contact page on my website. Robert

  7. Lucy March 10, 2021 at 12:56 am

    Dude I needed this so bad thank you

    1. Robert James March 10, 2021 at 9:28 am

      Happy it has helped 🙂

  8. Tiago Damião March 29, 2021 at 2:57 pm

    Hi Robert James!

    And what about karma? It’s the same thing? This is happening to me too.
    P.S. Btw, I’m listening to all your podcasts, amazing job! I hope one day I could help others with OCD in my country as you do. But first I wanna take care of myself.

  9. Liz March 29, 2021 at 11:23 pm


    I cant believe it has taken me so long to find your blog. I suffer from Magical OCD thinking always thinking that I have an affect on myself and others lives. Especially my children, When its a positive outcome its great and when its negative its debilitating. The entire process is exhausting!!! And combine magical thinking with the law of attraction!!! That’s a lethal combo. I’m even having a hard time writing that last sentence ;o;;. But thank you for putting my mind at ease. This helps me alot. I still have to learn how to break the routine and trust this. But thank you.

    1. Robert James March 30, 2021 at 3:48 pm

      Hello Liz,

      Thank you for your message. I´m happy to hear that this has been so helpful for you. It´s important to remember that these things are not as simple as they are made out to be by the people trying to get rich from the LOA. If you would like to discuss this further I offer a free 30 minute session and will be happy to discuss it with you.


  10. Maryam h April 15, 2021 at 2:57 pm

    THANK YOU ! i actually became anxious when I started to read about the law of attraction. So I really needed this❤️❤️❤️✨

    1. Robert James April 17, 2021 at 1:48 pm

      Hello 🙂 I´m happy that you found it helpful…

  11. Emma April 22, 2021 at 11:53 am

    Thank you so much! Does this also apply for continuous fearful thinking of one same thing? I’ve heard the reassurance that LOA does not work for one-time intrusive thoughts before, but if you constantly think and really focus around one thing, you will attract this thing to happen to you. I have OCD with extreme death anxiety and since this is what I’m constantly obsessing about I’m afraid that I will somehow attract death to me. But this is just a misunderstanding then? I can only attract more negative feelings and perception, but not actual happenings?

    1. Robert James April 23, 2021 at 8:30 am

      I believe that the LOA is not as simple as that. You are not going to manifest your obsesisons. The issue here though is not the obsesison about the LOA. Its about the underlying anxiety you are experiencing. This is the thing you need to be concerned with, no the LOA. Focus on working on the anxiety with proven methods like ACT.

  12. Karen Marchese zani April 30, 2021 at 11:32 pm

    Thank you so much, I really needed this ☺️

    1. Robert James May 1, 2021 at 7:27 pm

      No problem, happy you found it helpful 🙂

  13. Jess June 10, 2021 at 11:32 pm

    Hey Robert,

    Thank you so much for this!

    I’d just like to voice some of my thoughts on this topic if that’s ok,

    I struggle with ocd and the fear of a specific illness and went back down hill recently when finding out about the law of attraction, it’s probably one of the worst things someone with ocd can google lol! Your post is very helpful and I just want to say thank you.

    Similar to what you said, if the loa were true, everyone with ocd would be living their worst nightmare, which is not the case. So really we are all proof that it’s fake! As well as gamblers, they would have it mastered by now and let’s be fair, pretty much everyone else would have too and there’s also the fact it’s not scientifically proven to even be called a law.

    I also agree that when in a negative head space or an positive head space this will reflect how we interpret our surroundings and situations, I think it’s all about changing perception which personally I don’t think that has anything to do with the universe, rather mindset. It also seems that everyone has different beliefs on how it works and it’s not very clear which for me makes it untrustworthy in the first place.

    Sorry that was long lol but these are just my thoughts that I’d like to express that help me in challenging my own ocd

    Best wishes


    1. Robert James June 14, 2021 at 7:53 am

      Hi Jess, yes this can be very confusing, perhaps best left alone if you struggle with OCD as it just leads to confusion. I have sent you an email in regards to your questions.

  14. Animesh June 11, 2021 at 10:59 am

    Thank you so much Robert. It was indeed very helpful. Really needed it.

    1. Robert James June 14, 2021 at 7:52 am

      Happy you founf it helpful 🙂

  15. Josephine May 11, 2022 at 1:57 pm

    Omg thank you so much for this. Recently I’m dealing with anxiety, depression and ocd that makes me constantly imagine the worst. I totally know why it happens, why my brain works like that, but it’s hard to shut up those thoughts and feelings when I’m having one of those moments. Reading about LOA, especially some posts on their Reddit communities, really scared me because usually my negative thoughts are about people I care about such as imagining that x and y is a hint that they have this disease or problem and it makes me desperate to the point of crying because I imagine them having those issues, until I get evidence that I was just paranoid and they are ok. It doesn’t help that I always had a pretty good intuition too so I always wonder if I’m having one of those moments, or it’s just overthinking and paranoia. Reading about LOA I really worried that my imagination would manifest bad things for others because of my emotional investment in those worries and fears of mine as I feel, in those moments, a bad feeling that makes me feel so sure I’m predicting the future or discovering something bad.

    What I can say I ended up thinking about LOA is that the truth is in the middle. I think having positive thoughts and a positive attitude in life helps you attract more positivity but it’s because you look at the world with more positive optimistic eyes, and thus act in a way and make decisions that help you put yourself in situations that make you happy. Likewise, if you are always negative you attract negativity and make yourself more miserable because you are bound to always see things in a negative way and you may not notice the positive or more hopeful things and opportunities that life gives you. Say you are about to start a new job, if you get there and start the new job with a hopeful optimistic mindset that only looks at positive aspects, chances are you may like the new job and be happy. But if you, before even starting that job, I you are a failure already and only look at the negative and expect the worst, chances are you won’t like the job because you will only notice the negative and act in a way that will make you “fail”. It’s a self fulfilling prophecy.
    I think it’s like that when we worry about others too. Say you think your beloved has a disease, the universe won’t make them get it just because you think that but chances are you are going to find more “clues” that make you worry because you are set on noticing only negative things that backup your worries even as you obsessively look for proof that you are wrong. It’s your feelings of worry and fear that you are manifesting, not really their disease.

    1. Robert James July 18, 2022 at 8:43 am

      Hi there,

      I’m happy that you found the article helpful 🙂 If you would like to do some coaching to help you with this, then please feel free to let me know.

  16. Bali June 22, 2022 at 7:53 pm

    Do you mean to say that thoughts create our energy and we attract based on the energy we put forth. For example if im happy all the time i’ll feel good and good things will come and if im thinking down that my energy will feel off and i’ll create bad experiences?

    1. Robert James July 18, 2022 at 8:24 am

      I think we attract the energy we put out into the world yes 🙂


Leave A Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *