Obsessive-Compulsive Personality Disorder Support Group

A support group for those with OCPD and their loved ones.
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 Post subject: How did you leave?
PostPosted: Sun May 29, 2016 8:32 am 
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Joined: Mon Jul 13, 2015 7:38 am
Posts: 18
Hi All,

My OCPD husband (married 20 yrs.) has been exhibiting more and more distressing behaviors. Our oldest will be leaving for college in August and I anticipate things will only get more stressful as we move towards that date. Our younger teen is trans and came out to us about 18 mos. ago. I understand that anything that involves change or flexibility is going to be hard for my husband. So we have 2 transitions - one is about gender (child is so much happier and healthier as a trans boy) and the other is a child leaving home for college.

Both kids complain about their dad's moods, intense emotions and stress. We don't really have a marriage per se (no physical touch whatsoever) although he seems to think we do for some reason. I don't believe I can continue living with him as I am sad and stressed out myself.

I think what keeps me from leaving is fear about finances (although I work and do have some $) and fear about my husband's mental health deteriorating. I also get pulled off balance when he is "nice" for a few days and I hope this behavior will stick. I am a smart person who works in the mental health field supporting others who are in similar situations but still I am stuck. I am unable to make a move - I think it might be about attachment. I met my husband almost 30 yrs. ago - he only became difficult (focused negatively on me) when our kids were little so we had about 13 good years before things started to get bad.

I recognize that I am a "fixer" and I over-function in this relationship. I grew up with the story that I have to be there for the people I love no matter what. Deep down I know if I continue on this path I will either get physically sick or depressed. I was hoping someone with kids could share how they left their spouse. Right now, any feedback at all would be most appreciated.

Thanks,
Cat


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 Post subject: Re: How did you leave?
PostPosted: Sun May 29, 2016 10:09 am 
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Joined: Sun Sep 21, 2014 2:48 pm
Posts: 2185
There's no easy way. Your kids are older, so that does work in your favor.

You will need to start squirreling away money that he doesn't know about. Figure out how much you'll need to get your own place, hire a divorce attorney,etc...and start working towards that.

Don't forget you are entitled to half the martial assets, so you might not be as financially behind as you think.


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 Post subject: Re: How did you leave?
PostPosted: Sun May 29, 2016 12:29 pm 
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Joined: Tue Feb 10, 2015 7:26 pm
Posts: 579
Fear is a big paralyzer but can also be a great motivator. Start using it to your advantage...I stayed for way too long because I feared a lot of things - finances, impact on my young son, appearances, loosing my life style, being alone. At some point I had to weigh the fear of leaving with the fear of staying - what would my life look like with my H in 5 years, 10 years? Would I ever feel any contentment, would he support me if I become sick, do I have anything to look forward to in this relationship, am I free to grow as a person? It took a little time but once I crossed over that line of fear - it was done. The logistics seem less critical, they are just issues and obstacles that must be dealt with. I learned and am still learning an awful lot about myself in this process and while I've had a shaky moment or two, I could never go back.


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 Post subject: Re: How did you leave?
PostPosted: Sun May 29, 2016 1:10 pm 
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Joined: Sun Sep 21, 2014 2:48 pm
Posts: 2185
Sorry about the short response earlier.

You could probably spend months on this forum reading through the stories of everyone else and how they arrived at the decision to leave. Some get there quicker than others, but for the most part, everyone ends up figuring out that the healthiest thing to do is leave. LTF is right, when you get past the fear, the hurdles that seem impossible to overcome, you find your strength and the logistics become less important. Everyone seems to get stuck on the finer points of getting out--money being the number one snag. That's why I mentioned that if you divorce you'll be entitled to half the marital assets. It seems like a lot of times people forget that. Also, they tend to not consider that divorcing the H doesn't absolve him of his parental duties. He will still be the father and will still need to help provide for his children financially.

Some people struggle with the idea of settling for what seems like a lower standard of living. Moving from a huge home you own to a tiny apartment can feel like a set-back, but when that tiny apartment is your oasis, it is anything but a setback. Any move away from the toxic person is a move in the right direction, and even if you don't feel or see an immediate payoff, it will come.

Self-doubt is rife in these situations. Often it has been cultivated by the toxic person, so naturally there is an internal struggle to know whether you're even capable of making the right decision. Trust your instincts, no matter what seems to look logical at any given moment. Remember that the guy who acts like an *** is also the guy who is behaving in an acceptable manner today. Same person. You will never be able to relax or feel at peace in your life when you live with a person who is a shape shifter. In order to break free from it, you have to integrate all those parts of him in your mind, so they all represent him as a whole to you. Even when he's behaving well, you have to keep your guard up and remember his good behavior is just as temporary as his bad behavior.

Reach out to your friends and family. Even if you've been distant from them for years, people who love you will accept you with open arms and will do all they can to encourage and empower you. You can't do this alone. You will need a support system, a therapist or social worker, a few good friends, a family member you trust and can depend on, and a good attorney who is experienced in handling divorce cases with PDers.

If you haven't already, start a journal. Keep track of how you feel from one day to the next. Write out all the incidents between H and you and/or your kids. Refer back to it when you need a reality check.

Most of all, believe in yourself and believe you are capable of building a better life where you are not subjected to someone else's whims.

You know all this stuff. It's harder to put it to practice, even when you have the information in your head. Start detaching from him and try to remain objective. Do what you'd tell a client to do.

You've got this.


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 Post subject: Re: How did you leave?
PostPosted: Sun May 29, 2016 3:56 pm 
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Joined: Mon Jul 13, 2015 7:38 am
Posts: 18
@learntofly and @lambkins70,
Thanks so much for your replies! I think the fear is big you're right. Lambkins, I have a place in my phone where I track his behavior. It is very helpful. It's funny I do know this stuff yet get so bogged down. It is the switching back and forth of behavior that throws me off guard. Just reading your posts make me feel stronger and I will do my best to work on detaching.
Thanks again!
Cat


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 Post subject: Re: How did you leave?
PostPosted: Tue May 31, 2016 10:41 am 
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Joined: Wed Feb 18, 2009 11:08 pm
Posts: 619
"I grew up with the story that I have to be there for the people I love no matter what."
Love yourself first. Then Love your children.

Maybe it is time to start setting firmer boundaries...either he will change or you are preparing yourself for a change.

Can you talk to him about talking to someone about the different family dynamics with a child leaving home and/or a child transitioning?


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 Post subject: Re: How did you leave?
PostPosted: Tue May 31, 2016 11:43 am 
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Joined: Mon Jan 12, 2015 2:20 pm
Posts: 547
Cat44 wrote:

I recognize that I am a "fixer" and I over-function in this relationship.

Cat- WOW- that's me and I love how you phrased it.

My story- I was with my ex-husband (officially diagnosed OCPDer) for 11 years, 8 married. We have two small children- 3 and 5 y/o. My husband and I were separated, but living in the same house for almost 3 years before I finally pulled the plug. We tried it all- marriage counseling, him doing individual counseling (basically by me forcing him to go) and me doing individual counseling. What finally got me to push through with a divorce was the individual counseling. I really focused on- WHAT AM I WAITING FOR? It was very challenging to sift through my own crap and get from "this is not the relationship I want and I know I am done" to telling my ex husband "I am done, start packing, I am filing for divorce". Without individual counseling, I'm not sure I could have gotten there. I needed someone week after week for four or five months asking me "What is your hesitation? What are you afraid of? How do you see your life in a year? Five years? Why are you not going out and making that happen? Your main concern is your children, so what message do you want to send them? Do you really think it is best for them to see a loveless marriage with a depressed Mom?" Some serious stuff. The book "Should I stay or Go?" also helped a bit, as it had good exercises to do to help me sort through it all. I was "stuck" for a very long time, but I can say that now 6 months after my divorce was finalized, I am happier than I have been in a decade.

Good luck with figuring it out. This board is incredibly helpful- lots of different perspectives and situations that really help you realized that YOU are on the only one who can make changes.

AmyC


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 Post subject: Re: How did you leave?
PostPosted: Tue May 31, 2016 2:26 pm 
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Joined: Mon Feb 28, 2011 4:27 pm
Posts: 150
I wish I knew the answer. I'm still stuck in the separated-trying counseling and wishful thinking phase. It is so scary because I never wanted divorce, I have a special needs child who is taking up all my emotional and physical energy at this moment, and I can already see that H would make divorce/legal separation as painful as possible. He is saying that I need to start learning to support myself (I make about 3/4 what he does in a job that gives me flexibility to meet the kids' needs but could make a lot more if I chose) and that he needs to protect his assets (I'm pretty sure he wants to give me the house and take everything else including his retirement savings; he wants cash to invest in a professional opportunity). I don't have the energy for that kind of fight right now, and I am still wishing for a miracle. I am also a fixer and loyal to a fault and grew up in a family where divorce was never an option because we love people no matter what.


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 Post subject: Re: How did you leave?
PostPosted: Tue May 31, 2016 5:24 pm 
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Joined: Sun Sep 21, 2014 2:48 pm
Posts: 2185
You can love someone no matter what without letting them ruin your life and make you miserable.


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 Post subject: Re: How did you leave?
PostPosted: Wed Jun 01, 2016 8:46 am 
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Joined: Mon Jan 12, 2015 2:20 pm
Posts: 547
That was my thought too Lambkins- you can love someone while also loving yourself and choosing yourself first.


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 Post subject: Re: How did you leave?
PostPosted: Wed Jun 01, 2016 10:39 am 
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Joined: Thu Aug 28, 2014 1:09 pm
Posts: 2315
Hi, Cat!

Welcome back! Only have a moment, but I wanted to reach out. Our situations are quite similar in terms of children's ages. I'm knee-deep in the process of divorcing and leaving, so check out my thread for some of the "how" in my case.

Keep coming here. The advice, support and understanding I received (and still do) made the once insurmountable seem possible. We are on the way to an amicable divorce. Most of the things I feared most have not come to pass. Divorce should be final by August/September.

_________________
RikkiTikki, 23 yrs married. July 2014 aware of OCPD, Sept 2016 divorced
XH=non-diag OCPD (Narc?) DS=21, DD=18
RL - Rekindled Love, BF from 20's Back in life

The beginning: rt-lift-off-rikkitikki-s-chronicle-t5072-2775.html


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 Post subject: Re: How did you leave?
PostPosted: Fri Jun 03, 2016 5:24 am 
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Joined: Wed Aug 06, 2014 7:40 am
Posts: 123
My story- married 26 years, with 7 before kids being pretty good (though I realize now some anxiety and other behavior was present then but more subtle). The anxiety ramped way up with kids, waxed and waned, but slowly evolved to worse over time. That slow evolution made it hard as there were glimpses of normal with abnormal n between and I chose to see the normal and push through the abnormal. I was slowly conditioned to a "new normal" but had an aha moment with the emotional control and abuse of our kids was too much. Years of counseling and marriage counseling effectively got nowhere. She had a public face that snowed most of our aquaintances, but the closer friends and family saw it all. As I split, many actually asked what took me so long.

I left when I reached the end of my rope and had nothing more emotionally to give, but she needed more (support and enabling). When she lost her scapegoat and I moved out, my daily stress dropped a lot. I am happier and the kids are happier. Yes its been a financial burden, but I can make my own decisions and control with her constant no's or control. I realize in an odd way I still love her, but like you love a child I see who she is at her core and who she can be or was, but know I cant live with her. So its very sad but I realize that separating may be the best for her as well- to realize that relationships matter, that you do have to work at them, that her behavior matters and you cant ignore and treat people like crap, no matter if they are family or not. She had us see a priest, trying to guilt me into not leaving, but it had the opposite effect. One thing he said was that if you bring love into it, usually the most loving thing to do is to work it out, but sometimes the most loving thing to do is to separate or divorce. That has been our case in that she has had to live with and work on her own relationships, and I think is better off and the kids have a better relationship with her as well, though they see the issues more clearly.

Good luck. I see you have a kind heart, loyalty, and a ton of persistence. Those are great qualities but can keep you stuck as well.


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 Post subject: Re: How did you leave?
PostPosted: Fri Jun 03, 2016 10:58 am 
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Joined: Mon Jun 18, 2012 7:02 am
Posts: 159
Almostdone wrote:
One thing he said was that if you bring love into it, usually the most loving thing to do is to work it out, but sometimes the most loving thing to do is to separate or divorce.


WOW! :o Does this ever hit me square between the eyes. Thank you.


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 Post subject: Re: How did you leave?
PostPosted: Sun Jun 05, 2016 9:39 pm 
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Joined: Mon Jul 13, 2015 7:38 am
Posts: 18
Thanks so much all for your thoughtful replies. It's been about a week since I posted this thread. 2 days ago I lost my cool and yelled at my OCPD husband when he told me he knew I didn't want to go to his law school reunion that night because "I don't like those people." He remembers me always saying I was bored with hearing people only talking about law stuff. When he was in law school, we went out all the time with these folks - to parties and brunch. We had so much fun. Maybe once in 3 years I mentioned I was bored as the only non-law person there. I told him some of my happiest memories of our relationship are of those people. Why was he only focusing on the negative? I told him he really didn't know me at all. I know this to be true. He wound up calling me later and apologizing which was a real first. He did not seem to understand why I was upset though. My goal is to be able to hold on to myself and not necessarily get angry but set clear boundaries. I hope I can do this. I know I will try.
Cat


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 Post subject: Re: How did you leave?
PostPosted: Sun Jun 05, 2016 10:02 pm 
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Joined: Sun Sep 21, 2014 2:48 pm
Posts: 2185
You know this, but I'll remind you anyway: What he did was try to define reality for you along with telling you how you think or feel. Maybe he's not wanting to go, but he wants to make it your fault? Or maybe He's just trying to push your buttons...either way, it's not his job to tell you how you think or feel about anything. You did well in standing up for yourself. So maybe next time he can't understand why something like this upsets you, you can remind him that he doesn't live in your head or in your emotions, so he does not have the right to tell you how you think or what you feel.


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