LoveHurts, I agree with @Nix2
that the issues you describe seem to go far beyond OCD. I also agree with him that the behaviors you describe -- i.e., irrational jealousy, temper tantrums, verbal abuse, controlling behavior, rapid flips between Jekyll (adoring you) and Hyde (devaluing you), and always being "The Victim" -- are classic warning signs for BPD (Borderline Personality Disorder).
Importantly, I'm not suggesting your W has full-blown BPD but, rather, that she may exhibit moderate to strong traits of it -- together with moderate traits of OCD. I caution that BPD is a "spectrum" disorder, which means every adult on the planet occasionally exhibits all BPD traits to some degree (albeit at a low level if the person is healthy). At issue, then, is not whether your W exhibits BPD traits. Of course she does. We all do.
Rather, at issue is whether she exhibits those traits at a strong and persistent level (i.e., is on the upper end of the BPD spectrum). Not having met her, I cannot answer that question. I nonetheless believe you can spot any strong BPD warning signs that are present if you take a little time to learn which behaviors are on the list. They are not difficult to spot because there is nothing subtle about behaviors such as very controlling behavior, always being "The Victim," and rapid event-triggered mood flips.
Significantly, learning to spot these warning signs will NOT enable you to diagnose your W's issues. The main reason for learning these red flags, then -- like learning warning signs for stroke and heart attack -- is to help you decide whether there is sufficient reason to promptly spend money seeking a professional opinion.
Wife's Anger Has Deep Roots.... She has a short fused temper and directs a lot of her anger at other situations towards me on a regular basis.
People with OCD typically try to make themselves feel better by performing routines. In contrast, those with strong BPD traits try to make themselves feel better (when stressed) not with routines but, rather, by raging and devaluing others. That is, the BPDers project their hurtful feelings and bad thoughts onto their partners.
Significantly, the APA's diagnostic manual (DSM-5) does not mentioned anger in any of the 8 symptoms listed for defining OCD. Nor is it mentioned in the defining traits listed for OCPD. Anger is a defining trait, however, for BPD. Indeed, the terms "anger"
appear in 3 of the 9 defining symptoms for BPD.
Anger is one of the hallmarks for BPD because BPDers carry enormous anger and hurt deep inside from early childhood. You therefore don't have to do anything to CREATE the anger. Instead, you only have say or do some minor thing that TRIGGERS the anger that is already there. This is one reason why a BPDer can flip -- in only ten seconds -- from adoring you to hating (or devaluing) you.
She's never happy with anything we buy and always finds the flaws or the worst parts of things and uses that to fuel her tantrums.
My BPDer exW (of 15 years) was that way too. If I gave her an expensive gift, she would absolutely love it for a week -- perhaps two weeks if it was really extravagant. Then she started perceiving of it as too big, too small, or the wrong color.
She changes her mind on every decision - Even after it's been made - Even after she fights with me vehemently because she thinks she's right, and then realizes maybe I had a good point after making the decision to go through with something, she wants to revert back and change course.
The main hallmark of BPD is emotional instability. If your W has strong BPD traits, she is unstable because she is unable to regulate her own emotions. On top of that, a BPDer has a fragile, weak sense of who she is. The result is that a BPDer on her own is unable to maintain a certain course. She has no strong personality to guide her. This is why BPDers desperately need to be living with someone having a strong personality that will ground them and center them. Of course, when you do EXACTLY THAT, your contribution (i.e., the "self identity" she sorely needs) will not be appreciated. Instead, the BPDer will frequently complain that you are trying to control her.
She had a lot of emotional abuse growing up with a mother who had dramatic outbursts and cheated openly on her father.
Most abused children grow up without developing strong and persistent BPD traits. Even so, childhood abuse greatly raises the child's risk for doing so. A recent study found that 70% of BPDers (i.e., those exhibiting strong and persistent traits) report that they had been abused or abandoned by a parent in childhood.
Over the years prior to us meeting, my wife developed some behavioral OCD tendencies.
If your W has moderate to strong BPD symptoms, that does NOT rule out her also suffering from strong traits of an anxiety disorder such as OCD or a PD such as OCPD. A recent large-scale study found that 81% of female BPDers suffer from a co-occurring anxiety disorder such as OCD, panic disorder, PTSD, or generalized anxiety. Moreover, 24% of female BPDers also suffer from a second PD called OCPD (Obsessive Compulsive Personality Disorder). See Table 3 at 2008 Study in JCP
If I can just be quiet and let her vent maybe I can avoid an argument...Nothing I say ever seems to matter or change things anyways.
If she has strong BPD traits, that strategy will not work. The reason is that a BPDer's two great fears -- abandonment and engulfment -- lie at opposite ends of the very same spectrum. This means that, as you back away from one fear to avoid triggering it, you necessarily are starting to trigger the other fear. This is why, with BPDers, arguments will get very heated every few weeks, if not more often.
The other 30% of the time though it stretches out, and it ultimately gets added to the grudge list, which is pulled out in the heat of battle to remind me of all the times I've messed up.
As you know, OCD sufferers like to keep lists. BPDers keep lists too. Because a BPDer is always convinced she is "The Victim," she will keep a mental list of every infraction (real or imagined) that you ever did to her. And she will pull out the entire list nearly every time you have a bad argument, no matter how petty the issue.
Always asking me who I was texting or why I stay so late at work.
Irrational jealousy is a warning sign for BPD because abandonment is one of the BPDer's great fears. The other great fear is the engulfment she feels during intimacy. Granted, BPDers typically crave intimacy like nearly everyone else. They cannot tolerate it very long, however, because their self identity is so fragile (making their personal boundaries very low).
There's so much wrong, but so much right too.... The bad is bad, and the good is great.
BPDers generally are NOT bad people. Their problem is not being BAD but, rather, being UNSTABLE. The vast majority of BPDers are compassionate and caring with their casual friends, business associates, and total strangers -- because none of those folks come close enough to trigger the two fears. Moreover, many of these high functioning BPDers exhibit a warmth and purity of expression that is very childlike, making them easy to fall in love with. Indeed, two of the world's most beloved women -- Marilyn Monroe and Princess Diana -- both exhibited full-blown BPD if their biographers are correct.
She's sought counseling in the past and I think she would be understanding of me going on my own.
Going to IC on your own is a great idea. I suggest that you see a clinical psychologist -- for a visit or two all by yourself -- to obtain a candid professional opinion on what it is you and your young son are dealing with. I also suggest that, while you're looking for a good psych, you read about BPD warning signs to see if they seem to apply.
An easy place to start reading is my list of red flags at 18 Warning Signs
. If most sound very familiar, I would suggest you also read my more detailed description of these red flags at my posts in Maybe's Thread
. If that description rings many bells, I would be glad to join Nix2
and the other respondents in discussing them with you. Take care, LoveHurts.