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.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Torn about Tissue

Sometimes I get hung up about the stupidest things.

Last night it was in the grocery store over Kleenex, aka "facial tissue."  (Seriously, who calls it that?  It's like someone asking for a "small self-adhesive bandage."  Pul-lease!)

I like keeping Kleenex in most rooms, so if somebody (like me) gets the sudden urge to sneeze, the problem is covered, without a mad dash In Search Of.  When b-f was last visiting, he finished off one of my boxes.  I wrote Kleenex on my shopping list, to replace the used-up box, and to have a spare.

So, I'm cruising the aisles of the g. store, getting milk, ground turkey, and so on, and I come to the tissue section.

B-f prefers Puffs, says they're stronger than Kleenex.  He always blows his nose with a loud violence that causes people in a restaurant to look around for the flock of geese, even when he's gone into the men's room and closed the door.  True story.  (Yes, I know that's not safe or healthy, and yes, I've told him.  He's OCPD, therefore, I know nothing about anything.)

So I'm debating whether I should get Kleenex or Puffs, for his use when he is visiting me, and then I'm overtaken by the idea of stitching him a decorative tissue box cover as a Christmas gift.  I made one for my new bathroom, and he really liked it.  Personal, and has the added quality of being something I could stitch up with materials already on hand.

This kind of thing.
So now the question is, should I buy a box of Puffs and stitch to fit?  Except sometimes he doesn't buy Puffs, he might buy whatever is on sale or cheaper.  I could get the store brand, and make it to fit that size box, but then...

Crap.  And then there's the burning issue of the right colors to use.  Whatever colors I picked, he would probably prefer other ones.  I remember the Great Towel Tizzy, when I dared to buy new towels for the bathroom, Without Asking Him First, and his outrage lasted until... well, he's probably still pissed.  He was eight months ago, when he last brought it up.  So that makes it six years and counting.

To make matters worse, the Great Towel Tizzy was followed by the Throw Pillow Problem.  Still being clueless about OCPD, two months later I had ignorantly and innocently picked up two new beige throw pillows for the couch.  I was in K-Mart for something else, they were on sale, the old ones were pretty thrashed, I threw 'em in the cart.  Once again, I was stupidly operating like... a normal person.  I knew b-f's reactions were, well, crazy, but having never heard of OCPD, true mental illness as an explanation never crossed my mind.

I thought he was stressed over us moving in together.  Over beginning to process his grief over his parents' death.  I thought he was feeling physically ill.  I thought perhaps it was a combination of all of the above.

Later, as the cognitive distortions began to infect my brain, I began to think it was me... Maybe I'd forgotten the kind of adjustments and compromises people needed to make when living together.  It had been a long time since I'd lived with anyone but my son, after all.  Maybe it was me being inconsiderate, of having an attitude "like you're the only person who lives here!"

Okay, these would have been a bit busy.

It still seemed extreme to me, when we decided to set up a small dining table in the living room, and couldn't agree on placemats.  He was adamant that we needed placemats, to protect the surface of the table, so we went to the store to pick some out.  First store... didn't find any I loved, but a couple styles I could have lived with.  That I would have picked up, had I been on my own, as do-able, until we found something better in the course of several months continued browsing.  He couldn't live with any of them, not even on a temporary basis.

Remember, we're talking about placemats here.  Not a new car, not a house, not even a couch.  Placemats.  In the meantime, while we're eating off the table without placemats, he's in a frenzy at each meal lest some food or liquid particle permanently mar the surface of the table (which was in no great shape to begin with, honestly.)

Finally, on the second weekend in the sixth store, he found some he didn't absolutely hate.  Quest Completed.  Bought four of them.  Of course, now they didn't match the seat cushions...
 So I put the Puffs back on the shelf, and continue my shopping.  It's another five aisles down before it dawns on me that the reason I had Kleenex on my list in the first place, was because I needed it for my own apartment.  D'uh!  So I backtrack and pick up two boxes in the brand and size I like.

I'd like to think that, someday, I could live with someone else, make reasonable (as opposed to OCPD) compromises.  But right now, it feels so good to just be able to buy something, without worrying that it will start World War Three when I get home.

Have you had to make unreasonable compromises in your relationship?
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