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Dealing with an OCD spouse.
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My husband has OCD and I could really use some support. He cleans or thinks about cleaning all the time. He also wants me to clean all the time and if I sit down to watch tv or try to do something for myself it pisses him off. I am so discouraged with my marriage. We always argue because he nags me all the time about cleaning and he is verbally abusive. He puts me down all the time and if I try to talk to him about his issues he says i'm critisizing him and a lot of women would be glad to have a man who cleans up. All of our arguments end with him wanting a divorce. Sometimes he even tells our seven year old son that we're going to have to move out because he can't get along with me. This upsets my son and I feel I need to leave him before he makes my son crazy too. I am taking anti-depressants for the anxiety he causes me. He takes an anti-depressant also and has been diagnosed with OCD but he doesn't understand what it is or that its even a problem. I've noticed his mother has some of the same tendencies but she has never been diagnosed. She does take medication for depression and social anxiety. I think that's why my husband thinks he's ok. We can't wear our shoes in the house and he gets very anxious if someone comes over. None of our family comes to our house because they know how nervous it makes him and he gets really pissed if my neices or nephews come over to spend the night because they might touch the walls or mess something up. He either leaves the house or goes to bed if someone comes over. My son has to take all his clothes off at the back door and then be toted to the bath tub. He weighs 85 pounds. It is getting a little difficult to tote him now. If he touches anything in between the back door and the bath tub my husband screams. Can anybody out there offer some advice?
Posted on 03/04/09, 01:02 pm
14 Replies | Most Recent Add Your Advice
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Reply #1 - 03/04/09  5:20pm
" i know how it feels. my sister has OCD with cleaning and being organized to the point that, he room only has her furniture left. just a bed, desk and dresser in her room. everything else she threw out so its easier to clean. shes 18 and also has a phobia of choking. she has to cut up all her food into tiny pieces and freaks out when she swallows it, and she can only eat if everwhere around her is dead silent (so she can only eat at home.)

i think you should get a divorce because you shouldnt be married to someone who you dont like, and if his OCD wrecks your life. good luck! "
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Reply #2 - 03/04/09  9:39pm
" It's really critical that for the marriage to work(and for your husband to function) that your husband receive treatment ASAP(psychiatrist and psychotherapist). You need to lovingly sit down with him and explain why. Arm yourself with resources, see the OC foundation website for some of these. Look at some OCD books like Imp of the Mind, Brain Lock, the OCD Workbook(this gives a good overview of treatment options).

If he refuses treatment the probability is his disease will worsen(again that's what most studies say). If you have done all that you can do to get him into treatment an he refuses then at that point you'll need to decide what's best for you and your child.

My prayers are with you. "
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Reply #3 - 03/05/09  11:00am
" Claurice i'm not married to someone i don't like. I don't like the disease he has and the impact it has on my family. I love him very much. It just gets very hard at times to cope with the disease. We have been married for eleven years and after the birth of our son seven years ago everything got worse. He did finally go to the doctor and was diagnosed with OCD and he takes medicine but right now he seems to be getting worse. I am also having trouble with anxiety and depression because of dealing with this. I try to be compasionate to his illness and ignore the mean things he says to me but sometimes I just get overwhelmed. My son was recently diagnosed with ADHD and he has a lot of homework every night this is also difficult. Homework takes and hour or longer with my son crying and whining the whole time. How much can a person take. I have to be the glue that holds us all together and I'm tired. And work, that's a whole other ball game. I have a lot on my plate with that too. Thank you wolverinebob for your prayers. I think that is really all I need to regain my strength and energy that it takes to get through each day. "
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Reply #4 - 03/05/09  4:53pm
" let him deal with it. Live your life the way you want to. If he can't handle it, he can get himself to a doctor or leave. "
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Reply #5 - 03/05/09  6:12pm
" I am the one that has the ocd and my husband had to deal with a whole lot of stuff before i got better. I was afraid to cook because i would make people sick--well he would stand right beside me and do the cooking while i told him what to do. That way he was responsible if they got sick. He was my rock for getting better. you have no idea what i put him through. I am better now --of course still have the ocd, but with meds. Prozac i am much better..Just thought i would tell you that. "
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Reply #6 - 03/17/10  6:04pm
" Wow, tiredofocd. The whole thing sounds pretty excruciating. My husband also suffers from ocd and it can really try my patience. He isn't nearly as severe as your husband, from what you've described, however he does make me participate in certain "rituals" and when he gets stressed out he can be very verbally abusive. I used to resist participation, and we would fight about it a lot. It's been about 6 years since we married and it gets easier for me to just hold still and do it each year. Don't listen to all these other people who keep telling you that you should just leave. Who's to say that it would be healthier for your son, mentally, for you two to divorce?

Are you sure your husband isn't bluffing about seperating? If your husband is anything like my husband then your prescence has been so deeply ingrained in his psyche that your absence may actually be an unbearable idea.

People these days don't understand what marriage really means. Most of my friends and family have told me to leave my husband at some point over the last six years but he is one of the most loyal people I've ever met; he would never leave me, unless I was unfaithful to him. He's brilliant, hard-working, a good father, and very loving. He makes me laugh, which not many people can do. He is so much more than his disorder, which I'm sure your husband is too.

Best of luck to your whole family.

Hang in there girl. Things will work out. In the end you'll respect yourself a lot for remaining faithful to a person who was always faithful to you. "
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Reply #7 - 03/18/10  12:34am
" Let me say that I have suffered from OCD for about 28 years that I can remember and it evolved to a point where it cost me my marriage not to mention a list of other things. My Ex-wife was very tolerant and understanding for zbout 10 years. It will get to the point to where you cant deal wih it. I was aware of my condition (which was severe) but I minimized it. It took me losing everything to understand that. When I met my wife it was cleaning and counting and this and that. I assured her it was controlable; i guess I lied. The point is that you cant enable him and give into it; you have to find support for him and yourself and be diligent about it. He can get better but he has to be willing to do the work. "
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Reply #8 - 03/18/10  12:37am
" Let me add that I feel your pain and I feel his having something that seems impossible to control. I dont know how good my advice is but I am here if you need it. "
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Reply #9 - 03/18/10  12:33pm
" My wife and I were married about 2 months ago. We had been dating for about three years. She has OCD and is conscious of it. She sees a psychiatrist, but doesn't take meds. They had her on meds since she was in college (she's 28 now) and she finally said she had enough.

She does have her moments where she loses it b/c of the OCD (she's a cleaner and a scheduler). She breaks down, cries, then gets it taken care of. I've learned that yelling at her doesn't help and that you just have to participate in the rituals, even if I'm recleaning something I just cleaned yesterday. Reading everything you possibly can about OCD is helping me understand where she's coming from so I can form proper reactions to it.

From what it sounds like, your husband isn't conscious of what he's saying and/or doing when he loses it. You need to make him aware of that. Once he's calm, tell him what he says and how it hurts you and/or your son. If he's aware of it, he may have more of an incentive to control it.

It also sounds like whatever meds he is on are not working or have not changed the chemical imbalance yet. You may want to see about getting the meds changed or trying a more aggressive behavioral therapy.

It sounds like you and I are on the same path, so I only hope we can learn from each other. It's not easy, but being medicated yourself isn't going to help either (I used to try that with alcohol). You have to seek solace in the fact that you still have love between each other and that all the "divorce" talk is not coming from him, but from the OCD. I'm not a religious person at all, but I know that the bond we forged on our wedding day links us and that you have to take the good with the bad, even when the bad is really bad. You'll know when you've had enough. Even an abused dog knows when to bite it's owner back. Good luck.--RedHeeler "
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Reply #10 - 03/18/10  1:59pm
" @ RedHeeler; your approach is very common and sympothetic and expected because you love your spouse! My wife did the same thing by helping me through my obsessions, but it will MOST LIKEL get to the point where your patience and understanding reach there limit. Your husband really needs to find a therapist that specializes in "Exposure and Response Therapy". Although the OCD will probably never go away the therapy can make it completely managable. I have a lot of odd stories regarding my therapy (when I participated in it) but obviously I didn't follow it through. I believed that I could do it myself with the help of my loved ones. "

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