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, October 18, 2011

Too Perfect Tuesdays - Chapt 4 - Making Romantic Commitments & Your Choice

This post continues with Making Romantic Commitments & Your Choice  from Chapter Four.

This series will look at a small snippet of The book on the Perfectionist Personality, aka The Obsessive Compulsive disordered Personality, aka OCPD, each week. Please follow along, leave your comments, engage more on the FaceBook website... whatever your heart calls you to do.

Too Perfect, When Being in Control Gets Out of Control by Allan E. Mallinger, M.D. and Jeanette DeWyze was published by Random House in 1992.  If you believe you are dealing with OCPD or someone who is "Too Perfect," whether that's you or a loved one, please buy a copy of the book and read it for additional insights that will not all be covered in these excerpts.

 Making Romantic Commitmenta
Next time you're torn by an ultimatum, either to make a commitment or end an important relationship, clarify the thoughts that are causing your anxiety.  You'll probably find two sets of concerns locked in battled within you.
If I don't commit:
  • I will will guilty about dashing X's hopes after all this time.
  • I might discover late that I want him or her back
  • I might never again meeting someone who could love me as much.
  • His/her leaving will make me unbearably sad.

But if I do make the commitment:
  • I might wind up regretting that I chose X and be trapped by my conscience in a bad relationship.
  • I'll be accepting the intolerable certainty of never falling in love again.
  • Someone with whom I could have a better relationship might come along, and I would be tied up.
  • I'll be giving up my freedom, and just thinking about that feels horrible, almost like dying.
Now consider these more reasonable beliefs:
  • Although it's sad and painful to end a love relationship, you would recover from such a loss (as would your loved one).  The pain would be neither intolerable nor endless, even though it might seem that way for a while. <snip>
  • On the other hand, if you did make the commitment, it wouldn't be irreversible.  No commitment to a relationship ever is.  Though you shouldn't ever enter a relationship with the idea of bailing out when it gets difficult, if it becomes clear that it won't work, even after every effort to resolve the problems, you can end it.  It would be difficult, but you could if you had to.
  • If you're so close to committing to X, how unsuitable a choice could he or she be?  X might well have some flaws, like most human beings, and it's true that a better choice for you might someday appear, but don't use these arguments to disguise an exaggerated fear of commitment.  If the main obstacle is your terror of closing options, the same problem is bound to come up in future relationships, no matter who your partner is.
  • Finally, it's true that giving up the fantasy of ever having a new love is a painful loss, but it's not unbearable unless you decide it is.  If you insist on telling yourself you can't stand the thought of giving that up, fine.  Have it your way.  But you don't have to think that.  <snip>

Your Choice

I'm not making a blanket recommendation that you commit to your current romance, job, or anything else; I don't have to live with the results.  You alone must decide how much of your reluctance is legitimate and how much is your fear of commitment.
If it's only reasonable caution, you'll resolve your doubts as new data come in.  But if the main obstacle is a fear of decisions and commitments, data won't help.  In fact, you'll just use this additional information to justify your paralysis.  You'll waver, anguished, until external matter decide for your or until you can't stand vacillating anymore and jumo in or out on impulse.
<snip> You can choose to see commitment as an unbearable risk, and the end of your freedom.  Or you can choose to see it as the only way to stop this chronic feeling of painful isolation and lost time.

Madonna did Justify My Love, maybe we can ask Lady Gaga to do a song called Justify My Paralysis.

When I look back over my life, my regrets have to do with the men I haven't kissed (granted, I've kissed quite a few), the chances I didn't take re: dating, careers, new activities.  I regret staying in bad love and job relationships because of fear - fear of being alone, or never finding someone else, or finding another job.  And from what I hear, everyone else is the same - they regret the dreams they didn't risk.

My biggest risk - taking 6 months off from work/looking for work after a lay-off, and pursuing writing a book.  Did it sell?  No.  Do I regret that time - absolutely NOT.

Second biggest - moving in with OCPD ex, although I had some misgivings.  I did everything that was in me to make that relationship work.  I'm sorry it didn't work; I'm not sorry I tried.  Even though it didn't, even though in many ways it was an emotionally damaging relationship, in many other ways I am emotionally richer and deeper because of it.  So, no regrets.

Life really and truly does work out - if you decide you're going to make it work out.

What's the biggest risk you decided not to take?
Do you regret "the one that got away" - a relationship that ended 
because you wouldn't commit?
Thoughts, feelings, comments?