my take... the stongest positive reinforcement is when it is intermittent. Psychology experiments have shown this phenomenon... We work hard at things when we know that eventually something good is coming our way... we don't know when but we know it will come eventually. So when we have good times with our SO PDered we hold on to that and the hope that more will come. If we never liked anything about them we wouldn't have gotten hooked on them
My OCPDer is my mom, so it is a little different than a wife or husband being the one, BUT this statement rings very true. OCPD mom had moments that she was very charming and fun…all things nice. As a child it was wonderful when she was in a happy mood. Good things happen…but when she wasn't WATCH OUT! It turned me into a people pleaser; if I can please ocpd mom all the time…then it will stay good, fun…positive. So, that is what I did with people…pleasing them at my own expense. To some extent I have social anxiety….bc I never knew when the next attack was coming…so I feel like I have to be very cautious around new people.
One example: Really my shoes could be sitting in a spot and ocpd mom would have hers there too. A day later she is yelling at me for leaving my shoes there for SO LONG! (She had moved hers.) Apparently I am supposed to read-minds and KNOW that the shoe time for that particular spot had expired.
I guess I just didn't leave until I was 40, because she was my mother. Many people would be shocked to discover I don't like my mother. Those are the people who had normal
mothers. It's hard to express the depths of the dysfunction when they have no reference point. I didn't realize that my mother was so mentally ill. She'd been that way my entire life, I didn't know that it was wrong for her to act like this. I thought that she loved me…I was wrong. My ocpd mother doesn't know what love is…in her version of love, we are puppets that do and say exactly what she wants us to.