Using writing, and meditation, and ice cream, and reading, and dreams,

and a whole lot of other tools to rediscover who I am,

after six years living with a man with OCPD.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Did Jesus know about OCPD?

I woke up this a.m. ruminating over OCPD hints in the Bible.  (Yes, I'd rather have been dreaming about something sexier, too.)  But it seems people have been consumed with anxiety and controlling behaviors to cope with their anxieties, long before Papa Freud and others started talking about anal-retentive personalities.

Of course, patriarchal and slave-owning cultures are the ultimate in tension-filled, Power Over social dynamics, but even within those, there was apparently some recognition that this attitude could be taken too far.

from Proverbs:
"Anxiety in the heart of man causes depression, But a good word makes it glad."  (Proverbs 12:25 - NKJV)  I think they got the first part right, but for somebody with OCPD, it takes major drugs, and/or major therapy, to move them from anxiety to gladness.

Attributed to Jesus of Nazareth:
"Be not therefore anxious for the morrow: for the morrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof."   (Matthew 6:34 - ASV.  Other versions use "do not worry" rather than "do not be anxious," and "trouble" rather than "evil.")  My paraphrase on this is "Stop churning and worrying about tomorrow - those problems will get here soon enough.  Dude.  Just chill out and deal with today."  Or, "There's no point in borrowing trouble."

"And why do you look at the speck in your brother's eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye?  (Matthew 7:3 - NKJV.  Other versions use "mote" rather than "speck," and "beam" rather than "plank.")  For those of us who have dealt with OCPD, we are very familiar with being berated for specks and motes, while the beams and planks of our partner go totally unrecognized and unaddressed by them.  Apparently first century peops had problems with the distorted perception of those with OCPD, too.

Perhaps that was the real story of why Jesus scolded Martha for trying to control her sister Mary and make her come help with the household work.  I'd always thought that sounded rather unfair - why should Mary get to sit at Jesus' feet and listen to his teaching, while Martha did all the heavy lifting?  (I also thought it was extremely unfair that all the men got to wander around from town to town, yapping & stuffing their faces and apparently not helping to do anything, but that's another argument.) 

Maybe Martha was OCPD and had been riding Mary all day long, and playing the poor, put-upon martyr, until Jesus told her to knock it off.  (Luke 10:38-42.)

I don't want to turn this into the Bible study site, or to debate the historical accuracy of said Biblical docs - just want to point out that all those centuries ago, some version of OCPD was probably going on.

I wonder what the equivalent of leaving the toaster plugged in was.