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Monday, December 8, 2014

Lacking support of spouse in OCD

Sorry in advance, this going to be a heavy post....
I think the current state of my relationship with my husband is creating a very toxic environment for me.  I honestly feel myself slipping into a depression again.  Through the years, I have struggled with a difficult marriage and the OCD.  The two paired together create a separate issue.  My husband and I have had issues for years, since very early on in our relationship.  Since long before my OCD ever entered the picture.  I wrote a very long post last fall about how I feel marriage stress and disconnection spurred the onset of my OCD.  If I had to simplify that down to one sentence.....I would say that I stopped feeling loved by my husband.
     That was a very emotionally traumatic time for me.  Our daughter was very young at that time (2 years old), and I dont think he meant to "check out".  He just became busy with other things and went back to school for his MBA.    Due to his emotional and physical absence I started to feel like my daughter and I were our own little family and I became desperately afraid that something would happen to one of us.  That is when the OCD started, and that is what still spurs my OCD to this day.  I know my husband is very angry at me for my OCD.  He says a lot of things that make feel like he doesn't get it...one of the bigger things is he continues to say that I "want" to do these things.  He already has quite a temper at times, and the OCD can really set him off...slamming doors, throwing his phone, yelling at me, getting angry, telling me "this is ridiculous and he can't do this anymore".  Threats that he wont financially support the OCD anymore, and statements that would imply I better work more hours or find a different job.  One time he told me he was going to put our house for sale, and implies getting divorced. Our arguments become very heated, and I am very guilty in these times as well.  I have outright rage when dealing with him...will flat out say, "I hate you".  We will usually fall into a deep argument like this at least every month.  But the aftermath sticks with me, and all I can think about is how poor our relationship is.  He also rolls his eyes when I try to explain things to him sometimes about my OCD.  For instance the other day there was a dead fly in our pre-packaged lettuce salad and I noticed it on my plate.  I had some pizza underneath the salad too.  My OCD wanted me to throw away everything on my plate, but I removed the dead fly, pushed my lettuce aside and still ate the pizza.  It didn't even make me that anxious, but shows how I didn't give in to the OCD and just ate the other food on my plate.  At that moment I chose to explain my husband what my OCD was telling me and how I resisted, simply to give him an example of the kinds of little things I push myself in each day.  Then our daughter says, "dad, I saw you roll your eyes at that", to which he responded that he was just looking at the ceiling trying to figure out what to say.  I have him seen him roll his eyes at me, so I have to think that is what he was doing.  He accuses me of hiding behaviors from him (and there are maybe a few behaviors he doesn't know about), but yet his reaction is anger, impatience or annoyance when I talk about it.  Every time I do open up, I make myself vulnerable and he doesn't react well and I feel even more unloved, which perpetuates the whole cycle.  I really don't know what to do anymore.  I don't really "involve" him in my rituals.  But my avoidance of him makes him angry.  Our social and family life is very much affected.  His tactics in dealing with the OCD are not helping.  His anger is making things worse and I feel it is actually hindering my progress.  I don't feel motivated to work on things involving him, because I don't feel close to him at all anymore.  I have offered to share all kinds of details about my OCD with him, but he doesn't feel comfortable talking about it.  I have shared so much information about my struggles and he rarely shows any emotion or concern about my well being.  After our last heated argument, which was about not going to his family's Thanksgiving, I wrote him a really nice letter describing how tough it must be to deal with my OCD.  I also apologized to him and discussed our argument cycles and anger breeding more anger.  How Im very disrespectful to him, but reminded him he is also being that way to me.  He did write me back and commended me for working on the OCD and wanting me to get help, but he never apologized to me or owned his part and that really bothers m.  He admitted to being angry and that he mentally buries my OCD and that he doesn't feel we will get anywhere until I work on my OCD.  This tells me a lot.  I have been working hard on my OCD for 7-8 months now and I have actually come a long way.  But why is he not able to see his part in this?  What do you do when you have no support from your spouse?  When he seems to use my OCD as an excuse for his anger.  He almost always seems to be angry anymore...at all kinds of situations.  It feels like can trace any situation back to me having OCD.  Now he says the reason he checks out is because of the OCD.  So everything ultimately falls back on me.  I am supposed to beat OCD, without his emotional support, and the reason the relationship is so negative seems to be my fault.    I understand the OCD has got to be wearing on him.  But why can't he see how his reaction is making everything worse?  How some of his behaviors and  absence early on in the marriage triggered my OCD and continue to act as the catalyst.  I feel so "flat" anymore, and this not healthy.  I physically feel horrible too.  Clenching my jaw at night, fatigued, lots of physical symptoms.  Panic attacks, headaches.  There are some pretty devestating cycles going on in our marriage.  I don't believe in divorce.  I don't know how to keep going in this relationship though.  I am more than my OCD.  I feel like that is all my husband sees in me anymore.  And now all I can see in him is a jerk.  Just being real and honest.  Sometimes it feels so hopeless.  I would to hear from you all.  How does your spouse or significant other react to your OCD?  What is helping?  What is hindering?  Is it possible to get through the dark waters of OCD when you are in a toxic environment and it doesn't appear to changing.  I think communication is essential in a marriage, especially in regard to the OCD.  But when your spouse doesn't communicate, what do you do?

16 comments:

  1. me and my wife have been together for over 9 years. she had ocd but it never really made me angry and it shouldnt even lead to an argument, if someone was sick would you get mad at him or her? please ask your husband that question

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    1. she most likely already has... Im glad your wife was one of the lucky ones lol wish there were more people like you that got it x

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    2. I agree. I have talked to my husband on numerous occasions. Nothing I say seems to make a difference. It is chronically frustrating. I wish more people, like you, also understood that it not a choice, but in fact a true illness, often debilitating.

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  2. To recover from a mental illness, we first must understand if it is OCD or is it something different. Celebrities with ocd are usually high status person and are probably very wealthy too, and therefore it is important for people like me to know as much as possible about him.

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  3. this has been my life for the past 5 years, since getting together with someone who i really love. his withdrawal and anger triggered huge spiking in my ocd issues, I have tried everything to get him to understand and he just doesn't. we have moments of clarity where we both think it might improve, but ultimately it necver does because he really doesnt undrestand it and deep down just thinks im stupid for it and resents me for not changing it. (Ive done huge huge self work and it has got tonnes better then it was when it started but still its my problem and he thinks its dumb) Im so sorry, I wish I had advice, I dont, i feel so hopeless with it that I just wanted to reach out and say you're not alone and im sorry you go through this aswell.

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    1. Dear Unknown, thanks so much for reading my post and sharing your comments. I am truly so, so sorry that you have to go through this as well. I have talked to numerous people (through this blog) where it seems like emotional trauma and anger problems in the spouse tend to create worsening OCD situations. I get that they don't understand it, because their brain just doesn't work like ours. I'm glad that you have made a lot of progress with your OCD too. They just can't possibly understand the mental torture that goes through our minds on a daily basis and it is so hard to cope sometimes with the OCD, the added depression, and then a very strained relationship. Sometimes it really helps to talk things through with someone going through a similar situation, if you would ever like to exchange emails to just chat a bit more about our situation, I would be very happy to do so.

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  4. I just want to cry! I had a mile long post written to reply and he just vanished before I could publish!

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  5. So, I'll start re-writing my post but make it much shorter. My husband has went to one counselor appointment with me and he does try somewhat to understand my OCD. He too get angry and frustrated easily and that make my symptoms much worse! I'm having a hard time now with my husband deer hunting and I know this is something that he has always done and he feels like I'm making him "change". After explaining my reasoning behind the "deer thing" he agreed that if he couldn't go hunting this year that he would be okay with it but he really wanted to take our boys during the youth hunt which I agreed because felt this would be similar to a exposure for me sort of and things were okay because they didn't get a deer. Well this weekend my husband was being super nice to me and agreed to go with me to do whatever I wanted so we went to lunch and went shopping which was fun because usually I go by myself with the kids and then I get easily overwhelmed and my OCD wins and we go home so I can shower and then I feel better. Well before we left for the day he called me into the bedroom and tells me he needs to tell me something! He had a phone call the night before and I overheard it was a woman and I asked who that was and he told me not to worry about it. I heard him say he would pick it up that afternoon so I was secretly hoping maybe it was regarding a Christmas gift for me! Well is wasn't! After calling me into the bedroom he tells me that he's been keeping a secret and I start to worry, he said he had shot a deer last weekend while he was out baking hay! He was thoughtful of me and my OCD so he did take it to be processed somewhere else instead of bringing it home and doing it himself but that still doesn't make it okay. I was hurt, I felt betrayed that he said he was okay with not hunting and then he did and then he hid it from me. He said he was scared to tell me and said he only wanted to make jerky for our family for Christmas but I don't care! I'd rather make them cookies. He wanted to go get the meat in my car and I said no so he took his truck. I freaked out when I thought he was brining the meat in our house last night so got angry and yelled and gripped and had a fit but I really didn't care because I feel like he shouldn't have done that in the first place because we had agreed. I feel like he was being nicer than normal thinking that if he did everything that I wanted that I would be okay with the deer thing but I wasn't because that's one of the things higher up on my anxiety scale. He has made comments before about why didn't I tell him about my OCD before we got together and that makes me think that he would've ran far, far away if he knew what it was all about but honestly I didn't even think of telling him because I was doing great at the time. I was managing well, not stressed, I was happy and when things are going good then the OCD usually isn't a problem. But now, 10 years later, 5 kids, 1 miscarriage, bills, lack of space, OCD, contamination issues, stress of daily life, martial problems and my OCD has spiraled out of control again for the 2nd time in our marriage. The first time was after having our 2nd son and I had postpartum depression and my husband worked out of town and he eventually had to quit his job to stay home and help me until I got better but this time I had another c-section and he only took off a couple days, school had just gotten out for the summer, he was working his regular job and baling hay and farming almost every evening and that's when I felt like things started going down hill really fast with my OCD. Having a new baby I am very concerned with germs and illness, my laundry situation is a nightmare since I have contamination issues and I'm doing laundry for 7!

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  6. We are cramped in our current house and my cleaning has taken a backseat because I feel contaminated after cleaning but since I work and take care of all the kids by myself I realized it impossible for me to do it all. I hate that my house isn't as clean as it use to be but I can't shower every time I clean because I can't just leave my baby by himself or with the other kids while I shower unless im having a panic attack and then that is my only option. Showers and washing always make me feel better. Unlike you I love having my husband around because I do need his help but I do have so much angry and resentment towards him because I feel like most of the time I doing everything alone and with OCD that really makes me exhausted! I don't like to feel like I need a babysitter but when he is with me I feel like I have someone to help me rationalize my thoughts and hold me account my actions such as hand washing. Yesterday I was really hopeful for a good day and it was until the argument last night over the deer. He told me about shooting one yesterday morning and then we were able to talk more about some of my issues I'm having and I really thought we had made progress until last night when he had to go pick up the meat and then I just lost it and things went down hill again and today I can feel the tension between us but I did wake up to him cleaning the house and doing some laundry.

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    1. Hi Jeanie! Thanks for giving me some more background on your situation. Sorry you had to type it out a second time, I know that's frustrating, I hate when that happens! We do have a lot in common with our husbands (in the sense that they both farm, and my husband deer hunts too!) He has a normal desk job too, but enjoys farming with his dad on the weekends. I didn't have OCD until after our daughter was born, and then the contamination hit. It didn't get too bad until she was a little older and he started hunting more and working at the farm and doing more "dirty" things. I would get frustrated because he would leave his dirty farm clothes laying on the bed or he would sit on the furniture or the kitchen chairs. And I just started to feel like he was contaminating everything. So the areas in my house became less useable, and I started needing my own areas (my own couch, kitchen chairs, my own bedroom) just to avoid all of his contamination and make me feel safe. I think separating ourselves that way really worsenened my condition, but I still don't feel comfortable around him at all. I am surprised that you have so many children! You must still be able to have a physical relationship with hubby? Does it bother you when he holds your children and are you able to hug him or sit by him normally? My hubby took off last week for deer hunting, and I am so thankful he didn't get one this year. He has always gotten one and taken it to be processed somewhere too, but I just think about all that entails and the clothes he's wearing, and then sitting in his truck on the way home. I don't think I will ever be able to ride in his truck. It just seems filthy and completely contaminated to me. I know how it goes though, sometimes it feels like I'm breezing along too and if nothing out of the ordinary pops up then things seem okay. But when a situation arises, it's like his frustration mounts all over again, and I just can't get him to talk about anything. How old are you, if you don't mind my asking? I am 39. I am worried with the holidays coming up, for Thanksgiving this week as we have 2 family events we are supposed to attend, and I do not want him in my car. He agreed to clean up his room/clothes when we bought this car and he has never done. So a big part of me wants to hold him accountable to that, and just tell him he's going to have to sit in the back seat of the car. But the other part of me wants to avoid an argument, so I've been thinking about all the things I could do to "protect" the seat and let him ride up front. But at the end of the day I know I'm still going to be cleaning it fanatically after he gets out, thinking it is never clean enough. And it bothers me that he agrees to stuff too, and then doesn't follow through with it. So I can totally relate to how you felt with the whole deer thing. I think that is one of the reasons why I feel my hubby is so contaminated. I think the angrier I am with him, the more contaminated I think he is. He has made it very clear to me that he does not want to nor should he have to change anything on his end, because I am the one with the problem. But I keep thinking...but if you want a relationship don't you realize that getting out of OCD is a process? There are going to be some compromises you have to make on your end to help me do exposures to him, and he is just not willing. so frustrating. That is why I considered meds, kind of a last option, so that I can say that I did try exposures and I did try meds. But I don't know if even medications will help with this situation. But I'm still considering!

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  7. Hello to all of you really brave people fighting and living with OCD every day. I don't have OCD myself but my husband does. He has this thing about keeping things in a certain place and no obe is allowed to touch these things. I am not allowed to clean in those spaces either. I honour that, but one time I wanted to surprise him withba gift and I looked into one of his closets which has glassdoors, so I did not touch anything only looked in. I told him, that I did this but he misunderstood me and thought I had opened his closet and touched his things. He got extremely angry and yelled at me because it triggered his OCD. I tried to explain what had happened, but he was to anxious to listen. I got really scared and I am afraid to do anything to trigger his OCD again. His things are in our bedroom and I feel like walking on egg shells in there. Our son has now got symtoms of OCD as well. He is afraid of people touching his things as well. I try to honour this, but now I have been told that by following their strict rules I am actually not helping them, but I am being an enabler. I feel so guilty for maybe making things worse for them. My husband would like to have his own den for all his stuff. I think a person should be entitled to have his own space, but will this be another way of enabling the OCD? Because we would not be allowed in there let alone touch anything in there. I am afraid that this will affect my son's OCD even more. I have tried to talk to my husband about not letting him have then den if it means keeping these strict rules in it and he got really angry with me. I really don't know how to handle this because I love him very much and I don't want to make him feel worse be doing anything wrong. What would you guys recommmend me doing?

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    1. Oh, by the way: Sorry for all my spelling errors. I write from a cell phone with spell check and I am Danish. I hate spelling errors myself. So again: sorry ...

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    2. Hi anonymous! I am so sorry it took me so long to get back to you. For some reason I remember thinking I responded already, but I guess not! I am sorry to hear that your husband has OCD. It is interesting to hear you talk from another perspective. Since I am the spouse that has OCD and I absolutely need my safe spaces maintained, I can completely understand his point of view. I can also understand what you are saying by allowing him to do this, it is enabling him to continue the behavior. Because the truth is, it is. You seem very supportive and want to be understanding and helpful to your spouse. I never really get that with mine. He's learned to live with my condition, but its apparent he doesn't like it. I think that my husband allowing me my safe spaces, does enable me and probably prevents me from getting better. But that being said, I am at a point with my OCD where I truly need my safe spaces. I am working on other things, but the loss of protecting my safe zones would cause me such anxiety I can't even fathom. So, a psychologist would tell you that yes it is definitely enabling him. But I think that as long as you two can be open and honest and have good conversations. Respect his need for his space right now, but help him to want to get help for his OCD. If my husband invaded one of my safe spaces, I would panic. I've told him in the past that if I ever found out he invaded a safe space, I would leave. He thinks I'm putting the OCD as more important than him. But he fails to understand that it is a severe anxiety disorder. The truth is I would panic if he entered my safe bedroom (where I keep all my clothes and all my stuff). To me, I don't even know where I'd begin to decontaminate. I'd want to get rid of everything. So I think for now until he gets better, you should just keep encouraging him. OCD is a battle. It is really tough to live with. But I commend you for coming on here looking for help. Please get in touch with a therapist so the two of you can learn how to work on this together. And please keep me updated!

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