I could do with some supportive comments or advice. I have been with my boyfriend for a year on the 21st this month. Last year I was diagnosed with a general anxiety disorder however I think I am also suffering from OCD. I have struggled with many intrusive thoughts over the last two years and one by one I have dealt with them.
However this time I am really struggling. I am obsessing over my relationship and having severe doubts and not like any normal person would. I feel extreme guilt that I might not love him or want to be with him anymore and its causing me extreme distress. I am not unhappy in my relationship we are at a stage where we are very comfortable with one another and he is an amazing boyfriend. I see him a lot and we enjoy eachother's company but these thoughts are creeping up on me all the time. How can I feel this way when he knows how much he loves me?
We have always been bad for arguments and what comforts me is that I never ever end it with him no matter how hurt I can be and I will always stick around to resolve things, call him when he leaves in a fury. So if i do this I must love him?! These thoughts are making me sick so much so I feel the only option I have is to break up with him then they will go away. But then the thought of me breaking his heart kills me. I am sick of analyising everything and not being able to just 'be' without constant questions in my mind. Without googling everything! He deserves better than this and I don't want to feel this guilt anymore when all he does is love me.
What upsets me the most if what if this is truly how I feel? What if I don't love him and what if the solution is to break up with him? I don't want this to be the case!
Sorry to hear you are having such a rough time of it, raxw. What you are describing sounds very much like OCD. Unwanted intrusive anxiety causing obsessive thoughts, compulsive need to try and analyze or dwell on those thoughts to prove to yourself its not really true. Its not at all uncommon for conditions like GAD and OCD to occur together so your suspicions may very well be correct.
So now for some advice. Let me start by saying I'm not a medical professional or mental health expert, just someone who has been dealing with OCD for about 20 years and learning lessons along the way. The first thing to realize is that OCD is a disorder caused by malfunctioning in parts of the brain. Essentially those of us with OCD have difficulty because our brain fails to filter out some of the random noise thoughts that everyone gets AND causes us to get stuck in an anxiety mode. Non-OCD people can quickly and easily (relative to us) shift their brains and dismiss these type of thoughts. EVERYONE gets doubtful anxious thoughts that seem to come out of nowhere, but unlike us their brain doesn't push them for absolute proof.
The thing with OCD is that it basically causes us to lose perspective on our doubts. A person who fears contamination say, could know that the odds of getting infected with something deadly from touching a doorknob are 1 billion to 1. A non-OCD person would easily say "well yeah of course i'll touch the doorknob" because their brain accepts the probabilities and odds and moves on. The OCD person becomes stuck on that minute chance and blows it out of proportion, often realizing it logically makes no sense to do so. In your case you're brain is latching on to small doubts and worries and magnifying them out of control. A non-OCD person would have the worry, look at it and say, that's silly of course I love him, and move on.
But there is good news. Despite our brains defective behavior, we CAN learn to function like a non-OCD person does, in essence retraining our brain. Through Cognotive Behavioral Therapy (and sometimes with the assistance of medication) you can learn how to become more aware of your obsessive thoughts and learn how to respond to them (or not respond really). See, everytime we give in to our compulsive urges to try and defeat the thought and gain short term relief, we are giving the thought long term strength. OCD is a tricky disease that way. Naturally you want to try and eliminate something that makes you nervous or unhappy, so you try and argue your way out of it, or analyze it, to PROVE to yourself it can't possibly be true. Unfortunately the OCD drives us to seek 100% certainty, an unattainable goal. The trick is to realize that these thoughts happen, that they come from your OCD, and that they are just garbage thoughts, beyond your control, that don't hold any deeper meaning. Once you begin to recognize these thoughts as coming from your OCD, the next step is to stop yourself from engage in the compulsive analysis and internal debate about them. Its hard, at first it means living with anxiety the thoughts cause. In time, however, the anxiety will fade and you'll be teaching your brain that that thought isn't worth worrying about because its not really how you feel. How do you know its not how you really feel? Because of this:
" I don't want this to be the case! "
You fear the thoughts being real, because your TRUE desire is that they aren't.
If you aren't already working with a therapist I highly recommend you do so. There are also numerous good books on OCD that can help you understand and combat the condition effectively. A quick search on Amazon or looking through the Health Boards Anxiety Center (linked above your post) would be a good place to start.
I hope some of this has helped, feel free to ask me if you have any other questions, i'm glad to help!
Thank you so much for your reply! I really appreciate you taking the time to help!
The thing is when I seen that you had quoted what I had said 'I don't want this to be the case'.. My obsessions kick in again. What if I had only written that to try and convince myself, and everyone reading that I do love him? I hate not being able to trust any of my own thoughts or feelings! We are arguing very much at the moment where I feel maybe we are over? But I feel a great sadness and something holding me on to him and I really don't want this to happen. I just want change! I think with my obsessive thoughts I really do begin to withdraw from him and I find it very difficult to be close to him with such anxious feelings. He is my best friend in the world and I have spoken to him about how I am feeling and his responses are amazing. He is very supportive- again this makes me feel a HUGE wave of guilt that I am just not good enough for him because I feel reversed I would be hurt and angry. Which leads to me thinking I don't love him the same as he loves me.. It's a constant cycle to be honest that I know is really effecting our relationship. Does OCD usually come with a lot of stress? It seems I am becoming more and more stressed and unable to deal with it at times. This leads to a very short temper! Even when the OCD isn't at it's worst. Anyway- Again thank you SO Much for your reply and if ever you are in need of a shoulder I will listen intently !
"The thing is when I seen that you had quoted what I had said 'I don't want this to be the case'.. My obsessions kick in again. What if I had only written that to try and convince myself, and everyone reading that I do love him? I hate not being able to trust any of my own thoughts or feelings! "
The amount of time I've been stuck on those What If's myself, heh. I know the feeling, but here's the thing, there is never going to be a way to be 100% sure. Not because you have OCD, but because that's life. Its not that people without OCD are ever 100% sure (though often people phrase it that way in language) its that they are sure ENOUGH. OCD creates a problem where we feel like we need to be 100% ABSOLUTELY sure and since that's an unattainable goal we will always fall short.
So what you have to do is stop worrying about being 100%. So easy! HA right. Its hard, sometimes more than other times, but you'll have to work at it. But you CAN beat it.
Remember, you can't control the thoughts that come in to your head from your unconscious mind, and the ones that cause you the most anxiety are going to be the ones that you notice most often. Its kinda like buying a new car and suddenly noticing all the other cars like yours that are out there. Before you probably wouldn't have noticed, but the cars were still there. Same with these random thoughts. They have always been there, for you and for everyone! OCD just makes us notice them more than we otherwise would.
There is nothing you, or I, or anyone else can say that will be able to prove to you 100% that you love your boyfriend. Its just not possible. But you don't need to have that 100% proof to live a happy, fulfilling life. You just have to start not feeding the doubts.
I recommend Brain Lock as a good book that explains how and why OCD affects us and gives some tools you can use to confront and start to overcome your OCD.
Regarding stress absolutely. OCD causes stress and it can be made worse because of stress, which means it can make itself worse! Which sucks. You just have to start making conscious choices to not feed the beast. When you have an OCD thought, don't try and fight it. Just let it happen, even if it makes you anxious. In time by NOT giving in to compulsions like mentally reviewing your feelings or ruminating on your doubts, the OCD will fade. Your brain will get bored of the thought and move on. Its natural. Its hard at first, but the hard work is worth the payoff in the end.
Sorry to hear that you are having similar problems.. It's not nice at all is it?
Is your situation pretty similar to mine? What's so irritating is I am listening to this advice (thank you ) and know it is true and this is what needs to happen however I seem to doubt (again) that I'll manage to achieve these methods and that for some reason it just won't work for me. I am my own worst enemy and I know I am haha.
I am now starting to doubt that this may be OCD seeing as I have never actually been told this is what I do have, I do not have ANY other symptoms of OCD other that doubt and intrusive thoughts. No compulsions or anything! I do have an anxiety disorder however this is under control. So could it just be that I might just not love him!?
One of the ways that OCD can manifest is in a form called "Pure-O" by many people, the idea being that you suffer from the obsessions but don't have any compulsions. In reality the compulsions are usually there, they just aren't obvious or external. I am very familiar with this type of OCD because its what I suffer from.
Instead of manifesting as physical compulsions (like washing, checking, counting, etc.) my compulsions are mental. When I have an anxious obsessive thought my response is in my head, I try and fight the thought. I compulsively analyze the thought, try to prove to myself it can't possibly be true, going through cycle of responses followed by OCD driven what if questions to keep me doubting. I also engage in more subtle physical behaviors such as avoidance of situations that might involve facing my anxiety, or giving in to the "flight" part of the the anxiety driven "fight or flight" response by fleeing (seldom as dramatic as it sounds) situations where I've become anxious.
Even reassurance seeking, constantly asking others if your feelings are real or not, etc. is a form of a compulsion. Its part of the fact that OCD sufferers can have hard time with wanting absolute certainty about the things they fear.
The best thing you can do is share your concerns with a mental health professional. They will be able to help you determine if this is OCD, anxiety etc. and help you put together a plan to begin improving things again.
You are seeking reassurance. That is the compulsive part. I've suffered off and on for thirty or forty years and it's just recently that my horrible thoughts have centered on relationship issues. You are NOT alone, and I believe you love your boyfriend very much. It is the OCD that is showing its ugly face and trying to make you think differently. I've been happily married for almost 40 years, my husband is my obsession ( in a good way I love being with him, laughing, joking, going out on dates and generally just being intimate, sexually or not. So I get this out of the blue thought, "I love my doctor." This is enough to make me crazy! I certainly don't love my doctor, he's a nice person and I respect the profession. But this thought of loving my doctor makes me uneasy and brings up scary feelings that my marriage won't last and that my life will unravel. It literally makes me sick to my stomach. It's funny that in the AM i am always visiting my rational mind and coming to terms with the garbage. But in the afternoon, I am only mildly upset, and I can dismiss the thought without too much trouble. What I am saying is this, Don't let your OCD control you. You are a strong person involved in a mutually satisfying relationship. Let the truth prevail! Turn your back on your OCD thoughts as they don't matter at all. And if you are still struggling, let me know, OK?
Thank you so much Paisleyprincess for your reply! After my first post, like I usually do, I got on with things and we celebrated our one year anniversary very happily! However yesterday I completely hit a brick wall. I felt like I was going to burst I was thinking so much, feeling so much. He instantly knew something was wrong and I completely broke down. I have come to the point where I am thinking my only solution to this is to end my relationship. This saddens me but it doesn't make me feel distraught, and I know he would take it harder than me. And this just adds to another reason I feel I must not love him. It's never ending! We discussed that we spend too much time together and that we don't do enough for ourselves. So we have decided to see less of each other, I have since then come home from work to just relax and I feel happy. This spikes a huge feeling of guilt in me that I am happy without him! I was out with some friends and the weekend too and I had such a good time and I felt guilty then too. It's like I feel I shouldn't be happy when I am without him and I know this is crazy.
I am in a terrible job just now where my hours have been cut and I am really struggling to find new work. And I am so angry at myself for trying to ruin the ONE thing that actually works for me, my boyfriend adores me and looks after me and we are content and happy with one another. If I don't feel the butterflies all the time, I panic. If we're not laughing 24/7 or talking 24/7 I panic and think 'we must have no passion'. I am sabotaging our relationship and genuinely believe I don't know how to be happy. It sounds ridiculous but that's how I feel.
How do I know that the reason I'm holding on to this is because I don't want to hurt him? Because when I see him cry or broken, I break! And when I think about this I think I am a monster who is using him and I have to let him go for his sake and let him be loved by someone who can love him properly without doubts. I'm scared to spend less time with him in case I find I do like being without him. I am terrified of my own thoughts and feelings and I just ccan't work them out I am back and forth like a yoyo and just want to enjoy him, enjoy our relationship without feeling like someone who is completely insane. He doesn't deserve to be treated like this, yet he always supports me!
Sorry for the essay, I just really need to explain to people who understand! And if you ever need to rant, I am very interested in helping you too!
All i can say, for myself and my situation is that i feel a massive sense of safety and security with my boyfriend. This gives me a big amount of comfort that my feelings for him are still there. I too find it very difficult to control my temper with him when im feeling tense but i find that if you explain to your partner exactly yoyr feelings, she may understand and then the arguments may not be so heated! As hard as it was for my boyfriend to hear he has been a.massive support to me! Sharing everything gives you a great release, it may not solve anything but it does unburden you, if only just a little bit! Be hopeful that you are still hanging in there, that must be a positive thing right? :-)
Sometimes when my level of worry seems to rise (you never know when) I get a very sick feeling in my stomach, too. Mornings seem to be worse for me, often when I wake at night I feel it, too. I do have meds for anxiety, and after taking a pill, my stomach settles down and feels fine. Living with anxiety/fear isn't much fun and I can surely sympathize with your feelings. Regarding relationship OCD, I wouldn't try to figure things out while you are feeling anxious and confused. Once your anxieties/OCD symptoms are leveled out, the struggle with your relationship will work itself out. Take some time to be good to yourself. Although your relationship is very important, it can wait til you feel better and are in a better position to cope with your true feelings.
Thanks brandongem :-) i try to get on this as much as i can but its not often. Feel like i am goi g to burst tonight and somethings screaming at me to break up with him! God is this my onlu option! Im seeing him tonight and gonna have to keep a lid on this!
I have been in a similar situation, maybe the truth is you are not in love with him but you love him as a person or friend? It doesn't make you a bad person, or it could be that you are seeking reassurance like many of us with OCD do as was previously stated. Maybe reach out to a friend or relative to give you some feedback on what you may be feeling. Good luck with everything xo
Brandongem I honestly cannot thank you enough for your reply. I really appreciate your support and I loved your wolf quote and I really can relate to it.
Just a little update on my situation.. I have made the decision to take a break from my relationship just now. For personal reasons and with this all bubbling about in my head I feel I just cannot continue as normal and things need to change. I need to have a serious think and work out what is going through my head. We both cried HYSTERICALLY but I kind of feel relieved. Relieved to not be hiding this from him and relieved to have some time to myself to sort this out. Of course I'm still battling myself and everytime I come close to the decision that maybe I don't want to be with him I start to well up.. but I just need to see how I feel without him for a while and hopefully things become clearer. The way I feel is that I WANT to want to be with him and I WANT to love him I'm just struggling with these feelings.
Is there anything I can help you with? And do not read this and feel this applies to your relationship and please do not worry this is the only solution for you too. Every relationships different an you seem to have a really good grip of your OCD. Let me know if you need anything off your chest? I'm happy to listen and offer any help where I can!
Hello, I am going through the exact same thing with my now fiance. We have been together for over 5 years, and we got engaged a few months ago. We're planning the wedding for this September and every decision that brings us closer to the day fills me with anxiety. I'm dreading the moment we have to actually make a non-refundable deposit. Anyway, I don't have any answers about how to handle this. I'm curious what you have been through since you broke up with your boyfriend?