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Cathy

I feel so powerless

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Hi all,

my husband suffers from OCD but has only admitted it a year ago when it started to really impact our life as he's started having violent outbursts whenever he couldn't control things. No one knows about it, I'm not allowed to tell anyone. It's really hard to live with, his main problem is fear of contamination and control. Control is even impacting our own life now, for example, I can't go out when I want. He scares me at times. He refuses to go and talk to anybody, he thinks he will get better when he's got control over everything but each time something trivial crops up and the infernal circle of cleaning and anger starts again. I don't know what to do.I've talk to his mum a little, I mean he's a grown man, he's 40, and she did recognise he had a few symptoms when he was younger and she went to see the doctor not him; however she doesn't really want to get involved. It's really wearing me down;  when he shouts at me for having dropped a key on the mat for example, he goes out of his mind. He often blames me for things that are not going his way but I swear I don't provoke him or try to trigger any of his fears. Anybody can relate? Thanks for reading me. Cathy

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Hi Cathy and welcome to the forum.

Im sure there will be people on here who understand exactly what you are going through.  I have seen many over the years.  It is my adult son who has OCD, so my experiences are slightly different, but I do know that somehow your husband has to understand that you can't be controlled like this, nor should you be.  It doesn't help that his mother won't get involved.

The problem is that OCD takes more and more and no matter how much you comply with his demands, it will never be enough.  I wish I could be more helpful, but in a calm moment, can you get him to understand that your future lies with him getting help?

Carol x

 

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Thank you Carol for your welcome and word of advice. The thing is he doesn't want any record in the system. I have tried talking to him but to no avail so far. Is there any chance sufferers from OCD can get out of this way of thinking by themselves? I fear the answer is no but I don't know really. How do people get to suffer from OCD and can it be passed down to children do you think? In our case, both me and my son have had to adapt not to trigger my husband for example he has to wash his hand systematically when he enters the house and get changed from his uniform. But when my husband is not around, this is not the case.

If I may ask, when did your son develop OCD and does he has a treatment?

Thanks again,

Cathy

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Hi Cathy and welcome to the forum. :) 

2 hours ago, Cathy said:

The thing is he doesn't want any record in the system. I have tried talking to him but to no avail so far. Is there any chance sufferers from OCD can get out of this way of thinking by themselves? 

Many sufferers will relate to not wanting it recorded anywhere that they have OCD. The sense of shame is great and because the person knows what they are doing is irrational (and unacceptable) there's often a fear those in authority will intervene in ways they can't cope with. There may also be specific fears about the effect it would have on life insurance, driving license, job etc etc. (None of these are typically adversely affected, but the fear is they may be.) 

However, you're right in thinking people don't get out of this way of thinking by themselves and sadly if left unchallenged it tends to worsen over time. You can't force someone to change either, improvement only comes through understanding your flawed thinking and behaviour and making a conscious choice to respond differently. Hopefully with the right help your husband will (eventually) get to that head space. Meanwhile all you can do is keep chipping away at it, perhaps intermittently suggesting he seek help. Would it help to offer to go with him to the GP? (or he can self refer through IAPT).

Another option is to buy a self help book for you to read (information is power) and then suggest to him you work through it together. I would recommend Break Free from OCD as a good place to start because it explains the cognitive side of CBT as well as the behavioural therapy approach. The cognitive side is vital in helping someone want to change and be able to change, in my opinion. Even if he refuses to read the book it would probably help you in knowing how to support him as a person without supporting his OCD behaviours.

OCD and genetics is complex and debatable. It certainly isn't a case of automatic inheritance. The prevalence of OCD in the population is between 1 and 3%, but even children who inherit all the relevant genes are only marginally more likely to get OCD than average. However, living with (growing up with) someone who has OCD can have an effect in terms of learned behaviour. In that case it's about whether there's another parent/role model to offset the learning with normal thinking and behaviour. For example, when you say your son adapts his behaviour only when your husband is present - that's a good start as he will be learning it's to 'help dad who's unwell' rather than learning it's normal to wash hands a specific way. 

Would he join the forum, do you think? Isolation and denial keeps sufferers believing their behaviour is the craziest of anyone ever, but round here it's all very common and has all been heard before. Discovering how average he is OCD-wise might help to allay some of his fears regarding having it on his medical records and might boost his confidence that getting therapy will be to help him and not mean outside interference or losing control over his rituals.

Let us know how you get on. :) 

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Cathy..

It sounds like controlling behaviour is already having an impact on you and your son, which, over time can affect both your own wellbeing.

As well as looking for ways to support your husband, take time to look after yourself too. 

Take care

xxx

 

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Sorry to hear Cathy, I know exactly how you are feeling as I am in a very similar position as well. See your messages

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Hi @Cathy,

So sorry to hear what you are going through. I can understand, I think, as my wife has OCD and we have been living with it for the last 6 or 7 years. We have a 5 year old daughter and I also worry about how it is affecting her, and will affect her in the future.

I wish there were simple answers (I REALLY wish there were simple answers) but there aren't. But after years of battles - very similar to yours...eg. the shame, not being allowed to talk about it, not admitting there was a problem...my wife realised she had to get help. Partly when I left our house and wasn't sure if I was going to come back. Since then we have taken small steps that have led to bigger steps. The first small step, which was vital, was her talking to someone about it (well, it was a big step for her). She spoke to her best friend who was very supportive and from there she realised that most people know someone who has OCD and she started to talk to one or two other sufferers. She then allowed me to talk to my best friend and gradually (it probably took 2 years) we got to the point where we talk openly about it and she doesn't feel ashamed any more.

The next step was getting help. We tried through the NHS and didn't get anywhere so we have gone privately. She saw two different CBT therapists which didn't work out that well but now is seeing a fantastic therapist and is really starting to get better. She is also on medication. Things are still tough for us at times but a million times better than a few years ago.

So there is hope but the only way it is going to get better is if your husband will talk about it...and let you talk about...and get help. If he would come on these forums (he can be anonymous) that would be great. I would be happy to message with him if that would help.

 

Edited by stepforward

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Thank you all very much for your replies. It is nice to be able to share as I don't take to anybody about it. Unfortunately, although my husband talks to me about it that's as far as he is willing to go for now. I am trying my best not to reinforce any of his behaviours but each time I challenge him, it causes an argument. Like you, Stepforward, I worry about our 5-year old as he is witnessing his dad's rituals. I have bought and read the book that Snowbear suggested, thank you Snowbear, very informative but same, my husband refuses to even look at it and cannot stand when I quote the book. I will try again. Thank you all for your support.

 

Cathy

 

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