lately i have really been wondering if maybe i am a kleptomaniac. i haven't been able to find much information about this disorder, but let me tell you my story.
i had never really stolen before, but when i was about 17 my mom owned a local business which was forced to shut down due to wal-mart moving into town. i got interested in this practice and started studying the effect multinational corporations had on local business and towns and people. it was clear to me that exploitation was at the root of this business, and the more i thought about that, the more i started to realize that stealing from them could be construed as a way to "get even" or even bring them down with loss sales and profits. it was like a form of economic sabotage, in my mind. i started stealing a lot, but only from large corporate stores.
when i was 18 i got caught shoplifting at one of these stores and a policeman was brought in. i was charged with theft and had to pay a fine. this stopped me from stealing for a long time...but eventually, i started up again. i was always very meticulous in choosing who and who i wouldn't steal from. i would never in a million years think of stealing from a local business. my ethics were, in fact, quite admirable and strategic. i made sure to steal only things i would actually buy or use.
i never thought i had a problem until just recently. i have been examining the psych field and if there is one thing i truly believe, it's that people who suffer from a mental disorder or illness do so because it's their way of coping with the various components of their life. for example, stealing is a way a person might cope if they felt that the world was being unfair to them, or a person trying to cope with intense alienation and loneliness might suffer from schizophrenia - an escape into the imagination. (of course, this is all assuming they have a genetic predisposition to the disorder/illness.)
in any case...i have been noticing lately that my stealing is getting out-of-control. they are never planned thefts, they kinda just happen...and although i am very concious that i am stealing, i am often surprised by how much "loot" i will get in one store. i often have to empty out my pockets and purse before i can even attempt to go into another store to browse. i feel like i have a compulsion because no matter how much i steal, i can never seem to get enough. i don't need half, or most, of the things i steal - if any, really. i often give the items away as gifts, and if they are books, i even think about returning them to the store after they've been read. the reason i am growing concerned about this now is because i can't even step into a local independent business (something i ethically find very WRONG to steal from) without feeling the urge to take something. it is something i have to actually fight against, and even in that case, sometimes i just give in anyway (although i often end up feeling extremely guilty about it afterwards.) still, this doesn't seem to stop me.
sometimes i will actually wake up and have a NEED to steal. i'm not sure why this occurs, but it definitely has quite a few times in my recent past. so my question is...
could i be a kleptomaniac?