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Saturday, February 7, 2015

Emotional Contamination in Marriage: Part 2

I apologize in advance, because this is going to be a long series.  My marriage is always on my mind.  I'm not sure if you would call it "relationship OCD" or "emotional contamination" because I think they are indeed different things.  Because I have OCD I tend to naturally overanalyze and think about everything, and my marriage is no different.  A few years ago I saw a psychologist and the reason for those visits was threefold.  To discuss my OCD, how the OCD affected my marriage, and finally to discuss the marriage itself (the problems aside from those related to the OCD.  More classic problems like communication, time, etc.).  After taking much time to figure out how I would organize these posts, I've come to the conclusion that there may not be an organized way to go about doing this.  These issues are so complicated for me, and literally draining me.  There are so many thoughts, ideas, theories, and hurts that go through my mind on a daily basis.  I just want to get these posts out there.  Since this series is about emotional contamination, I'm going to try to stick to that mostly.  My husband definitely triggers me in my "classic contamination" issues, so there will be much more about that in future posts.  So for now, I'm going to be a rambling woman.  I've thought about all of the feelings I have related to my husband and how they make me feel, and this is a brainstormed list of what I was able to come up with:  feeling neglected, contempt, eye rolling, not acknowledging progress with my OCD, refusing to talk about my OCD, not communicating, almost constant Ipad, internet searching, Craigslist, and videos, not eating dinner with my our daughter and, not seeming to appreciate me, partaking in own hobbies over family time, disconnection, doesn't include me in decisions, farming (his side job/hobby) seems like a separate life, not safe to share feelings, no resolution to conflict, he can do things that aren't a big deal, but gets mad at me when I do them, blames me for things, doesn't take responsibility for his part of marriage problems, he does not want to help me or be a partner, I feel a sense of disgust when I am around him or his things, on the occasions he does eat dinner with us he looks at the Internet instead of interacting with us at the table leaves the table when he is done, he really doesn't know me at all, he is oblivious to the fact when I am speaking to him, because he is so focused on his phone or tablet, he leaves the house without saying anything and comes in the door without saying anything often, he makes time for his friends, but not for us.  I have made him special meals or desserts for birthday, and he doesn't even acknowledge it.  Once I made a caramel apple pie for his birthday that took me hours and our daughter and I sat down at the table to eat it, and he just went to the kitchen counter and flipped the TV on and started eating his.  These are just examples that come to mind. 

I'm not saying I'm a perfect person.  I am far from that.  I am just as capable of him as the eye rolling, contempt, sarcasm, everything I've listed above.  But because this is related to my feelings, this is what I'm focusing this post on.  Our relationship wasn't always ruled by these things.  Our relationship was once very healthy.  I think that different things affected us in different ways, and we started going separate ways.  We started dealing with our relationship problems alone, rather than together.  And the downward spiral started, then began to spin faster and faster as the years went by. 

In a nutshell, the biggest word I can draw everything down to is emotional neglect or abandonment.  Yes, he is physically here.  But, there is no emotional connection.  A lot of this started early on in our marriage, BEFORE the OCD started.  I felt like I wasn't enough for him.  He was always making time for something else, but not for me.  On top of that, there was no communication, and no resolution to conflict.  His time became occupied with numerous things in our marriage--drinking, poker, friends, farming, schoolwork (going back to get his Masters degree).  Through the years the disconnection has grown.  It has moved to what I feel is being addicted to his phone and iPad.  Countless hours spent daily searching the Internet, and watching videos.  Mindless activity.  Our relationship has suffered greatly.

I do want to make a point briefly of going back to my childhood, and I will share some theories on this later too.  My parents and I did not have a real close relationship when I was growing up, which I am just realizing now as an adult.  My dad tended to get angry at times, and my mom was more distant.  I think I got along with them well until my teenage years, and then we just did not relate.  I know that my mom struggled with mental health issues when I was growing up, but I don't know what those actually were.  It was very hush-hush in my family, but I recall my dad sitting my sister and I aside often, becoming teary, and talking about it.  I don't remember them asking me about schoolwork or friends in general.  It's possible they did, but I don't remember that.  I don't remember being talked to about drugs, alcohol, or relationships.  I don't remember getting talks about life.  We never talked about the things that should be talked about in a parent/child relationship, so I suppose it's possible that I developed some attachment disorder.  My sister has recalled and pondered upon these same things too.  It's not that I don't love my parents.  Of course, I love them.  Even when I see them now, they often feel or seem like strangers.  Like I don't really know them in an emotional sense.  When I started dating my husband, things seemed very different.  I had dated a few guys off and on before him, but none of them I connected with emotionally.  When I met him, things were different.  He wanted to talk to me, he wanted to be with me.  He cherished me.  We talked about anything and everything, he did know me very well at that point.  I held on to that feeling of connection, because I treasured it with someone.  Fast forward 15+ years and I don't think he knows me at all.  I don't even feel safe going to him with emotional things anymore, because I'm met with indifference.  Maybe the feeling of being emotionally disconnected early in our marriage triggered something in me, that I related back to my childhood years.  This is very possible, and something that I've been thinking about a lot lately.  Once our daughter came along and I sensed the loss of emotional disconnect with my husband, I started leeching onto my daughter for connection.  My emotional investment has gone into my daughter now and I protect the both of us.  That is what my OCD is trying to do.     

Theories on why I feel emotionally contaminated by him:

*I feel like because he didn't need me back then, that I don't need him
*I somehow want to punish him for all the hurt I have felt through the years
*I want to put as much distance between myself and him as possible
* I bared my heart to him in the past (and still do), and then he abandoned me emotionally
*Beer and his technological devices serve as a reminder everytime he is on them of how he has abandoned me and disconnected
*I have negative self-talk regarding him and have labeled him as "stupid" and an "idiot"
*I feel trapped in the marriage and the OCD also makes me feel trapped.  It makes me more resentful because I feel like I have a loss of freedom in my home, and am not able to do the things I want to do, so I'm even more mad at him
*Maybe I feel like I've never been what he wants in a relationship.  All of the years of him going through different activities and making me a last priority.  I have also let myself go physically in the last year and a half or so.  Not that I ever cared about makeup or hair or clothes.  But I've found myself just not even taking care of myself.  Not taking care of my teeth, I also severely clench my teeth at night, not taking care of myself nutritionally.  Not exercising or even wanting to go out and do anything.  Loss of motivation.  I am now going on 8 months without a haircut, which I have never done before (although I do have an appointment to get my hair colored/cut in a couple of weeks.  More on that later).  I stopped wearing make up and wearing hairspray (a lot of this was for OCD reasons too). 
*I have bared my heart to him and worn my emotions on my sleeve throughout our relationship.  I am a very emotional, passionate, creative, relationship oriented person (as a lot of people with OCD are).  So many times I've bared my heart to him, I've been met with indifference.  So many times, I've cried about different things--gut wrenching cries and he sits unphased in front of me.  I've asked him for physical contact (hugs) at the end of fights earlier in our marriage (when the OCD didn't see him as contaminated), and he flat out denied me.  He blames me for a lot of things and becomes angry.  I never knew my husband was such an angry person.  I realize a lot of this is because of the OCD, but it doesn't help.  He doesn't want to say "I'm sorry" when he hurts me, and that has put so many forks in the road.  It feels like there is a bridge with those wooden planks going across it, and so many planks have been removed that I don't know how to get from one side to the other.  I don't know if I can. 
*Maybe, just maybe, really subconsciously deep down I have wanted out of the relationship.  After all, I wrote a journal 10 years ago mincing no words about how badly I wanted out of the marriage.  Is it possible that this is somehow aimed at hoping he will leave?  I honestly don't think so.  Because, ultimately I want my marriage to work.  I always have.  And why would I go about this crazy path of OCD taking pieces of everyones lives?  The only answer would lie in that it was so subconscious. I honestly don't think this is the case though.

Other thoughts:
I don't think this part of my OCD ever will get better.  I am not motivated to work on getting close to him, because I don't feel close to him.  Why would I want to purposely come into contact with his clothes or contaminated items, so that I can feel the pain and anxiety associated with that.  I want to avoid the pain of the feelings I have when around him.  Unfortunately the OCD brings more problems into our relationship and his attitude toward my OCD brings me more pain.  It is like a cycle that just doesn't quit.  I don't feel "safe" with him, emotionally.  Therefore I want to protect myself from any kind of harm he could possibly bring to me, even it if it's perceived harm.  I think I am so mad at him, and then he feels even more contaminated to me because he seems "dirty" to me, which compounds the problem.  I think the more unsanitary I see him, the harder I try to keep my distance from him.  And the more distance I keep, the more he thinks it doesn't matter.  He continues to live doing things unsanitarily.  Im not sure if its to prove a point to me or not (this is getting into more of how I feel he is actually more "classically contaminated" though which I will get into in a future post soon.

I never knew how capable I was of being an angry person, as well.  The OCD has made me such an angry person.  I am also angry because of my husband and the problems that we have.  I sometimes feel like my blood is boiling when around him, and I watch him in front of me and get upset about everything about him.  Almost every time we discuss our relationship, he draws everything back to my OCD>  This is not a healthy way for anyone to live--my husband or I, or my daughter.  Sometimes I don't know if, or how long, I can keep doing this.  But divorce is not an option for me. 

On a final note today, the OCD has drawn me closer in relationship to God.  After all, it is God who gets me through this.  My  husband doesn't understand what I'm going through.  My daughter has a very good understanding and is very empathetic.  Sometimes I think I tell her too many details because she is so understanding.  I have put this burden on her too.  But she still can't completely understand either, as she does not have the OCD mind that I do.  God DOES understand what I am going through, and He has been with me every step of the way.  And HE is with you too, no matter where you are at with your OCD.

Lots more to write on this again soon.  This has become much longer than I planned for tonight!  

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