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coping with a spouse that has ocd
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123vicki posted:
My husband has severe ocd. I am finding it very hard to deal with. I feel like I am not a very good spouse because I don't fully understand. My husband does not seem to process anything anyone tells him on how HE has to handle his problem. It has become everyone in the family's problem. Right now, his main compulsion is to ask the same question over and over and over and over about what seems to be 10 or 20 times right behind one another. I get uncontrolably angry. It has been a little over two years since this problem occured and seems to have gotten worse. I go to therapy with him and that does not help much. Is there anything else that could be contributing to his behavior? He will eventually go from this behavior to another with time. He has been taking Luvox for about 4 weeks and he has shown little improvement if any at all. Some days I feel like I am going to loose my mind. Our marriage is not what it suppose to be right now. I wonder how much I really love him with the attiude that I have. I have never been around anyone who had this promblem or heard of it before now. I need help understand what I can do to improve myself so I can better cope with this illness. HELP!
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cjh1203 responded:
It's very understandable that you find his behavior so difficult to deal with, and that at times you lose your patience. What a difficult thing for both of you to live with. Having your feelings doesn't make you a bad person.

If therapy hasn't helped, maybe he needs to go to someone else. And if his medication isn't working, his doctor should be working to find a dosage or a medication that does. Is his doctor aware that he isn't getting any better? I'm sure there's a lot of hard work, as well as trial and error, in making progress against OCD.

You might want to consider getting counseling on your own, or see if there is a support group in your area -- if there's not one specific to OCD, maybe one for mental health in general. Something like this is bound to put a huge strain on your relationship, and you need to use whatever resources you can find to help you.

Good luck. I know you have lots of challenges ahead of you, and I hope things will start to improve.
 
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TrudyGERD responded:
If he only started medication 4 weeks ago then you can't really expect much difference yet. It takes time to titrate up to the correct theraputic dose which will vary by person. It takes a good 6 weeks on each dose before his doctor can try adjusting to a new level so it really is a long process to get to the right dose, assuming he's even on the best medication for him.

On top of that, medication is not magic. The medication will allow him to cope with learning how to deal with the OCD. It enables him to do the hard worth that he has to do in order to cope. He'll need regular counselling for a while in order to learn coping strategies and even to recognize for himself when his OCD is taking over. This isn't something you can do for him. He has to be willing to do it for himelf. I don't even understand why you're attending his therapy. he has to commit to this hard work.

You do love him, that much is clear. This is the for worse part of for better or for worse. As long as he is demonstrating that he's working on this they try hard to remember that you're his support system. The problem will be if he chooses to not work towards his own treatment. If that happens then only you can decide if you can sit by his side while he refuses help or treatment.
 
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SuperJFly responded:
I'm explaining some of my story to see if any of it rings a bell, helps you feel less alone. When I try to explain it to friends they look at me like I'm crazy! It doesn't help. Reaching out to other spouses in the same boat does.

I honestly don't know if you can fully understand, and I think the best thing you can do for yourself is to first give yourself a sense of forgiveness by knowing that you can't entirely understand BUT you are trying, and that's a lot.

My husband has severe OCD/OCPD. Living with it can be...exhausting. Draining. There are days I don't feel like a good wife either. For me, we've been aware of this for years, and he's tried various medications, is currently on Luvox and Klonopin (for anxiety).

Luvox helps my husband more than other medications he has tried (Celexa, Paxil, Prozac, Wellbutrin, a few I'm forgetting.) One or two of those medications made him very angry, and I mean enraged. Being in close contact with his doctor and being able to speak openly about your concerns is important. For us, there are things I have seen that my husband wasn't aware of, or when he was aware he was too busy beating himself up over it to realize something could be done.

It's been hard.

Today, the thing that sent me looking for support was very simple. It was the way his pencils were lined up. To me, they are just a mess. To him, they look "right". He tries to explain, that it looks like a mathematical equation to him, and there is a pattern. If the pattern isn't "right" it just grates on him, causes him severe anxiety. I don't see the pattern, and I don't know if I'll ever be able to understand what "right" is. What helps me feel compassion for him in those moments is to know that he's never felt like anyone would ever understand what "right" is, and how alienating and horrible that would feel.

The part of my husband's OCD that is the most difficult is how obstinate he can be. We've been through a lot of therapy and I know he becomes defensive and then angry when he feels doubted, or when he knows he is different and can't help it. When he is embarrassed, he is angry. His anger is the hardest part. He is willing to stay in therapy with me. We go every two weeks. I wish we went more often. It's the only time I can say what I need to and know he isn't going to yell at me. That sounds wretched, and it is. We agree to save "hot button" topics for therapy, and that's made life together easier. He is willing to do this. Is your husband willing to try to meet you somewhere in the middle? You say therapy isn't helping much. Have you tried different therapists? Finding one that is a good fit for both of you can be hard. We've been through a few, and have a great one now.

I know what you mean about going from this behavior to the next one. On bad days I just wonder when this one will end and then, oh no, what will the next one be? What if it's harder to deal with? Can I do this forever?

Illnesses like OCD are a family problem. Yes, it is HIS problem, but everyone is either part of the solution or not. But the same goes for him. Does he seem like he's trying?

Being able to talk to a therapist on your own about how difficult it is may ease your feelings a bit. Sometimes I call up the shrink on an emergency basis because yah, I'm going to lose MY mind. I get so angry, so fed up. It helps to (it sounds horrible but you may understand) feel like I can go in and tattle on him, basically. Just rapid fire list off all the annoying things he's doing and get it off my chest. It is positive, though. It helps the shrink get a more complete idea of what's going on.

I've been doing "this" for years and it's hard. So very hard. At times my husband will cry and tell me how grateful he is that I'm trying because no one else ever has.

It's up to you to decide if it's all worth it. I think mine is, but I have my moments, too.

I hope I have helped you feel supported in some way.
  • hugs*
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    lamarguy responded:
    And big hugs to all of you with a family member with OCD....my best friend has a son with it...so much stress but he is doing better and apologizes when he gets off on something...he appreciates his dad a lot...his mom is much the same way...I dont know what they take medication wise but I know something is working. My thoughts are with you. Huggy
     
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    SuperJFly responded:
    I recently realized that my husband doesn't take Luvox anymore. That was the last one and it made him very sleepy. His doctor switched him to an older medication used for OCD, called Anafrinil. It's made more difference than the other meds have, plus very recently took him off of Klonopin and put him on Xanax instead. Easing his anxiety seems to help with the way he interacts with other people, kind of... offering him a way to spend less time wound up about something inside his head, you know? The Anafrinil is a bugger for killing the sex drive, though. But some days, that's the least of our concerns, right?

    How is it going? Have you found any answers? I've been checking out this site:

    www.aetv.com/obsessed/video/index.jsp?bcpid=21711659001&bclid=29084025001&bctid=29286227001

    Some of the videos made me weep, like, YES! That's it! It's driving me batty too! Maybe it could help if you still feel the need to understand the condition.

    Good luck...
     
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    sj2777 responded:
    Just wanted to give you (((hugs)))).

    My boyfriend of seven years has mild OCD and Tourettes and I know even a mild case is frustrating. Previous posters have given you excellent advice.

    I wish you & your husband nothing but the best in life!
     
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    raEoTraE responded:
    I am just getting online as a new person with a new life, and now I'm looking onto the whole next set of issues Ihave to deal with-bitterness and resentment. I wonder how your marriage and your situation has become now; maybe its resolved itself one way or another.
    My wife has severe, severe, severe OCD - did I say severe? For example, she would have me check my son over (now two years, 3 months) every night to see if there was anything on him that had similarities with a needle mark. If it had similarities with one, if it was too CLOSE to having similarities with one, or if I messed up with my words describing how it wasn't similar, then she would INSIST that I take him to a doctor to get his opinion. If that doctor said that he didn't know, then she would insist that I not come home and that I go straight to the next one. On and on that would go until sunrise and she got the answer that she wanted to hear. Why?! Well, if there was a needle mark, that meant that somebody snuck up to my son and poked him with an AIDs-infected needle and that he now has AIDs and is going to die very soon (like tomorrow). This is but one of many examples of the insane situation I lived in (I know what you mean about him going from this behavior to another over time).
    If I threatened to stop the enabling behavior she would guilt me, blame me for things that I did to cause her to be this way, that we're doing it for now while she (slowly) gets help, blah, blah, blah (insert one of the many manipulative statements that only a spouse of OCD could possibly understand). The final threat she would put on me was that I should leave. Well, I believed marriage was in sickness and health and that there was never an excuse for divorce except in extreme cases of infidelity. However sad, I began wondering which I wanted to do more; get a divorce or just die. I found myself driving on the freeway going 70 with my seatbelt off and just hoping that somebody would pull in front of me.
    People kept telling me that I just have to say no to her. I thought, "they just don't understand how she gets," or "she's not your average case, this one is different...." Well, she had made it clear that if I was going to say 'no,' that I would have to leave the house. I had no way of knowing if she was bluffing, and what if I tried to call a bluff and it wasn't really a bluff?!
    Well, everything came to a head over the 2 1/2 years this went on and she worked on me and worked on me until I was willing to accept divorce and the consequences of divorce. I went to a lawyer and they informed me that leaving the house was not considered abandonment by the courts, and (as long as I still was making attempt to see my son) didn't have any affect on custody at all whatsoever. Anybody can just decide to pack their bags and leave for a day, week, or whatever.
    So, armed with this information, I dug my heals in and said, "NO MORE!" The more I said it, the more the emotions from years of being controlled and abused started rising to the surface. I found myself secretly begging that she'd say to pack my bags again so that I could leave. Then I started growing more and more strong with each no-in a matter of minutes. I started saying that "you could tie me down to a table, cut me open with a scalpel, and pour lemon juice in my open wounds and I'd STILL say no!" I meant it,too!
    I'd promised my dad-recently diagnosed with terminal cancer-that I would repeat 'I love you, but this is not up for discussion' for at least 3 straight days-even if I got no sleep whatsoever.
    Within a couple days she said that God had given her an epiphany and she saw all that she's done, and she wasn't going to let OCD destroy her family.
    They problem now is that I've brought myself to a place where I'm ready to leave her. The one thing I'll leave you with is what my mentor told me, "bitterness is like drinking poison to try and make the other person die."
     
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    Francesfriend responded:
    My husband has OCD. He was recently told he has it. Eveveryone in his family has it. They are all in denial of their problems. They were raised to think what was done to them and how they were raised was normal. It was totaly not. Their parented controled them and picked at them because everything had to be so perfect.
    I get really stressed out because when my husband comes home at night he inspects the entire house inside and out. He has to adjust everything. I get so sick of it I just can't stand to see him walk in the door anymore. I tell him he is doing this. He just shakes his head no. He does not believe me. He will not except the fact that he can't walk through a room with out adjusting the slightest thing on a table. He even yells at our dog like the dog will understand what he is not suppose to do.
    What should I do to cope with this.
     
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    An_242366 replied to raEoTraE's response:
    I have had one of those days where it is very hard and I needed to read about others dealing with this as well. I have been married to my husband with OCD for 8 years. The first few years were very stressful. He had never told anyone and did not want to deal with his problem. We were both so stressed that just getting through our daily life was all we could do. Once he realized that I wasn't leaving and once he realized that seeing a counselor and telling his family would help him cope better... things have been better. Life is still hard we still deal with it on a daily basis, but we deal with it better. My husband's OCD keeps me from living in my own home. I cannot touch anything or do anything without him getting upset. Some days are worse than others. I've been sick the past few days and not sleeping so I have been on edge myself. Tonight he made a comment that I have been upsetting him all day with things I have been doing around the house. I was so mad I told him I live in this house too. What am I suppose to do.

    I have not been able to live in my own home for years. It is very hard. He appologized. I know it is hard for him too. I always feel guilty when I get upset, but today I had had enough. I am a person too, and I have feelings. I need to be able to live in this home and I don't care if I hurt his feelings. I have spent the last 8 years trying not to hurt his feelings. He needs to know how this affects me too.

    My heart forgives very easily and after posting this will no longer be angry, but I needed to vent. Sometimes I just want to scream at the top of my lungs and say do you understand what I have given up for you. I then always remind myself how hard it is for him, and I can feel his pain and suffereing too. I can at least get away from it, but this is always with him. He has no relief. Counseling and meds helped some in the past, but for now we are coping on our own. It will take us both to be motivated to try and make life better.. hopefully sometime soon
     
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    An_245277 responded:
    I have finally turned to the WEB for help. Never thought of it until now. I've been married 25 years to a great guy. I found it refreshing that he was very particular about his belongings and keeping things straightened up. My previous relationship was with a man who would wear badly wrinkled shirts and simply did not care. He was bright and well accomplished- he just didn't care about keeping things neat.

    When I met my husbands co-workers - one girl pulled me aside and said the people who worked with him wanted to ask me if he
    starched his underwear... hmmmm looking back- maybe I should have read more into that.

    Honestly, it has been a pleasure having someone who cares about keepin things nice and in order-

    For 12 years, I had a job that required 10 moves- almost annually. It was when the "dis-order" that naturally happens when a person moves that Dr. Jeckly and Mr. Hyde came out. My husband was simply unbearable.

    This is when the OCD surfaced it's ugly head. The disorder was simply more than he could bear.

    Sadly, life is not orderly and as immediate family members passed away- the OCD has become absolutely unbearable. Guess, I should talk to a professional. My husband has an extremely difficult time dealing with death- hey, don't we all??? Well- as the disorder is named.. Obsessive- Compulsive....
    He has become Bitter and Angry and Critical beyond belief. I am not sure how to help him.

    During our marriage, he has reloaded the dishwasher because I can't do it correctly. He insists on doing his own laundry because I can't complete his laundry to his satisfactionl. This has flowed now to meal time as well. He is pushing me away from every aspect of his life and says he wants to go on vacations alone.

    Pretty serious stuff and maybe our marriage can't be salvaged. At what point is a person staying out of love. The verbal criticism and looks from him because I don't do things in the manner he would are very hurtful.

    I find I am shutting down. I try everything to please him knowing how important "order" is to him.

    I really don't know what to do. He has never taken any medication for this as it seemed manageable- as long as I kept the home orderly-- he was ok.

    Anyway.. I am thankful to finally put my feelings down and it seems my situation is pretty serious... I'll search for someone for me to talk to.

    Good luck to everyone.
     
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    jdb11585 responded:
    Hello,
    I was in the process of trying to find a support group about exactly what you wrote about here. Everything you said here..I'm going through and have been going through for around 4 years now. I feel like I have no one to talk to that understands me and I need a friend that is a woman that is going through the same thing I'm going through. I'm curious as to how you are dealing with this problem now...Can you help me??


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