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Old 07-19-2011, 11:10 AM   #1
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Driving myself and my boyfriend crazy ( ROCD )

I wasn't sure where to post this but figured I'd start here. Growing up as an only child with older parents, I remember my Mom driving both my Dad and I crazy with her constant worrying, negative thinking, etc.. I swore I would never be like her. I was very close with both but had a special bond with my Dad until he got sick when I was in my early teens and had to retire early. We went from doing something all the time (we were both into sports) to him bunkering up in his tv room withdrawing from my Mom and me, his pride shot, wouldn't get help, and became a sad, miserable man. We lived in fear from his explosive tempers, his moods and it was very hard.

Fast forward to now, my anxiety seems to have gotten worse over the years (in my 40's now). I am with a wonderful man who has a generous heart but I'm guessing I keep getting triggered. He has trouble showing affecting (didn't grow up with either verbal or physical affection) in a huge way but when he finally does, it is very sweet and of course meaningful. He also has admitted (which has helped understand him more) that he has trouble feeling good about himself and realizes it effects his lack of being able to complement others. So as loving as he can be, he has a stubborn streak (which he is fully aware of) so unfortunately, our issues play off of each other in a negative way. The less he expresses himself or his feelings, the more I become unsure of myself or what I mean to him. But it gets to the point where I obsess about it so much, I spiral down and before I know it, I've worked myself up so much, I experience great anxiety, so much so I'm crying at the drop of a hat, question his feelings for me all the time, which in turn makes him withdraw and it becomes this vicious circle. I question so much of what he says, over analyze what it means (and I can always find something negative) that I'm driving ME c razy. I just can't relax long enough to be happy with what I do have. I hate feeling this way but don't know how to change.

How do I stop??? I think in some way I must be re-living the loss I felt when my Dad withdrew. My Mom on the other hand was extremely affectionate and I crave that almost too much I think. I'm so afraid that I'm too needy yet in my head it all feels necessary. How do I find a health boundary I can identify myself?

And just to give a quick background, even though my boyfriend doesn't fully enjoy cuddling, he still does it because he knows how much I like it. But he also has told me that if I didn't initiate so much and gave him a chance, he might be more inclined to. It's exhausting living like this.

Has anyone else experienced this?

 
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Old 07-19-2011, 02:35 PM   #2
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Re: Driving myself and my boyfriend crazy (ROCD)

I'm going to address your boyfriend, because I have a somewhat similar situation. Basically, my father was a conservative, control freak, who lacked any emotion aside from anger. My mother was terrified by him, as was I, so she didn't really show much affection for me. She has revealed to me years ago that she wished she could of hugged me, cuddled me, and all that good-motherly-stuff-with-biscuits-and-hot-cocoa. Therefore I pretty much grew up without much affection, except a slap across the face by my father, during my youth. That all changed once my parents divorced when I was 18, and my mom and I kicked by drunken-*******-of-a-father out. So now my mom and I hug often, and we're making up for lost time.

Moral of the story, your boyfriend could adapt and be open to giving affection. It is possible, but your boyfriend has to make an effort. My advice is you should have a heart-to-heart conversation with him. This is not a single conversation that will solve your problems. It will take time, but your boyfriend has to put in the time as well. Relationship counselors are good, but they'll end up telling you the same thing that others on this site will for free, which is you need to talk to each other. Come at him calmly, and use some logic too. Men respond to logic, while gently attempting to evoke his emotions. Ask him why does he need to withdraw when you show your emotions. Be ready for an answer that might send you reeling, just as a precaution.

Quote:
Originally Posted by kokopelli70 View Post
But he also has told me that if I didn't initiate so much and gave him a chance, he might be more inclined to.
This is the same excuse my first ex-gf gave me. Personally this is a bs line. Of course my ex and I were young, but still a bs line. There are no barriers insurmountable that would prevent a person from giving affection. Your boyfriend could be saying it because he really is uncomfortable with it and may have a fear of showing affection. He may have his reasons, but that shouldn't stop him from explaining it to you, so you two can compromise. Hope this helps a bit.
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Last edited by ms_mod; 07-21-2011 at 05:00 PM.

 
Old 07-20-2011, 05:43 AM   #3
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Re: Driving myself and my boyfriend crazy (ROCD)

It does help, thank you. I'm not giving my boyfriend an out. He needs to work on his stuff too. But he does. It may not always be consistent but he really does and for that I'm grateful. He puts on a much better front than me but from both what he has admitted and paying attention to his actions, he's not always confident about himself and wasn't at all when we first met. I don't know how to not be affectionate but there are other things I can think of that don't come natural to me and I try to think if I was asked repeatedly to do those things how hard it would be. I just wish I could remember that when I get stuck in my anxiety. If I don't get what I want when I *think* I should get it, it's when the spiraling begins and by the time I'm done, I've convinced myself he doesn't care. He shouldn't have to repeatedly tell me that he does. So there's two things going on here - what we need to do to work on our relationship and communication (like you suggested) and whatever is going on with me personally. This anxiety, or whatever it is, has caused me to be way too emotional too often which I'm sure you can tell me guys HATE. Just wish I knew how to chill out because when I do, he really does respond so much more.

Last edited by ms_mod; 07-21-2011 at 05:00 PM.

 
Old 07-20-2011, 06:48 AM   #4
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Re: Driving myself and my boyfriend crazy (ROCD)

Quote:
Originally Posted by kokopelli70 View Post
I don't know how to not be affectionate but there are other things I can think of that don't come natural to me and I try to think if I was asked repeatedly to do those things how hard it would be. I just wish I could remember that when I get stuck in my anxiety. If I don't get what I want when I *think* I should get it, it's when the spiraling begins and by the time I'm done, I've convinced myself he doesn't care.
Honestly, I am also a bit like this. I was always the more affectionate than my ex-girlfriends, except for one that was equal to me. I didn't get anxious about it, but did become very disappointed when I expected equal reciprocation and did not get it. I always thought that there was something wrong with me, maybe I am needy, hot blooded, while all my ex-girlfriends were normal and stable. I questioned if this is how people in general are, cold and distant, and I'm someone weird. The truth is, which I have finally accepted, is I'm normal and unique. There is nothing wrong with wanting affection from your partner, everyone wants to be loved, well except the sociopaths and psychopaths whom have their own needs.

One idea for keeping your anxiety a bit in check concerning affection, is try to ration it your boyfriend. Keep yourself busy with something such as finding another outlet for your affectionate nature. Do you like animals? If so, volunteer at an animal shelter. What I am suggesting is not to hold back your emotions, but redirect it so you can better manage it a little bit. I know it's difficult and can be quite frustrating when you are with someone and they don't fully appreciate you, but unless if your boyfriend is just bad for you (ie: abusive or completely cold and distant), talk it out with him and find some balance.


Quote:
Originally Posted by kokopelli70 View Post
This anxiety, or whatever it is, has caused me to be way too emotional too often which I'm sure you can tell me guys HATE.
Women are more emotional than men, but it doesn't mean men aren't at all. The genders handle and process emotions differently from each other. Men do not hate emotional women, but instead each have their preference. Personally, I can handle a woman that is affectionate and gushy, but not an angry woman. On the other hand, there are men that can't handle the affectionate woman, but feel comfortable with angry women. And there's also everything in between.
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Last edited by ms_mod; 07-21-2011 at 05:01 PM.

 
Old 07-25-2011, 02:51 PM   #5
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Re: Driving myself and my boyfriend crazy ( ROCD )

Your situation sounds like mine...from your boyfriend's point of view. My wife is very affectionate and at times I like it and others I feel so annoyed. If I really stopped in the moment and asked myself why I'm so annoyed by her wanting to give me a hug, I wouldn't have an answer, its just a feeling. I guarantee though, if you stopped with the affection for 2 days, he would notice because he enjoys the attention deep down even when hes annoyed by it. Weird huh? If you can even understand what I'm trying to say. If hes still with you and this has been going on for a while, then he loves you a lot. Don't over think it, just know that if he didnt love you, he would have been out the door the first week you started asking him if he loves you or not. Guys are just wired a little different...yeah, yeah, not ALL guys are the same... I read an article a few days ago that said men feel like they are spending quality time with you even if we are just in the same room together watching TV and not even speaking. While most women dont feel the same way unless there is conversation or touching. Thats exactly how i've felt all this time, but never heard it explained in those terms. I've said the same thing about if she would back off I would initiate more, and I do. I almost enjoy her being totally surprised by my sudden burst of affection.

 
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Old 07-27-2011, 10:35 AM   #6
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Re: Driving myself and my boyfriend crazy ( ROCD )

I wanted to respond to both posts because they were extremely helpful and alot of insight. But right now, I'm experiencing one of those spirals that I'm having a really hard time getting out of.

I honestly think his inability at times to show affection and feelings works off of my OCD. I feel that what I want is reasonable but then I start questioning if I just need too much. All I know is it feels very real and I get so upset like now. We have a very rare night planned to spend alone Fri. We're not even doing anything but simply hanging out. I don't care what we do, the fact that we get some quality alone time is all I want.

He turned down making a little money (it's a small part time job we share and we pretty much get called most nights so it's not like he's passing on a rare opportunity) Fri. night which I thanked him for and said I appreciated he did that. So when I excitedly said I couldn't wait for Friday and looking forward to spending time with him he didn't say anything. We were on the phone so I couldn't see his face but I asked him in a joking way if he was too. H paused and then said "sure". So right away, that's when I start feeling the anxiety. All I can think of is he's either not looking forward to it or he is but for some reason can't say it which to me is absurd. I wear my heart on my sleeve and am not reserved when it comes to showing someone how I feel so it's very difficult for me to undestand when someone struggles with being able to show their feelings. He always told me it was hard for him, he's just not that way. But I can't help get resentful that he gets to know all the time how i feel about him and I have to guess alot of the time. Part of this OCD is that I can't keep asking for reassurance so I don't know if this is part of that but right now I don't care.

So this is what always happens. I'm left with such an empty feeling, like a punch in the gut, and it makes me feel that he just doesn't care enough to say something that he knows will make me feel good. I feel that I don't ask for much but then I look at how upset I get (seriously, I can't even concentrate at work) and just want my head to STOP. Instead, I start thinking of how unhappy it makes me and then I start thinking of other things like, why didn't he call me when he left (he had a dr's appt. and was heading back to work) instead of just before he got back to work. Did he do that on purpose so he didn't have to talk to me long? And on and on it goes. I've sent two texts because we hung up with me not hearing anything positive and I haven't heard from him. I want him to understand what I feel so he knows I'm not being this awful person to him on purpose. And I know the more I'm like this, the more withdrawn he is. But when things are good, why can't he just be more open. I wish I could know what it's like in his head and he in mine. I want to understand what it's like to have a hard time expressing feelings and maybe that would help me to chill out a bit.

And at this point, I feel like I'm going crazy. I HATE this condition, it is ruining my life and ruining my relationship.

 
Old 08-02-2011, 08:01 AM   #7
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Re: Driving myself and my boyfriend crazy ( ROCD )

Quote:
Originally Posted by Titans101 View Post
Your situation sounds like mine...from your boyfriend's point of view. My wife is very affectionate and at times I like it and others I feel so annoyed. If I really stopped in the moment and asked myself why I'm so annoyed by her wanting to give me a hug, I wouldn't have an answer, its just a feeling. I guarantee though, if you stopped with the affection for 2 days, he would notice because he enjoys the attention deep down even when hes annoyed by it. Weird huh? If you can even understand what I'm trying to say. If hes still with you and this has been going on for a while, then he loves you a lot. Don't over think it, just know that if he didnt love you, he would have been out the door the first week you started asking him if he loves you or not. Guys are just wired a little different...yeah, yeah, not ALL guys are the same... I read an article a few days ago that said men feel like they are spending quality time with you even if we are just in the same room together watching TV and not even speaking. While most women dont feel the same way unless there is conversation or touching. Thats exactly how i've felt all this time, but never heard it explained in those terms. I've said the same thing about if she would back off I would initiate more, and I do. I almost enjoy her being totally surprised by my sudden burst of affection.
I'm finally responding to what I wanted to when you first posted this so I hope you see it. In my rational moments (when I have them, lol) I understand most of why my bf behaves the way he does but when I'm wrapped up in my anxiety, it is so hard to reason with myself that he still cares.

I do think in some way that he probably isn't even aware of that he does like the affection/attention. It's certainly not to excuse him by any means but he is so unhappy with himself at the moment and he's admitted during some good conversations that we've had that when he's miserable he tends to unintentionally want to make others feel the same and he does this either verbally or by withdrawing.

It's also true what you said that he considers the few minutes we have before going to bed at night alone time (when that's all we get due to our schedules) when to me alone time is when we finally get a chance to connect even if it's just watching a tv show together.

When he does finally share, he's able to express that he really does have feelings for me and cares a great deal. But outwardly, he has a very difficult time showing it. He is fully aware of his shortcomings but when he's in his low moments, his attitude is "this is how I am" but when we have good conversations, he's totally willing to work harder. It was only his brother and him and it seems that his parents' divorce hit him the hardest and he really did blame himself (I've talked to one of his aunts who watched over him alot after his Mom left). He's the more sensitive of the two and I do believe he's shut down that side of himself long ago. There's been a few times where he's been vulnerable and he's actually reached out to me which has caught me off guard but tells me that he think he's just a scared little boy who never learned how to properly express himself.

We are both just in the beginnings of starting to work on ourselves so hopefully it'll be a good start. Anyways, thank you for sharing, I appreciate it.

 
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