Obsessive-Compulsive Personality Disorder Support Group

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 Post subject: Re: Getting past the blank stare
PostPosted: Wed Sep 26, 2012 7:19 pm 
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Joined: Mon Feb 09, 2009 8:13 pm
Posts: 1346
Location: OBX, NC, 'Murica, Earth, Milky Way, Local Galactic Group
mushroom wrote:
Sorry, realitycheque. No matter how many rationalizations or mental leaps you want to make around it -- it's a very damaging scenario that's described. I don't think it's funny.

EDIT: I absolutely do not think it's appropriate to imply that Gretchen might be "in a fog"; trying to read his mind or whatever and might benefit from CBT "we all do that" , etc. That all of us introverts sometimes give blank stares, etc. etc... (i.e. don't worry about it; maybe it's you in a fog trying to read his mind...etc.) No. I'm afraid not. This is a classic situation of a non partner experiencing stress; physical illness and going to their partner for support. And the OCPDr being incapable of providing it -- and shutting down; and freezing their partner out. That very action is damaging to the non. To imply that somehow the issue is with the Non's thinking about it is absolutely ludicrous. I would also like to draw attention to the way Gretchen diminishes her health issue "a nagging health issue for over a year as "nothing serious", and "nothing to do with him"....etc.
I don't believe you recognize the "FOG" reference. And you apparently do not understand CBT if you are under the impression that it involves reading other's minds (that's actually one of the types of twisted thinking).

Here's the FOG website and pieces of its introductory section:
Out of the FOG is an information site and support group offering help to family members and loved-ones of people who suffer from personality disorders. Out of the FOG was written and developed by people who have experienced a relationship with a family member, spouse or partner who suffers from a personality disorder.

Personality disorders negatively affect the quality of life, not only of the people who suffer from them, but also their family members, spouses, partners, friends, colleagues and acquaintances. We often think of people in simple terms such as good and bad, friends and enemies, loving and hateful. Personality disorders are not so simple and people who suffer from them may exhibit behaviors which are sometimes constructive and other times destructive. Over time, this can generate feelings of Fear, Obligation and Guilt (or FOG) in those who come into contact with them.

It is our goal to inform and support family members, spouses, partners, friends and caregivers as they try to work their way out of the confusion, out of the chaos and out of the FOG. It is our goal to inform and support family members, spouses, partners, friends and caregivers as they try to work their way out of the confusion, out of the chaos and out of the FOG.


Here's a link to David Burns's CBT techniques, and a preceding statement explaining what I'm talking about. PDers are under the Cognitive Distortions more often, but we Nons sometimes get the "fleas":
If you've been living for a long time with a person who suffers from a personality disorder, like many of us, you may have developed a very negative or pessimistic outlook on life. You may have developed a habit of interpreting problems as failures. Dr. David Burns calls this kind of negativity "Stinkin' Thinkin'."


Mushroom, I've provided a perspective for possibly moving forward based on personal experience of having gone through the same process, erroneously heightening my expectations and utter disbelief that a spouse cannot even give a warm embrace, hitting the bottom and the reality of "the issue", enduring the "damage" when a close family member died, and finding that even after emotional support is clearly conveyed as being needed, the resulting inauthentic action from a disordered person doesn't satisfy that need. The empathy often just isn't there, and usually it turns into how the OCPDer feels, so sometimes it's actually worse than the blank stare. So I know well where you're coming from -- I just don't see where you're trying to go with your posting. It seems like you're wanting to escalate Gretchen's frustration, which she seems to be handling very well given her (IMO healthy) demeanor throughout her 20+ posts, to a higher level of emotionalism, rather than help her "get past the blank stare." Adjusting expectations to the reality is important to a Non's sanity, and refusing to do so based on what a PDer "should" do is not going to help. Reducing expectations will allow the presence of mind and patience to try and teach a spouse what behaviors make you feel better (as Francie alluded to).


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 Post subject: Re: Getting past the blank stare
PostPosted: Wed Sep 26, 2012 7:43 pm 
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Joined: Sat Sep 03, 2011 6:27 pm
Posts: 311
realitycheque:

For some reason, both you and Francie seem to think I need a condescending lecture.

I am entitled to voice my opinions. I am entitled to give my advice. Last time I checked I do not need to submit my posts to either of you for your approval.


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 Post subject: Re: Getting past the blank stare
PostPosted: Thu Sep 27, 2012 11:53 am 
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Joined: Tue Feb 09, 2010 9:38 pm
Posts: 1978
hi mushroom, I'm sorry for coming off as condescending. I feel pretty protective, probably overprotective, of the forum environment where different opinions and experiences are shared so freely and dissenting thoughts discussed. I think this works because people generally disagree by stating as much and then offer different opinions & experiences, rather than denouncing other people's words outright, and then the OP & whoever else can take away what sticks with them, and the discussion goes on.

I'm sure I probably have a hairtrigger response around this and it's not as if the forum needs my protection, so I really need to listen to my own words about expressing opinions. I value the insights and experiences you share & your passion on being aware of our health and how it's affected by our living environment.

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'
People do not change when they see the light. They change when they feel the heat.  ― Freda Lewis-Hall


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 Post subject: Re: Getting past the blank stare
PostPosted: Thu Sep 27, 2012 12:26 pm 
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Joined: Mon Feb 09, 2009 8:13 pm
Posts: 1346
Location: OBX, NC, 'Murica, Earth, Milky Way, Local Galactic Group
Mushroom, I second Francie's sentiments. Nobody is suppressing your entitlements of opining and advising. You frequently offer excellent commentary. If your opinion specifically refutes and misinterprets others' ideas/opinions though (i.e., effective management of expectations, role that personality type plays in communication, value of humor in coping), it is reasonable to assume there will be subsequent relevant discussion and clarification, ideally in an objective manner. That's all that happened, and no offense was intended. The 'FOG' website is a great resource.


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 Post subject: Re: Getting past the blank stare
PostPosted: Thu Sep 27, 2012 12:33 pm 
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Joined: Mon May 14, 2012 2:42 pm
Posts: 32
For the record, I've found the whole discussion interesting and informative. It hadn't occurred to me that I am minimizing my problems a little bit for reasons probably relating to how my husband reacts. I don't like to see that in me. But I'm also OK - I'm independent, I have my own interests, family and friends are reasonably supportive when I'm in touch with them. I also used to live with an alcoholic, have spent time in Al Anon and learning about codependence & detaching... I've got lots of resources but still hit a low point now and then. And I try to remember part of what attracted me to my husband in the first place was the fact that he's a little different... At times you wonder how much "different" you want to deal with, though.


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 Post subject: Re: Getting past the blank stare
PostPosted: Thu Sep 27, 2012 1:13 pm 
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Joined: Sat Sep 03, 2011 6:27 pm
Posts: 311
francie: I sincerely appreciate your apology.

realitycheque: To be quite honest, I still find your comments rather condescending - implying that I don't understand what I read. And yes, I am already familiar with that FOG website and the term, etc. It would take too many pages for me to explain why I differ with you and what you are saying. It would be too time consuming to get into it. But at the very least I'd like to point out that my mission was not to "upset" Gretchen and to imply that is ridiculous. If I disagree with something said, I will say so if I think it's important. And I will use whatever words I choose to do so - and I will try not to swear. lol. In this case, I felt there was a tendency on diminishing the impact of Gretchen's husband's blank stare. I do not agree that minimizing the significance of this is helpful. The experience on the receiving end of such behavior is cold indifference to a very real problem. The non begins to take from such an experience that their issues/needs are unimportant; irrelevant and time consuming. They are a shrug. That is a VERY slippery slope and exactly the way things get flipped in these relationships. What is critical to point out is that the non will actually begin to believe that their health issues and their needs really are "no big deal"....just as Gretchen is saying that she does. What may seem like "no big deal" may be an underlying, chronic problem that is getting worse due to stress. I never disagreed with you on the point that Gretchen shouldn't expect emotional support from her husband. Getting emotional support from him will be ridiculously hard. But the fact is, that expectation is perfectly reasonable and normal and healthy -- just not directed at someone with ocpd.

gretchen: I'm glad you feel strong and that you have support outside of your marriage. Personally, however I know from experience how a person might tell themselves that they're fine - when in fact they're really not and they don't even know it. An ocpd partner generally does not have the capacity to be one step ahead of you and say, "Honey, I'm concerned about you: I really want you to get that checked out." They are not that kind of people -- so if you're the kind of person to diminish your own health problems and need someone to watch your back and say, 'hey, there might be something wrong here hon, I want to make sure you're okay." That's just very unlikely. You HAVE to take care of yourself FIRST. You just have to take a page from the ocpd book and look after NUMBER ONE.


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 Post subject: Re: Getting past the blank stare
PostPosted: Thu Sep 27, 2012 2:57 pm 
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Joined: Mon Feb 09, 2009 9:25 am
Posts: 4874
Mushroom,
Can I just say that I have noticed in the last few months, perhaps, that some of your posts can come across as overbearing. As though you are the ultimate authority on this board not only on behalf of the non (which could make sense) but also for the OCPDer.

I notice this because I found myself becoming much the same way. I attribute it to spending my days fending off my OCPDer and getting him out of "my territory" on a constant basis. I find myself being less patient with a non who isn't getting it and ticked off at particularly a "new" OCPDer on the board who thinks they are right when they are actually clueless. LOL And for that matter, I find it spilling over to my relationships with my wonderful, sweet girlfriends too.

Mushroom, you have a lot of knowledge and have a lot to share. I often read a thread and see that you have posted and figure there is nothing else I need to add. But perhaps it's time to consider toning it down a bit.

I don't see ANYTHING on this thread from either Francie or reality-cheque that is in anyway condescending. For whatever reason, today, over this issue, you simply don't wish to embrace what they have to say.

Please consider my thoughts and if you want to lash back at me too, to be honest, I simply don't care. LOL

_________________
Married 10+ years
Diagnosed 18 years ago
Fairly good marriage


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


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 Post subject: Re: Getting past the blank stare
PostPosted: Thu Sep 27, 2012 4:28 pm 
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Joined: Mon May 23, 2011 11:24 pm
Posts: 299
On blank stares...

I believe my XH was OCPD. When my mother died he refused to talk about my loss other than to say, "I loved your mother too. It's hard for me to talk about it." End of story. Dead end.

Then, when XH died, I didn't even tell OCPD now XBF about it right away. He was very busy at work and, at that point in our relationship, I had very low expectations for emotional support from him. I told him about it when he called the day after I got the news. He asked me what he could do. I said that I really wanted to be held. He came over (he was passing by my house), held me stiffly for five minutes, said that he couldn't imagine crying (I was crying) if his XW died, and left to go back to work.

Thus, as you can see, I never figured out how to get around the blank stare. It's "blank" because there's nothing there, or it's really blocked, in some situations. I actually believe XBF had no idea what to do and did what I asked of him.

My mistake there, I suppose, was in not quantifying how long I wanted to be held. I was pretty dumbfounded at the time, but I can see now that if I had given more exacting instructions, he might have been more helpful. Maybe not though, because he told me that our relationship would work better if I didn't have emotions. And, from his perspective, I'm sure that was true.

And I write that last sentence factually, not judgmentally. Acceptance is one of the great benefits of reading this board for awhile.


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 Post subject: Re: Getting past the blank stare
PostPosted: Fri Sep 28, 2012 2:26 am 
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Joined: Sat Sep 03, 2011 6:27 pm
Posts: 311
I am clearly not with the program here.

I'm out.

Good luck everyone! Nons and opders alike.


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 Post subject: Re: Getting past the blank stare
PostPosted: Fri Sep 28, 2012 12:16 pm 
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Joined: Fri Feb 10, 2012 9:42 am
Posts: 120
mushroom wrote:
I am clearly not with the program here.

I'm out.

Good luck everyone! Nons and opders alike.


mushroom, I hope you change your mind and decide to stay. You are very knowledgeable. You have alternative views on many topics and you defend your views passionately but respectfully. Your approach doesn't make me uncomfortable at all. Personally I enjoy a spirited discussion on this board. I find your differing views to be very valuable in completing the overall picture and in forming my own opinions.

Please reconsider your decision. This forum is open to everyone whether they agree with the others or not.


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 Post subject: Re: Getting past the blank stare
PostPosted: Sat Sep 29, 2012 5:10 pm 
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Joined: Wed Aug 22, 2012 8:10 pm
Posts: 228
He might as well have his fingers in his ears singing "lalalalala".

This line from mushroom earlier in this thread really hit home for me, I never had this experience before with anyone else, but when my OCPD partner would tell me I upset him, and I would reply well you upset me too, I would get "the fingers in the ears" treatment. It was like a toddler inside that big middle aged man.

Impossible to penetrate.


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 Post subject: Re: Getting past the blank stare
PostPosted: Sat Sep 29, 2012 6:06 pm 
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Joined: Tue Aug 25, 2009 5:13 pm
Posts: 580
You actually might be surprised what is going on inside, perhaps far more than you suspect. Fingers in the ears implies a willful refusal to listen which is not the same as being unable to hear. The same could apply to a blank stare.


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 Post subject: Re: Getting past the blank stare
PostPosted: Sat Sep 29, 2012 10:30 pm 
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Joined: Wed Aug 22, 2012 8:10 pm
Posts: 228
It is good to realize that maybe the behavior isn't so deliberate or willful, but it still leaves the other person feeling adrift.


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 Post subject: Re: Getting past the blank stare
PostPosted: Sat Sep 29, 2012 10:41 pm 
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Joined: Tue Aug 25, 2009 5:13 pm
Posts: 580
That's part of the reality of OCPD, being adrift, or involved with one, you share a life raft on a vast and stormy sea.


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 Post subject: Re: Getting past the blank stare
PostPosted: Sun Sep 30, 2012 12:00 am 
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Joined: Mon Feb 09, 2009 9:25 am
Posts: 4874
Yikes! wrote:
I actually believe XBF had no idea what to do and did what I asked of him.
I completely agree.
Yikes! wrote:
My mistake there, I suppose, was in not quantifying how long I wanted to be held. I was pretty dumbfounded at the time, but I can see now that if I had given more exacting instructions, he might have been more helpful. Maybe not though, because he told me that our relationship would work better if I didn't have emotions.
I think his emotions are blocked but they are there. And his are probably so blocked he doesn't know how to handle your emotions. Over time, an aware OCPDer can begin to get in touch with their emotions.

Interestingly, my daughter is not as in touch with her emotions anywhere near to the same degree that my son is. Fortunately, they can both express themselves fairly well as in having conversation and talking things through. DH, on the other hand doesn't do any of that well at all.

Also, if you ever shared grief with your xbf (someone he loved passed) you would understand better how he processes grief. When DH's mother passed, there were a few tears at the viewing, he did the eulogy beautifully (no tears), and never another tear and no further talk even when asked how he was managing his grief. When his psychiartrist asked him about his grief, he said over and over that he was fine. And to be honest, I think he was fine.

_________________
Married 10+ years
Diagnosed 18 years ago
Fairly good marriage


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


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