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.

Crazy Rules

If you have lived with someone with OCPD, you have learned about The Crazy Rules. The Rules are The Only Way Things Must Be Done, lest the Universe collapse into chaos.

Ann & Nance going 'Crazy on You'... good times.
OCPDr going crazy on you, over a 'Rule' you never even knew existed... not so much.

Rules vs. Preferences

I may have indicated, a few (million) times, that I really, really hate peas.  But even though I don't like peas, I am not on a campaign to convince you that you shouldn't like peas.  Or that everyone who loves peas has something wrong with them.  I don't believe that My Way is The Only Way.  I know that my preference is just that, a preference.

Those with OCPD do believe that their way of thinking is Right.  The Only Right Way.  And so they form The Rules, which they impart to their spouses, Significant Others, children, and co-workers, in an attempt to control their anxieties about:
  • Time
  • Money
  • Relationships
  • Cleanliness/Order/Organization
Some of The Rules make a certain logical or practical sense. Others make no sense whatsoever, or are actually dangerous.  But whether experts would agree or strongly disagree with 'The Rules,' that's not the point.  It's the emotional investment made in The Rules by the Perfectionist Personality that makes living with them so tough.

As one SO put it, "I don't believe that it is the crazy rules that are the issue. It’s the hell ya catch if you break one. This may include hours, days or weeks of grief..."

Quite often, you even don't know a Rule existed - until you've broken it.  Then you're called an Idiot, or a slob, or.... you get treated to The Full OCPD, whether that's a screaming hissy fit, a long, condescending lecture, or the Silent-But-Stomping treatment.

The rules about The Rules:

1) Regardless of how minor the natural consequences (a water droplet left a mark on the counter, discernible only by squinting at a certain angle to detect it,) the results of breaking a Rule set by an OCPDr will be unpleasant.  They could be: scorn, name-calling, tantrums, sulking, slamming (of doors, cupboards, etc.), rolled eyes, sounds of disgust, withholding of sex or affection, the silent treament, stomping...

2) The Rules will continue to grow, like the Nine Billion Names of God. Once you (foolishly) believe you have learned and mastered all of The Rules, perhaps even feel proud of yourself for doing so well and expecting praise, or at least acknowledgment (silly you!) there WILL be more.

3) The Creator of The Rules is free to follow or disregard them at his/her pleasure.

The following is my compilation of the Crazy Rules' Greatest Hits - as gleaned from the Free Forums and MSN chat boards.  (See if you can pick out which anxiety each Rule is designed to soothe.) 

Obviously not every person with OCPD has all the same Rules!

Driving Ms. Daisy:
  • You must heat up motor oil before pouring it into your car.
  • Do not use your brakes when driving or the brakes will wear out.
  • Never turn the heat in the car on high, no matter what, even if there is ice inside the car.
  • Don't use the windshield wipers, save them (for?)
  • Don't use the windshield fluid, save it, which saves the wipers.
  • Windshield wipers / solution can not be used to clean the window in the car no matter how bug splattered or smeared- only rain can do that or him if we stop at a gas station.
  • Drive back and out of the spray from others vehicles on a rainy day, keep car clean.
  • If you have to drive your car more then 50 miles in a day, You have to rent a car. If you put too many miles on the car is is not going to last.
  • All the knobs or dials in the vehicle must be in the middle when you leave the vehicle. The temperature, fan or stereo volume pointed exactly vertical. Oh why, you ask again?.....Duh....So they are ready to go for next time!
  • Don't forget the vents must be in the "factory ready" position. . .pointed exactly forward in the middle.
  • You must back into every parking spot. Still haven't figured this one out. Somehow it is safer to back up when parking but not when leaving the parking spot?
  • Don't put the handbrake on the car it will stretch the cable.
  • The parking brake must be used at all times when the car is parked even on flat ground.  (Obviously somebody's Rule is not Right, lol!)
  • Car must be put into 'Park' and handbrake on when stopped at lights. Saves fuel.
  • When using the car you must disable the interior light by using the switch by the lights. If left to come on when someone opens the door and go out when the door is closed it will run the battery down.
  • Absolutely no talking, or no making any sorts of noise in the car at all.  (Except for them, of course.)
  • When you pull in the driveway make sure to straighten the wheel so your car tires are straight.
  • When pulling into the garage, one must roll down the vehicle's windows to "equalize" the air inside. Huh?
  • Any loose change must be kept in a purse in the car as it will wear a hole in trouser pockets.
  • Car mats shaken EVERY time you get out of the car.

Washing You Were Here:
  • Wipe the rubber inside the washing machine after the cycle has finished or it will rot!!
  • If you close the washing machine after unloading it, the machine will rust out and mold.
  • The washer lid must remain closed. Otherwise bugs will get in. 
  • If I leave the dryer door open, the cat will get in and somehow turn on the dryer.
  • We live in spider central, but my ocpder is ever vigilant for "Mothra." There's nothing deadlier than tiny holes in folded sweaters you never wear.
  • The towels must be folded so that they are "crisp."
  • Fold the jeans with the crotch OUT, not the butt.
  • When washing clothes you fill the washer first with water, then add detergent, then leave it sit for awhile, then add clothes and let soak for awhile, then turn on wash. This will ensure all the soap dissolves. Suggesting liquid detergent to speed up the process was...well......frowned upon.
  • You should wash and dry the small sink out after use, and refrain from using it, since you don't want it to get wet again.  (Uh, it's a sink!)
  • Washing clothes, only place a quarter size drop of detergent, no more because the clothes will not rinse.
  • How about washing laundry. You think whites with whites and darks with... etc. Oh no. You gotta keep all of the "outside" clothes together, and all of the "inside" clothes together. You know, you wouldn't want to put your underwear with your socks, or with your pants for that matter. Underwear is close to your most intimate parts, and well socks go on your most dirty part - the feet which are in your shoes - which touch the ground for god's sake! If you get caught having accidentally mixed up an article or two, you will pay the price with harsh criticism of your negligence, idiocy and lack of care. Every week, need to do some consultation on grey area laundry items.
  • Don't put too many towels (stupid towel rules!) in the wash because they didn't dry in an acceptable amount of time. When you point out that it would have worked fine if the dryer had not been turned onto low heat you should be told again that the load was too big.
  • Laundry can only be done on Sunday.
  • Tea towels must be boiled in hot water after each use and put in dryer, vacuumed for lint, ironed and then vacuumed again
  • Sheets must be vacuumed after removing from dryer to remove any traces of fluff before ironing and then put on bed and vacuumed again just to be sure.
  • Laundry must be sorted and treated appropriately prior to washing and drying.
  • Soiled laundry is a biohazard and must be treated as such.
  • 9. Clean Laundry is in a perfect state and must be handled according to the following protocols to ensure maintenance of such state:
  • 9a. All surfaces with which laundry may come in contact must be thoroughly cleaned and decontaminated by a certified OCPD professional.
  • 9b. Floors, bathroom fixtures, or other such surfaces not normally considered sanitary, are clearly not sanitary. Any contact of clean laundry with such surfaces will cause them to be soiled (see rule 8). Nevertheless, such surfaces must be treated according to rule 9a, as they are surfaces with which laundry are likely to come in contact.

Rules about Outside Social Contact (it was easier for ET to phone home)
  • Never EVER hand him the phone if someone wants to talk to him. Always give him a lot of advance notice for talking to someone on the phone.
  • I shouldn't answer the phone if she is quite certain that it's for her or else she'll get angry. If her sister calls and chats with me first, she'll fidget anxiously or pick up the other phone as though she has a monopoly on her sister. If I am on the phone with my friend or family, she'll start to complain that there are things to be done, or that I am wasting the phone usage, that I should just visit the person. She'll pace back and forth, talk aloud, or make the kids noisy so as to be distracting.
  • Never have anyone over without giving him advanced notice.
  • Wife shall never leave the house to be with friends after dark, otherwise something bad will happen
  • House guests are limited to 2 nights.
  • Guests are unwanted unless they work for free.
  • Church is a good place, just not a good place for our family.
  • There is "one right table" at every restaurant and everyone should wait for DH to make this decision or have to move.
  • No unexpected guests.
  • Never more than four guests can be invited over at one time.
  • Also, if a phone connection gets terminated suddenly, the person who placed the original call must be the one to call again, not the person whose phone stopped working.
  • The caller ID on the phone must be cleared out immediately upon termination of the call.

Were You Actually Planning to Eat That?
  • When I have supper ready to eat and the table is set and everything is ready... I must go and find her and lead her to the table by her hand. I cannot just call the kids and her to come.. that is rude.
  • Bacon must be put down on the plate between bites. There is to be no double-biting.
  • When you get a glass of water - do not leave the glass sitting by the side of the sink -wash it immediately, dry it and put it away.
  • During family holiday dinners, it always seemed mom was never sitting down eating. In between the shrimp cocktail - and the main course - yep, she's at the sink -washing, drying and putting away those dishes - same thing between dinner - and desert. What fun that was - Not!
  • All stickers should be removed from fruit and veg immediately (over time they can eat into the skin)
  • I buy a loaf of bread and put it in the bread drawer, ask him to please leave it where it is so if the kids want a sandwich its readily available. He puts it in the freezer. He says if they can't close it up properly, it serves them right.
  • Don't stir your spoon in your coffee mug, it makes marks in the bottom.
  • Wifey was eating some dried bruschetta garlic bread thing. So my DD come into the room with a bowl of breakfast cereal. Wifey says "What the hell are you eating?  You can't eat at this time of night. DD says "Well, you're eating."  The reply "Well this is instant food and you're eating snack food."
  • No food or drinks outside of the kitchen or dining area. Except OCPD gets to eat on a TV tray EVERY MEAL and watch TV.
  • Kids can't eat vegetables from the fridge, vegs need to be heated and cooked properly.
  • No eating ANYTHING with hands. Even stuff like eggrolls, you have to use a fork (Do you know how HARD it is to eat an eggroll with a knife and fork?).
  • Any cuisine like Indian that requires you to use bread rather than a fork was off limits.
  • It is never ok to use real silverware at the kitchen table, and never ok to use everyday utensils in the dining room.
  • Never eat bread esp. for breakfast. That is why I'm overweight.
  • Bf just told me we should have greens beans and not broccoli with dinner because it is more of a dinner thing and broccoli is more like a snack food. I asked him what would he like to eat more....he said broccoli.
  • No dishes that mix fruit and meat in the same dish, e.g. pork chops and apples or many moroccan dishes. Although a salad that will be eaten with the entree may contain fruit.
  • No Mayonnaise on anything. Its too gross to even watch someone eat mayonnaise.
  • No white sauces on pasta, etc.
  • No Hummus. The reason for this one is the name sounds gross.
  • So he makes a new rule " no liquid can be placed on the table while the family is at the table." Ok, how do we drink if we don't have any water or milk at the table. So he kindly- with difficulty, lets us fill our glasses, then puts the pitcher on the floor, then sits and waits, he can't eat till all the liquid is gone- finished, before he can start eating his meal. Sometimes this means he sits there till most of the kids are all done with their meal! 

The Food Channel Gets It All Wrong!
  • Fish or chicken must be washed multiple times before cooking or it will cause food poisoning.
  • The bacon MUST be flat! No other bacon will be consumed. I used to flatten the bacon with a frying pan on top. Thankfully there is now fully cooked bacon that you just microwave and its perfectly flat!
  • No setting a spoon on the stove or counter while cooking. It must be set on a plate
  • Before putting a plate of leftovers in the microwave to heat up, you MUST heat the empty plate atop the toaster oven first. Why, you ask? Everyone knows you should heat the dishes before they go in the microwave. My plate was not heated first. The world stopped revolving, the sun blew up and it rained cats and dogs. Guess I should have used the age old method of plate heating that everyone else knew about except me.
  • The last one to eat should use the serving spoon so as to not dirty any excess dishes, since the serving spoon is already dirty.
  • Microwave your milk for 47 seconds. Not a minute or 3/4 minute, that is not precise enough.
  • When draining olives, you must open the can, but leave it semi-attached on one end, thus allowing you to put your index finger ever so gently on the can lid, tip it over the sink, and allow the olive juice to drain out. You must never dirty a colander for this purpose.
  • Ya know that little opaque white, snot like thing, that hangs on an egg yoke...apparently those can not be eaten. I have to remove them from every egg I cook for her (that is if she's looking)
  • Seafood of any kind must only be cooked on a barbecue otherwise it will seep into the walls of the kitchen and never go away.
  • One cup of coffee can be cooked at a time because brewing coffee smells SOOOOO good but coffee sitting in the pot is evil.
  • You know those bags of ready made salad that are supposed to be pre-washed? Well, I usually give them a rinse just to freshen them up. DH caught me at this and chided're supposed to SOAK them first, then rinse and spin. Whaaaa?????
  • When pouring drinks, you must get down to eyelevel with the glasses to make sure all contain exactly equal amounts.
  • Don't use the cutting board anymore. It is too loud. "What shall I use?"  I ask. "Something quieter", he replies.
  • When buying green beans selects each one individually. This makes me have a somewhat psychotic out of body experience witnessing.
  • If you eat cereal you must first set out the bowl and spoon on the table; set out the sugar bowl; put a spoon in the sugar bowl and a spoon in the bowl; take out the cereal (Cornflakes #1 - it's good for your health! It keeps you from getting sick!) and pour it to the top of the bowl almost. Flatten out the cereal evenly with your hand. Take back the cereal box and get the milk. Pour the milk to the level of the cereal. Bring back the milk. Get a glass out and put it on the table. Get the OJ and pour OJ in glass ( this is essential for not getting sick either and you must have everyday if you can). Finally sit down. You're not done yet though. Take out the spoon of the cereal and flatten the cereal making sure every cornflake is covered by milk so it won't be crunchy. Set the spoon down. Take the spoon out of the sugar bowl and sprinkle sugar on it very very lightly with your face two inches away from the bowl. Don't overspill any sugar! Return the spoon to the sugar bowl. Eat the cereal. When you run out of sugar on your cereal, repeat the sugar sprinkling routine. (DH takes about 5 trips preparing the table in the morning.)
  • 1. Eggs are a biohazard and must be bagged separately from all other food
  • 2. Meats are a biohazard and must be bagged separately from all other food
  • 3. Plastic bags, egg cartons, or other plastic packaging materials are not an effective barrier material for biohazards
  • 4. In addition to the plastic bags an air-gap of at least 1/2 inches must be maintained between biohazards and other groceries. This rule must be maintained both within the shopping cart and later in the car, as well as when groceries are unpacked into the refrigerator.
  • 5. Cashiers, baggers, clerks or other grocery professionals who violate rules 1-4 are clearly a danger to humanity. They must be severely reprimanded and properly educated. Continued violation may require referral to appropriate re-education camps.
  • 6. Contamination is complete and instantaneous, any violation of rules 1-4, no matter how brief, requires decontamination procedures by a certified OCPD professional (i.e. DW). No others may perform such decontamination procedures, although disposal may be acceptable.

The Kitchen, aka Family Minefield #1
  • Toasters MUST be unplugged (I always thought he was so special b/c of that one but turns out you're all familiar with that one ha ha ha )
  • You must unplug all items in the kitchen if you're not using them, coffeemaker, toaster, microwave. (microwave?)
  • When taking or putting something in/out of the refrigerator, do it as quickly as possible. Know what you want from the refrigerator before opening it.
  • When bringing Milk or Orange Juice home from the grocery must wash them with soapy water and dry them thoroughly before placing them in the refrigerator. 
  • The kitchen sink must be dry at all times when not in use. As soon as you have finished using the sink, you must dry off the inside, outside, faucet, taps, and surrounding area of the sink.
  • The top rack of the dishwasher must be shaken before the end of the dry cycle or the water will pool on the tops of the cups in the top rack.
  • Every time a new trash bag is put in the kitchen trash can, the can must be sprayed with Lysol
  • When cooking, I get asked (sometimes twice), "are you finished?" so that he can clean the kitchen (i.e. scrub down the counter tops and scrub out the sink). Even if I take a antibacterial cleaning wipe (such as Lysol) and wipe down the counters when I’m done, that’s not good enough – he must scrub with a sponge (which by the way probably isn’t more sanitary than my Lysol wipe - haha).
  • Change the dish rag on a daily basis because it is bacteria ridden, but eat left overs that are weeks old... Apparently, surface bacteria is NOT ok, but ingesting it is.
  • Dishwashing liquid bottle must be placed flush against the wall (not even an inch forward)
  • Dishes must be placed in dishwasher so they are not touching at all
  • Forks and knives MUST be facing down in the dishwasher
  • You cannot leave the dishwasher, washer or dryer on if you're leaving the house even if you're next door
  • Bowls are NOT allowed on upper shelf of the dishwasher.
  • You get to use the dishwasher???? WOW We must save ours... for what? I don't know.
  • I CANNOT use, nor have I ever used the dishwasher.... and also the garbage disposal.
  • No (absolutely NO) water droplets on the kitchen counter or floor.
  • Ice trays MUST be stacked: white, green, blue, blue
  • Put all the mugs facing the same direction
  • Put all tins facing the same direction
  • No using a dishcloth for cleaning. Only paper towels so they can be thrown out. He actually threw away all of my dishcloths a month after moving in with him to make sure I could not use them anymore.
  •  There has to be the same number of silverware in each section of the silverware basket. Also the plates have to be placed in the dishwasher from biggest to smallest going right to left.
  • There are 3 sponges and two towels at all times in the kitchen a sponge for dishes a sponge for counter tops and a sponge for misc other ...but not floors. There is a towel for drying dishes a towel for mics. other things... but not for wiping your hands.
  • Dishwasher is not to be connected. Dishes are to be done by hand. By him, Late at night or when I have visitors. Dishwasher is instead used as a collection site for junk mail, etc.
  • I am not allowed to spill ANYTHING on the granite countertops EVER! I spilled a drop of pancake mix while making him pancakes for breakfast and he instantly freaked out and ran for a paper towel, scolding me the entire time.
  • Wash your hands before you touch the cabinets. If ANY fingerprints show up we will all be lined up for questioning until someone caves.
  • The shutters in the kitchen and living room must be only partially open in the exact same way during the day and then closed at night.
  • Pans must be put in the dishwasher at the expense of the other items that would have fit in instead (such as about 8 plates). Those other things must be washed by hand, but never the pan. Even though the pans never get clean in our dishwasher and I have to wash them by hand after I get them out of the dishwasher anyway.
  • Grocery Shopping Rule- all items put in the cart must be all neat and organized! If you forget something from a previous aisle you can't go back and get it. "You should have remembered when we were on that aisle."

The Bathroom(s) aka Family Minefield #2
  • All our towels are identical yet we have different towels for drying hands, drying body, standing on out of the shower and standing on out of the bath (I'm not sure if he even genuinely can tell the difference between 12 identical towels or why it matters but he certainly likes to let me know when I'm using the wrong one)
  • Each member of the family has their own roll of toilet tissue. This way he can monitor how much toilet tissue they use. When they are done with one roll they then must ask for another.
  • Wipe your toothbrush with a towel after use and put in a cupboard so there will be no stains in the cupboard
  • Toilet paper must be stored in the original wrapper - regardless of whether you opened the package or not. This prevents bugs.
  • Turn the water heater on from the main switch each time you need it. When you’re in the shower and you forget to turn it on, you can wait for the hot water that will never come.
  • Trash used to be carried to the kitchen from the bathroom so the bathroom trash wouldn't fill up..not even half way!
  • After having a shower you must rub your body down with your hands first to get rid of excess water to avoid making the towel too wet, then the towel will dry quicker
  • Here's a rule I hope will make everyone smile! My DH told me I should only use 3 sheets of toilet paper. Needless to say..... I don't follow that rule.
  • Bathroom floor must be squeegeed after every shower so mildew does not grow
  • Q-tips, once used, must be neatly wrapped in a wad of toilet paper and then disposed of. Logic: Q-tips, if not wrapped accordingly, will stick to the wastepaper basket and attract ants.
  • When you sit on the toilet you have to polish the chrome radiator with a piece of toilet roll. Even the top of the radiator which I calculate you would have to be 7 feet tall to see the top of . That’s every time you go for your ablutions. Even if you went half an hour ago.
  • Squeegee the walls dry after a shower. A special squeegee was purchased for that purpose. (I hang my shower puff on it. )
  • People in healthy relationships happily share a bathroom in morning, which includes using the toilet in front of each other.
  • Make sure to spread the shower curtain out after use so it dries properly. Otherwise you might get mildew. And you better turn on the fan and open the window. Even in the dead of winter. Mildew.
  • Sons must "sit down" to use our bathroom.
  • Flush TWICE for #2
  • You cannot buy toilet roll on its own because people who see you with it will think you're on your way home to poo immediately because you made a trip out especially to buy it (but it's ok to buy it with other items because people knowing you need to poo sometime within the next day or so is acceptable?)
  • The kleenex box has to be in the certain spot in the countertop in the bathroom. Also the air freshener can has to be on the right side of the toilet tank and has to be laid on its side when showering.
  • Moans about how long I am in the toilet (I'm sure he times me) and how often I go. If I go to the loo he turns all the lights off.
  • We must not use the best towels, they are on the bathroom shelf and just get looked at, washed and put back the same specially folded way.
  • No pooping in the front bathroom
  • Dry the shower door every use
  • No showers without taking the bathmat off a bar specially installed above the tub for this purpose. When shower is done mat must be removed immediately and hung over the bar. Shower liner and curtain must be compacted to the middle of the tub so that shower head and other end of tub show equally. Shower curtain must be draped so that the end of the curtain folds onto the tub edge.
  • Bathroom facilities within the home are relatively safe and require only minimal maintenance due to the controlled environment and use by known "safe" people, quarterly or biannual cleaning should be sufficient
  • Public restroom facilities regardless of visual condition are extreme biohazards and should be avoided at all costs, except in cases of the direst emergencies
  • Due to special childhood training, a skilled OCPD professional should be capable of withholding bodily needs for up to four days, so violation of previous rule should be very rare
  • Hotel room bathrooms are a special case of public restroom, which can be decontaminated by a certified OCPD professional. However, subsequent cleaning by a maid or other hotel staff will require repetition of decontamination procedures
  • Shower curtains must be closed at all times.
  • Tooth brushes must be re washed and dried because user doesn't do it correctly.
  • The shower curtain must be kept inside the the bathtub at all times. If I took a tub bath and forgot to put the shower curtain back in, there was hell to pay. I started locking the bathroom door when I took a bath.
  • No disposing of female things in the bathroom garbage. They must be disposed of in the outside trash, even if it was 30 degrees outside.
  • Once I was even asked to brush my hair outside so that I wouldn't shed any hair onto the bathroom floor. I never did that one.
  • AND even though we have 4 full bathrooms the whole family had to use just one. That way, the other 3 stay clean. And I was the one who cleaned the bathrooms did I get yoinked into that one?
  • TP is a big one in our house too. Must be 2 ply and must not be a double roll - only the single rolls will do. This is because the double rolls are too wide and could touch the wall to which the TP holder is attached - causing contaminated TP, I s'pose!
  • No stepping out onto the bath mat after a bath or shower; you must place a hand towel over the bath mat, dry in the shower and then step on the towel...

House of Horror - Halloween's got nothing on daily life with OCPD
  • Shoes must come off at the door (preferably before you step foot into the house) because the soles of your shoes have been in public restrooms and the like. We also had special shoes (old worn out ones) that were kept at the top of the basement steps. These were to be worn if you were going down into the basement (which is concrete - no exposed dirt)
  • When using the stereo turn speakers down to 0 when you turn it off so when you turn it on again your speakers will not blow
  • All screws in light switches had to have the lines (or indentations where the screwdriver goes in) pointing in the same direction.
  • "Business hours" close after 9pm. So no tasks can be completed after 9pm, not even if it's an absolute emergency. Not if it's April 14th and you haven't filed your taxes yet. Nothing.
  • His blackberry MUST be on his desk next to his keys. I asked him what if it moves and he was wearing a scared look at that thought.
  • Cell phones should only be turned on to make a call. Incoming calls aren't important.
  • Keys should be carried as little as possible because they cause pockets to become out of shape. It doesn't matter if you can't get in the front door.
  • The TV remote controls must be placed parallel with each other (even while still watching TV, not just at night upon turning the TV off.)
  • His books in his office must be placed in their exact spot on the shelf, and they cannot be moved. Before we moved to the new house, he took pictures of the bookshelves so he would know exactly how to put the books back into place when we got to the new house.
  • Do not leave cleaning supplies out (even if you are not through cleaning).
  • Always turn the light switch on or off just with the switch making sure you NEVER touch the plate surrounding it because it is inspected for finger marks and polished straight away.
  • When buying something new like a TV or computer the instruction manual must be thoroughly read from front to back before attempting to use it.
  • Always have two of the same type of two lawnmowers, two refrigerators...
  • Does anyone’s SO have "outfits" for different activities? Mine has car washing clothes,(he looks like he's off to sea) dog walking clothes and shoes, special clothes for gardening with his name on all the tools and gloves, staying at home clothes ie has to get changed immediately when entering the house like a child taking his school uniform off.
  • My DH has outfits he wears to do things.... I think his mechanics jumpsuit is really so cute.
  • Always remove your shoes immediately upon entering the side door and leave them sitting neatly on the landing before entering the kitchen
  • If anyone smoked - an ashtray was supplied, but as soon as a cigarette was put out, the ashtray disappeared - uh huh - washed, dried and put away.
  • Soap should be placed with the logo side up
  • All drawers should be pushed in fully (even open 1 mm is not allowed)
  • All cupboard doors should be shut as dust can get in
  • When your spouse sets something out so he makes sure he won't forget it (like for a business trip), put it back "where it belongs" without checking to ensure he won't need it. Then pitch a fit about the cost of FedEx when he asks you to express mail the "forgotten" item to him.
  • I leave things out on the counter to remind me that I need to do something with them, papers that need to get sent back to school, homework packets, etc. DH puts them back where they go or moves them elsewhere. I have asked him to please stop doing that, because its how I remember. The things I leave out are off to the side out of the way. He says he has to move them because they are "in his way". Its amazing the amount of things that he says are in his way, that someone else would completely overlook.
  • Never delete or throw away a picture, even if it is of your thumb. I actually had fun with this one. We have lots of photo albums which include blurry, out of focus pictures of camera straps, the ground or other unidentifiable objects. I took all of these pictures out of the albums and put them in their own special album. I call the album the "memories of... ummm.... something memorable." She didn't mind too much, as long as I didn't throw them away.
  • Wellington boots must be placed upside down in garage so slugs don't crawl in!
  • Sometimes if his kids didn't ask for permission to speak, he'd yell 'SILENCE!' Or, if they'd accidentally bend a spoon while scooping ice cream he'd yell 'You're ruining MY spoon!' I'd be thinking - You're ruining YOUR kids self-esteem!!
  • If my wife sees one insect in the house she is convinced that there must be an infestation. Even if it is a harmless insect like a ladybug; when she sees one bug she knows there must be hundreds more that are unseen. She will go to the store and buy a gallon of insecticide and spray throughout the house until she has used the entire gallon of insecticide.
  • AND I get the 'This place is too small' lecture ALL the time... while he loads the house with duplicates or outdated and useless things we will NEVER use! (We have a spare refrigerator ... 25 yrs old and a spare dryer, also ancient.)
  • I may not take out the trash because I do it wrong. It is fine if the trash piles up super high in the can and spills over on to the counter. But I am not, ever, to take out the trash. (Once, I might have left the lid not quite securely latched, and a raccoon got in and made a mess. I said I'd clean it up, and he refused to let me.)
  • We must always sleep nude. People in happy relationships sleep nude, and wearing a nightshirt or a t-shirt is a sign that you are not happy.
  • We must always be dressed head to toe when going to bed so as not to get "body oils" on the sheets (I was never aware I was oily until I got married.)
  • I must never get sick.
  • Sex may occur on rare occasions. However, the lights must be out, and I should not make "excessive" noises or move.
  • Lawyers who have graduated from Harvard and Georgetown do not mow lawns or do yard work.
  • A house must have a three car garage or you may die from condensation in the Winter (we live in California) and still have room for bikes and sporting equipment.
  • Turn ALL knobs very slowly as you might break them (on radios, etc.)
  • Electrical cables have to be pulled taught to avoid them becoming twisted, even if this means leaving a radio charging in the middle of the floor and me tripping over it and cracking my sodding elbow on the floor (because I should have known it was there, where else would an electrical item be but in the middle of the floor?!)
  • Bin liners cannot go in the bin because then the bin will get dirty and will only need emptying again when full (so instead we have unused rolls of liners neatly in a drawer, and carrier bags of crap in the hallway until he can be bothered to take them out to the main bins)
  • Bluetack all the photo frames to the shelves
  • You are welcome to use my tools in the garage, but DON'T TOUCH ANYTHING
  • Don't touch my STUFF, but you are welcome to anything I have....
  • Grass edge of 1-2 inches must show around edge of any snow-shovelled walkway. (Even if it is a 10' snowfall and you are in perishing pain from chemotherapy.)
  • Slat blinds must be closed even if spouse is standing near door looking for Trick or Treaters.
  • No air conditioning or open windows - EVER. It doesn't matter if the apartment is 90 degrees and you feel like throwing up. And no sneaky having the window open and stuffing towels under the door - he can feel the slightest breeze through socks, pants, long johns and a blanket.
  • The color red is inherently evil, and if you wear it you are evil. I was almost 30 before I was able to wear anything red without feeling horribly guilty, and even now I get a bit of a twinge, but still own and wear a bunch of red because I look pretty in it.
  • All curtains in daughter's room must be left open.
  • All blinds must be open at mid level.
  • Office swivel chair must be lowered to lowest level even though other people must higher it each time they use computer.
  • Picture frames must be in a straight line. This goes for on top of dresser and on window ledge.
  • All furniture must have equal legs on or off of the rug or else furniture will be sprung.
  • Everything in the house must be placed parallel to everything else. If there is a book on the floor by the bed, it must be set down straight, exactly parallel to the wall and bed. Same thing goes for DVD cases and everything else in the house.
  • Everything has to be placed exactly so that it looks like it's been casually placed there. But this actually requires hours of walking round the house fiddling with everything so it looks just so. He will spent forever carefully placing the TV remote control on the coffee table so that it's not lined up with the edge. In theory this should take milliseconds. But you can't just place it down at random, oh no, there are complex calculations that go into this sort of thing don't you know. It'd be a lot easier for me if things were placed parallel because at least I could do it! I pick something up, look at it before I do so I remember exactly where it goes, inevitably forget, think it doesn't matter, put it back anyway - SO comes in a day later and knows what I've moved and by how much. Argh!
  • Use blue ink on documents inside only.
  • Use black ink to address the envelope only.
  • Here is one for everybody.... I will spend hours upon hours tying up the electrical cords on everything in the house that has one ie: tv's, stereos, lamps, etc, etc.... I don't like to have any excess cord hanging down....they all must be straight and tight.
  • When you have a cold you must not cough, if you do you are subject to a degrading lecture on the noise content of each cough.
  • Nobody can sit on the bed in their room because they will destroy the mattress, you must sit on the floor or be laying down on the bed. So when friends come over they can be all found sitting on the floor in the bedrooms, it is very sad. If they do sit on the bed, he marches in and tells them of their wrong doing.
  • We bought a coffee table from IKEA with six shelves in it. Good, I thought, a place to put my magazines, books, DVD's, and remotes. Bad, says hubby. Surfaces are meant to be empty. Otherwise it is CLUTTER. I would not back down. My things are still on the shelves.
  • When scanning channels using the satellite tv remote, you may not scan down one at a time, you must use the "page down" feature.
  • Paper work - eg for tax purposes - cannot be filed in a filing cabinet, but must be kept in large piles on desk, rendering desk completely unusable. Requests to tidy it up met with rage. Person requesting tidy up is, obviously, stupid.
  • He MUST NOT be kept waiting. It is, of course, OK for him to keep others waiting. As long as it takes. He has important things to do, and he must do them properly, after all.
  • Did y'all know that grass isn't for walking on? That's what my 5 year old was told recently. She argued that it was for playing and and quickly realized her rational argument was getting her nowhere and gave up.
  • My daughter was told as soon as she could walk to never run because she could fall down. She also had other rules to keep her from hurting herself. Still can't ride a bike at 8 years old.
  • "Must not adjust my side of our sleep number bed". Should set it and leave it alone! (???Why have a sleep number bed if you can't adjust the settings based on how your body is feeling that day???) I don't touch his side ever, but that's not good enough, I shouldn't adjust my own side!!
  • My DH tells me that I am ruining the carpet by walking in the same path to and from our bathroom. I must choose a different spot on the carpet every time so it doesn't get smashed down. Sometimes I think about swinging from the ceiling fan to get to the bathroom just to spite him.  
  • Must not delete spam email on my computer because dh is going to go through them and do ?something? with them. Must put in spam folder and he will get to it. After 9 months and over 50,000 spam emails, I deleted them all. I realized I was "hoarding spam mail"????? lol
  • Must not delete old versions of Madden computer football game - back to 1998 version. (I was trying to clean up the computer since we got a new OS - see money, money, money thread.) He might play one again. When asked if he ever has played an old version after the new is installed, the answer was, "No, but it could happen." Is he hoarding Madden football??? :-)
  • A cabbie is never to be trusted with an address. Exact blocks, right turns and best routes must be detailed. I feel sorry for the cabbie and blurt out (mostly intentionally) the address. Tonight we had to drop a rented movie off on our way for dinner (address withheld) and when we got into the mall parking lot he had to tell the cab the perfect way to get to the other side of the lot and it was NOT far.
  • Children should be expected to not get out of tub mid-bath and make the bathroom rug wet. They should plan ahead and take all their tub toys with them. (And also use the toilet first.)
  • Don't let your daughter go down in the basement to play with the toys down there because it's "dirty" and she might breathe in some dust or get something in her eye, or...., or..... But go ahead and feed your daughter boiled chicken that got left out overnight, risking food poisoning because you don't want food to go to waste!
  • Never step on the door ledge, everybody knows that!
  • Wall color must not change from the color they were when we moved in, even though he doesn't like the color. (status quo must be maintained)
  • All furniture must be pushed completely against a wall and everything must be parallel or perpendicular to a wall (no angles).
  • When looking for a house, it had to be built of cinderblock and have gas appliances, no wasted space, and absolutely no angled walls.
  • Fingernail clippers cannot be kept in a bathroom drawer or makeup bag--they must go back in his grooming kit. He only uses the fingernail clippers in the grooming kit, but he needs the kit to be intact to be able to use fingernail clippers.
  • Filing cabinets must be tall and made of metal, and the drawers must come out all the way or it is "absolutely unusable." I had a small one before we got married, which is now empty, but he refuses to use it, even though we can't afford a bigger one. So his papers are in stacks all over our bedroom and family room.
  • The remote control must always be put on top of the tv, even though you need it when you're on the couch.
  • Vacuum cords must be immediately rewound upon turning off the vacuum, and the vacuum must be put back in the closet. It doesn't matter if I'm going to vacuum another room in a few minutes.
  • If there is a toy anywhere on our 8-foot couch, there is "nowhere to sit."
  • If there is one toy out of place and on the floor, the entire house is "an embarrassing mess" and we can't let anyone in our house.
  • DH says we (the family) must not tread on the door mat. We have to step over it onto another mat in order to keep it clean. This is where we MUST take off our shoes. No stepping of this mat until shoes are off.
  • Vacuum in patterns. Perfect patterns that line up and angle right - patterns that prohibit you from walking in that room.
  • I (under instruction) organise the food in the cupboards by time zones. Starting at Hawaii (pineapple and ending at Japan). All the labels face front so that it forms a world map.
  • Nothing green inside the house - green is for plants only
  • Flowers are dirty and cannot be in house unless I keep them in the fireplace hearth. Carnations are ok because they are more fake looking than most real flowers.
  • Windows should never be opened, but if you must open them, it should only be open 2 inches. Any more and dirt and bugs will get in (apparently the screens don't go all the way to the top??!), and less and air doesn't get in.
  • My dh insists that all stamps be put on envelopes exactly straight, and all staples must go exactly parallel to the edge of the paper--not diagonal. His secretaries and myself have all wanted to staple him to death at one point or another because we've all had to take apart mass mailings for having stapled them "wrong"...because there is only ONE way to do it, right?!!!
  • Envelopes must be opened with a letter opener. Not the knife-shaped kind, but the plastic ones with a little razor blade in them. If such an opener is not readily available, scissors are an acceptable way to open an envelope. But a finger is not allowed. If a letter or other envelope is received while in a place where neither acceptable implement is available, such as in the car, one must wait to get home before opening said envelope.

If There Was an Olympics for Bag-Ladies-in-Training,
OCPDrs would Win the Gold every time:
  • Only use one end of a q-tip for both ears and save the other side for the next day.  Yuk.
  • Dental floss must be saved to be reused the next time.
  • Do not press on the keyboard to hard or too fast or the keyboard will break.
  • Garbage is inspected on a regular basis, and many items return, especially catalogs and last yeaŕs school papers from kid
  • He turns off lights while I am still in the room!!!!
  • Gifts are not to be used. They are to be kept in a cupboard and looked at occasionally.
  • All the little night lights (4 watts ) must be turned out first thing in the morning to save electricity, while the flood lights outside (250 watts ) can burn all day and night.
  • When making a bank deposit you MUST put the check and bank deposit slip in a used envelope and write the amount on the outside.
  • Use the house lights as little as possible. Memorize where the furniture or obstacles are so you can walk in the dark and not trip.
  • Do not turn on the central heating at night no matter how cold it is.
  • Do not turn on the air conditioner no matter how hot it is.
  • The couch or new furniture must be covered in plastic wrap.
  • Save all rubber bands and twist ties! You never know when they come in handy.
  • Save all used magazines and catalogs even if they date back twenty years ago. You never know if ya missed a deal or important lifechanging info!
  • Never buy anything new, if you can find it secondhand.
  • My exbf has kept every empty cardboard box that electrical goods came in just in case he has to send them back.these have been hoarded for 25yrs in the loft. it’s a huge fire risk ,but they must be kept!
  • Check packaging for any kind of damage - take the best one, make sure you got the best, didja get the best one?
  • Don't buy it unless you can return it.
  • If you bought it for me, make sure I can return it.
  • Drive to different stores of the same chain to make sure you got the best deal and in case they carry a similar item but a better deal.
  • Once you are sure you got the best deal, make sure it rings up correctly at the cash register.
  • Check your receipts to make sure you got the best deal right after you get it.
  • Keep an eye on future ads to make sure you got the best deal.
  • Return everything you bought, because it is a wasteful and unnecessary expense.
  • Save every Ziplock bag, milk carton and other plastic containers.
  • Must drive an extra 10 miles to get the cheapest generic gasoline.
  • Don't sit down on the couch too "hard" because it will wear it out.
  • Don't watch much tv - you will wear it out
  • Don't use the computer much - you will wear it out
  • Don't throw any food away, even the end of the cucumber gets you a lecture.
  • Will research for days if we are going on a trip to plot out all of the gas prices on the route.
  • Will not pay for parking. Will drop the family off to do whatever and he will either park as far as a mile away and walk or will drive until we are finished. (We used to have to walk with him- I put my foot down, his theory was always "Get over it, you'll live"). Boy, was our visit to Washington DC fun! Not.....   
  • Baggies/ziplock bags are too expensive and should not be bought or used. Paper towels-never!
  • Outside lights should never be turned on. Waste of electricity.
  • Because we hoard money we cannot buy a new faucet to replace the already lowest grade faucet on the market. No, we must "fix" (ie, jury rig) the faucet to get more life out of it. But, because we really don't know what we are doing and we will not hire someone to do the repair, we now have to be assembled (do gather around family) and be instructed on how to properly turn off the defective faucet. Nine MONTHS later (WHY DID IT TAKE ME THAT LONG???!!!) after frustration after frustration with this cotton pickin faucet, five attempts later by daughter, father yelling - I hire a friend with gift money from grandma to install new faucets. Husband does not talk to me for days.
  • We of course all know, that the electric garage door opener should not be plugged in, so that the garage door will open and close, right? If you go to the far wall and plug it in so you can open the door, you must not leave the door open. Close it right away and you absolutely must go unplug it again. Yes you guessed it, saves money on the electric bill if it isn't plugged in, (what maybe $5 a year?)
  • You must always take the clothes out of the dryer before they are completely dry to save money. Just drape the damp clothes around the house to let them finish drying.
  • You must always cut dryer sheets in half before putting (one half) into the dryer.
  • Nothing can be purchased for the house without extensive consultation and retail research. (a bed takes about six years to buy.
  • Gifts MUST be cheap imitations of the item requested. He is to be congratulated for getting a cheaper version of any desired item. Any perceived disappointment on the part of the recipient elicits rage.
  • Nothing made of timber can EVER be thrown away - he might be able to make something with it. (He's never used a piece of timber in the 16 years I've been with him, but ...) Attempted timber disposal elicits rage. Mentioning that he has never used timber also elicits rage. Mentioner is an idiot. Obviously.
  • Broken electrical appliances must NEVER be thrown away (no idea of the justification for this one). To do so would elicit rage.
  • Clothes dryer mustn't be used. Ever.
  • What about "Don't throw the newspapers away until I've had a chance to look at them." ? Never mind there were stacks and stacks of newspapers (a pure fire hazard) dating back to 1990!
  • What about driving around town to see what people have thrown in the trash, going through it, and bringing it home?
  • Free promotional ballpoint pens must be kept careful track of, and if they are lost before the ink runs out, I'm in BIG trouble.

It's a Dog's Life... but the Pets Don't Get Excused from The Rules, Either
(These are my personal favorites)
  • One of my mom's rules is that she must feed her dog at precisely 5:00 p.m. every day. So when we visit her, she will forgo any family outing that might keep her from feeding the dog at exactly 5:00.
  • Dog must not shake when getting up. Must hurry and take outside before he shakes. All dog toys are filthy and can't be tolerated on filthy floor. Must be put in basket and never played with.
  • The cat is never allowed in our bedroom. Not even if she just darts in when the door is opened and runs back out. If she does so, there must be much yelling and I must retrieve the cat instantly. (Ever try to get a cat out from under the bed when people are yelling and carrying on?)
  • Then there's the pet food. No canned pet food at ALL because of the smell.
  • The cats here have rules too. He gets so upset when they aren't followed. There is only one chair on the dining room set that can be laid on. There is only one area on the couch and it must have a cat blanket on it. My cat is not allowed to enter the garage when the door is open. "he knows better" I laughed so hard!
  • The cats are not supposed to look at the fish tank.
  • CATS - they must not meow (what are they supposed to do, bark?), they must not scratch an itch, they must not wag their tails (again, what do they think they are, dogs?), they must not puke, they must not stare, etc. I guess they should be stuffed!
  • Cat must greet him.
  • Cat must only sit on her towels - never on floor directly.
  • The dog may not be allowed to bark or make noise after 9pm for common courtesy!
  • The turtle may not use the intake or outflow pipes in her tank as a platform to put her feet on. Bad turtle, BAD!
  • Male blue fish cannot chase female blue fish really fast in the tank. Too aggressive. If he does a hand is inserted into the tank (with glove) to flick at the male for punishment while cursing at it to behave. Anger is definitely needed to show this fish a thing or two.
  • He would get angry at the cat if it was sick and have a talking to it if there was a fur ball. He truly believed that the cat knew not to get sick on the floor and that he could control it if it would just listen.

If you've gotten this far, it's clear (to anyone who is sane) that people who think they can teach a cat not to puke a hairball onto the floor are Not Quite Right.

But what about us, the Significant Others?  How could we not SEE this?  (Well, we did, eventually.  Others grew up in a household with an OCPD parent, and had no friggin' choice in the matter.)

Is it our fault for (at least initially) following along? Here’s one take:
To say that, "you have accepted them as rules so you are as much to blame," may be technically true, but it implies that everyone should always be on their guard in order to keep from being taken advantage of by potential abusers-- that the accommodations by someone with a good nature is a weakness that should be drummed out of them. It is essentially, to presume everyone a potential abuser, "just in case."

With most relationships however, such guardedness is completely unnecessary-- and I think many would characterize such necessarily guarded relationships as dysfunctional. Just because one individual isn't as naturally "guarded," as another, shouldn't mean that a non-guarded individual must become guarded in order to protect themselves in their relationship-- or at least, I would say such a relationship would not be properly referred to as "normal," or "healthy."

Most people have a natural inclination to enter into a relationship with a healthy give and take attitude, to be willing to compromise and make allowances for other people's differences. Some people will do this more than others, and people often do this in the interest of harmony. However, there are some people that see this as a weakness and may take advantage of someone's good nature, perhaps even sometimes thinking, "for their own good." Often, this doesn't become apparent immediately-- those with good natures may via their willingness to "go along," eventually find themselves after enough one-sided accommodation to actually have been rather abused and taken advantage of, and find themselves understandably resentful.
I know in my case - at first, it didn't seem like there were so many rules.  A few odd little quirks, but it seemed like going along with them to achieve peace in the house, to make b-f feel better, was a small enough price to pay.  So he had a "thing" about which way the forks went in the dish drainer, BFD!

Like a lot of other people, by the time I realized I was hemmed in by a bunch of Crazy Rules, they were no longer my biggest concern anyway.  Because there were all the other OCPD behaviors tearing me apart.

The only way to keep the Crazy Rules from growing like imaginary bathroom mildew, is by standing up to the Perfectionist, saying No.  Calmly, firmly, and consistently.  (Yep, boundaries again!)  It seems counterintuitive, but demonstrating that even though you are crazy (to their way of thinking) and won't follow a Rule, that the world does not in fact come crashing to a halt, the sky does not rain cats and dogs, when you do it your way.  Remember, OCPD is about anxiety.  The more a Perfectionist feels responsible for, the more anxious s/he feels, so by giving in to The Rules, you are actually pouring gasoline on the fire.  Now they have to be the toilet paper and dental floss police on top of all their other Important Duties!

I hope you've gotten the chuckle out of these Crazy Rules that those who shared did, but that you also realize that OCPD is more than just amusing.  It's a real illness; debilitating to those (mostly undiagnosed) poor souls who have it  and Perfectly Awful to those living with it.

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