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.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

What's Life Like with an OCPDr?
Cooking With the Anal-Retentive Chef

Sometimes a video is worth a thousand words.  Anal-retentive is what people with OCPD used to be called.

Thanks to SeeSaw at freeforums for sharing this.
- Watch more Funny Videos at Vodpod.

Of course, this is hysterically funny - in a four minute clip, seen once.

It's much less funny at all if you experience this every day, in the kitchen, in the bathroom, in the garage...

I lived with the A-R Chef, who might go into total meltdown mode if he was at the stove, stirring something in a pan, and I dared enter the kitchen and stand at the counter 10 feet away from him, to refill my glass of water.  He would shut off the burners, throw down the towel draped over his shoulder, and storm out.  Then he would sit and smoke and pout, and only when he recovered his equilibrium, could he resume cooking.

If I tried to cook or finish preparing a meal, he usually refused to eat it.  Or he might wait until it was cold, and then complain about how terrible it tasted, cold.  Usually this was coupled with insults to me about what a pig I was, how I seemed to need to eat all the time, and other derogatory remarks about my size and shape.

As I've blogged here before and others have remarked on other sites, sometimes the kitchen reaction seems to be similar to what happens to those with autism who experience sensory overload.  It's not just the person "being picky" or controlling, exactly, it's almost a panic-type response to too much stimuli.

What's impossible for those living with such a person, is knowing what will "set them off."  Sometimes I could go into the kitchen when he was cooking and he would be fine.  He'd make a lovely meal, we'd sit down to eat together, have a pleasant conversation.  Sometimes this would bring tears to my eyes, because it was so nice - why couldn't it be like that all the time?  The feeling of trying to walk on eggshells, of constantly being wary of setting off the next meltdown or tantrum, becomes extremely wearing on the people who share a household with such a person.

I never could remember all the triggers (even if I could, there were always new ones), and so, I was constantly Doing Something Wrong (in his eyes).   It exhausted me - and, I'm sure, it was equally rough on him.  I have friends who are cognizant of their OCPD behaviors, who are courageously battling against them, and I know  they don't like it when they're "that way," either.

Even though I could never go back to that lifestyle, my heart is deeply filled with pity for my ex.  I know he had light bulb moments, from time to time, when he didn't want to be the way he was.

Still, I look forward to the time, when I begin dating again, of having a "normal" kitchen again.  Where I can kiss the cook - or be kissed, if I'm doing the cooking.  Where we can cook together, perhaps even nibble food off one another's fingertips, and if the burners get turned off, it's by mutual consent because we've gone to enjoy some loveplay before returning to eat.  I remember having a happy kitchen like that, once upon a time.

What is your kitchen like?  A happy place, or a minefield?
Has OCPD impacted your kitchen and food prep?