Obsessive-Compulsive Personality Disorder Support Group

A support group for those with OCPD and their loved ones.
It is currently Sat Aug 30, 2014 8:13 am

All times are UTC - 5 hours [ DST ]



Welcome
Welcome to ocpd

You are currently viewing our boards as a guest, which gives you limited access to view most discussions and access our other features. By joining our free community, you will have access to post topics, communicate privately with other members (PM), respond to polls, upload content, and access many other special features. In addition, registered members also see less advertisements. Registration is fast, simple, and absolutely free, so please, join our community today!




Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 10 posts ] 
Author Message
 Post subject: Dealing with OCPD brother?
PostPosted: Fri Dec 13, 2013 9:42 am 
Offline

Joined: Fri Dec 13, 2013 8:09 am
Posts: 11
This site is like a beacon of light at the end of a dark tunnel. After misdiagnosing the chaos & insanity in our family for years... I recently learned about OCPD and I am now 99% sure that my younger brother has it.

We are both males in our mid 30s - raised by parents from severely dysfunctional families. When we were kids my brother and I along pretty well & there were no major episodes between us. But at age 18 he had an emotionally abusive relationship with a sadistic German exchange student who took advantage of him, demeaned him and sexually denied him for over 2 years. After this his personally changed: extremely burdened by fears, a passion for philosophizing about his "Universal Truths" and black-n-white morality, need for perfect cleanliness, need to do laundry daily (just to wash the 1 shirt he wore that day and hang it back in the closet perfectly), and the hallmark: a perpetually simmering anger that culminates emotionally explosive "episodes" that are most easily triggered by suggesting that he made a mistake.

(In fact, trying "fun" new activities is virtually impossible because it involves unbearable moments where he is almost certain to make a "mistake"... so learning how to surf, where you are definitely are gonna fall off the board, is unthinkable. I dragged him into a yoga class once and he was so obsessed with doing every pose perfectly on the very first try, and no one seeing him struggle with anything, he easily could have injured himself from over-stretching.)

During the anger explosion episode, he will "turn the tables" and dramatically & mercilessly attack, abuse & devalue the person who disagreed with him... talked about a subject where he has shame... or called him out on something. The intensity of his response is usually WILDLY disproportionate to whatever set him off.

After the "anger explosion" episode, it's very important that the recipient act as if absolutely nothing happened. If you try and find any sort of "closure" or talk about the terrible argument happened yesterday - that is a punishable offense. You will get reamed in "Round 2" ... and then "Round 3"until you are too terrified to ever mention it again.

He will distort the facts to make it seem like it was 100% your fault, claim that you are crazy or mentally impaired, turn the conversation into unrelated injustices that YOU have done. The preferred strategy is to "lay low and let it blow over" - simply avoid being around you for several months until you "forget" what happened... and then he pop back into your life as if nothing occurred. If I write him a letter rather than the dreaded verbal discussion, he will not respond to any questions or concerns raised in the letter and write back with a dismissive, projective message of "this is ALL your fault, YOU still don't get it after all these years" - written in peculiar, black-and-white "Biblical" language that sounds like an condemming prophecy from the Book of Revalations.

We live in the same town, along with my parents. The big problem is that my mother historically has "sided" with my brother against me for many years. When my brother had a projective anger episode, she immediately & unconsciously sided with him... and acted like an "OJ Simpson Attorney" in helping him justify his (bad) behavior and get off scott free. I think she is just aware that her son has an issue and her motherly protective instinct comes in to defend him at any cost.

I think she sees her self in him and feels sorry for him... and / or she has developed Stocklom's Syndrome...

So when my brother would explode over some trivial and unforseen comment or issue... she would help him argue his "case" and she would demand that I apologize to him for "my" bad behavior. Feeling the family gang up on me... I would get utterly confused... give in... apologize to my brother for some terrible wrongdoing ... and everything would be OK for about 2 weeks... until the next episode erupted at an unexpected moment.

The parental philosophy is that since changing my brother's volatile behavior is impossible, we just need to work on training and "fixing" me to never upset him... and I need to learn to read his mind better.

I am fucking sick of this!

Being subjected to endless rounds of emotional abuse, and then being made to apologize to the person who explosively abused me, has damaged my self esteem.

A few weeks before last Christmas, my brother had an HUGE episode due to me bringing up a subject (if he was romantically interested in a girl who was going to be visiting him from out of town) that "I obviously should not have brought up." I left the scene and walked out of my parent's house. 30 minutes later I wanted to come back and talk to my parents but I heard loud voices inside. I put my ear to the door and listened, and ... I heard my brother condemning & scapegoating me... talking to my parents about how I was mentally ill... and my parents were agreeing with him "Yes, we know your brother is crazy. You're right, what he said was totally uncalled for."

I always "sensed" that this went on behind my back, but it was shocking to actually hear it - and my parents going along with him.

Then my parents said that they planned a Christmas dinner and they wanted me to attend. So the next time I saw my brother showing up unexpectedly at their house, I mistakenly and spontaneously said "I need to clear the air with you about what happened last week." and he had an EXTREME MELTDOWN. Denial, abuse, gaslighting, shouting, reality twisting, projection, blame, anger, rage, SHOUTING, character assassination.

I said "I am done with this. This is craziness. It's making me lose my sanity. I'm not putting up with it."

I told my parents that I cannot deal with someone - even if they are a a close family member - who has ZERO PERSONAL ACCOUNTABILITY... a completely inability to apologize for making a mistake or over-reacting.

And that I would not be attending any family dinners - EVER - until my brother at least admitted that he was having a bad day and possibily over-reacted... rather than blame me for it 100%.

So I have avoided being in the same room with my brother for 12 months now.

My avoiding him has cut me off from the family. I avoid all the gatherings and extended family get togethers where he is present, and I feel alone and cut off... eating Thanksgiving dinner by myself in order to avoid him, etc.

Now the holidays are coming around - my family is pressuring me to have a Christmas dinner 'get together'... and this week I realized my brother has OCPD and that asking him to "be accountable" and "own up to his less than perfect behavior" is basically impossible and not a good strategy. It would be reasonable with a non-OCPD person, but we are dealing with a different animal.

I have brought up the possibility of "OCPD" to my parents and they were very upset that I brought up such a stigmatizing issue that might reflect badly on their parenting, and they attacked me for it... but they have conceded that MAYBE there is something to it... but they are not very keen and eager to learn about it or discuss it. My mom protested and argued that maybe he doesn't have some of the traits and my diagnosis is wrong.

In any case, my mom agreed (and I believe she is sincere about trying) that she will no longer "take sides" with him if he has an anger episode....

Should I forgive my brother, accept that he has OCPD and simply can't apologize or be accountable for his behavior, and attend a family Christmas dinner? Teach myself to smile & walk out quickly if an outburst or disagreement occurs? And not give a damn about what he says or what my parents think if they gang up on me afterwards?

Or is it best to keeping a safe distance from the person with an established pattern of self-esteem damaging and destructive behavior... even if it upsets my parents, isolates me and "cuts the family apart"?


Am I being "smart" or "too strict" by completely avoiding him? Any insights into the most effectively coping strategies would be appreciated.


Last edited by Sherpa on Fri Dec 13, 2013 1:17 pm, edited 3 times in total.

Top
 Profile  
 
 
 Post subject: Re: Dealing with OCPD brother?
PostPosted: Fri Dec 13, 2013 10:26 am 
Offline

Joined: Thu Dec 27, 2012 9:15 am
Posts: 414
I don´t have good anwers but wanted to point out one thing: if he changed at 18-20, I am pretty sure that it can be un-changed. When people talk of personality disorders, the root usually goes to the troubled childhood. If your brother had a happy life till 18, then what he has now has to be properly diagnosed otherwise there can be no treatment.

I doubt that in a few hours of Christmas dinner things can go wrong, but one never knows. Is it a big risk to take? Can you deal with the consequences even if things did go wrong?


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Dealing with OCPD brother?
PostPosted: Fri Dec 13, 2013 11:05 am 
Offline

Joined: Fri Dec 13, 2013 8:09 am
Posts: 11
Ms Blackbird wrote:
I don´t have good anwers but wanted to point out one thing: if he changed at 18-20, I am pretty sure that it can be un-changed. When people talk of personality disorders, the root usually goes to the troubled childhood. If your brother had a happy life till 18, then what he has now has to be properly diagnosed otherwise there can be no treatment.

I doubt that in a few hours of Christmas dinner things can go wrong, but one never knows. Is it a big risk to take? Can you deal with the consequences even if things did go wrong?


The roots of his condition were sown in our childhood, for sure. It just didn't "blossom" under later.

OCD type themes run in the family for at least 4 generations. Every one of us has some narcissism/codependence, anxiety & over-thinking issues. But at age 18 he had an extremely traumatic experience that left him filled with FEAR... and the "simmering -> explosive anger" + "black and white thinking" + "perfection-interfering-with-task completion & neatness rituals" + "It's 100% YOUR fault, never mine" orientation came out in a very forward way.

I think I could probably handle a Christmas dinner. I think his company "very occasionally in very small doses" - a group family dinner a few times a year - could be managed, but anything much more asking for trouble. Learning about OCPD opens a door to forgiveness... it's really NOT his fault that he acts this way and can NEVER be accountable for his actions... it's a faulty internal schema that blinds him from seeing his mistakes and learning from him, by assigning the blame wholly on whomever was nearby when his anger erupts.

I feel the need to "educate" my parents about this to at least get them to recognize the warning signs and helps "cool down" potentially explosive situations... rather than unconsciously pouring kerosene on the fire.

But they find learning or talking about OCPD to be stigmatizing and unpleasant. They have already been through hell for 10 years, and now I'm offering a stigmatizing and difficult-to-treat amateur diagnosis?

I realize that I can't "control" my parents and "make" them learn about this issue. As much as they failed to protect me by not understanding what was going on and setting limits with crazy behavior... I can't make them see my perspective: that OCPD is the cause of the majority of our family problems.

I can lead horses to the water but not make them "drink" up new information they don't want to deal with.

But maybe they will be more willing to slowly learn about it over time. And if they never do:

I may be able to summon enough strength... armed with this new knowledge... to avoid his triggers (suggesting he made or will make a mistake, resolving a past conflict, attempting to get closure after an episode, any topic that may trigger his sexual shame, disagreeing with his point of view, not lavishing praise on him sufficiently for a small accomplishment, etc.) and be strong enough to be able to walk out and resist getting "sucked into" any OCPD craziness or group emotional blackmail that occurs in the aftermath.

God, help me.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Dealing with OCPD brother?
PostPosted: Fri Dec 13, 2013 12:48 pm 
Offline

Joined: Wed May 20, 2009 9:56 pm
Posts: 1379
I think that you should do what's best for you. Not him, not your parents, but you.

If your parents are upset at your not coming to dinner, that's a consequence of their own choices--they chose to help your brother to bully you, and the consequence is that you're not around.

Re:

"Now the holidays are coming around - my family is pressuring me to have a Christmas dinner 'get together'... and this week I realized my brother has OCPD and that asking him to "be accountable" and "own up to his less than perfect behavior" is basically impossible and not a good strategy. It would be reasonable with a non-OCPD person, but we are dealing with a different animal."

Well, no. Your brother could acknowledge his problem and choose to start working on it, getting treatment and trying to control his behavior. It wouldn't be easy, and it wouldn't be fast, but I don't believe that it's impossible for him to learn to control that behavior. For this dinner, yes, it's impossible, but not in the long term.

But before he can even start that process, he has to believe that there's a problem and be prepared to work on that problem. And as long as he never experiences any consequences, the opportunity to come to that realization is not going to happen. I would say that your parents, by agreeing with him, have actively made the problem worse.

Re:

"I may be able to summon enough strength... armed with this new knowledge... to avoid his triggers (suggesting he made or will make a mistake, resolving a past conflict, attempting to get closure after an episode, any topic that may trigger his sexual shame, disagreeing with his point of view, not lavishing praise on him sufficiently for a small accomplishment, etc.) and be strong enough to be able to walk out and resist getting "sucked into" any OCPD craziness or group emotional blackmail that occurs in the aftermath."

To some extent, all of this *is* being sucked into his OCPD craziness. I'm not saying that you shouldn't do it--if you, for yourself, want to see your family, I think that it's fine to do whatever you feel you want to do to make that visit more pleasant. But as a day to day strategy, if all of that is what your parents do, I think that it's enabling his bad behavior and ensuring that he will not improve.

Are your parents so determined to be on your brother's side that they would refuse to see you without him, for example, at a dinner shortly before or shortly after Christmas? If possible, it seems to me that it would be best to maintain a relationship with them that is independent of your relationship with him.

And I would also suggest finding your own social life to fill in for holidays. You couldn't eat Thanksgiving dinner with them, but there's no law saying that as a result you have to eat it alone.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Dealing with OCPD brother?
PostPosted: Sat Dec 14, 2013 5:07 am 
Offline

Joined: Mon Feb 09, 2009 9:25 am
Posts: 4206
Its hard to say what is best. BUT if you go again this Christmas and your parents again take sides, I would pull back again. Remember: you teach people how to treat you.

There is nothing wrong with creating a new "family" unit. Why not invite friends to Christmas at your house who do not have family in your town. Or let people know you will be alone for Christmas and hopefully a friend will invite you to their event. OR feed the homeless that day at some soup kitchen (you usually have to call early because so many people often offer to do this). There are plenty of ways you can make a difference in someone else's life and create a whole new passion for yourself while helping others.

_________________
More-freedom

“ When people show you who they are, believe them, the first time."
― Maya Angelou


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Dealing with OCPD brother?
PostPosted: Sat Dec 14, 2013 7:27 am 
Offline

Joined: Sat Feb 14, 2009 4:01 pm
Posts: 2235
Location: Denmark
Sherpa wrote:
Should I forgive my brother

Yes. If you can forgive, please do so. But don't "forgive in advance" for any future mistreating of you.

Sherpa wrote:
Should I ... accept that he has OCPD and simply can't apologize or be accountable for his behavior

Absolutely not. He is accountable for his behavior. Give him space, but don't let him walk all over you, and don't let him bring your mother along for the walk. It is in no way fair to you. You have a right to your own opinions. OCPDers (like myself) can make you bend so low, you don't even notice your own personality fading away. Hold your ground.

more-freedom wrote:
Its hard to say what is best. BUT if you go again this Christmas and your parents again take sides, I would pull back again. Remember: you teach people how to treat you.

There is nothing wrong with creating a new "family" unit. Why not invite friends to Christmas at your house who do not have family in your town. Or let people know you will be alone for Christmas and hopefully a friend will invite you to their event. OR feed the homeless that day at some soup kitchen (you usually have to call early because so many people often offer to do this). There are plenty of ways you can make a difference in someone else's life and create a whole new passion for yourself while helping others.

I like that suggestion :)

_________________
Morten

OCPD - Only Contemplating Potential Disasters

Here's a short story on how I control my OCPD: http://ocpd.dk/Beretninger/OCPD_uk.pdf


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Dealing with OCPD brother?
PostPosted: Sat Dec 14, 2013 5:45 pm 
Offline

Joined: Thu Mar 24, 2011 4:07 am
Posts: 799
Hi Sherpa,

You are asking the right questions and you find out that there are no easy answers. Go slowly from there as you learn more.

Get yourself 'safe' first. Have your own life. If you engage again, choose your battles. Making an ocpd'er openly say that he was wrong to accuse/insult/badmouth or whatever else he did to you is NOT POSSIBLE. As far as I can tell, ocpd'ers are somwhat aware that their behavior to you is a thing to be ashamed of; since being ashamed is the worst possible feeling, their behavior HAS to be right, therefore it really absolutely must have been your fault that they behaved 'badly' (not that they will ever admit that).

Quote:
Should I forgive my brother, accept that he has OCPD and simply can't apologize or be accountable for his behavior, and attend a family Christmas dinner? Teach myself to smile & walk out quickly if an outburst or disagreement occurs? And not give a damn about what he says or what my parents think if they gang up on me afterwards?


Basically: yes. Except: you should not walk out for a disagreement: you just state your view and insist once that you have a right to have your own view and that you have the right to call any discussion closed. You have the right not to undergo outbursts; removing yourself from the outburst with a smile is pretty bad punishment for an ocpd'r anyway.

But yes, put yourself first. And accept that ocpd is a disease that is hard to handle.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Dealing with OCPD brother?
PostPosted: Mon Dec 16, 2013 11:00 am 
Offline

Joined: Fri Dec 13, 2013 8:09 am
Posts: 11
Thanks favasquash, more-freedom, Morten & belgianguy!

It's unbelievable to think that someone could actually understand what I have been dealing with.

Lots of good advice here.

the best is:

Quote:
you just state your view and insist once that you have a right to have your own view and that you have the right to call any discussion closed. You have the right not to undergo outbursts; removing yourself from the outburst with a smile is pretty bad punishment for an ocpd'r anyway.


More than a few times I have sensed "danger ahead" when my brother got triggered and insisted on his right to continue a conversation... and when I tried to shut it down, my mom would say: "Oh no, let him speak! It's not fair." Then the whole 'emotional terrorism' cascade attack unfolded.

I will definitely stand by my right to call any discussion closed.

I have accepted my brother is volatile and not easy going or easy to get along with. It would be nice if there was some kind of way to smooth over the unpleasant incidents that arise.

My wish would be if my brother could just say: "I lost my temper / got kind of upset / raised my voice / said some ugly things yesterday. I was having a bad day. Sorry if I hurt your feelings, I didn't mean to."

It would make it easier to forgive him, realize he is somewhat aware of his actions, and quickly "get back on a good track" with him.

However it seems basically impossible for him to do anything after an episode other than to: 1.) deny that anything happened or distort the facts heavily 2.) place the blame squarely on me and condemn & judge me

The lengths that he will go to in order to avoid admitting or being seen fucking up are heroic.

Can this 'deny & blame the other party' behavior be changed? Is there any hope? Or is the quintessential quagmire of OCPD?


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Dealing with OCPD brother?
PostPosted: Mon Dec 16, 2013 12:58 pm 
Offline

Joined: Thu Aug 15, 2013 7:40 am
Posts: 400
Sherpa wrote:
Or is the quintessential quagmire of OCPD?


Welcome to Hell!

Sorry to be glib, but this is *exactly* the OCPD boiled down to an essence. My OCPD BF is not a ranter--never does he yell. But he is a "mentioner". He mentions how he would never do something that way (the way I'm doing it). He mentions a string of facts as though they actually were (facts) but it's really a amalgam of disordered half-facts. If I call him on it, or ask for clarification, then the subject is changed.

Ad infinitum.

I cope by ignoring a lot, and finding humor where I can. He is very receptive to humor, which has been our saving grace. He is partially aware globally, but specific instances are often not seen as "examples" of his OCPD behavior. I continue to point them out anyway.

Those that stay with OCPD SOs, or have OCPD family, have found various means/ways to cope. Some go no contact, some set boundaries and do not yield, etc. Read the "Too Perfect" book if you haven't already. You will not fix it (unless your brother admits/becomes aware and WANTS change on his own)--but you can fix how it affects you to some degree.

Good luck and welcome.

Harriet


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Dealing with OCPD brother?
PostPosted: Mon Dec 16, 2013 1:00 pm 
Offline

Joined: Thu Aug 15, 2013 7:40 am
Posts: 400
Sherpa wrote:
Or is the quintessential quagmire of OCPD?


Welcome to Hell!

Sorry to be glib, but this is *exactly* the OCPD boiled down to an essence. My OCPD BF is not a ranter--never does he yell. But he is a "mentioner". He mentions how he would never do something that way (the way I'm doing it). He mentions a string of facts as though they actually were (facts) but it's really a amalgam of disordered half-facts. If I call him on it, or ask for clarification, then the subject is changed.

Ad infinitum.

I cope by ignoring a lot, and finding humor where I can. He is very receptive to humor, which has been our saving grace. He is partially aware globally, but specific instances are often not seen as "examples" of his OCPD behavior. I continue to point them out anyway.

Those that stay with OCPD SOs, or have OCPD family, have found various means/ways to cope. Some go no contact, some set boundaries and do not yield, etc. Read the "Too Perfect" book if you haven't already. You will not fix it (unless your brother admits/becomes aware and WANTS change on his own)--but you can fix how it affects you to some degree.

Good luck and welcome.

Harriet


Top
 Profile  
 
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 10 posts ] 

All times are UTC - 5 hours [ DST ]


Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest


You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot post attachments in this forum

Search for:
Jump to:  
cron
suspicion-preferred