Obsessive-Compulsive Personality Disorder Support Group

A support group for those with OCPD and their loved ones.
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 Post subject: Living without empathy and affection
PostPosted: Tue Mar 11, 2014 8:28 pm 
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Joined: Tue Feb 11, 2014 1:19 am
Posts: 106
I have been suffering coming to terms with my relationship that exists wholly without empathy and affection. I am at a cross roads, it feels a basic human need and right to have affection from your partner and to feel loved, empathy should also be an expectation under most circumstance, or at least sympathy if empathy is impossible.

If anyone can explain to me their own feelings on why affection and empathy are so lacking in my OCPDer it might help me see a clear path on how to proceed, i.e. is it possible for an OCPDer in their mid forties to learn how to give affection, I know it isn't beyond him because his children and the dog get heaps of it, just not me. I wonder if it is a way of showing lack of control that he wont allow. The fact that personal closeness from a partner releases the feel good hormones should be enough for anyone but especially those suffering with the anxiety in OCPD.

An example to give was a few weeks ago I had to go to hospital for a procedure, he was unable to take me as it would interrupt his work by 15 minutes, this meant I drove myself there and back after a general anesthetic, I arrived home and took care of my 18 month old all day feeling pretty crappy to be honest, he arrived home later, I made noises about being tired and sore, asked the baby to get Daddy to do it, Mummy's not very well. He didn't ask how I was, how it went or anything, then proceeded to get changed and go to the pub for three hours. The next day was the birthday of my son that passed away so I was still feeling unwell and a little sad to top it off, I make sure to remind him of these dates the week before so he can be a little gentle on me. No response, no are you ok, no hug, no nothing, in fact he went out most of the day and went to bed straight after tea. Is this normal OCPD behaviour or is it just a sign of someone who although they claim they do, just doesn't love me.

Thoughts appreciated.


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 Post subject: Re: Living without empathy and affection
PostPosted: Tue Mar 11, 2014 10:36 pm 
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Joined: Tue Jul 30, 2013 6:40 am
Posts: 126
Wfora, I think what you have just described re your hospital procedure, having to drive yourself to and from hospital after anesthesia, H not asking how you were, then he's off pubbing same day is totally unacceptable behaviour. Normal people don't act like this, nor would the greenies on this board approve of this behaviour either (sorry, don't mean to speak for others here). I'm wondering if you are trying to appear stoic and strong even when you're not feeling that way, because you think you'll look weak to your H if you can't take care of yourself? The only reason I'm asking this is that if you have gotten into the habit of behaving independently (because of H's behaviour), is it possible the H doesn't offer help unless you specifically ask him for it? If this is not the case, then I would have a serious discussion with him and tell him that you are extremely disappointed and hurt by his lack of interest and concern. If this was in reverse, wouldn't he have expected you to be caring towards him? Because your H didn't ask you any questions about your condition, even though you were in a very vulnerable state, I am wondering if he expects you to only share information when it is a crisis or important enough where he would feel he needed to become involved? Unfortunately, with OCPD there is a big disconnection as they just don't know how we feel or what's going on in OUR minds. However, I would still urge you to tell him how he made you feel and at the very least you tried and will have a sense of control over yourself. I wish I could be of more help as I know this must be very frustrating and disappointing for you. Please keep posting and venting to release your frustration; it does help.


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 Post subject: Re: Living without empathy and affection
PostPosted: Wed Mar 12, 2014 4:13 am 
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Joined: Mon Feb 09, 2009 9:25 am
Posts: 4874
Waitingforacceptance wrote:
I arrived home and took care of my 18 month old all day feeling pretty crappy to be honest, he arrived home later, I made noises about being tired and sore, asked the baby to get Daddy to do it, Mummy's not very well. He didn't ask how I was, how it went or anything, then proceeded to get changed and go to the pub for three hours. The next day was the birthday of my son that passed away so I was still feeling unwell and a little sad to top it off, I make sure to remind him of these dates the week before so he can be a little gentle on me. No response, no are you ok, no hug, no nothing, in fact he went out most of the day and went to bed straight after tea. Is this normal OCPD behaviour or is it just a sign of someone who although they claim they do, just doesn't love me.

Thoughts appreciated.
ALL of this seems like normal untreated OCPD to me. What I don't see here are the words, I need you to take me for my procedure. I need you to care for the baby and tonight I need you home. Or, on this date, I need you to _______ because its the anniversary of the baby passing. I need you to hug me, I need you to actively listen to me etc.

In my experience, I need to teach DH, in detail, what I expect from him in the same way you tell your 10 year old the behavior you expect when you take him to meet your coworkers or pastor or friend.

_________________
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: Living without empathy and affection
PostPosted: Wed Mar 12, 2014 4:42 am 
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Joined: Thu Dec 27, 2012 9:15 am
Posts: 511
Definitely agree with more-freedom. You need to tell, ask him in a friendly voice. I was also ill a week ago. My OCPD mother was not getting it for days that I was in bed and had to take care of 3 kids. Then finally, when my dad told her I looked horrible, she came over and said she would cook the next day. But this took several days of me taking care of kids with my last strength. A normal person, friend, family would have immediately asked "Hey, what can I do to help?". It took her a while to realize, and then she did what she said, but after that, never called afterwards to check or offer more help. And I am quite sure that her brain registered that episode as "I helped my daughter when she needed it".

There are no easy answers. Try communicating very directly. He is a man, on top of that OCPD male, so subtleties are probably not the language he understands.


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 Post subject: Re: Living without empathy and affection
PostPosted: Wed Mar 12, 2014 6:39 am 
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Joined: Mon Jan 20, 2014 8:05 pm
Posts: 311
Waitingforacceptance wrote:
I have been suffering coming to terms with my relationship that exists wholly without empathy and affection. I am at a cross roads, it feels a basic human need and right to have affection from your partner and to feel loved, empathy should also be an expectation under most circumstance, or at least sympathy if empathy is impossible.

If anyone can explain to me their own feelings on why affection and empathy are so lacking in my OCPDer it might help me see a clear path on how to proceed


I cannot explain to you why affection and empathy are lacking in people with OCPD, but I sort of read somewhere in this board that they shy away from it because they perceive it as a weakness? Or they do not want to expose themselves to become vulnerable to hurt. You are correct in expecting to have empathy and affection in a marriage, but that is a marriage between two emotionally healthy people. Sad to say that expecting these things from your husband will just set you up for disappointment. But that doesn't mean you can't try, heed mf's advice in saying the words to him, maybe it's the nudge that he needs. Also seek the affection you need from your sons instead, at least you know they have it to give. Don't yoke your happiness on your husband, be happy on your own, do stuff that you love, show him you can and will be happy. I realized that when I was gloomy all the time, there was more tension between me and hubby. Now I try to be happy on my own, and things are better between us so far.

I'm leaning towards the thought that your husband is just exhibiting standard ocpd behavior, which does not translate to an absence of love.......does he show you a bit of love or a little affection during better days? But the part where he didn't drive you to hospital for your procedure is kinda hard to accept.

I feel that we are in the same boat as I think we are both in the process of grieving for the death of our idea of how a marriage should be. We can only move forward, and we can also decide on which course we want our relationship to take. Wishing you all the best.

Dirtgal


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 Post subject: Re: Living without empathy and affection
PostPosted: Wed Mar 12, 2014 9:17 am 
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Joined: Mon Nov 11, 2013 9:59 am
Posts: 213
This reminds me of a time when my hubby wanted to have a church activity at our house. My youngest was about a week old if I remember correctly. I told him no as many ways and times as I could, but he could not accept it. Finally I talked to another person over the activity, explained my concerns, and left it up to him to make sure the activity was not at my house. Hubby just could not understand that I wasn't up to having people over, even if it was outside.

Don't know that that helps with your situation, just sharing.

I know that when my DH is sick - HE IS SICK. He expects not to do anything, thinks constantly about going to the doctor, and seems to feel that I am not sympathetic enough. He seems to want to take a day off at the drop of a hat. He doesn't seem able to reciprocate when I am sick.


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 Post subject: Re: Living without empathy and affection
PostPosted: Wed Mar 12, 2014 10:46 am 
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Site Admin

Joined: Tue Nov 04, 2008 3:12 pm
Posts: 721
Hi dirtgal,

dirtgal wrote:
I cannot explain to you why affection and empathy are lacking in people with OCPD


I googled

Ocpd unable to express warm and tender feelings

and got some interesting results. The first one was the thread

intimacy-and-ocpd-help-t2886.html

in the "Popular threads" forum

Sincerely, Paul


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 Post subject: Re: Living without empathy and affection
PostPosted: Wed Mar 12, 2014 10:59 am 
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Joined: Thu Aug 15, 2013 7:40 am
Posts: 709
I'm not feeling in any place to dispense advice or insight anymore, but here goes anyway.

My BF is affectionate, but not "touchy". The touchy is more a contamination thing, though and when we are freshly showered, etc. he is more so. But I had us both take the "Love Languages" test which demonstrated that I am a "physical touch" and he is a "helpful acts". So not all of that is the OCPD for him. We had quick discussions several times when I think he wasn't being physically affectionate enough and he would make more effort.

When he is sick he wants to hole himself away and NOT interact. No comforting him, no "chicken soup", no just sitting watching TV...he wants to be left alone. I am the opposite. If he comes at things like he would like to be treated, it makes sense.

Also, if your procedure scared him, his reaction may be to go into "denial"--so basically act like it just didn't happen. This would then, strangely, make his actions one of love. Twisted, I know.


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 Post subject: Re: Living without empathy and affection
PostPosted: Wed Mar 12, 2014 4:57 pm 
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Joined: Tue Feb 09, 2010 9:38 pm
Posts: 1978
Waitingforacceptance wrote:
it feels a basic human need and right to have affection from your partner and to feel loved, empathy should also be an expectation under most circumstance, or at least sympathy if empathy is impossible.
I think that expectation is a difficult word here. It can only lead to more pain and frustration to expect things from someone who is either unwilling or unable to give them in the form you need them in. I agree with the others in being forthright - often I would get fixated on a certain outcome and ignore any clues my SO would try to give me that what I was doing was not what he wanted or preferable, or that I was oblivious to his very evident situation, or avoiding dealing with it to avoid my own stress in response to it.

Quote:
The fact that personal closeness from a partner releases the feel good hormones should be enough for anyone but especially those suffering with the anxiety in OCPD.
But different brains operate differently and those with anxiety and PD's create the internal distress, very possibly because (or resulting in that) we don't respond to closeness with others in this way. And these chemicals keep proving to be more and more complex in how they do function. Here's an article to that point on oxytocin:
http://psychcentral.com/news/2013/07/27/love-hormone-oxytocin-tied-to-social-anxiety-fear-in-mice/57652.html

_________________
'
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: Living without empathy and affection
PostPosted: Thu Mar 13, 2014 12:04 am 
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Joined: Tue Feb 11, 2014 1:19 am
Posts: 106
Thanks everyone for your thoughts and especially the links, I have been reading all of them, some of it does make sense, especially my misconception about Oxytocin. In answer to a question, No, there is very rarely closeness and affection even on Good Days, it has been so long that I have to admit I responded in shock with a cringe the last time he surprised me with a cuddle from behind, and then had to back track and say how good that felt and how much I appreciated it. I have forgotten how to initiate closeness myself now, it feels very un-natural. You are all right too in saying that I am not direct with what I need, this in-directness may well work on a NON_OCPD that is the bit I need to remind myself. I usually ask, would you be able to? Instead of I need you to. So then I accept the No and being very strong and independent do it myself instead. Which of course leads me down the path to the familiar town of Martyrdom. I will practice being more direct and see what sort of response I get. I think perhaps I am a little embarrassed to ask for exactly what I want anymore due to the un-natural feeling I get which I have never felt in a relationship before this one. I wonder how to go about accepting a relationship aside from the norm?


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 Post subject: Re: Living without empathy and affection
PostPosted: Thu Mar 13, 2014 7:44 am 
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Joined: Fri Oct 04, 2013 11:03 pm
Posts: 252
@WFA please work on maintaining your ability to ask for what you want and need from others.
This is a skill that is being slowly corroded from insecurity due to negative consequences from you SO.
It is a very important skill so I hope you continue to practice it in the outside world as well.
I was also met with resistance A LOT when I asked for what I wanted from my ex and I was very aware it was not a skill I wanted undermined. I asked too, and if I got a no I did it myself or asked others for help when I needed it. (interesting that when others jumped in to do what my SO declined to do, he all of a sudden wanted to help very much, or do the activity I wanted to do with him... but when his change of mind didn't come from a good place but only a place of competitiveness or jealousy I no longer desired it from him in the end)


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 Post subject: Re: Living without empathy and affection
PostPosted: Sun Mar 16, 2014 11:23 am 
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Joined: Wed Aug 25, 2010 6:51 pm
Posts: 761
Quote:
hrh: We had quick discussions several times when I think he wasn't being physically affectionate enough and he would make more effort.
Caught my attention only because I find that short term and long term fixes are not always compatible. I have gently negotiated things like more touching, only to find that it built up as more anxiety and resentment later. Even well made agreements seem to carry a slow build up of the demand/resistance. Can lead to other and seemingly unconnected blow outs. OCPD appears to monitor every thing that it ever gave away via negotiation, requests accepted, or gift. A growing debt is often created. As far as empathy and affection, OCPD is hard-on the owner. They are self-battered and their soft emotions held in fear and contempt. The result from this military like focus is often a load of rigorous productivity, which is creates a bulwark of justification. Meanwhile, you are not going to get empathetic resonance from this person because they give none to themselves. We feel for others because we first feel for ourselves. "I know how you feel." Giving affection without the natural driving desire to do so leads back to debt development and growing resentment. This part of OCPD is proving to be the most unrewarding for me too.


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 Post subject: Re: Living without empathy and affection
PostPosted: Sun Mar 16, 2014 11:48 am 
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Joined: Sun Sep 08, 2013 9:06 pm
Posts: 313
[quote=]........you are not going to get empathetic resonance from this person because they give none to themselves. We feel for others because we first feel for ourselves. "I know how you feel." Giving affection without the natural driving desire to do so leads back to debt development and growing resentment. This part of OCPD is proving to be the most unrewarding for me too.[/quote]

Wow this rings home! I'm bewildered why my stbx ocpdh is emotionless...... This is a good explanation. Can you elaborate on what you mean by "debt development"?


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 Post subject: Re: Living without empathy and affection
PostPosted: Sun Mar 16, 2014 11:56 am 
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Joined: Sun Jan 26, 2014 9:20 am
Posts: 92
[ALL of this seems like normal untreated OCPD to me. What I don't see here are the words, I need you to take me for my procedure. I need you to care for the baby and tonight I need you home. Or, on this date, I need you to _______ because its the anniversary of the baby passing. I need you to hug me, I need you to actively listen to me etc.

In my experience, I need to teach DH, in detail, what I expect from him in the same way you tell your 10 year old the behavior you expect when you take him to meet your coworkers or pastor or friend.[/quote]

I completely agree with this poster. I started to identify what exactly I needed from my H to meet my needs. Sometimes he gives it, sometimes he doesn't and I'm hurt. But at least 50% of the time I'm getting affection. It's made a difference in how I feel about him and towards him. "I need you to listen to me while I vent". "Can you give me a hug?". And complimenting his efforts when they make a difference to you. OCPD people (I think) want very badly to be good people. If you can encourage the good things that he does that also make you feel loved, I believe it will improve at least in that area. "Oh thank you so much for letting me just talk about my day. It makes me feel so loved and cared for, and I'm able to just let it all out and give you a hug and feel comforted. Thanks."


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 Post subject: Re: Living without empathy and affection
PostPosted: Sun Mar 16, 2014 12:01 pm 
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Joined: Sun Jan 26, 2014 9:20 am
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Ms Blackbird wrote:
Definitely agree with more-freedom. You need to tell, ask him in a friendly voice. I was also ill a week ago. My OCPD mother was not getting it for days that I was in bed and had to take care of 3 kids. Then finally, when my dad told her I looked horrible, she came over and said she would cook the next day. But this took several days of me taking care of kids with my last strength. A normal person, friend, family would have immediately asked "Hey, what can I do to help?". It took her a while to realize, and then she did what she said, but after that, never called afterwards to check or offer more help. And I am quite sure that her brain registered that episode as "I helped my daughter when she needed it".

There are no easy answers. Try communicating very directly. He is a man, on top of that OCPD male, so subtleties are probably not the language he understands.


Again, I agree here. It's funny there must be a disconnect somewhere. Because my H wants so desperately to be helpful and useful, sometimes he does things for others that is too much. One time we were at a group get together with a potluck. I went to get my food and my H grabs a fork for me although the fork was literally in front of me. Today after my derby practice, he attempted to help me take off my gear. It was awkward, I had to tell him "no thanks." He did grab my bag though, which was nice and appropriate.


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