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.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Sick of It

I've been battling a cold this past week or so.  I think I have it licked, but you never know.

This is sick in a good way, by kamshots at Flickr
I don't get sick often, but when I do, I tend to get really sick.  In fact, the last time I got sick was over Memorial Day weekend, almost a year ago.  Which spurred the anxiety that caused my ex b-f to blow up, which caused me to reach my "Get Help or I'm outta here" point.

I understand better now, that with OCPD (which as one friend half-jokes, stands for Only Contemplates Potential Disasters) a cold is never just a cold.  It's always a Possibly Fatal Infection, for everyone in the household.

Mind you, I suspect that me getting sicker than "normal" the last few times I got sick - colds progressing to sinus infections or bronchitis - probably had a great deal to do with living with a cigarette smoker, even though he religiously used ashtrays designed to trap much of the smoke.  Not good for the lungs, and on a few occasions, I brought up the idea that him stopping smoking would be good for both of us.  He agreed, even said a few times he wished he could, but that he knew he was too deeply addicted to even try to stop.  Well, we all know, if you think you can't do something, you can't, end of story.  I know the stress of living with him wore down my stamina and immune system, too. 

But I never dreamed of scolding him for me getting sick, as he would me. 

I've now heard stories from other partners of untreated OCPDrs that they can behave extremely badly when illness or injury occurs to someone they love (not every person with OCPD does this, but many do.)  Broken arms, appendicitis, or a head cold, all could (potentially) lead to The Worst Possible Outcome, which means since their head is already speeding ahead to imaging this, the Perfectionist Personality may totally lose whatever emotional equilibrium they have, and be on their worst behavior.

In a normal relationship, being hurt or under the weather generally elicits sympathy from a partner.  In some cases, the Perfectionist Personality will resist or actually refuse to drive their partner to the emergency room, or help with a temporary bandage for a cut.  They may even berate their partners for being so careless and inconsiderate to get sick or injured in the first place.

We may be able to cope to a certain extent, with an OCPD loved one when we feel well.  Setting boundaries, not taking things personally, remembering not to JADE...  But when we're hurt or feeling crappy, the OCPD  lack of expressed empathy, and fussing over their own worries can be especially hard to take. 

Sound effects, too!  Available via Amazon
My ex-boyfriend actually would be quite solicitous of me when I was sick, make me homemade chicken soup (which I loathed.) I know he was expressing his love and concern the best way he could.  The problem was, he couldn't express it in the way I needed.  Even when I specifically said, I would like to eat or drink this, I would like to do X, I would like to nap now - or not nap now, he couldn't hear it.  He expected me to be sick the way he had it scripted in his mind.

What a sad, torturous messy way to think, to live.  I am so glad I can just get sick now.  If I truly need help, I can ask family or friends to make a Kleenex or ginger ale run for me, as necessary.  Without getting bitched at because I wouldn't have gotten sick if I'd been more careful, or being micromanaged as to what I should eat or drink or when I should nap.

What were your experiences with OCPD sickness & health?  
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