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How to live with an OCPD husband?

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How to live with an OCPD husband?

Postby skater » Sat Apr 10, 2010 5:50 am

I think that my husband has OCPD, is probably also depressed. He refuses to get help, claims I am the one that has a probelm, that i should stop seeing him as wrong and accept him. It's impossible to talk to him, he thinks his demands about rules (the girls have to eat with their mouths closed not making noise when chewing, he's been struggling with our 6 year old about it for several years now and has verbally abused and isulted her numerous times about his and other issues, he has told her in front of family that she disgusts him), neatness and cleaness are reasonable I am the one who is the slob. I am a stay at home housewife and should keep the house neat and clean, the kids all taken care off and he should be treated as a king, all his needs taken care off.
There is no chance of course that I can comply with his demands as we have 2 young girls and the house cannot be kept in neat order all the time, it is sick. Even when the house is neat he finds something else to complain about, yesterday it was my car that needed cleaning, today it's the girls that need a bath, tomorrow it will be someone eating with their hands or their mouth open, on the weekend it will be kids running in the house and making noise (they need to be quiet - no screaming and running), they need to dress modestly I had to fight with him over ballet outfits and if a dress becomes knee or a little above knee length he demands i buy longer one and the list doesn't end for me, for him it's all normal logical and reasonable. I am the one that is being unreasonable and unaccomodating.

He checks positive on almost all the characteristics of OCPD, but he thinks of course that he's normal. It's only hard for me and the girls to live with him.

How do i find a way to live with him? How do i set boundaries? Of course i got to this relationship becasue it was familiar from my home, my parents are like this. my dad might not be OCPD but he is definetly PTSD (went through WWII in his childhood, served in Russian nave, dealt with KGB, immigrated to a new country when he was 43) he is verbally and emotioanlly abusive to my mom and to me.

I would appreciate advice and examples on how to set boundaries especially with OCPD people. I try to set boundaries but he explodes. For example, few months ago i told him that threataning with spanking is not acceptable and i will not tolerate it. He went ballistic! Demanded i take it back, that he is entitled to threaten with spanking.

Any advise on how to get him to seek help? Will any good come of confronting him? Showing him the characteristics of OCPD? He might also have some PPD and doesn't trust people. He is likely to accuse me of betrayal and wrongdoing.

How do you get someone to seek help when they strongly believe they are perfect?

Therapists please write more articles and books about how to live with a OCPD spounse. all the literature out there talks about characteristics of OCPD and how to deal with OCD but there isn't much info on living with OCPD spouse.
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Re: How to live with an OCPD husband?

Postby Chucky » Sat Apr 10, 2010 10:02 pm

Hi,

I'm 27 and have a diagnosis of OCD. However, my symptoms are more strongly associated with OCPD in my own opinion. Confronting him will most likely never work, but showing him the symptoms of OCPD might. You could print them off from some website and then leave it for him to read 'in his own time' (Don't just force it into his face, I mean). Also, if he has a brother who he looks up to, maybe that brother is a route to make him see he has a problem.

It sounds like it has come to the point of 'intolerability', if that's a word.
That's what happensd with OCD and OCPD - i.e. if they aren't stopped or treated, then it just grows stronger and stronger. I had to have therapy just to lessen the intensity of my symptoms, but I'm always battling them everyday currently.

Good luck and keep me updated.

Kevin
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Re: How to live with an OCPD husband?

Postby skater » Sun Apr 11, 2010 4:57 am

Thanks a lot Chucky. I will definetly consider it but am afraid he is in such denial that he will claim he is not obsessed with rules it is common manners to eat with your mouth close or that he isn't stingy with money just being reasonable and takes care of our future. He genuinly thinks he is perfectly normal.

He does have an older sister who is a therapist herself. Perhaps she is my or his only hope. She has a way of connecting with him. That's probably the best way to go.
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Re: How to live with an OCPD husband?

Postby Chucky » Sun Apr 11, 2010 7:26 pm

Yes, if you can get through to her about this, then that is a good first route to take. Whilst it is sometimes good to eat with your mouth closed and to be careful with money, the obsessiveness he has over thes things is NOT good. Therein lies the difference. They are good principles, but it's not as if they need to be adhered to rigidly.

Anyway, good luck skater,
Kevin
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Re: How to live with an OCPD husband?

Postby cub » Mon Apr 19, 2010 12:09 pm

Hi,

I know exactly what you are experiencing, I bet you even feel terribly lonely and hearth broken when you go out and see couples having simple everyday little pleasures.... like breakfast in a cafe. My husband of 15 yrs has OCPD and when we go out to eat we change tables at least 3-4 times (moving plates, drinks and all) until finally he feels right, by then the kids (4-7) are crying - I am upset because he's angry with me. Once again I have to get up and dust my knees. It's so exhausting mentally.

One thing that helps a little (that's what my psychologist recommended) is to show genuine empathy for your partner. I found this really hard to do but it works. I know what you are thinking, looking after young kids is hard enough it's too much to have to be kind when someone is totally irrational. If not empathy at least show strength and tell him what he is doing isn't acceptable. Otherwise he might lose respect for you. I never cry in front of my husband. I do it in the shower.

I am thinking about learning to meditate... maybe it's a good way to clear the mind and get back some self-esteem.

Keep in touch : )
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Re: How to live with an OCPD husband?

Postby Luna.Schell » Sun Apr 25, 2010 4:17 pm

I am posting a reply to you because I am in the same boat as you. I read your plea and it is my plea. I am also a house wife with two children...6 yr old boy and 9 year old girl. My husband is OCPD and I finally got him into therapy by insisting on marriage counseling. I knew that the counseling would flush out his mental problems, OCPD being one of them. His is complicated by other situations too...baggage like a previous marriage that ended in divorce. After his ex left the marriage he broke down to suicidal depression and was hospitalized. He went through recovery of depression and then was diagnosed with OCD (which is different). He also suffers from anxiety disorder..or is this the same? Do they automatically have anxiety because they cannot control their perfect orderly world no matter how much they demand their family members to conform to their impossible expectations?

I am trying to sort out what part of my misery of living with him and his own personal misery are due to OCPD and a couple of other complications to his issues... loss, betrayal, punishment by his ex-wife and his own mother. I need to briefly(try) tell you this story to give background. Please bear with me.

His ex punished him even after his emotional recovery and OCD diagnosis. Meanwhile I met him in a support follow-up group for recovery of depression and he was mentally healthy, on meds, and in very good form for a few years to come. Hi ex withdrew his 2 daughters by moving them 3 hours away. She demanded the child support but did not reciprocate co-parenting practices. He had to gravel for visitation and never had any say in how they were raised, never got report cards, school pics...ect During those years (first 5 or so of our now 12 year marriage) I saw him as a victim. His symptoms were very mild and he was a nice, neat man. He does have a heart and pained over his daughters. It was painful to both of us. It was classic parent alienation syndrome. When I first came in the scene (before they were moved away) he and his daughters had a good relationship (then they were 7 and 11). His youngest daughter especially was daddy's girl. They loved him deeply. Soon after they moved away with their mother and new stepfather and became more and more distant. WE had court battles in the future over ample visitation and over finances, especially when college expense came into play. Visitation didn't matter. She didn't comply. She lured the girls to other things during visitation time. If he demanded them to come he was the bad guy. I felt so sad and sorry for him. I defended him and at that time, never saw him as the man he is today..in full state of an OCPD personality.

I ask you...does your husband's behavior get worse with heightening stress? Did it get worse with years into the marriage as the romance and new love wore off and the honeymoon stage was over?

Another complication to his demeanor. He also had an OCPD mother who made his childhood miserable and she had been physically abusive. Luckily he was a son of a dairy farmer and could escape to outdoor chores with his father and brother. His Dad was a gentle man but a door mat to his OCPD wife and is still in denial. My husband made a choice after we were married with children (before his OCPD diagnosis) to withdraw his relationship from his mother because of the continued pain she continued to cause him (even with her living 4 hours away). He did this for his own mental health. Both of my husband and his mother are extremely intelligent, competitive, educated professionals. They are highly competitive, self-righteous and proud, They would rather lie than admit error in most counts.

Withdrawing from his mother angered her. The longer he refrained from her the more vindictive she became. To make a long story short, 4.5 years ago, his mother joined up with his ex and started to woo his daughters after years of being out of touch with them. At the time we were in the college money legal dispute with his ex, which made her willing to welcome her ex-mother-in-law in to form a witch hunt against my husband. My husband was a school teacher and the ex's husband was a wealthy doctor. They were demanding more than we could afford and more than the State formulas dictated. Bankruptcy of a credit card (more stress) flushed this out. A bankruptcy lawyer, a child support lawyer...bills. IT escalated when the paternity of my husband's daughter came up for the sake of equity (bad advice from our lawyer) His ex-wife had an affair early in their marriage and one day as my husband held his new baby in his arms, she confessed to it and informed him he may not be the father. You see my husband is a decent man and is his father's son. He didn't demand a paternity test and loved the baby and though very hurt, continued the marriage.

Also my husband was finishing an internship to become a school administrator to make more money so he could support his two families. He wanted to help financially supporting his girls regardless of the alienation process underway...but he didn't want to be forced to pay more than he could afford to cause hardship on us. (I was a stay-at-home mom with 2 young children).
So to make a long story short...the two vindictive punishing women teamed. They conspired the most damaging scheme to destroy us...to destroy Mark's livelihood as an educator, to destroy my own family and to destroy his relationship with his oldest daughters beyond repair. I don't want to delve into the details because it is long and painful but what they did was gut-retchingly mean and painful. Their plan of destroying his career didn't carry through but they caused us so much pain that it's never been the same.

We moved near my family 3 states away. Out of the frying pan and into the fire. With our new life and job we bought a new house which turned out to be a mold nightmare and cost us thousands of dollars. Constant stress, neck-bulging frustration and irritability. Then my husband was asked to resign. Another stressful job search (because he yells at me with his frustration at being rejected), his cerebral hemorrhage (he recovered fully - I was by his side) and another move finally put us in a new good beginning with a new good job which he really likes. We now live in the same city as my mother. His girls are 100 alienated and we haven't seen them for 5 years. They both have been adopted by their stepfather and think that their real Dad did something he didn't do. The oldest was married we heard after the fact. My husband's mother and father were there. We are 100% alienated from my husband's nuclear family also. His beloved father is too controlled by his domineering wife. I wonder if he even knows what his own wife did to her own son. Recently my husband lost his two grandmothers. His vindictive mother tried to keep that from us, too.

So we are trying to carry on life. The situational waters are calm. We've had this new life for 2 years now, after the mold house, with my supportive family around us, His older daughters are gone-gone. We cannot reach out to them for fear of retaliation by the ex or the evil mother.

Are you still with me? I am sorry to share all of this but I feel I needed to for a couple of reasons:

1) My husband is the complete opposite man that I married 12 years ago. He lost his warmth. In spite of our healing time after all of the turmoil, he is unhappy, irritable, and has a full-blown OCPD personality just like that you describe of your husband. He was always neat and organized but nice about it - in the past. Not anymore. And it is directed mostly at me, but more and more to our kids, especially my 9-year-old daughter. (A problem with females?) Both of my children are creative, imaginative, beautiful, and talented cool kids. But they're kids. I am the creative type, too, and not nearly as organized as my husband. Especially being that we have been living in my mothers house (house sitting for 6 month jaunts) I am even more disorganized because I have hardly any place to keep my stuff organized. And a lot of my stuff is in storage. I am also very tired and have been having health problems from the stress of the last 4 years. I have a history of depression (remember where I met my husband), now diagnosed with ADD, postmenopausal, possibly diagnosed with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome or some kind of inflammatory condition , bla, bla, bla.

I have held him up, defended him and supported him through all of his baggage-family crap for years. My parents have paid legal bills for us, put him through school, and let us live with them for peanuts, just gave us their car when they bought a new one. But he gets worse and worse. I got him in therapy. He recognized his diagnosis of OCPD when I showed him an article during a time where I knew he was receptive to it. He is admittedly feeling anxious, stressed and irritable and is trying to do Zen stuff to relax. He is on Meds and got past his alcohol abuse stage. But he just gets worse and worse with this OCPD stuff and is referred to as "a mean dad" by my daughter who goes to tears when he yells for little things. She is also ADDish (like me and my siblings) and she and I disgust him. He has no tolerance. I tell him how it hurts and he can sometimes turn 1/2 human again and realize it and apologize but then goes right bad to a digging, critical, blaming, dysfunctional, frustrated, unsmiling person. And Angry. Angry at me. Why? No matter what i do good he has to criticize what I do bad. There no compassion or appreciation and certainly "giving" on his account to do something nice for me (except my 50th birthday party...hmmmm).

2) As the stress intensified in the last 5 years, his behavior did, too. But he was so gentle and kind and approachable consistently for the first few years of our marriage. He was my true friend and soul mate. I have to wonder if there is something to his ex's accusations of his "abusive behavior" in their marriage. I had always thought she labeled him that way to take the spotlight off of her 2nd affair that she left the marriage for. I knew they had conflict and only heard his "victim" side that I believed for years. I thought, even if he was OCDish and hard to be around, why did she continue to punish him (she really was unfair) especially when she knew he was diagnosed with OCD after their split-up. Is it not unfair to punish someone who is inflicted with a mental disorder? And if OCPD is intensified with stress, I cannot imagine stressful things in their marriage like what we have endured the past few years to cause him to act then with her like he does now.

3) The third issue I bring up is how a mental illness or disorder can screw up so many lives, including the person afflicted with the disorder. I see my husband ..alienated from his children, from his nuclear family including his 2 siblings (who were turned against one family member with a personality disorder by another with a personality disorder).

4) I am so confused and don't know anymore if there is a nice person inside of him or was that nice person I fell in love with just there because of a new love or because he has some control over his behavior when he wants to and now he just doesn't care about me anymore? A friend made a comment to me that "he controls it at work so why can't he control it at home?" The stuff about the messes of having kids, ect.. is at home, I guess. His haven -(which is his bedroom) is certainly a well-organized, neat area (interestingly though not clean as afar as needing sweeping and dusting, ect). I try to have compassion for him... for his past situations and his present conditions, but it is hard because I need compassion too. My fatigue and health struggles are seen as an irritation to him - causing medical co-pays, a wife who never has his "white tornado energy," ect. He insults me with comments like "pill cocktails" (any medication I might be on), "that I see every doctor in town for every little thing" (which is an exaggeration). You get the picture. I am exhausted and run down from the stress and drama of his past issues, and from his constant irritability, pushiness, demanding, and double-standard behavior.

I walk on eggshells and get stomach aches when he is irritable which is most of the time. He doesn't want me to be tire but nags if I drink caffeine. If he comes home and his expectations of what I should have get done aren't met he wonders what I did all day (by the way I teach 3 mornings a week and have started cleaning houses some too make money and still stay available to my kids per school schedule. He grumbles about kids messes but leaves it for me to deal with. Or if he deals with it he acts like he's doing me a favor. I can go on and on as I know you know by the sound of your situation.

So I guess I wonder if you are willing to compare notes about our husbands' behaviors because I am trying to figure out what part if him is OCPD and what part is post-traumatic stress and what part of it is just a selfish, self-centered person who really doesn't care much for anyone but himself? He doesn't seem to value his past friendships or other relatives enough to keep in contact with them. He has no friends that I can think of except for brother who lives here locally.

If it weren't for my kids I would be gone by now, but still would offer friendship and compassion. I would never punish him the way his ex did. I don't know if I am in love with him anymore or how long I can remain in love with him. We are pretty distant romantically and emotionally. He is angry at me I'm sure because I don't respond to him sexually very much but how can I desire someone who acts like that to me and hurts my feelings? He doesn't treat me like a friend. He take unkind angry stabs at me that are really hurtful. I miss the old him but may have to resign that that old friend will never come back.

We are in process of buying a duplex where we will live in half and rent out the other half. Perhaps in my own home again I can be more organized and feel less scattered and absent minded - which irritates him. If I get to making enough income to support myself I will rent out the other half of the duplex so we don't have to live together and the kids and I don't have to irritate him.

If you got through this all, I thank you and again apologize to the long saga. Part of it may be venting but I am also trying to figure him out and figure out if I should keep trying or consider planning to separate.

I have my kids and their emotional health to think about. He is also hard on my daughter pushing her too hard in her music lessons and sports to where she wants to quit. She told me not long ago that she just felt like a burden to him, especially during their music practices. He sits with her during every practice (piano & violin). She complains that he gets grumpy every-time she makes a mistake. Though they don't practice everyday, he makes her practice both one after the other sometimes for 1 1/2 hours and makes her keep going beyond her tolerance level. She is gifted and moving along quickly but finding no joy and wants to quit both and her gymnastics. Then he implies that she is a quitter or just doesn't like to work. He says she can't gymnastics until she learns a bank handspring.

He usually takes her to her lessons but one day I was taking her to piano, she burst into tears and begged me not to make her. She hated piano and didn't want to go. She cried and cried and pleaded. I went to the door , leaving her in the car and spoke to her very nice piano teacher at the door who said, hmmmmm, she must be feeling too much pressure. I asked the piano teacher to talk to my husband about not working with her every time she practices, and to let up and try to make it fun. I talked to him also. At first he just gets wounded 9serving his own ego). Then gets pouty and throws up his hands - I'm out of it (vicitm/withdrawl) type of response. I told him to stop thinking about himself and think about our daughter. He backs off for a while, tries to chance and make it more fun, but then he back to the every practice-pushing.

How do you protect your children? At what point do I protect my childrens' self-esteem? They love him and he loves them but he can't help inflicting his OCPD. Ironic that his ex tried to limit his visitation due to "OCD" and I thought that was so unfair to this loving caring gentle father. But they moved 3 hours away and I would be willing to split our duplex so my kids and their father are close.

I have to go now...

Again, I'm sorry for going on and on. I would be glad to listen more to what you are going through.

Blessings
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Re: How to live with an OCPD husband?

Postby realitycheque » Sun Apr 25, 2010 7:22 pm

cub wrote:One thing that helps a little (that's what my psychologist recommended) is to show genuine empathy for your partner. I found this really hard to do but it works. I know what you are thinking, looking after young kids is hard enough it's too much to have to be kind when someone is totally irrational. If not empathy at least show strength and tell him what he is doing isn't acceptable. Otherwise he might lose respect for you.

I am thinking about learning to meditate... maybe it's a good way to clear the mind and get back some self-esteem.


Empathy helps you not take OCPD behavior so personally - you understand he does not choose to behave badly, so your objectivity increases.

Establishing and enforcing Boundaries is crucial to living with an OCPDer, for the most important issues (choosing your battles). It's very much like disciplining a toddler, and there must be consequences for bad behavior. Over time, the lessons become ingrained in their brain, but you must be consistent.

Meditating will help you, but it will also help the PDer get relief from the constant, swirling, irrational thoughts/worries generating the Anxieties that are the root of OCPD.
Last edited by realitycheque on Sun Aug 29, 2010 5:36 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: How to live with an OCPD husband?

Postby realitycheque » Sun Apr 25, 2010 7:38 pm

Luna.Schell wrote:I ask you...does your husband's behavior get worse with heightening stress? Did it get worse with years into the marriage as the romance and new love wore off and the honeymoon stage was over?

How do you protect your children? At what point do I protect my childrens' self-esteem?


OCPD behavior worsens with stress. Anxieties are THE root of the disorder. Address the cause of the stress, you'll get a reduction in the bad behavior. It is associated with low serotonin levels in the brain, as well as the irrational thoughts and cognitive distortions. There are a variety of means to increase serotonin, and to correct CDs. Read Amen's "Healing the Hardware of the Soul" for more info on this.

Age (esp around early 40s) increases OCPD characteristics. The Honeymoon syndrome has to do with the normal gradual dopamine/norepinephrine drop 5-7 months into constant-contact relationships, allowing the serotonin deficiency to have a predominant impact on behavior.

Setting Boundaries will be necessary to protect the children from accepting OCPD as normal behavior. You may have to think of hubby as your other child until you establish them. Look into his getting CBT and even meds such as Lexapro to help. Keep all options on the table, including willingness to separate/divorce, as you will need a full metal jacket to manage his OCPD.
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Re: How to live with an OCPD husband?

Postby sfguy » Mon May 24, 2010 5:41 pm

skater wrote:Thanks a lot Chucky. I will definetly consider it but am afraid he is in such denial that he will claim he is not obsessed with rules it is common manners to eat with your mouth close or that he isn't stingy with money just being reasonable and takes care of our future. He genuinly thinks he is perfectly normal.


I agree with Chucky's suggestion you don't want to go throwing specific examples in his face, like "rules" or "manners" because it will just start an argument. I second the idea of printing out a website or photocopying a book chapter about the disorder. Just say "I found this interesting article I think you'll enjoy reading" and giving it to him to read "because it's interesting". You don't even want to suggest to him directly that you think he has it. Once he's read the article, his OCPD brain will go to work wondering why you gave him the article, and if he really has OCPD he'll be thinking about it and stewing it in his mind for a while. Ideally he'll talk to you about it, but if you want to start the conversation wait a week or two and them ask him "what did you think of the article." Then you can ask questions like "do you think you maybe see a little of yourself there" or something like that. The idea is, you want to subtly lead him to figure out for himself that he has the disorder, it's the only way he won't argue about it.

skater wrote:He does have an older sister who is a therapist herself. Perhaps she is my or his only hope. She has a way of connecting with him. That's probably the best way to go.

That's a possibility, but if she knows him well she'll know herself that the direct approach wouldn't work either.
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Re: How to live with an OCPD husband?

Postby vancouver » Wed Aug 18, 2010 9:35 pm

I found these posts helpful, particularly the part about needing a full metal jacket. Stress definitely makes it worse. For years I suffered, not knowing what I could do different/better to make things work. Having a child together makes it hard to walk out. I stumbled across an article on OCPD and it was like the dark clouds parted and there was light. Finally I understood what the hell was going on (pardon my language). With this a person can develop strategies to cope with it, and understand what might set it off. However, it can be extremely trying. When I met my partner I appreciated his "reserved", controlled nature. Little did I realize the anger he can unleash, it is truly frightening. I now step back and try not to become emotionally affected. not always easy. very true about dealing with a child and having to set boundaries. That has been my experience. Any other suggestions are appreciated.
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