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, September 4, 2012

Too Perfect Tuesdays - Chap 9 - Forgotten Friendships

This post continues with The Costs of Workaholism: The Poisoning of Personal Relationships - Forgotten Friendships from Chapter Nine.

This series looks 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.

Forgotten Friendships
<snip> Maintaining a happy family life and developing close friendships contribute immeasurably to one's fulfillment in life. But it's amazing how many workaholics fail to see time spend on relationships as productive. They may pay lip service to the importance of their relationships, and indeed often truly value them. But at the same time their behavior betrays the hidden conviction that's it's somehow more important to put one's time and energy into work than into friends and family.

<snip>... he agreed to refrain from doing any work for one entire weekend. When I asked him how it went, he told me he'd been plagued by the feeling that he was wasting time, that he should have been accomplishing something.

"What did you do?" I asked.

"Victoria and I spent the whole weekend just playing together. We went sailing on Saturday and went for a long hike on Sunday. We really relaxed."

"But you just said you didn't get anything accomplished."

"I meant work!" he laughed.

One reason workaholics like Larry may see "fun weekends" (and other leisure activities as being "wasted" time is that the good relationships, personal fulfillment, and increased self-awareness that spring from such time are not as concrete as the most common reward for long, hard work, namely money.
My ex often talked about how wonderful and valuable friendships were, but like the examples, totally begrudged spending time on them. He made so many excuses to stop playing guitar with his best friend that the friend eventually stopped inviting him. Likewise his own family; valuable as a concept, but invitations were frequently declined.

We entertained very little, because he had these rules... No one was to just drop in, ever. (I used to have friends dropping by all the time.) He couldn't stand the thought of having more than six people over at one time, including the two of us, even though we had a huge yard perfect for entertaining. So we could only invite four people, EVER.  Once, when an invited guest declined and I invited someone else in their place, another conniption fit, because I didn't ask him first if it was okay to invite this other friend, though it wasn't going over the "six or less" headcount.

English: Independence Day fireworks, San Diego.
English: Independence Day fireworks, San Diego. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
He was jealous of events I went to with my friends, though most often, he refused to join me. Or, if he went, would throw a scene.  One particularly bad one was at a July 4 party. He felt one of my friends had snubbed him, and he wanted to leave, right that very minute. (I had driven, as I normally did, so he could drink.) Well, the fireworks were going on, right that very minute. I refused to leave until the fireworks were over, because I didn't think it was safe to drive distracted, and with people often setting off bootleg fireworks in the street. Suggested he go sit in the car if he wanted to pout, and I would be willing to leave about fifteen minutes after the fireworks ended.

So, he left, walking. (The friend of mine throwing the party lived in a suburb about 30 miles from our house.) This was before I knew about OCPD, so I spent an hour driving around looking for him. Called his best friend, who hadn't heard from him. Finally I went home, and eventually he showed up. He walked for a while and then I think he took a cab.

End result - I was much less eager to invite him on outings with my friends, and since he mostly declined invites from his... our social circle constricted considerably. I would advise anyone in a relationship with a workaholic and/or OCPD'r to not let your partner's excuses suffocate your social life. If anything, you need your friends even more.

Are your friendships not given space, time, or energy?
Is "just hanging out with friends" frowned upon?
Your thoughts?
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