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OCD and house guests




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Old 11-24-2018, 02:09 PM   #1
Clean Machine
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Unhappy OCD and house guests

I canít sleep, my brain wonít shut off with worry, and I think I may freak out. Iím having two close family members coming to stay with me for two weeks this Christmas. I was just told they would like to bring their grandkids for a ďfew daysĒ to stay at my house. One is a two year old. I couldnít say no because the grandmother is depressed and misses them. Itís actually the reason behind her visit to me. While I knew the grandparents were coming for several months now, I was only recently told the grandkids are coming. When I asked how many days, grandma became very defensive, asking me if this was a problem and I shouldnít be stressing. I said I am, as a matter of fact, stressing, and the phone conversation ended abruptly.

My house is not baby proof, and I have to worry about what to cook them for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. This all sounds innocent enough, but my OCD, which I hide from everyone as much as possible, is making this event a huge anxiety-producing situation.

My husband works from home, so I worry that he needs quiet.

My house is spotless, and I absolutely cannot deal with anything being out of order or touched. I clean constantly in between my regular job. The grandma mentioned she would cook for the children, but NO, I do not want this at all. No one touches my stove or kitchen cabinets but me. I have to have everything clean, neat, and spotless at all times.

I canít stop worrying about how dirty my house will become and how much work this is going to be for me. Iím worried about EVERYTHING. They will see my cleaning habits and remark negatively to me (I keep my fanatical cleaning habits under wraps. Only a few choice friends know about my OCD), they will think itís ok to use my kitchen, and it is not, they will have toys in places I donít allow, they will think Iím crazy for asking them to take off their shoes (germs!) along with various other house rules I have, and the thought of all this cooking for two weeks (for myself, spouse, son and these two other adults and children) is literally causing me to shake inside.

What happens if the kids touch things with sticky hands? What happens if they spill crumbs all over the floor, what happens if they ask for snacks to eat and go in other rooms to eat them? (Iíve raised my own kids, and they knew we only eat in the kitchen.)

I canít have a messy house, I just canít. My husband said we need to move some things around, like take away delicate lamps and crystal things I have on display, and the thought of having to change anything, disrupting my home, is making me very uptight and nervous. Iíve got the shakes and canít sleep.

Iíve got four weeks before they arrive. How do I cope? What do I do if the kids run around and I want to stop it, and grandma doesnít say a word to them? (This actually happened once.).

I know I sound neurotic, and maybe I am, but this is a message board for OCD, so Iím hoping someone else who canít stop cleaning will understand me and give me advice on how to get through this. I find Iím dreading Christmas and canít wait for it to be over. As it is this is a bad time of year for me, because I am missing lost loved ones and get depressed enough so that I donít decorate the house or listen to holiday music.

Does anyone think the grandma should not have put me in a position of having to allow her grandkids to stay here? I thought they would be visiting them daily by rental car. Is it a lot to ask of someone to bring kids into their home, not just on Christmas Day, but to stay for their time off from school? Iím feeling like it was a bit nervy.

 
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Old 11-24-2018, 04:31 PM   #2
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Re: OCD and house guests

Dear Clean Machine,

My opinion is to just say, I am very sorry, but this visit is not working out. I think sometimes OCD is from being afraid to say no or fear of disappointing someone.

Are you afraid you will lose their friendship if you say no? Did they think of coming to your place or was it your own idea? At any rate, regardless how they got invited, they both changed the plans with no regard for your preference. It is your home, and it's up to you to draw the line and very sweetly say no to whatever you don't want to happen at your home. Sweetly ask them to make other arrangements with the children, and if they get angry or upset, say you are sorry that this visit is not going to work out after all. If they ask why, just say my husband needs quiet for his work and I am not feeling well. Because you really are NOT feeling well now. There is no reason to blame them or criticize them. Just say "no body's fault, it isn't working out for me'.

Write it down and read it out loud several times. The worst that will happen is they might choose to not like you. It is impolite of guests to invite other guests or to assume you should accommodate more than you want to accommodate.


I don't have OCD, but definitely I would not want anybody's children I had not planned on to join an adult visit, both because I had not planned for it and because I would not want to deal with the children. If the ladies want that they need to do it on their own time in their own places.

Are the children the only reason they accepted your invitation? Or did they invite themselves, then invite the children to spend time at your place, too?

I personally really believe it is rude and presumptive to assume the children should be welcome in your place. However, it is your decision and responsibility to put your own foot down and determine your own limits.

OK, that said, what makes you think the ladies themselves would not touch your things?
I know you had wanted to help out, but you can just explain that my home is not a suitable place for children. I am sorry if you need to make other arrangements.

If they are disappointed orget angry, that's OK. If they are responsible adults they will get over it. If they are not they won't. It is up to them to respect your limits.

This is not about you having OCD. It is about a rather rude presumptive decision on the parts of the ladies.

Don't let this bother you. Make your own best decision for you and your home.
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Last edited by YaYagirl; 11-24-2018 at 04:34 PM.

 
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Old 11-24-2018, 04:49 PM   #3
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Re: OCD and house guests

It is YOUR home and YOU have the right to determine who comes to visit. Just very politely explain that your home is not set up for children and to do so would be impossible at this time. They are welcome to go visit the children at some other venue...perhaps spend a night or two in a local hotel with them. But you only invited the adults and it is rude and inconsiderate of them to invite others without getting it approved by you first. This has nothing to do with you being OCD...it has to do with them being rude....and it doesn't matter how old or depressed you are - rude is rude.

 
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Old 11-25-2018, 10:36 AM   #4
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Re: OCD and house guests

I think you just have to say no to any guests. They changed the rules. If you feel uncomfortable about it then just bow out. If they can't understand then so be it.

I am kind of like you, I don't like guests in my home and thinking I would have to change my habits or anything else.

Tell them they can stay at a hotel.

 
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Old 11-28-2018, 08:53 PM   #5
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Re: OCD and house guests

Thank you for your response. Actually, the guests are my brother and his wife. They recently moved away, and his wife is heartsick and missing her grandkids. She regrets the move. She cries daily, and I think my brother wants to give in to whatever will make her happyóat my expense. She had told me over the summer that she was coming up for Christmas and was staying with me. I never actually invited anyone. But I can deal with the two adults. I thought theyíd be visiting the grandkids daily by way of a rental car (they still plan on getting a rental car.)

It has only been sprung on me two weeks ago that the grandkids come ďfor a few days.Ē The next week, I asked how many days, and she became very defensive and said they were playing it be ear. Yeah, this is going to turn into the whole time these kids have winter break.

My sister-in-law is taking a very defensive stance and her tone is ďwhy, is it a problem??? Stop stressing.Ē I told her ďtoo lateĒ and with that, she nearly hung up and hasnít called me since. Anyone else would realize they are imposing and back off, but her need is so great to be with them 24/7, sheís willing to ignore me. Also, her defensive tone is said in a way that makes me look like the bad one.

Iím so upset about all of this, Iím finding that Iím cursing myself for being the way I am and so OCD about things. Normally, I am okay with who I am, but right now it causes a conflict of great proportions.

Why do I have such a hard time asserting myself? The fear of making my brother and his wife angry with me paralyzes me. I roll over in my head how I can make a phone call to them to discuss this as adults without terror overtaking me. What if his wife gets disgusted with me for thwarting her desire to have the kids with her every minute? What if my brother gets angry and I just ruined their ďvacationĒ to my house? What happens if this makes tension so great, Iíve wrecked relationships?

Why canít how I feel be respected? I guess thatís the bottom line: itís my home, and Iím being put out, and no one seems to be mindful of that.

I feel completely trapped and not in control.

 
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Old 11-28-2018, 08:57 PM   #6
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Re: OCD and house guests

Thank you for your very understanding post! Can you call them for me on my behalf? LOL.

 
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Old 11-28-2018, 11:54 PM   #7
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Re: OCD and house guests

Dearest Clean Machine,
(boy I wish I were more like you. I used to be but now I am too physically crippled up and don't have that kind of energy)

I was re-reading through the whole 'conversation' here and of course, it is so easy to be on the outside 'looking in', but you are the one that is living this situation.

Where is your husband about this whole scenario? Does he know what sisterinlaw has planned? is what she wants to do going to encroach on husband's enjoyment of his home?

Have you told him what brother and wife wants to do? I think really the whole solution starts with you opening up to hubbie, telling the truth that you didn't know what sisterinlaw was expecting of you and that you don't think it's feasible or a good idea and that you don't want to do it, but you don't know how to handle it.....talk it over with your partner. I mean it's fine to talk it out with us. But we don't live with any consequences, of course you have to....whatever they are.

I can say from my experience that we cannot please everyone all of the time and there are times we just have to say that doesn't work for me. I know it isn't easy. Brother might even know full well that it isn't a good idea for children to be in your home around your things, but feel like he can't say no to his wife. And, really, it's your home and your place to sweetly and empathetically say 'no, honey, as much as I want you to be able to visit with grandkids, our home is just not set up for that'.

Perhaps your husband would agree to help them rent a hotel room for a few nights? I don't know if that is even feasible or not. But I think you need to discuss all this with your husband, first, and be perfectly honest about where this has gone without blaming anyone. Then you two make a decision of what, if anything you can do, and then YOU talk with your brother, and explain what you can do and what your husband agrees that you are not to do and let HIM communicate this to his wife.

It is really all about boundaries...your space is between you and your husband.Your bother's life with his wife is all about them. You cannot fix their lives for them. But maybe there is some way you and your husband can help them out. You and hubby have to make your own decisions. These life issues are what having a partner is for. What brother and wife do is between them.

My adult children and my grandchildren moved away doing their own thing and it is not convenient at all to see them as much as I would like. I have to busy my life with other things. One thing I like to do is encourage people once in awhile here on this website. Hon, you cannot fix sisterinlaw's life for her. And if she chooses to blame you for whether she gets to see her grand kids you cannot control that. You can only be gracious and understanding. You can't fix her life.

I think the thing here for you to work on is to stop believing that you can someone how fix sister in law's problems or that you are in any way responsible to do so...because the truth is, you cannot, and you have NO responsibility to do so.

Just keep telling yourself the truth.
Be empathetic, but don't give in to anything that you really in your heart just do not think is the best thing to do.

If sisterinlaw blames you for her problems, and yes, she might, that is not anything you can control. I lost my so-called best friend over a disagreement...so what does that tell me about her? I realized that she doesn't respect me for who I am. It still hurts to this day. But I also know I am not the only one she has rejected. It is her pattern. I think it is from her own insecurity, which I cannot fix. Well, you cannot fix sisterinlaw either. She will either come to her senses and understand that she was asking for too much, or she will blame you. I personally pray she can let go of it.

Your own job is just to be as empathetic as you can with your brother when you convey the honest truth that this was ballooned way beyond what you can do for them or expected to do, and that your home is just not set up for children. Don't apologize for that. You did nothing wrong. You are doing nothing wrong. How far this went in sisterinlaw's mind was done in her own mind. You didn't make it happen.

People are not perfect or mind readers. She was just hoping and now she is feeling sad. If you can just be understanding and forgive her and be empathetic and leave the problem between your brother and his wife, I think that is the very best thing for you esp. but also for her and all of you.

Love and great empathy for all of you,
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Last edited by YaYagirl; 11-29-2018 at 12:10 AM.

 
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Old 11-29-2018, 12:48 AM   #8
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Re: OCD and house guests

On the other hand, if you just cannot bring yourself to say no, then bite the bullet so to speak and do put things away that you don't want broken, and lock doors to rooms that they cannot be in.

Make some rules and let the adults know that you expect them to honor them.
But if something gets broken keep in mind that it is just a thing and new things can be bought.

I sure feel for you! I know this is so hard on you.
Whatever you decide and no matter what happens we can empathize with you so let us know how things go!
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Old 11-29-2018, 11:13 AM   #9
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Re: OCD and house guests

Just remember this old adage:
"Never Complain, Never Explain"

Quit worrying and trying to explain yourself to these people or anyone else. Just do what you need to do for your sanity.

That means the brother and sister in law can stay in a hotel and then they can see their grand kids as much or as little as they want. Or they rent a temp place and do the same. Bottom line, if you can't deal with them then don't.

 
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Old 11-30-2018, 06:27 AM   #10
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Re: OCD and house guests

Have you made any progress?
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Old 12-01-2018, 04:06 PM   #11
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Re: OCD and house guests

YaYa Girl, thanks for your reply. Yes, my husband and I have discussed this problem together. He is not happy about the situation, either.

There IS a new development. Sis in law and I have spoken several times on the phone, and I took the approach of being a bit blunt. I said a few things to her as politely as I could. I told her that my husband and son work from the home and need it quiet. I also told her that in my kitchen, I do the cooking. I reiterated that I need to plan things in advance because I have limited time to shop, and I also said I know we would manage because the kids would only be staying for just a few days. (But her plan is to have them the full two weeks until school starts again.)

I know I have insulted her by the tone of her voice and defensive stance.

An hour later she called me back and told me she had a change of plans. She said they are going to stay with one of her sisters so I wouldn't get stressed out. She said there was nothing more to discuss.

Of course Iím enormously relieved, but I never wanted them to not feel welcome. I was on board with two adults as visitors but I never signed up for little kids. She blindsided me. I think, however, I may have caused some very hurt feelings. I donít even know if they are coming Christmas Day.

I know sheís been very depressed and pining for these kids, but I think my housing two adults meant she needed to sacrifice a little and run back and forth to the kidsí home 40 minutes away on a daily basis while here with me. I donít think her expectations of my putting all of them up was fair to me.

I sincerely hope I havenít ruined relationships, but it was either that, or my sanity!

 
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Old 12-01-2018, 04:11 PM   #12
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Re: OCD and house guests

Thank you jfms! The replies Iíve received on this board gave me the courage I needed to politely explain to my house guests that the house needs quiet and only I cook in my kitchen. Youíre rightóI should not have to explain all of this.

Iíve created hurt feelings, I think, but in a way, I think my sis in law is feeling a bit entitled. She has now decided not to stay with me. I feel better.

 
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Old 12-03-2018, 02:56 AM   #13
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Re: OCD and house guests

Look at YOU!

You go, girl! I am so happy for you! You drew a very healthy boundary and were very kind about it! That is the best we ever can do, and is all we are responsible to do. I think you handled yourself very well. The truth is that your home simply isn't a suitable place for visiting with the children the way she wanted.

Yes, sisterinlaw may have been disappointed (or even very embarrassed at her assumptions, we cannot know). But the more you leave her emotions with her and just be happy for her the easier it will be for her to realize that she got the better solution. We don't really know what others think or feel. We can read things in from our own fears and worries. The more you let go of her side of it the quicker things will smooth out between you. Soon she will be experiencing a much better situation and if she is at all a reasonable person that will do much to help her see that looking to you was just not the best idea.

She likely had not even thought about her plans being a possible hardship for you. We really do not know the workings of another person's mind. It's best to not try to guess.
If she is an unreasonable person that would be on her and there is nothing you can do to change it.

I am very happy for you. I think that even after a misunderstanding, most of the time when we have healthy boundaries without blaming others for what they want that we don't want to give then relationship glitches will eventually iron themselves out.

If you send Christmas or greeting cards, you could show good will by writing a very short little note to your brother and sisterinlaw that you look forward to seeing them or all being together at Christmas. Then leave that ball in their court.
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