Obsessive-Compulsive Personality Disorder Support Group

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 Post subject: Re: Too Perfect Tuesdays
PostPosted: Tue Oct 09, 2012 9:45 am 
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Joined: Wed Apr 07, 2010 12:17 pm
Posts: 1935
Location: SoCal - 5 yrs moved out/4 1/2 yrs broken up w/6 year live-in with OCPD b-f.
This post continues with A Two Month Leisure Reclamation Program from Chapter Nine.

This series looks at a small snippet of The book on the Perfectionist Personality, aka The Obsessive Compulsive disordered Personality, aka OCPD, each week. Please follow along, leave your comments, engage more on the FaceBook website... whatever your heart calls you to do.

When Being in Control Gets Out of Control by Allan E. Mallinger, M.D. and Jeanette DeWyze was published by Random House in 1992. If you believe you are dealing with OCPD or someone who is "Too Perfect," whether that's you or a loved one, please buy a copy of the book and read it for additional insights that will not all be covered in these excerpts.

Quote:
A TWO-MONTH LEISURE RECLAMATION PROGRAM

If work has taken over your life, are you willing to try an experiment? For a limited period of time, can you spend less time working and more time living? To achieve that goal, I suggest you make the following changes for two months. <snip>

1. Separate your work from your home life. Don't take work home with you. Or, if your job requires you to do all or part of your work at home, confine it to one room, preferably one that you can close off and leave behind.

2. Limit your work sessions, and when the appointed quitting time comes, stop working, even if you're not completely finished. I'm not suggesting you be irresponsible and leave crucial tasks for the next day. But too many obsessives tell themselves that everything is crucial. <snip>

3. Don't work weekends, unless doing so is absolutely critical. If it is, be miserly in the amount of time you give up. <snip> ... there are "three great American vices": efficiency, punctuality, and the desire for achievement and success. There are "the things that make the Americans so unhappy and nervous. They steal from their inalienable right of loafing and cheat them of many a good, idle and beautiful afternoon."

4. Whenever it's time to stop working, consciously shift our mental focus to enjoying your free time. It may help to mark the transition from work to "play" in some way, by taking several deep breaths, for instance, or doing some stretching when you finally stand up and step away from your desk at the close of your work day. <snip>

If you begin to feel uncomfortable or guilty about "not accomplishing anything," fight those feelings. Ask: "What is so terrible about taking the time to read this book, or enjoy this conversation? Don't I deserve to enjoy life just as much as anybody else?"
More tips to come in the next post.

***

One of the things I have done in my new home, the apartment, is have a separate office for writing and filing. I don't watch TV in it, and I don't read in my office (except on the internet). Mind you, I have a regular day job, so I'm not always "up" to come home and write - and that's okay.

Even though writing is both a pleasure/dream, and a side job of sorts, I try to always balance. Spend time with family and friends, spend time lying out by the pool. Sometimes I OD, either on writing jags, or on reading jags, or social butterfly weekends.

I work really hard on being mindful, on enjoying what I am doing. We do all deserve joy, time to ourselves, time away from work.

No one will ever be lying on his/her deathbed, regretting all the time NOT spent at work or obsessing over work-related activities.

Have you ever tried a two-month reclamation project?
What do you think about the "great American vices"?
Your thoughts?

_________________
And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom. – Anaïs Nin
Follow the latest Scoop: http://www.scoop.it/t/iso-mental-health-wellness
OCPD SO info: http://perfectlyawfulusa.blogspot.com


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 Post subject: Re: Too Perfect Tuesdays
PostPosted: Tue Nov 06, 2012 10:56 am 
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Joined: Wed Apr 07, 2010 12:17 pm
Posts: 1935
Location: SoCal - 5 yrs moved out/4 1/2 yrs broken up w/6 year live-in with OCPD b-f.
Working to get back on track here. Hey, this is the anti-perfectionism blog, you know!

This post continues with A Two Month Leisure Reclamation Program from Chapter Nine.

This series looks at a small snippet of The book on the Perfectionist Personality, aka The Obsessive Compulsive disordered Personality, aka OCPD, each week. Please follow along, leave your comments, engage more on the FaceBook website... whatever your heart calls you to do.

When Being in Control Gets Out of Control by Allan E. Mallinger, M.D. and Jeanette DeWyze was published by Random House in 1992. If you believe you are dealing with OCPD or someone who is "Too Perfect," whether that's you or a loved one, please buy a copy of the book and read it for additional insights that will not all be covered in these excerpts.

Quote:
A TWO-MONTH LEISURE RECLAMATION PROGRAM (continued)

If work has taken over your life, are you willing to try an experiment? For a limited period of time, can you spend less time working and more time living? To achieve that goal, I suggest you make the following changes for two months. <snip>

5. Any time you slip into ruminations or worries about work, do the thought-stopping exercise: slap your thigh or blink, breathe deeply, tell yourself, "That's not helping," and refocus your thoughts.

6. Strictly limit the time you spend on chores. Before tackling any project, ask, "Is this really so important? Do I want to spend most of my 'off' time for the rest of my life worrying about things like this? <snip>

As with professional tasks, the list of personal tasks that you "need to do" will never end, so don't have that as your goal. It's unreasonable to refuse to enjoy yourself just because you have unfinished chores, since you'll have them for the rest of your life. <snip> Obsessives tend to get caught up with maintenance, at the expense of really living. They spend extra time ordering, fixing, straightening, tending to small details, as life speeds by. <snip>

7. If you have the opportunity to refuse extra work, do so, if only during this two-month period. <snip>

The same advice [consult a trusted friend for perspective] applies if you're tempted to decline a promotion because you're already working too hard. Obsessives typically pride themselves on their capacity to do enormous amounts of work, and they sometimes forget that they are also valued for other qualities. <snip>

Isn't it reasonable to be able to say occasionally, "I'm sorry, but I'm just swamped right now and can't take that on at the moment"? Chances are good that you are much more important to your employer than you realize.

8. During activities with family or friends, be in the moment, even if you have left work to be done. Don't let yourself think of your spouse or children as nuisance that are keeping you from more important things. Take an active interest in their conversation. Really listen to what they are saying, instead of tuning them out to ruminate about work-related problems.

<snip> Now is the time to enjoy life. Remember, none of us can know for certain that we have any time other than the present moment.


As those of you who read the post directly before this one (http://perfectlyawfulusa.blogspot.com/2 ... sonal.html) know, I have recently been forcibly reminded that we don't know for certain we will ever have any time other than the present moment, with the death of my friend Sid (http://milbetweenus.com) just a few weeks ago.

The world won't stop if we let the work go, once in a while. It is important to focus on the people and events that fill our hearts and spirit - and that shouldn't be paperwork and work-work all the time.

I "get" it. I have a busy and demanding day job, and sometimes it feels like I come home from that and plunge right into writing and research for this blog (or my other writing projects). But... I am getting on track to cut back and take more time for me, for things I enjoy (though I do enjoy writing), and for being with my friends and family.

If you have children or a partner, and, stars forbid, something happened to one of them, do you want your last memory of your time together to be of you absently mumbling, "Uh-huh, uh-huh," as you were focused on your laptop or smartphone? That you missed your shy child's debut as a tree in the school play because you got a last minute chance to put in some overtime?

If you let "work" consume all your leisure time, it is just as much an addiction as alcohol or crack cocaine. You are not virtuous, you are an addict.

And if you always choose work over relationships, eventually work will be all you have left.

Have you tried any of the tips, above?
Lost someone you loved, that you wished you'd spent more time with?
Your thoughts?

_________________
And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom. – Anaïs Nin
Follow the latest Scoop: http://www.scoop.it/t/iso-mental-health-wellness
OCPD SO info: http://perfectlyawfulusa.blogspot.com


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 Post subject: Re: Too Perfect Tuesdays
PostPosted: Tue Nov 13, 2012 12:07 pm 
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Joined: Wed Apr 07, 2010 12:17 pm
Posts: 1935
Location: SoCal - 5 yrs moved out/4 1/2 yrs broken up w/6 year live-in with OCPD b-f.
This post continues with the conclusion of A Two Month Leisure Reclamation Program from Chapter Nine.

This series looks at a small snippet of The book on the Perfectionist Personality, aka The Obsessive Compulsive disordered Personality, aka OCPD, each week. Please follow along, leave your comments, engage more on the FaceBook website... whatever your heart calls you to do.

When Being in Control Gets Out of Control by Allan E. Mallinger, M.D. and Jeanette DeWyze was published by Random House in 1992. If you believe you are dealing with OCPD or someone who is "Too Perfect," whether that's you or a loved one, please buy a copy of the book and read it for additional insights that will not all be covered in these excerpts.

Quote:
A TWO-MONTH LEISURE RECLAMATION PROGRAM (conclusion)

As you put the [previous] suggestions into practice, expect resistance to come from both within and without. "Workaholism is the most socially acceptable of the addictions because it is so socially productive," write Schaef and Fassel. "Many people have responded to our description of workaholism with statements like, 'It is not the same as alcoholics, who destroy themselves and their loved ones; workaholics are productive members of the society.' We have to realize that for some organizations and for some people, destroying one's life and loved ones is acceptable if one produces something useful in the society."

If you think the steps I have described might help you, don't put off starting them! More than one patient has said, "You're right. All this work is ruining my life. And I'm going to do something about it - next month." Or "as soon as I finish this assignment." Or "just as soon as I can get my nest egg together."

Many people toil for years to achieve a "comfortable" future, only to wind up with a few years of retirement in which either they or their spouses are in poor health. They get to do only a fraction of the things they had looked forward to doing, and they feel bitter disappointment.

Finding the appropriate balance between work and the rest of your life may never be easy for you. But it's imperative to try. I like to remember the man who remarked that he had never heard of anyone on his deathbed saying, "My only regret is that I didn't work more." You too are unlikely to die with such a regret. But if work dominates your life, will you be let with other, worse forms of remorse - over children that you never really knew, or intimate bonds that you sacrificed on the altar of overtime, a lifetime full of roses that you never stopped to smell?
I keep going back to Steve Jobs, and the stories about how he cooperated with Walter Isaacson on his biography because he wanted his family, especially his children, to know who he was.

You really think his kids thought, "Well, I didn't ever get to see much of my father, but half the world got to have cool iPhones, so I'm happy to take one for the team"? Think they're grateful to be learning all about their father from a book?

People can always find a reason/excuse not to put aside their workaholic habits just yet. Destroying your family and relationships through excessive work and make-work, such as never-ending housecleaning projects, is still destroying your family and relationships. Stop hiding behind work and start living and loving.

Have you put off addressing your workaholism?
Ever lost someone because you always chose work over leisure?
Your thoughts?

_________________
And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom. – Anaïs Nin
Follow the latest Scoop: http://www.scoop.it/t/iso-mental-health-wellness
OCPD SO info: http://perfectlyawfulusa.blogspot.com


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 Post subject: Re: Too Perfect Tuesdays
PostPosted: Tue Nov 20, 2012 10:43 am 
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Joined: Wed Apr 07, 2010 12:17 pm
Posts: 1935
Location: SoCal - 5 yrs moved out/4 1/2 yrs broken up w/6 year live-in with OCPD b-f.
This post continues with Living With the Obsessive from Chapter Ten.

This series looks at a small snippet of The book on the Perfectionist Personality, aka The Obsessive Compulsive disordered Personality, aka OCPD, each week. Please follow along, leave your comments, engage more on the FaceBook website... whatever your heart calls you to do.

When Being in Control Gets Out of Control by Allan E. Mallinger, M.D. and Jeanette DeWyze was published by Random House in 1992. If you believe you are dealing with OCPD or someone who is "Too Perfect," whether that's you or a loved one, please buy a copy of the book and read it for additional insights that will not all be covered in these excerpts.
Quote:
Living with the Obsessive

Living with an obsessive can be challenging. Although I've mostly been describing how their behavior causes them to suffer, it can be equally painful to be on the receiving end of such traits as the following:

Pickiness: You feel as if you can never do anything right. You may begin to wonder if the critical obsessive likes anything about you.

Demand-resistance: You often can't obtain the simple cooperation that oils the wheels of daily living.

Guardedness: You may never feel as if you really know the obsessive, or achieve a sense of intimacy with him. In the face of his or her aloofness, you may (mistakenly) feel unloved.

Rigidity: You can never count on obsessives to accept even minor changes. Instead, they're likely to be annoyed whenever you do something a little differently. And once they make up their mind about something, it's practically impossible to persuade them to change it.

Excessive orderliness: You may be made to feel guilty if you don't share the same level of orderliness. If they insist you meet their standard for neatness, this many put you under a lot of pressure, creating resentment on your part, or a sense of oppression.

Infallibility: You can never win an argument with an obsessive, or point out any errors. So you may chronically get the message that you're wrong.

Workaholism: You may resent how little time and energy the other person devotes to your relationship. His or her chronic absence or preoccupation may make you feel unimportant.

Indecisiveness or inability to commit: You may be unable to make plans because of his or her waffling; you may be unsure where your relationship stands.

If you have an obsessive spouse, friend, co-worker, or relative, you may have only one of these complaints or all of them, or you may have others I haven't listed. <snip>

I had all of these, in my relationship with my ex. Plus hoarding issues, which used to be included with OCPD, and will now have its very own category in the upcoming DSM-V.

At the beginning, most of these issues were hidden, or masked by the happy, "we're in love" hormones coursing through both of us. Yes, he was extremely neat and particular about his person, but I liked that, because so many men can be slobs in that area.

I don't believe he was deliberately trying to deceive me. And stars know I have plenty of my own faults. Problem was, he never let me forget any of them, but constantly pointed them out, until I did, indeed, wonder what he had ever liked about me in the first place.

He was super-guarded about his own inner feelings - those were not to be shared. I had always thought a relationship was about two people who trusted each other with their weaknesses, and helped each other. He tried never to let me see a weakness, and turned mine against me.

Now, as far as I could tell, my ex was at the very extreme end of being a Perfectionist Personality. There's a test called a Cammer (in the self-test area of this site), not widely used, but which is one way to rate how compulsive a person is. I tried to trick my ex into taking it - I got him to take the first 8-9 questions, to which he rated himself 4's on all of them, and felt those were the Right Answers, then he got pissy and stopped. I tried answering for him on repeated occasions, hoping perhaps I had been too judgmental, but the lowest I could ever rate him was a 93, and mostly I rated him as a 95/96 (out of 100).

I now don't believe a "non" can have even a relatively tolerable relationship, long-term, with a severely obsessive person, unless that person is:

1) aware of the issue, and that it is his/her issue, not the partner's, and
2) working very hard to combat his/her perfectionist behaviors, ideally with professional help

Not all people are as severe as my ex seemed to be. His behavior was not improved by excessive drinking, either. YMMV. (Your Mileage May Vary.)

But the first step, if you are involved with such a person, is understanding, despite being told it's your fault, over and over again, that it is not your fault. It's an actual, diagnosable mental illness, and while your partner may not be to blame, either, you cannot fix him/her. What you can do is learn about the condition, learn some coping techniques, and later, re-evaluate as to whether this is the way you are willing to live.

Do you recognize the above behaviors?
Which ones are hardest for you to live with?
Your thoughts?

_________________
And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom. – Anaïs Nin
Follow the latest Scoop: http://www.scoop.it/t/iso-mental-health-wellness
OCPD SO info: http://perfectlyawfulusa.blogspot.com


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 Post subject: Re: Too Perfect Tuesdays
PostPosted: Tue Nov 27, 2012 11:49 am 
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Joined: Wed Apr 07, 2010 12:17 pm
Posts: 1935
Location: SoCal - 5 yrs moved out/4 1/2 yrs broken up w/6 year live-in with OCPD b-f.
This post continues with Chapter 10 Living With the Obsessive: 1 - Don't Take Their Foibles Personally from Chapter Ten.

This series looks at a small snippet of The book on the Perfectionist Personality, aka The Obsessive Compulsive disordered Personality, aka OCPD, each week. Please follow along, leave your comments, engage more on the FaceBook website... whatever your heart calls you to do.

When Being in Control Gets Out of Control by Allan E. Mallinger, M.D. and Jeanette DeWyze was published by Random House in 1992. If you believe you are dealing with OCPD or someone who is "Too Perfect," whether that's you or a loved one, please buy a copy of the book and read it for additional insights that will not all be covered in these excerpts.

Quote:
1. Don't Take Their Foibles Personally

Obsessive behaviors usually stems from deep-seated fears, and not from any malice toward you. Yet it's easy to lose sight of this. If hardly a day passes without your spouse criticizing something you do, you may feel he or she regards you in a fairly dim light. Worse, you may start seeing yourself that way.

Try to remember that your mate's finely tuned sensors would find fault with even the saintliest, most infallible person. <snip>

Remember that the obsessive's personality was formed long before he met you, and he would demonstrate this behavior with anyone - especially someone important to him. This understanding can make the obsessive's comments or actions less hurtful.

Foibles is such a fun-sounding word, isn't it? Like fur mated with marbles, round and soft and cuddly. Dictionary.com defines a foible as: a minor weakness of failing of character; slight flaw of defect: an all-too-human foible.

Some of the behaviors exhibited by a perfectionist personality may feel very personal: the parent who sighs heavily or makes a sarcastic comment about a report card with five A's and a B; the spouse who freaks out when you're driving; the twenty-minute lecture about the toaster left plugged in.

It's very, very hard not to take it personally when the other person employs name calling and "you" language. I was at the receiving end of some horrific rants that used a lot of nasty, accusatory language, "You don't care about our home; you're such a slob; you can't do anything right..." The issue at hand being something clearly incendiary like forgetting to hang the bathmat over the shower rail when I was done dressing, or bringing home a new kind of food product from the grocery store.

But when you talk to others who live with a person with similar behaviors, or review the "Crazy Rules" or similar stories by spouses, children or siblings of those with these issues, it is easier to see that it is truly not personal. It ain't you (most of the time), and truly, it ain't them, either, it is the mental disorder which has them "under the influence."

Only you can decide if the benefits of the relationship outweigh the disadvantages, and yes, the pain of living with a person who sees flaws/problems everywhere s/he looks - and never seems to stop looking or pointing them out. "Foibles" of a Perfectionist Personality aren't generally cute and cuddly.

It's like (I hear) living in Seattle: it rains there, a lot. You can buy wonderful raingear and take frequent trips to sunnier locales, but if you find clouds and frequent rain unbearably depressing, Seattle is probably not a good environment for you. Others may thrive there.

And please, don't take the distorted vision of a person with a mental disorder as your mirror. You are not a slob if you occasionally leave a towel hanging crooked in the bathroom, or a slacker if you get B's as well as A's on your report card. Do not let him or her shake your faith in yourself as a worthy and lovable person, even if occasionally you do make mistakes or exhibit your own foibles.

Your thoughts?

_________________
And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom. – Anaïs Nin
Follow the latest Scoop: http://www.scoop.it/t/iso-mental-health-wellness
OCPD SO info: http://perfectlyawfulusa.blogspot.com


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 Post subject: Re: Too Perfect Tuesdays
PostPosted: Tue Dec 04, 2012 11:26 am 
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Joined: Wed Apr 07, 2010 12:17 pm
Posts: 1935
Location: SoCal - 5 yrs moved out/4 1/2 yrs broken up w/6 year live-in with OCPD b-f.
This post continues with Chapter 10 - Living With the Obsessive: 2 - Recognize That They May Be Taking Your Quirks Personally from Chapter Ten.

This series looks at a small snippet of The book on the Perfectionist Personality, aka The Obsessive Compulsive disordered Personality, aka OCPD, each week. Please follow along, leave your comments, engage more on the FaceBook website... whatever your heart calls you to do.

When Being in Control Gets Out of Control by Allan E. Mallinger, M.D. and Jeanette DeWyze was published by Random House in 1992. If you believe you are dealing with OCPD or someone who is "Too Perfect," whether that's you or a loved one, please buy a copy of the book and read it for additional insights that will not all be covered in these excerpts.

Quote:
2. Recognize That They May Be Taking Your Quirks Personally

When you resist dong things their way, some obsessives may interpret your lack of compliance as evidence that you don't care about them. <snip>

Hank, a forty-five-year-old engineer, and his wife, Sharon, both told me that one of their biggest problems sprang from Hank's terrible temper. "He doesn't seem to realize when he's being unreasonable," Sharon said. "When he comes home from work, he looks around for things that haven't been done. Then he explodes at the kids [two teenage boys] and me. We're on the defensive so much of the time."<snip>

...all he asked in return was that they do "a few very easy things": attend to certain gardening tasks, for instance, or keep the contents of the silverware drawer straight. Hank saw these and a multitude of similar tasks as being self-evidently important, and he went to some lengths to get the others to agree that they needed to be done; that if one of the knives was pointing the wrong way, for example, someone could get hurt. <snip>

I challenged Hank to reexamine some of his premises. Would the world really end if the yard wasn't free of weeds, or the silverware didn't all point in the same direction? I urged him to acknowledge that he was requesting certain things because they were important to him, and not because it was objectively imperative that they be done. And even if his demands were reasonable, I asked, was being right worth alienating his family?

<snip> Hank finally began to understand that no matter how "right" he was about keeping things in order, all his arguments, lectures, rages, and logical "proofs" of the correctness of his positions were actually counterproductive. He acknowledged that not only were his demands not being met, but his family literally dreaded his presence. It finally struck home that no amount of logical argument could make Sharon experience the world exactly as he did, and that even when she and the boys yielded to his demands, they did so resentfully, and felt more alienated from him.

<snip> She also learned to avoid agreeing to do a task unless she was certain she really could and would do it, <snip>
To a certain extent, we all assume that other people see the world much the same way we do. That's why it can be a shock when somebody we love and respect espouses a really bizarre (to us) religious or political viewpoint.

Hank, above, was really bothered by the weeds, and he didn't see the task of weeding as any big deal. He didn't "get" that his wife Sharon, absolutely loathed weeding with a passion, considering it backbreaking drudgery, and secondly, she didn't see all the weeds the same way he did.

Recently here the topic arose of "testing" - an OCPD'r putting something out of place - a leaf om the floor, a few pennies on the counter, etc., to "test" to see what other family members would do - and then blasting them if they didn't do "the right thing." Something that came up with my ex, when he was sharing a kitchen with his sister, was a small spot on the counter from some dish she'd prepared. I'm not sure whether the spot was grease, or gravy, or something else, but it was smaller than a dime. He was damn well going to leave it there and test how long it took that slovenly sister of his to clean it up, though it bothered him for almost a week, until he couldn't stand it any longer.

I remember reading in one piece of material (if I could remember where it was, I'd link it here) that for one obsessive person, you could go into his closet, and move the tail of ONE shoelace exactly one quarter inch, and not touch anything else in his closet, and he could go in there and immediately tell what was "wrong." This is one of the ways, for many perfectionists, that this disorder is akin to (or perhaps part of) the autism spectrum; things "out of place" can totally rock their worlds, and not in a good way.

Channeled properly, this kind of superfocus on detail can, in fact, be a great gift. There are professional fields where the tiniest flaw or error can result in huge loss of human life - aeronautics is one field that comes to mind; surgery is another - there are many. The problem is that people with this gift/curse 1) don't realize they see things differently than the average bear, and 2) they don't leave their "gift" at work.

Since they would never leave a leaf on the floor, a grease spot on the counter, or tiny weeds in the flowerbed, they are certain that if someone has left these things out of place, it must be deliberate. Clearly, we are toying with them, trying to upset them. If we understand this point of view, it is easier to see how they might take these things personally (though not any easier to be on the receiving end of "arguments, lectures, rages, and logical 'proofs'").

The answer is not to try to follow the "Crazy Rules," because trust me, even if Hank's wife Sharon had done an exemplary job with the weeding, there would've been something else - the gravel bordering the driveway needed to be hosed down more often, something. This disorder is ego syntonic- when something feels amiss to an OCPD'r, they rarely look internally and ask, "Is this me?" but seek outside themselves for the thing that is out of place/dangerous. When they find something that is not perfect (and you can always find something, if you're looking hard enough), they have this moment of "Aha, that's what it is/was!" Often followed by rage or lectures directed at the slob/inconsiderate person who "made" them feel that way.

Unless we actually are toying with them (it's not unheard of for office mates of a "persnickety" co-worker to move things on her desk, for example), we have to take a step back from that, and not accept harsh judgment on ourselves. We may not be able to convince them that their world view is wrong (in the assumption that everyone shares the same ability to see detail, for example), and probably shouldn't try, but we can know for ourselves, that just because our disordered partner or friend SAYS we are: selfish, lazy, sloppy, careless, [fill in the blank], t'aint necessarily so.

Your thoughts?

_________________
And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom. – Anaïs Nin
Follow the latest Scoop: http://www.scoop.it/t/iso-mental-health-wellness
OCPD SO info: http://perfectlyawfulusa.blogspot.com


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 Post subject: Re: Too Perfect Tuesdays
PostPosted: Tue Dec 11, 2012 12:45 pm 
Offline

Joined: Wed Apr 07, 2010 12:17 pm
Posts: 1935
Location: SoCal - 5 yrs moved out/4 1/2 yrs broken up w/6 year live-in with OCPD b-f.
This post continues with Living With the Obsessive: 3 - Be Consistent and Trustworthy from Chapter Ten.

This series looks at a small snippet of The book on the Perfectionist Personality, aka The Obsessive Compulsive disordered Personality, aka OCPD, each week. Please follow along, leave your comments, engage more on the FaceBook website... whatever your heart calls you to do.

When Being in Control Gets Out of Control by Allan E. Mallinger, M.D. and Jeanette DeWyze was published by Random House in 1992. If you believe you are dealing with OCPD or someone who is "Too Perfect," whether that's you or a loved one, please buy a copy of the book and read it for additional insights that will not all be covered in these excerpts.

Quote:
3. Be Consistent and Trustworthy

It's tempting to feign agreement with some obsessives just to get them to stop badgering you. But this can backfire! Obsessives need to be able to feel they can trust you, either to say openly you're not going to comply (giving your reasons), or actually to follow through on your word. Even in the smallest things, most obsessives respond dramatically to any evidence they can't trust you. They immediately wonder what other things you've been dishonest about. Can they believe you when you say you love them? Can they ever believe you or trust that you'll do what you agree to do?

<snip> One man stated, "I need consistency in my life - to the extent that that's possible. I feel it would be nice if I came home at night and found consistency there. If I'm told dinner will be at six-thirty and I get home to find it's not even started - "

"That only happened once!" his wife protested, <snip>


Here's where it gets tricky. I do agree with the author that we should never BS an obsessive partner or friend, "Yes, yes, of course I'll do it your way," when we have no intention of doing it his way.

But, as in the example above, no matter how hard we try, there will almost certainly be one night after 752 nights where he comes home and dinner isn't even started yet. And that's what he latched onto, not appreciating or recognizing the 751 nights where dinner was served at six-thirty on the dot.

Because of their own distorted thinking, OCPD'rs may say they want "consistency," but what they truly expect is inhuman perfection.

And we can drive ourselves crazy trying to deliver it to them.

Being consistent and trustworthy is a great goal, but it is important not to beat up on ourselves when we turn out to be human and fallible from time to time. (This is not to say that we use that as an excuse, either.)

I would also argue that "giving your reasons" why you're not going to deliver something s/he wants can too easily turn into JADEing (Justifying, Arguing, Defending, and Explaining). Better to stand your ground, "Yes, I understand you have a preference as to how you like the towels folded, but when I fold them, I'm going to do them my way. Nope, I don't need you to show me 'how to do it right.' When you fold them, you can do them your way; when I fold them, I'll do them my way."

I wish I had a dollar for every time my ex patiently explained to me that he couldn't believe I really loved him because... and then listed some tiny fault or task I'd overlooked, often from some years back. I've come to believe that a "non" can never be "consistent and trustworthy" enough to earn the trust of someone who is focused on finding a reason NOT to trust.

Somehow, he or she must come to a position of realizing that even when we do our best in some area, we're going to fail sometimes. That we still love them, and can be trusted, even if we insist on folding the towels the wrong way, or prepare dinner late once in a while.

Somehow, they have to learn that occasionally putting the toilet paper on the roll in the wrong direction is not the same level of betrayal as having an affair.

Your thoughts?

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And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom. – Anaïs Nin
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 Post subject: Re: Too Perfect Tuesdays
PostPosted: Tue Dec 11, 2012 4:22 pm 
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Thanks LTOM for the read. I believe this becomes a sink hole in the relationship, that over time turns into a chasm. You can no longer reach them, because of the distance the amplified distrust creates. They only feel/hear the ringing resentment that's left. Because they've never been able to let anything go. There doesn't appear to be any "forgive and forget". I get the resistance to forget, but without forgiveness it's not a functional relationship. Never will be.

The end game, after years of playing is a stalemate. Chasing the king around the board, with my lowly pawn. I made the mistake of believing we were on the same side, playing as a team against the world. I realized way too late, she's always seen me as her opponent.


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 Post subject: Re: Too Perfect Tuesdays
PostPosted: Tue Dec 11, 2012 5:50 pm 
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I find the word 'trust' deceiving. There is no 'trust' at all that you will, based on your own intelligence, come up with a reasonable result. If my ocpd'er could choose between 'trust' or 'control', she would go for control as being the more likely to produce the result she wanted/needed. The 'I cannot trust you to come up with a good result, because you did X in the summer of 1982 (What!! You did forget??? How can you possibly forget ....)' was used against me all the time. There was a continuous building up of the case of my incompetence, which justified her taking control over everything happening in and around the house. Literally: how can you possibly be a managing director, you need some competence for that...

I somehow do not believe they 'expect' perfection. They know mere mortals cannot achieve it, so that is a very good argument for their superiority and gives them permission, internal at least, for bullying their partner into submission.


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 Post subject: Re: Too Perfect Tuesdays
PostPosted: Tue Dec 11, 2012 6:59 pm 
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LovethatOCPDMan wrote:
Your thoughts?


I've had to increasingly tone down anything that looks like a promise. Even the following are not necessarily un-promisey enough:

"I may do that."
"I'll try to do that."
"I'll start that, but don't expect me to finish it all."

I just realized, on reading this post, that my response is now usually:

"Yeah, that could happen."

It works. Works great.


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 Post subject: Re: Too Perfect Tuesdays
PostPosted: Tue Dec 11, 2012 7:13 pm 
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Been mulling this very thing over in my head quite a bit lately. I think the issue of forgiveness, and trust, gets tangled up with resolution. It seems that no matter what the issue was, DH and I were (are) never able to reach resolution. This messes with trust and forgiveness big time. If I ask for resolution, I am not "forgiving." But now I think this is just projection. That's how it works on his end.

You can forgive without resolution, but it's difficult to trust, and nigh impossible to "forget." But resolution seems to be eternally out of reach.


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 Post subject: Re: Too Perfect Tuesdays
PostPosted: Tue Dec 18, 2012 4:24 pm 
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Location: SoCal - 5 yrs moved out/4 1/2 yrs broken up w/6 year live-in with OCPD b-f.
This post continues with Living With the Obsessive: 4 - Don't Be Pressured into Disavowing Your Own Feelings and Preferences from Chapter Ten.

This series looks at a small snippet of The book on the Perfectionist Personality, aka The Obsessive Compulsive disordered Personality, aka OCPD, each week. Please follow along, leave your comments, engage more on the FaceBook website... whatever your heart calls you to do.

When Being in Control Gets Out of Control by Allan E. Mallinger, M.D. and Jeanette DeWyze was published by Random House in 1992. If you believe you are dealing with OCPD or someone who is "Too Perfect," whether that's you or a loved one, please buy a copy of the book and read it for additional insights that will not all be covered in these excerpts.

Quote:
4 - Don't Be Pressured into Disavowing Your Own Feelings and Preferences

Even if you can't win a debate demonstrating the superiority of your position, you are still entitled to your own view. You should feel free to assert that right.

Unless you're equally obsessive, you're probably no match for an obsessive in an argument. Obsessives spend their lives analyzing things; they're experts at it. But just because a course of action seems to be more efficient, practical, or logical to him or her, you still don't have to choose it. Don't be shamed or bullied into doing so. <snip>

<snip> If something truly conflicts with your values (e.g., a disagreement about how to handle your children, or some other important matter), listen to his arguments and think it over when you're alone. Then figure out what your position is, and reopen the discussion. Don't give in just to silence him or her. Don't be afraid to ask for time to think it over.

One of the biggest issues I had with my ex was him not being able to accept that we were different people, in different skins. When, in his opinion, there was no REASON for me to feel cold, he became highly offended when I felt cold, anyway. Obviously I was just doing it to piss him off. I tried for two years to think myself warm, before deciding, "Screw this, I'm putting another blanket on my side of the bed." After that I probably got an extra hour's sleep each night, which I badly needed, instead of lying in bed, too cold to fall asleep.

We had many common interests and beliefs, but sometimes we diverged. We went to a Return to Forever concert. For him, it was like Jesus and the Beatles rolled into one concert. And I was delighted - for him, that he enjoyed it so. For me, meh. Parts of it I enjoyed, and I could appreciate the level of artistry and musicianship, but it wasn't my kind of music. Again, he tried very hard to talk me into liking it more on the drive home. He couldn't let it be that we could have different thoughts, feelings and tastes. He frequently claimed he could tell exactly what I thought and felt - and he was almost always wrong.

One of my friends related a story that once with her partner, they were discussing a favorite restaurant, and he was recalling how much she liked some particular dish. She gently corrected him, "It wasn't terrible, but actually, honey, I didn't care for it that much, and I wouldn't order it again for myself." This turned into a twenty-five minute harangue where he tried to convince her she really loved that dish, after all.

Is it worth fighting about for twenty-five minutes whether or not you loved the veal (or whatever it was)? Of course not. The best thing is to end the conversation, "Guess we'll have to agree to differ," and walk away if you have to.

If you simply cave in to avoid a fight, you're enabling the distorted thinking and boundary violation, plus you may be shivering in your bed, cold and resentful. If you love someone with this condition, it is vital that s/he come to accept that you ARE different people, that you can have different tastes and preferences, and still the world will go on spinning.

Your thoughts?

_________________
And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom. – Anaïs Nin
Follow the latest Scoop: http://www.scoop.it/t/iso-mental-health-wellness
OCPD SO info: http://perfectlyawfulusa.blogspot.com


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 Post subject: Re: Too Perfect Tuesdays
PostPosted: Wed Jan 02, 2013 12:33 pm 
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Joined: Wed Apr 07, 2010 12:17 pm
Posts: 1935
Location: SoCal - 5 yrs moved out/4 1/2 yrs broken up w/6 year live-in with OCPD b-f.
This post continues with Living With the Obsessive: 5 - Don't Pressure the Obsessive from Chapter Ten.

This series looks at a small snippet of The book on the Perfectionist Personality, aka The Obsessive Compulsive disordered Personality, aka OCPD, each week. Please follow along, leave your comments, engage more on the FaceBook website... whatever your heart calls you to do.


When Being in Control Gets Out of Control by Allan E. Mallinger, M.D. and Jeanette DeWyze was published by Random House in 1992. If you believe you are dealing with OCPD or someone who is "Too Perfect," whether that's you or a loved one, please buy a copy of the book and read it for additional insights that will not all be covered in these excerpts.

Quote:
5 - Don't Pressure the Obsessive

What about when you want the obsessive to do something - anything from making a simple decision to changing some deeply entrenched pattern?

Be forewarned: any direct confrontation in which you try to force the other person to change is almost certainly doomed to failure. Your request or demand will only increase his inclination to assert his dominance or "rightness," escalating the power struggle.

<snip>He and a fellow lawyer were choosing between two available offices in a building they planned to share. Hal, my patient, was perfectly content to give his associate first choice, but the other man was vacillating, holding up Hall's move into the new quarters. Hal related one of their conversations:

"Once again, I asked him which one he wanted, and he told me he still couldn't decide. Since he'd been leaning toward number two, I told him that he could have it and I would take the other one. But he hit the roof, telling me that he hadn't said he wanted number two, and that the rent was higher. So I said, 'Okay. You take number one, and I'll take number two.'

"'Number one is too small.'

"'Would you rather I choose?'

"'No! I was here first, so I think I deserve first choice.'

"'Do you have any idea when you'll know which office you want?'

"'I don't know'."

At first, maybe the other man's goal really was, as he consciously believed, to pick the office that best suited his needs; secondarily, he may have enjoyed the sense of control he felt in making Hal wait. But when Hal pressured him, that changed. The associate became more invested in keeping the control, which he did by obstructing Hal. The more impatient Hal got, the more determined the other was to delay his decision, because by now he as angry. He couldn't show it directly because he had no logical reason for it. So instead he unconsciously retaliated by blocking Hal.

I suggested that Hal try backing off completely - that he tell the associate to take his time and call whenever he had decided. When I saw Hal a week later, he said that given that leeway, his associate had decided instantly.

<snip>Instead of saying, "You must change," for example, make sure you're conveying, "I would like you to do this, for reasons x, y, and z." If you have to know your boss's plans by a certain date, tell him so, but be sure to explain why, so that he doesn't interpret your need to know as an ultimatum, a control play, or manipulation. Your reasons should always reflect your own needs, or your difficulty with the status quo, rather than a judgment about the obsessive's behavior. For instance, say, "If I don't find out your plans by such-and-such a time, I won't be able to obtain a reduced-rate ticket," not, "I hate it when you do this to me. You always make me wait, and it's so inconsiderate!"

<snip> While change in the obsessive must come from within, sometimes healthy, truly unilateral changes in one partner will inspire changes in the other. We aren't truly sure why this happens, but some would say that one person's chronic tardiness and its outcome - the partner's nagging and pushing him - is a recreation of some aspect of a childhood relationship, and that it suits some need in each party. This view says that one one refuses to continue in the role of nagging, disappointed, disapproving parent, the other loses his unwitting collaborator and drops the corresponding role.

Tiptoeing around The Right Way to approach the Perfectionist Personality can be a minefield.

While yes, much tact is needed, and Mallinger's excellent suggestions to back off if possible, or to give the reason in a non-judgmental way do work much of the time, sometimes they don't.

My advice is, if you do your best to be tactful and non-pressuring, and your partner or parent blows up anyway, don't take it personally. I've heard of teens (or younger children) getting blasted because they had to get a parent's signature on a field trip permission slip or a report card by a certain date, and they didn't ask in the right way or at the right moment. Now, perhaps they didn't use ultimate tact or timing, but they're kids - they shouldn't have to.

There are several families I know whose best working solution to time conflicts is to take two separate vehicles to most social events. Maybe the Perfectionist insists on being places twenty minutes early, no matter what, and frets over being asked to wait when he is ready to leave. Maybe the Perfectionist waits until the last minute to do her hair and is always running late. Maybe one member of the household likes to hang around and socialize after church, and the other wants to head straight home the moment the service ends. By taking two vehicles, the power squabble about when to leave is averted, even if it creates a slightly bigger gasoline bill and a few raised eyebrows from family or friends. (If anyone even notices. Outsiders generally notice less about our internal family dynamics than we think they do, and they care even less, being busy with their own affairs.)

Some things, you have to jump on at the right moment - if you have a plane reservation at XX time, and there's a shuttle picking your family up at XX time to catch that reservation, you'll either make it or miss it, Sweetcheeks. Other events, like a family car road trip - if your goal is leaving at five a.m., and instead you leave at five-fifteen, or even six, this is not a national disaster.

What is very true about this section of Too Perfect, is the observation when you change your habitual behavior, the dynamic in the relationship will change. Sometimes for better, sometimes for worse, sometimes it's not possible to determine in which direction it is, but it will be different.

When most people discover OCPD, and make an amateur diagnosis of their partner, parent, friend or co-worker, the first question is usually, "How do I change or fix this person?'

The answer, that you can't change other people, only yourself, feels weird, wrong, and counter-intuitive. Hey, they are the people with the problem! Whaddya mean, I have to change myself?

But it's true. First off, just because they (might) have a diagnosable mental disorder, does not mean those of us who chose to partner them, or work with them, or who are unchosen (siblings, children, parents, and so on) are totally disorder-free. We may very well have our own Issues ("Can you say co-dependence, boys and girls?"), and would do well to heed the Bible's advice about removing the beam from our own eye, as a first step.

Second, what we are looking to change is not really the other person, but the dynamics of our relationship with the other person. Our relationship with this person, about whom we care deeply (or perhaps hate, in the case of the Boss from Hell), is currently very painful, and we want it to be Not Painful. Joyous, even.

There is no fairy wand we can wave and !Poof! The other person is no longer obsessive and perfectionistic.

But when we change the "ballet" we've worked out - and there always is one, when Person A says/does X, Person B replies Y - we are already shaking things up. Doesn't matter if we are Person A or Person B, if we change the way we approach or reply to another person, they are forced to rethink and change the way they interact with us.

Does it work?
Yes and no. It depends on what we are looking for.

If we hope there is some magic formula, that, when applied, will make a relationship with a disordered person (not counting the we ourselves may have disorders of our own) into a quote normal unquote relationship, then no, it doesn't work. What is possible (sometimes) is a relationship that is more tolerable and less painful for us. Sometimes it may feel like what we consider normal, but we can never let our guard down, never assume that yippee, the problems are all better now. A disordered brain is like a roller skate that always wants to go left - it takes active awareness and effort to make it go right or straight, and the minute you let it go on autopilot, you end up going left again. If we are skating arm in arm with the person with the gimpy skate, we cannot blithely follow their lead.

And sometimes, the other person may become so frustrated and upset that we have chosen to make major changes in the relationship dynamic, that they choose to end it, altogether. There are no guarantees (and sometimes, the partner of a disordered person might do anything and everything his/her partner requests, and the disordered person STILL ends the relationship).

If you are hurting, and the way your current relationship is "working" is not working, for you, isn't it worth trying a different approach?

Your thoughts?

_________________
And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom. – Anaïs Nin
Follow the latest Scoop: http://www.scoop.it/t/iso-mental-health-wellness
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 Post subject: Re: Too Perfect Tuesdays
PostPosted: Wed Jan 02, 2013 2:55 pm 
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Nice post. I don't have any coherent thoughts in response at the moment, but you've succinctly articulated some really good points here about the nuances of relationship. There's black and white thinking about how things are Supposed To Be, and then there's that huge grey area in the middle where just about everything is.

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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: Too Perfect Tuesdays
PostPosted: Wed Jan 02, 2013 4:36 pm 
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First I would like to say that when I left my marriage I didn't know what I know today about OCPD. All I knew and felt was emotional tension leading to resistance, resentment, rejection, and repression in our marriage and I couldn't put my finger on why until I was able to remove myself from the circus. Knowing what I know now and I have said this before to my ocpder after his insistance on changing only after I left was this... It's not that I want you to change I want our marriage to go back to the way it was without the bitterness at each other. I knew better than to take his word for his wanting to change because he wouldn't of changed because he's not accepting of his mental status. Let's face it we fall in love with their perfectionist personality; it's a great quality to have, however, not when it interferes with how one feels on a continual basis...i.e. lack of worth; can't do anything right. Well in the end my marriage after 11 years did not work out because he doesn't get it! ( I even left the book on the island in the kitchen for him to read about 6 months ago and when I was over the house a few months later it was still laying there! I picked it up and took it home with me) My thoughts are this... How did each of the OCPD people on here find out and discover their OCPD while in a marriage or relationship? I know Morten's turning point from his story and I do applaud his wife for confronting him and giving him an ultimatum where many of us struggle with getting through to the person who we want to get help.


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