Wife with OCD and control issues
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Physical & Mental Health Issues Marriage and relationships are difficult by themselves, but coping with physical or mental health problems can make things even more difficult.

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Old 09-08-2011, 07:07 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Wife with OCD and control issues

I need to vent. My wife has mild OCD (mostly checking locks, doors, plugs, cleanliness, etc). This often carries into our daily interactions as she is very demanding and needs to be in control and direct the most mundane of activities. What this translates into is a complete lack of respect for me and how she treats me.

I have been putting my foot down increasingly, mostly with regards to me not being involved in her OCD rituals. I have now progressed into demanding that I be respected. She does not seem to get it though. See still tells me what to do, when to do it and how it needs to be done. This ranges from washing my hands...to using the garage...to disciplining our children, etc. I have had enough of being treated like this but I can't seem to get through to her.

Last weekend I suggested that she go to a counselor and consider medication (for OCD). I did the research on local providers in our plan and gave her a list to help her choose. She told me it is not necessary and if she ever felt that she needed it she would do it. Of course nothing came of it.

We do have a great and fun relationship other than the times she feels she needs to direct me. Am I completely wrong that I should expect not to be directed, or at least that we should direct each other equally, if that makes any sense?

BTW...she just walked by and saw I was posting and took a read of this...that was a hoot.
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Old 09-09-2011, 12:00 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Wife with OCD and control issues

OCDs do what they do because it's soothing to them. Them live in a constant state of fear and agitation. Their repetitive acts and rituals calm them down, ground them, help them to smooth their jangly nerves. They believe that if they don't perform their rituals and acts then bad things will happen. Not in any abstract sense in a very real and concrete sense.

This assumes that your control freak isn't doing it just to be a tyrannical bastard martinet. Which is possible, but it's rare. Most people aren't complete a-holes just to be miserable a-holes unless there's some other psychopathic paranoia going on. Most people know they're being punitive jerks. They can't help it. In a way it's like having Tourette's. Do you know why they blurt out inappropriate things? Because they're terrified of blurting out inappropriate things. They think about doing the wrong thing so much, they do it. They're trying NOT to bark and shout weird obscenities. But something goes haywire and it comes out unfiltered.

OCDs have a love hate relationship with their tics and rituals. They love them because they make them feel normal. They hate them because they know it makes them weird and difficult.
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Old 09-09-2011, 01:13 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Wife with OCD and control issues

Thanks RLD, I think that is the longest post I have ever seen from you. I get most of what you are saying and she articulates as much to me. I know she does not want to be this way and she tries not to.

My main struggle is that, while she may not be able to control much of her thoughts and behaviors, I am very much in control of mine. I can control how I act and react to her. I think I have finally grown up enough and realized that being involved in her rituals and tolerating her "demands" is actually hurting our relationship. This is contrary to my initial gut reaction over the past 15 years that not doing what she asks is tantamount to me not being helpful and being mean to her. While that may be true for most people, it is the exact opposite for someone with OCD. The reality is that I am hurting myself, her and our relationship in the long run by basically acknowledging that the OCD and controlling behaviors are OK which just perpetuates and exacerbates the problem. Now it is time for me to do what is truly best for our relationship.

Am I making sense?

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Old 09-09-2011, 04:03 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Wife with OCD and control issues

well yeah you have to tell your wife that youre not going to get wrapped up in her anxiety because that doesnt help either of you. It's not punitive on your part you're not trying to anger it doesn't ameliorate her rituals in any to play into them.
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Old 02-01-2012, 12:31 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: Wife with OCD and control issues

Hubby, I have exactly the same issue in our home. Driving me and our kids crazy. This manifests itself in numerous control issues - none of us are allowed to clean/organize anything in the house, and the place is a mess. The OCD diagnosis has been validated by a reputed expert in OCD, but my wife refuses to accept that that this is severe enough that it requires external involvement. When I get tough about this, she just gets tougher. Total Jekyl and Hyde situation, wonderful person until anything related to germs or cleaning comes up - then she becomes totally irrational. Our marriage and family are about to disolve, our kids want to move out to get away from it - does it get any more severe?
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Old 02-01-2012, 04:23 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: Wife with OCD and control issues

I have ptsd which caused me to be a control freak. RLD is right it's like living in a constant state of fear and agitation. The ability to control something....anything calms the chaos in my brain. I got better because I wanted to get better. I desired it and it took therapy to do it.

My dad is ocd about smells <eyeroll> and I couldn't wait to get away from him. He is a nutjob and my mother has been enabling him for almost 50 years now.

So do I think you should give in to the controlling ways or ocd rituals? No. Stand your ground. My husband never gave in to mine and it was the best thing he could do for me. It forced me to fix my own problems instead of being allowed to pull him into the pit with me.
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Old 02-01-2012, 10:33 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Mavash, thank you for your comments. Unfortunately, standing my ground only makes things worse. Whatever I throw at her, she'll throw it back harder. She will physically stand in the way if I try to clean something. I can't yell and scream, it's not in me. And I absolutely won't be physically forceful. I am really stuck and trapped. Even observing her tonight it is clear that she sees her behavior as normal, and can justify everything she does - like washing her hands six times in five minutes. It's so tough to deal with a mental disorder when the person doesn't see it. I applaud you for facing your demons and getting help, you are a great person for it.
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Old 02-01-2012, 10:40 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Mavash, thank you for your comments. Unfortunately, standing my ground only makes things worse.
I should clarify my husband didn't stand his ground and he tried his best to participate as much as humanly possible (good grief what I put him through). To be honest he layed low, tried to please me, and disappeared as much as humanly possible. Those were some bad years.

I was obsessive about cleaning and I was a control freak due to ptsd. I was NOT ocd. I didn't have rituals I was just nuts about things like having to have my spices alphabatized or my cans all facing the same way. I scrubbed baseboards and everything had to be spotless.

I didn't see that I had a problem either. I thought I was just fine and the rest of the world was wrong. And yes I can laugh about it now.

My heart goes out to you. I know what I put my husband through and I'm still apologizing for it. Sigh. I don't know which this is harder on the tormented depressed person or the helpless normal one. It's a toss up I guess.
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Old 02-01-2012, 11:08 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: Wife with OCD and control issues

I believe there are non-medicated approaches that really might herlp her. As for you, if you can learn to use humor to help her manage her anxiety - that might be positive....



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Originally Posted by hubby View Post
Thanks RLD, I think that is the longest post I have ever seen from you. I get most of what you are saying and she articulates as much to me. I know she does not want to be this way and she tries not to.

My main struggle is that, while she may not be able to control much of her thoughts and behaviors, I am very much in control of mine. I can control how I act and react to her. I think I have finally grown up enough and realized that being involved in her rituals and tolerating her "demands" is actually hurting our relationship. This is contrary to my initial gut reaction over the past 15 years that not doing what she asks is tantamount to me not being helpful and being mean to her. While that may be true for most people, it is the exact opposite for someone with OCD. The reality is that I am hurting myself, her and our relationship in the long run by basically acknowledging that the OCD and controlling behaviors are OK which just perpetuates and exacerbates the problem. Now it is time for me to do what is truly best for our relationship.

Am I making sense?
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Old 03-07-2012, 08:53 AM   #10 (permalink)
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I should clarify my husband didn't stand his ground and he tried his best to participate as much as humanly possible (good grief what I put him through). To be honest he layed low, tried to please me, and disappeared as much as humanly possible. Those were some bad years.

I was obsessive about cleaning and I was a control freak due to ptsd. I was NOT ocd. I didn't have rituals I was just nuts about things like having to have my spices alphabatized or my cans all facing the same way. I scrubbed baseboards and everything had to be spotless.

I didn't see that I had a problem either. I thought I was just fine and the rest of the world was wrong. And yes I can laugh about it now.

My heart goes out to you. I know what I put my husband through and I'm still apologizing for it. Sigh. I don't know which this is harder on the tormented depressed person or the helpless normal one. It's a toss up I guess.
Mavash, How did you find out that you were not OCD but OCPD. I know my wife has one but how can you tell the difference. Also, how did you overcome it.
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