I know that alot of us here on the board have some OCD issues when it comes to relationships, (ie did I cheat, do I love him/her) so I was wondering if anyone has an opinion on why there are so many people with OCD that have obsessions centered around relationships?
I think OCD, particularly Pure O, picks on the one thing that we need to feel most certain about and the thing that will bother us the most. For some, that is relationships. I know for me, my relationship is the most important thing in my life, and the one thing that I need to feel constant and sure about. To have any doubts is scary to me. Now, when I'm not OCDing, I don't worry at all about whether or not I love my husband or if I feel certain things for him. But when I am caught up in it, it's all I can think about it and it is the scariest, worst thing in the world to me.
Of course I have traded that in lately for religious obsessions, but again, that is something I have ALWAYS been certain about, and now it is a ball of uncertainty. When I worked with an OCD therapist in NY (Dr. Phillipson), he said that he had a client who had a very good relationship with her dad one day, and the next day, be totally convinced that he might have molested her, when in the past, there is NO evidence for this. But to her, that is the scariest thing and she has to be certain that it didn't happen. Why do some worry about being gay and others don't? It's ironic because most people with homosexual obsessions aren't homophobic at all- but their sexuality is the one thing that they are most certain about and OCD comes and takes it all away.
I agree with Post-It that OCD picks on the one thing that we need to feel secure about-for me that's relationships. Ironically, when I am in OCD mode, my relationship is what is most unstable ( in my mind ). Also rather ironically, my OCD tends to lessen in intensity when I am at home with my wife and kids. I guess it's because that's the time when I am most grounded in reality....
I, too, agree with Post-It. It is all about dealing with uncertainty (my therapy has taught me that the overall trouble for people with OCD is that they want absolute certainty, which is an unattainable goal in this world that we live in). Also, OCD tends to pick on the things that are most important to us. For me, it is my relationship with my boyfriend. For one, my OCD mind is desperately attempting to find 'certain' answers to questions like 'do I love him?', etc. But again, no one can ever be 100% certain about anything. The search for absolute certainty (an impossible goal) combined with the fact that we obsess about the things that are most important to us is what creates that vicious OCD cycle.
My OCD was triggered when I had met someone on-line who I desperately wanted to like me and who I couldn't bear the thought of leaving me. In my past, men whom I really, really liked seemed to leave without a good explanation. Maybe we do want some sort of certainty i.e. certainty that the relationship won't end, certainty that those we meet will like us and accept us - at least for me, anyway. I'm starting to see that I have a real need for perfection or I don't think that I am worthy of being liked. It's almost as though I see this OCD as a "defect" making me not worthy of friendships, etc., when my religious background would tell me otherwise - that I AM worthy and made in God's image. Oddly enough, others with my OCD swallowing obsession seem to have it triggered by relationship issues I have noticed. I've often wondered myself what the connection is there - of course, I can obsess trying to figure it out! LOL I think the fear of rejection is very promiment in me right now - I was also anorexic (OCD?) and didn't eat and exercised ALL the time in Jr. High School, because my "friends" called me ugly names when I was overweight. I sometimes wonder if we carry these fears with us and then it somehow turns up as OCD episodes years or months later.
The need for certainty does really make relationships ripe for ocd worry. I worry about my relationship constantly - not so much wondering if I love him, but the reverse. It feels like even when I am blissfully happy in the relationship, I am looking for *one more* thing from him, to prove that he loves me and he won't leave me. That's hard to admit, because I really have never seen myself as that pathetic and needy.
What's tough, too, is that people everywhere are talking about relationships. I can go to a message board where hundreds of people are wondering how strong their relationship is, and the people around me are more than willing to give advice on my relationship. It makes all of my worries seem really legitimate. And some of my worries probably are legitimate. But it is really a pain in the butt to hardly have the chance to just *enjoy* the relationship and let it happen as it will.
yes, I agree with you, lithenblithe. Also I have obsessed over whether my husband has cheated or if he really loves me, too. It's not any easier being on the other side of the coin!
And I think you are right on with the relationship issues stuff. I'm NOT belittling other obsessions in any way, because I know they are all the most horrible thing for all of us. But if you have someone who is obsessing about killing other people, our morals and laws tell us that it's wrong. I know this doesn't take away the awfulness of the obsession, but at least there is a moral compass guiding us that says "killing people is wrong" or "molesting kids is wrong" (if you have pedophile obsessions). But in the case of relationship obsessions or homosexual obsessions or even religious obsessions, it seems very muddled and gray - because non-OCD people go through asking "do I really love my partner" and "am I really gay?" or "what if God doesn't exist?" Non-OCD people have the exact same questions, doubts and fears that we all do. It used to FREAK me out when I would hear about people getting divorced - and I had to immediately find out WHY people got divorced to reassure myself that it wasn't the same for me. It's bad, but I always felt better when people would say "because he's an alcoholic" or "she cheated on me." But God forbid someone say "I fell out of love with my spouse," I would go off in a panic, worrying that it was the same for me.
<<But in the case of relationship obsessions or homosexual obsessions or even religious obsessions, it seems very muddled and gray - because non-OCD people go through asking "do I really love my partner" and "am I really gay?" or "what if God doesn't exist?" Non-OCD people have the exact same questions, doubts and fears that we all do.>>
Absolutely! It can be so very difficult to just sort out which thoughts are reasonable and which are not - that becomes a whole new task and burden in itself! Lately, I am trying to leave even that question unanswered, and trust that genuine and rational issues will make themselves plain and clear over time (and without bullying), without my obsessing over them. It's still pretty gray, though. I guess that's life.