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, August 28, 2012

Too Perfect Tuesdays - Workaholism and Your Mate


Santa Barbara pier
This post continues with The Costs of Workaholism: The Poisoning of Personal Relationships - Workaholism and Your Mate 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.


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.
Workaholism and Your Mate
As for your spouse, workaholism may not cause problems if you're both comfortable spending only limited time together. But when this is not the case, one partner's workaholism can make the other's life a lonely purgatory. Resentful, angry spouses often find ways of retaliating by withholding affection, undercutting their partner's standing with the children, having affairs, spending too much money, or otherwise making their discontent manifest. They may ultimately seek a divorce.

<snip> too much work is likely to take its toll on your sex life. <snip> The sex researchers cite, " the kinds of husbands and wives who relentlessly search for new ways to occupy their time and use their energies - making more money, advancing in a career, caring for children, improving homes, doing community work, accumulating possessions - in short, doing anything that feels like work... In that scheme of things, a sexual relationship has virtually no place. Coitus does because it is translated into a task, a chore, an obligation, a performance, something to be done."

***
We've all seen the ads - the couple on a sunset patio, holding hands from their side-by-side bathtubs. Ridiculous, of course, and yet... what the ads are selling isn't really boner pills. It's the idea of intimacy, closeness with one's partner, sharing an experience.

Sex can be a big part of that, but not if you turn it into a chore. Or into, "I'm in the mood, right now, so let's do it, right now." Not that I, personally, mind a quickie here and there, but other times I need a little time to get my motor running. I want the hand-holding and sunset walks on the beach.

 A couple years before we split up, my ex and I took a trip up the California coast. I got my sunset walk on the beach - only I didn't, because he wouldn't walk with me. No hand-holding, no sharing the moment, just two people who happened to be in the same place at the same time.

Sunset at Pismo Beach.
Not even close enough to capture both our shadows in the same picture.


Oh, we did have moments on the trip when we did connect - overall, it was a very good trip - but always on his terms, if and when he wanted. There was little mutuality. Most of the time, we'd be twenty, thirty feet apart, wherever we went.  (And there were the times when he had a total meltdown and behaved horribly, including one evening out with a couple of his friends at a restaurant.)

video
He never saw these guys at all, because he was off having a snit fit  about what restaurant we were going to eat in, and when I beckoned him to come over, I believe he flipped me off and walked in the opposite direction.

I am less lonely now, without a boyfriend, than I was when I was with him.


Do you value work over your partner, or know someone who does?
Has your sex life become another item on the to-do list?
Your thoughts?
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Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Too Perfect Tuesdays - Chap 9 - Shortchanged Children

Child 1
Child 1 (Photo credit: Tony Trần)

This post continues with The Costs of Workaholism: The Poisoning of Personal Relationships 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.


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.
The Costs of Workaholism
All these [the previous posts] are very real benefits - but they're benefits of work rather than of workaholism, and they all can be enjoyed even if work plays a more balanced role in your life. <snip>

THE POISONING OF PERSONAL RELATIONSHIPS
Shortchanged Children

If you do have children, you're likely to tell yourself that you're working as hard as you are for their sake - a sacrifice they may find of questionable value. In their book The Addictive Organization, Anne Wilson Schaef and Diane Fassel recount the words of one grown daughter of a workaholic:

Everything revolved arond my father's work. If we got too playful and made noise we would be quieted because Daddy was wither working or sleeping. When work went poorly, he was moody, angry, and destructive. When it went well, he was jolly... We rarely saw him. Sometimes he stayed in the city overnight or on big projects, he would be gone for weeks at a time... I don't think my mother or our family were ever second place in my father's life, I believe for him we didn't exist at all. I grew up spending an inordinate amount of time thinking about my father, yet never really knowing him. I hate him for this and I miss him deeply.

A child jumping
A child jumping (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
<snip>Other workaholic parents may transform time spent together into time working together. Say it's a Sunday afternoon, and the parent has no pressing obligations; he really could afford to spend a few hours doing what his child most wants to do, say, playing ball. But because of the parent's chronic inner need to be accomplishing something, he hankers to be gardening, or repairing the back fence. So he tries to accomplish two things simultaneously - to spend time with his child and to work on the project - by cajoling the child into working with him.

If the project truly engages the child's interest, it may turn out to be a pleasant shared experience. But if the child senses that the parent is more involved in the fence than in him, the child will resent it. <snip>

Some workaholic parents go one step further, getting annoyed whenever they find their children "wasting time." They want their children to share their own abhorrence for any hint of laziness, and they find tasks to fill the children's time - until the children get used to fleeing whenever they see the meddlesome parent approaching.


English: child
English: child (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
<snip> your children's childhoods are composed of hundreds of fleeting experiences: the first laughs of babyhood, the first steps, trick-or-treating at Halloween, high school courtships. Each stage of development lasts only for a very brief time, and once completed, will never be repeated. <snip>

Some people, realizing that this has happened, try to correct it too late. I've had several adult patients who received very little attention from their parents when they were children or adolescents. When the elderly parents (often newly widowed) finally sought companionship, their sons and daughters reacted with dread, shying away from contact and expressing such feelings as, "We have absolutely nothing in common," or "I don't feel any connection to him." Sometimes these adult children have expressed resentment at being approached after so many years of neglect. "Where was he when I needed him?" they ask.


Image representing Steve Jobs as depicted in C...
Image via CrunchBase
***

This is part of why I have a problem with Apple computer products: Steve Jobs. I feel like if I were to buy them, I would be implicitly endorsing his publicly admitted neglect of his children and family (though I admit, years ago when I knew less about his personal life, I did buy an iPod).

Much like the workaholics described here, my father rarely had time for me - and usually it was for his own purpose.  If he wanted to talk at someone, he would make me come into the living room to listen to him - during the commercials. I wasn't even important enough to him to turn off the TV and actually interact with.

So when he too became elderly and bored and lonely and decided, then, he wanted to connect with me - too little, too late. I had learned to live without him a long time before that - and in fact, it wasn't truly an attempt to "connect." He just wanted more of an audience.  My oldest sister, who did give him the time of day, had very little of his attention about her concerns and problems, even when she was facing a serious eye problem and almost lost her sight.

I have heard so many stories of OCPD parents who cannot let their kids BE kids, who are like mini-sweatshop owners, instilling a sense of work, work, work, all the time. (I'm talking to you, Tiger Mom!) I love this commercial, because it's about the dad (and the big brother) letting the little girl call the shots.



Let go and have fun with your kids. Be silly. No, you don't have to be a "Disneyland Dad," with fun activities only. Kids do need to learn about mending fences and doing laundry, but neither should you always be looking for Something Productive to Do.

There's an incredible amount of joy and freedom in just being with children, if you let it.


Do you value work over children, or know someone who does?
If you had a parent who always put work first, 
how did that make you feel?
Your thoughts?
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Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Too Perfect Tuesdays - Chap 9 - Are You Too Driven? &
The Joy of Work

via imagerymajestic at FreeDigitalPhotos
This post continues with Are You Too Driven? and The Joy of Work 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.


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.
Are You Too Driven?
If you spend practically every waking hour working - on either job-related taskes or other kinds of productive activities - you may be a workaholic. But what if you are? How drive is "too driven"?

<snip> Workaholism ranks among the most acceptable of all addictions; our society both reveres and rewards industriousness. That in itself can be on of the benefits of workaholism, but it also makes it easier to overlook or discount the costs of overwork. Sylvia, a fifty-seven-year-old businesswoman, once spent twenty minutes complaining to me about her crushing work load, but then added, "It's so easy to think of it all as a positive thing. Even as I'm telling you about my schedule, I'm feeling virtuous."

The Joy of Work

Work can also be one of life's greatest pleasures. It provides many adults with their primary source of intellectual stimulation and social interaction. It may well be the only forum in which they can compete and win applause for their performance. Besides prestige, hard work often results in financial security, power, and career advancement.

Excitement is another dividend of a frantic schedule. You don't have to be the Secretary of State, jetting around the world in pursuit of peace, in order to enjoy a work-induced adrenaline high. "It's literally like taking a drug," says Carl Thoreson, a Stanford University professor of education and psychology, who has studied workaholics. "It's a euphoric, almost giddy feeling, such as you might have when you've just given a presentation. You feel terrific." <snip>

via David Castillo Dominici at FreeDigitalPhotos

***
It's a two-fer. You get to complain about being overworked, portray yourself as this poor, suffering martyr (my ex did this all the time) and at the same time enjoy the adrenalin buzz from the hectic schedule that you yourself insist upon.

Win-win - for everyone except your family, and eventually, your body, because being an adrenalin junkie will catch up with you, eventually.

Tip: Fewer people admire you for being a workaholic than you might imagine, especially if your work/martyrdom dominates your conversation.

At a party...
Friend: I just finished a great book last weekend. It's called -
Workaholic: I wish I had time to read. I can't remember the last time I wasn't working most of the weekend.
Friend: (thinks: Asshole): That's too bad. Excuse me, I'm going to get something to drink.

At home...
Workaholic: How was your baseball game, Billy?
Billy: It was super. I caught a line drive that made the last out, and we won the game.
Workaholic: That's great. I wish I could've seen it.
Billy (looks down at shoes): Yeah, I know. You had to work. You always have to work.
Workaholic: I'm going to try really hard to come to your next game, okay?
Billy (mumbles): There aren't any more. That was the last game of the season.
Workaholic: Really? I'm sorry, I was so busy working I lost track. Next year then!

IMO, one of the dirtiest tricks in the book is the parent who is constantly working and when her/his child expresses a very natural disappointment with the situation, emotionally blackmails the child into expressing contentment.

Yes, especially in hard economic times, parents have to work. I did. But take a good look at that schedule, and make time for your kids, if nothing else. And be with them when you are with them - not on your iPad or texting or otherwise multi-tasking.


Do you get an adrenalin rush from being constantly busy?
After a day or two of vacation, can you enjoy it, 
or are you casting about for something to DO?
Your thoughts?
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Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Too Perfect Tuesdays - Chap 9 - Work As A Means of Control

via Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhoto
This post continues with The Driving Forces: WORK AS A MEANS OF CONTROL 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.


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.
WORK AS A MEANS OF CONTROL
Finally, many people see hard work as one of the most important tools for controlling their destinies, either indirectly, via the Scorekeeper (as I've already mentioned), or directly. Since many obsessives never feel financially or professionally secure enough, no matter how much money they have, or how impressive their accomplishments, they may feel enable to ever turn down any opportunity to work more. Or they may be afraid to take time off work because of the attendant loss of control over everything from in-house politics to ensuring that things are done "their way."

"Control - or the illusions thereof - is vitally important to workaholics," writer researcher Marilyn Machlowitz. "The question to achieve control is not simply a contest but a brutal, futile battle. Workholics' cluttered calendars represent an attempt to 'beat the clock.' Their lists [of things to do] are but 'a  way to organize the unorganizable.'... The perceived need for organization creates a tendency to cram all objectives into a stable, predictable, and inadequate amount of time in order to achieve a semblance of control."

***

If you slow down, 'It' might catch you. 'It' being the BoogeyMan, some nebulous childhood monster. Or your feelings, or some family duty you don't want to accept...

I have a friend who's always claimed the "never turn down work" mantra, yet when I offered to show him ways he could afford to do so (something that's part of my day job) he had countless reasons excuses why it wouldn't work for him. I'm something of a slow learner, but I finally figured out "having to work" was like his security blankie, something he clung to. He felt scared and directionless without "having to work," so he was always going to "have to."

via AndrewEick at Flickr Creative Commons Some rights reserved

How can someone challenge you if you say you "have" to work? They can't, because the average person does have to work to keep a roof over his/her head and the lights on.  "Having" to work becomes like a "Get out of Jail FREE" Monopoly card, a free pass from all other obligations.  And when the workaholic does free up some time, it's then treated like a precious jewel; the family of the workaholic is made to feel, not like this is their rightful due, but that the workaholic has done something heroic to create this time. A control issue all the way.


Does "having to work" give you a sense of security?
Will you put in extra hours, unpaid, to have something
"done right" at your job, rather than let someone else do it differently?
Your thoughts?
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