Total Pageviews

Friday, March 28, 2014

Husband Is Contaminated/Living Together Is Hard

Another really big issue I struggle with is feeling like my husband is contaminated.  I have felt this way for a long time and it very much affects our marriage.  We really don't have much of a relationship anymore, but to be honest a lot of that started dwindling even before the OCD even fully set in.  If you go back to my previous post on how all of this got started it seems very clear to me that marriage stress was sort of a trigger for my OCD really kicking into high gear.  Once my husband started some hobbies of working with tractors/farming, I started to move more toward contamination issues, rather than "germaphobia".  I really go into a lot of detail in that post as to how he began to feel contaminated to me, so please refer back to that post for all of those details to get up to speed on that situation.  I can't remember the last time I kissed my husband.  We have not been intimate for over 1.5 years.  We have slept in separate bedrooms for basically most of our marriage.  I do not want to hold hands with him.  I do not want his arm around me.  I do not want him to touch me.  If a part of him does touch me, I will throw that clothing away.  I will not sit on the same couch as him.  If he has to sit in my drivers seat in my car, I will wipe it down thoroughly with antibacterial soap and water.  I wash the washing machine out several times after I do his laundry.  I wash his dishes separately, then run an empty dishwasher cycle before I do the rest of the dishes.  (The reason for this one is because he is looking at his cell phone when he eats and his cell phone is contaminated in my mind because he is always on it  So I feel he contaminates the dishes and I don't want the dishes he uses to be in the dishwasher at the same time as K and I's).  In fact I keep a stack of plates, bowls and cups in a separate cupboard that my daughter and I use.  His dishes are in another cupboard and they don't ever get mixed.  My daughter and I have a separate bathroom from him.  When sitting next to him at church I leave plenty of space between him and I so he does not accidentally brush up against me.  I don't like when he walks through the kitchen when I am making food.  If I even get any inkling that he has come near food sitting on the counter, I won't eat it.  His hands bother me.  His hands look like typical "working man" hands, they don't look clean and I don't want them touching me or anything.  Basically everything that he touches bothers me.  I can't even touch the back door to let the dog out without washing my hands.  A lot of times I will use paper towels or plastic bags to open doors, unless they are doorknobs that he doesn't use.  Now granted I've always felt our garage door (from the garage into the house) is contaminated just because everyone touches it when they come in from being outside.  I tend to be better about certain doorknobs that he doesn't use though.  I will still use my wrist usually to turn on faucets and doorknobs, but I find myself actually having to wash my hands if I use a more common door in the house that he also uses.  I'm pretty sure that he flushes the toilet without washing his hands.  I wil see him stick his fingers in the dog's mouth or play with her toys and then not wash his hands.  His truck is absolutely contaminated to me, and I would not want to ride in it.  Like I said the passenger seat in my car is where he rides and I wouldn't want to sit in there either.  When we take car rides out of town or ride together in my car as a family, I will always drive.  Currently my daughter rides in the backseat due to her age.  I don't want her to have to sit in the passenger front seat either, so I don't know what I will do when it is time for her to ride up front.  Probably talk my husband into a different care.  Although that still poses a problem because when we ride as a family he will ride up front if we are all together.  My mind just spins in different directions all the time.  He has told me before that I treat him like he has leprosy, and to be honest, I really do.  if he even comes close to me, I get panic and probably look like a deer caught in the headlights.  I get frustrated though because I feel like I've tried to be open and honest about my condition and he should understand by now how his hobbies affect me and the OCD.  He has made it very clear that he shouldn't have to change anything, and I guess that is why I really struggle living in the same house with him anymore.  I don't like to use the kitchen faucet to wash my hands anymore because he uses the soap pump there and I feel it is now contaminated.  We moved into a brand new house a year ago and I will not use the same shower as him.  I plan on using the tub/shower in the main bathroom always.  I don't want him touching absolutely anything of mine.  I keep my clothes in the spare bedroom closet or my daughter's closet.  I don't want him touching food in our house.  I leave all food in our pantry and he knows not to get in there or it will bother me.  I have accidentally left dishes out on the table and was scared he might have touched them, so I threw them away.  I will not use the dryer anymore at our house because his clothes have contaminated it.  Also I washed it out so much with soap and water when I was using it, that I believe that small amounts of mold began to grow in the crevices.  I line dry everything of K and I's now.  We all have our own seats at the kitchen table.  I would not be able to sit in his chair.  I have to put K and I's shoes in the spare bedroom because I can't leave them in the entryway because one time he laid his dirty work clothes on top of our shoes.  I have to use a papertowel when I'm touching the TV remote or wash my hands after using it.  I will not sit on any furniture downstairs anymore because he has sat in every seat down there.  If I ever did need to sit on it I would thoroughly wash it with antibacterial soap and water, but I would probably feel very uncomfortable sitting in it, and I'm not actually sure that I would be able to.  He has tickled my daughters toes before and I have thrown her socks out.  He touched her shoe once and I threw it out and got her a new pair.  If he touches anything of mine or hers, it gets thrown out.  I have a system in our house to know if he has gotten into anything.  Our house is split with the kitchen/living room in the center of the house.  The master bedroom/bath are on one side, and then 2 bedrooms and a bath are on the other side.  I don't want him in the other side of the house or the kitchen pantry so I will stick little pieces of paper in the doorways that he wouldn't notice.  Then if he were to get in a room the paper would fall down, and when I go into the room next if the paper is not there, then I will know he was in there.  Usually this is not the case because I am so worried about him getting into something that I rarely leave the house.  Only if I'm sure that he is gone or if my daughter can stay home to watch, will I leave the house to go somewhere.  Going into work makes me very uncomfortable because I am always afraid that he will come home and I won't know.  So I started a system for locking the deadbolt on our garage door.  He never locks the door on his way out so if the door is unlocked when I get home I'll know he was home.  Also if he did remember to lock it, it would be the main lock, not the deadbolt, so I feel a little bit better about that.  I always know exactly how I left things too.  I will usually tear the paper towels at the sink a certain way, that way when I get home I will know if he did wash his hands or not if he came home.  I have a pretty good system in place that I feel like I would know if anything was off when I came home.  It makes me so anxious when he is home by himself, so I have stopped taking my daughter to activities if it means I need to take her or pick her up when he will be left home alone.  It is really getting to be quite bothersome and I am becoming very resentful towards him.  I don't trust him.  I've seen him too many unsanitary things in the past, that my mind is really just left to wander all the time.  People with OCD have pretty good imaginations and can really let things run pretty wild sometimes.  So if I've seen him do some very questionable things right in front of me, likely my mind is going to go to some pretty crazy places in response when I can't see what he is doing.  His bedroom looks like a teenager lives in it.  Clothes everywhere, many of them visibly soiled with paint/dirt.  He has a pillow that he used for the longest time that was so filthy it was literally brown, and he actually slept on it without a pillowcase.  He throws his dirty clothes on the bed.  I can't remember the last time I washed his sheets, because he doesn't seem to care if they are washed or not.  He will do manual labor all weekend sometimes at the farm and then not shower the entire weekend.  His shower curtain downstairs is covered with black mold about 3/4 of of the way up (this happens often and I have to encourage him over and over to change it out).  One time I developed full body hives after cleaning his bathroom and I have to wonder if that was related, considering I had a positive skin test to mold for an allergy.  I've seen him put his dirty hat over his toothbrush and then continue to use it.  One time he stirred his coffee with a spoon and then set the spoon on a dirty plate on the counter (one that had food stuck to it and had been there for weeks) and then reused the spoon to re-stir the coffee a little bit later.  He puts flashlights in his mouth when he is working outside.  When we were fixing up our previous house to sell, he took a sponge and cleaned out the inside of the toilet with it, then rinsed it out (with water only) and used it on a wall to touch up a painting job he did there.  He uses the same towels to shower with for weeks on end, even though there are clean ones in the laundry basket.  Currently there are 2 bath towels in his bathroom, they are either flung on the floor or on the toilet seat after his shower.  I would assume that he is using those same towels over and over for weeks on end.  They are damp and sitting on the toilet and floor and then get reused the next day, and the next, and so on.  I don't get it.  I could go on and on with examples, but the point is I've lost trust in him.  I feel like he goes to the complete opposite extreme that I do with cleanliness, and I'm not sure if that is somehow to "prove a point to me", so that he will show me that my OCD won't affect how he does things, or if he truly believes these things aren't a problem.  I'm not sure.  I can't figure it out.  What I do know is that I feel uncomfortable in my house.  I feel like a prisoner in my house.  He doesn't realize I do a lot of the things I listed above....I'm not sure he realizes he has his own separate dishes or that I do his dishes separately.  I'm sure he doesn't know that I have an exhausting ritual of cleaning the washer out after washing his clothes, or that I turn off the water supply every morning to his toilet so that I can start my wash for the day.  We've had many talks about his bedroom and the moldy shower curtain and nothing seems to make a difference.  He seems very misunderstood on my OCD.  This one I can't figure out either...it has to be because he doesn't get OCD or he doesn't care, I just can't figure out which one.  In my mind I have to believe that its because he doesn't care, because I've talked in pretty good detail about my OCD to the point where he should at least understand my struggles/triggers by now.  I don't feel like I can talk about it with him a lot because he gets very angry and inpatient with me.  In turn, this makes the OCD worse.  It also makes me continue to hide the OCD, and so I feel like I have to do things different ways just in order to be able to live in the same house with him.  I feel like I live most of my days trying to figure out how to not be contaminated by him, and that is sad.  This makes me really sad as I read through this and write this, but this is how I feel.  Some might wonder if I have a case of emotional or relationship OCD, and to be honest I don't know much about that.  Maybe in part.  I do acknowledge that he is my biggest trigger, but also be honest I would have trouble with a lot of the above situations if they were anyone else.  I don't like to hug people in general (other than my daughter).  I wouldn't want other people to use our bathroom or our dishes or sit on the couch that my daughter and I use.  So I don't really think it can be relationship OCD.  I think the contamination would bother me no matter who it was.  What I do think, is that his hobbies probably triggered me and I have gotten to such a severe point of OCD with contamination issues that I think I feel a lot of resentment toward him because of that.  I know it it's not his fault that I have OCD, I realize he did not give me OCD.  That is not what I am trying to imply.  I realize that OCD is partly biological.  I had a genetic predisposition to the disorder (as I've read there has to be a biological predisposition), but there were also things that triggered my OCD and have made it worse through the years.  Most of those things, I believe, involve marriage stress and his hobbies.  I have honestly gotten to the point where I don't care about a lot of things anymore.  If he wants to get angry with me, then I don't know what I'm supposed to do that anymore.  Unfortunately it's a very toxic environment for me.  If he could at least understand a little and we could try to talk and find out a way to live comfortably together, I think that would be good.  If he could show some support or understanding, I might even feel more motivation to improve in certain areas.  But as for now if we never have sex again, so be it.  If we don't sleep in the same bedroom, I'm really not that concerned about it.  If he is just going to be angry and inpatient me, its really not helping the OCD...its hurting it and making things worse.  I will do what I need to do to feel comfortable living with him. That means if I need to replace things that he touches I will.  If I have to stay home because I'm too nervous to have him here by himself, then I will.  If I need to ask rfor reassurance, such as "Where you in the closet?", "Where you in my car for some reason?", then I will do it because I really need to know.  Not knowing makes me crazy.  I usually go to bed after he does every night.  One night he stayed up late (real late for him) and I was so frustrated because I wanted to go to bed.  He flat out said to me that he knew I was staying up because he knew it drove me crazy when he was out there by himself and I was staying up to make sure he didn't touch anything.  Well, that is true.  Again its all about the attitude he projects to me.  When he acts so angry and rude, it just makes me more stressed out and feeds the OCD cycle.  I wish that he would understand that he can help out by being supportive.  Even if he doesn't understand the OCD and gets irritated by it, I really  need him to understand that when I get up in the morning I don't sit there and choose to have these obsessions and compulsions every day.  I think I can speak for everyone with OCD probably that we don't want to be difficult.  Its anxiety and worry that causes us to be this way.  Its the anxiety that if we don't ask for that reassurance, or don't do that ritual, or don't do that compulsion, that we won't be able to function or get on with the day.  I will be honest when I saw that living apart from my husband would be easier.  When I think of all the stuff I wouldn't have to do anymore because I wasn't triggered by him, then I think about how much more free time I would have and how much more freedom I would feel.  I could go to the store or take my daughter to a movie or the park or the zoo without fear that he would come home and get into stuff.  I could take my dog for a walk and not worry that he would be home.  If he is not home for church, we don't go either, and that really bothers me too that this is keeping me home from church because I'm so afraid.  I wouldn't worry about toilets running/flushing because he wouldn't be there.  I could do my laundry whenever I wanted/needed to without fear that he would come.  I wouldn't have to do these laundry rituals at all, which are basically what consumes my time right now.  I honestly can tell you that my heart starts racing when I see a white truck drive by, or if our neighbor's garage door goes up and I think it might be ours, and I worry that he is coming home in the middle of a load of laundry and I will have to throw it out.  I go into an absolute panic where I start breathing hard and my heart is racing.  Then when I realize its not him I literally breathe a sigh of relief.  I can not keep going on like that.  It is not good for my mental, emotional OR physical health.  I don't really feel like he cares about me or what I go through so I feel really angry a lot, like I'm putting myself through this stress and my OCD keeps getting worse all the time because I am with him and he doesn't even care.  It's a very destructive environment, and I'm not sure how this is ever going to help me get better.  Ii don't want to divorce my husband, but I would be lying if I said it wouldn't be easier if we lived apart from each other.  This is where all the resentment adds up.  I hate to admit the emotions I feel toward my husband.  I am ashamed to even write them in this post...anger, bitterness, frustration, disappointment, resentment, rage, and to be honest pure hatred sometimes.  I feel bad saying that because I do love my  husband.  I hate how he reacts to my OCD and I hate how I feel so frustrated sometimes because I can't just leave the house and go somewhere fun with my daughter.  I can't even relax when I am home with her, because usually I have laundry going and I'm so afraid he is going to get home, that is all I can think about.  Of all the people involved in this, I feel the most badly for my daughter.  That will be a separate post though, how all of this has affected her.  

10 comments:

  1. My OCD which had never really hindered my life before, suddenly turned chronic. My husband couldn't take it and left. People who have not suffered from the type of debilitating OCD we suffer from will not understand fully what we are going through. They can empathise and sympathise, but never fully understand.

    That said, although I admit that your husband is at the other end of the hygiene spectrum, the problem lies with your OCD and not with him. He will never be clean enough for you as long as you suffer from this. Even if he gives up his hobby and tidies his bedroom/bathroom, you will still find him as contaminated as 'outside people' and will not allow him to be comfortable and fully enjoy his own home. Unless you can be sure that you'll be okay financially and emotionally should he walk out on you tomorrow, you have to seek treatment for your OCD. Trust me, there is a great possibility it might happen.

    Although I had always blamed and resented my husband for not trying hard enough to understand what I was going through, I am able to see things from his point of view. If I were him, I would have left me too, in order to have a normal life by myself or with someone 'normal'.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thanks for your response. Do you also suffer from similar contamination obsessions, or what type do you have? I do try to understand my husbands point of view, however I think what is difficult for me is that he never tries to understand my OCD. To my knowledge has never educated himself on it, nor does he know 95% of the things I deal with in regard to the OCD on a daily basis. He kind of thinks I am a germaphobe and that is the extent of it, but has no idea how debilitating this all is. I agree that I will always see him as contaminated no matter what, because my OCD keeps getting worse and as I mentioned in my post I would have problems with most people touching my things anymore. I guess I'm just frustrated because I feel like my OCD is worse because of him and he doesn't understand what I go through on daily basis just in order to be able to continue to live with him. I think what is frightening to me is that I'm not really interested in seeking therapy anymore. The OCD has become a way of life for me, it is so consuming and so big, I just don't know what to do. I do constantly expose myself to things that bother me. Some battles I am able to go into and fight off, others I can't. I am getting to the point where it is hard to function. I am sorry that your marriage broke up because of the OCD. I understand what you are saying about wanting him to have a "normal life", but we all carry baggage around in our life, and I do believe that marriage should be for life..in sickness and in health. My husband has tremendous GAD (generalized anxiety disorder) and health anxiety. I don't understand a lot of the things he stresses out about, but I know that is just going to be part of him and I have to deal with it the best I can. I just wish that he would try to understand my OCD a little better. Prayers to you, if you ever want to talk more personally over e-mail, please let me know. I think it helps to connect with those that go through what we do, as you are right...people don't really understand unless they have OCD themselves.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Do seek help from a therapist or psychiatrist. I know you said you don't want to, but that's because of the effect the OCD and anxiety have had on your mental and emotional state. When people are consumed in negativity, they refrain from being proactive and I know this so well. I am also an OCD sufferer though not particularly with contamination, more with magical thinking and the fear that my intrusive thoughts will become realities if I don't do something a certain way. I am paralysed by this often. Recently I decided I'd had enough and wanted to speak to someone openly since I don't discuss this with my family. I think you need to accept that others won't understand it. And to be honest, would you really want someone to feel what you feel in order to understand it fully? I would wish OCD on anyone! I don't want to comment on your relationship, I just want you to seek therapy. My therapist, though not a psychologist, has really helped me. Even the act of going to therapy instills in my this positivity and allows me to say no to compulsive behaviours. I have found that while my OCD is still really bad, I have had moments of real relief since I started therapy. It also helps to write down your rituals and avoidance issues and rank them from hardest to easiest. Then you can choose to fight things in a certain order. Also google cognitive distortions and use those to help you control your OCD. I really recommend seeing a specialist and getting everything out in the open as you have done in this blog!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for your comment! I really appreciate it! I am not currently going through any type of therapy. I did seek counseling a couple of years ago for this, but it was more "talk therapy" and I didn't find it helpful, at least not with the person I was seeing. I really feel I need an expert OCD therapist and there just aren't any in my area. I've been trying to self treat for awhile, and have managed to get some other compulsions under control, including checking and magical thinking (which I have struggled with so can relate to you in that aspect). I am so sorry that you deal with this disorder as well. I think you right on the button, I need to find someone to talk to that understands the disorder. I hoped to find a community here on the Internet, but I probably do need a counselor that at least understands OCD and that I can vent to, because my OCD is a lot worse than it was a couple of years ago when I was seeking help. I think your idea of writing everything out is a good one. Unfortunately the contamination issue is my biggest one and I just don't have a lot of drive to tackle that area right now. Thanks again for your comment. If you have a blog I would love to take a look, otherwise I hope you will come back and visit mine! FIGHT OCD!!!!!!!

      Delete
    2. Hi again! I don't have a blog yet. I'm thinking about starting one up but haven't so far. I have been reading yours and a few others quite regularly and it really does help to hear other people's issues. I can really see how related our issues are, even if I'm not struggling from contamination OCD exactly at this point. But the thinking patterns are the same and it's good for me to take a step back and realise that if I think you can recover, then I must be able to as well. I'm sorry you don't have any OCD counsellors in your area. My therapist actually deals with anxiety issues in general, but I still find her really helpful. Mostly, I think it's important that you find someone you trust. I was really able to open up to her and having someone to listen to everything gives me the opportunity to process things while I speak about them. I went to a psychiatrist a few years ago but I was so uncomfortable that I didn't talk about my problems so this is so much better! I would like to go through CBT if possible but right now I'm moving around a lot so I'd need to be settled and more financially stable to do it. But the therapy is helping! As is reading your blog. I really hope you're able to make some changes. It's really helpful to take a step back at times and view the bigger picture. What's the worst that could happen and should you be thinking about possibilities or hard facts in front of you? I know as OCD is irrational that this doesn't always help but do know that I believe you can overcome this if you set your mind to it. You have to be proactive, no matter how hard! Also, I can't stop thinking how cute your puppy must be! I hope you're doing ok today and keep blogging!

      Delete
    3. I really think you should start a blog. You have a good way of writing and are definitely offer words of encouragement to me. I know that others would benefit from your words as well! I started this blog to help process my OCD and more for documentation purposes, so hopefully someday I can look back and realize how much I've gotten better...but obviously I'm not there yet! :)
      I also wanted to connect with other OCD sufferers and so I really appreciate comments on here! It really helps to talk with other people who know what we are going through! As far as my puppy she is cute! But she is a handful definitely. Maybe I'll try to post a picture of her with my next post, which hopefully I will be writing up in the next day or two! Hope you are doing okay today too....

      Delete
  4. Hi,
    First I am NOT the same anonymous. I just read your post today looking for answers for my own sufferings with OCD. My heart breaks for you as I myself am all too familiar with and understand the complicated chaos of controlling every minute detail to have a moments peace, or whatever we call it for that time period where we feel okay....that we equate to normal

    ReplyDelete
  5. Hi there,

    I too have contamination ocd and 60mg daily of citalopram has changed my life.

    Started at 20 then 40 no change started feeling I.d never overcome the anxiety monster running my life.
    Six months later and 60mg a day of Citalopram along with exposure therapy facing what my thoughts made me fear OCD no longer runs my life.

    Hope this helps anyone reading it :-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Hope! Thanks for stopping by. I'm so glad to hear that Citalopram has changed your life so much, along with the ERP. I think a lot of people are hesitant to do medication, and that certainly defines myself as well. I am so glad that it is working for you, and that this monster no longer defines you. Best wishes!

      Delete