February 14, 2011

Family Stuff

This isn’t directly related to my OCD, but I just have to vent.  I am really struggling with my family these days.  So many emotional things are coming up for me, and as a result – my OCD is affected.    
I definitely came from a dysfunctional family.  My parents had a very co-dependant, traditional “male chauvinist” relationship.  My father is a huge perfectionist (I would say OCPD actually), and was HIGHLY critical of me when I was growing up.  I have no idea why he targeted me – he was critical of my siblings as well, but not as much.  My dad and I fought – LIKE CRAZY – from the time that I was about 10 years old.  He yelled.  And was very threatening.  He never physically abused me.  And he never actually said things like: “you’re a loser and you’re never going to make anything of yourself”.  But he implied a lot of things by the way he said them. 
I have worked for years to come to terms with my father, and my relationship with him.  I am quite certain this is one of the reasons my OCD has latched onto ROCD and HOCD.  Though I now know that the way my father treated me was more due to his limitations than my defectiveness – I have some core beliefs that are tough to change.  For example – it took me a long time to realize that not every man is like my father.  (Due to my relationship with my (recent) ex-boyfriend – I now know this.)  During times of struggle though – this is something that I revert to.  It’s hard for me to trust men.  Since becoming an adult and working through some of this – things at times - have become downright nasty with my father.  I have had to throw him out of my house due to the way he treated me.  Through all of this - I think I have become better at two things:  accepting him (and his limitations) for who he is, and setting better boundaries. 
Now that my mom is terminally ill – a number of emotions and family issues have come to the surface.  My mom has always been my protector.  She’s always seen my side, understood me, and taken care of me.  She has been there for me NO MATTER WHAT.  What will happen when she is gone?  This scares me to death.  Honestly – I don’t know what will happen to my family; especially my relationship with my dad. 
At the same time I am experiencing a lot of feelings about my siblings – mostly feelings of disappointment.  My sister lives thousands of miles away from us, and our relationship has been less-than-ideal for many months due to other circumstances too long to discuss in this blog.  But right now I’m really angry and disappointed with her for the way she has handled my mom’s illness.  We found out in March of 2010 that my mom’s cancer had returned, and since discovering this information, she has not once visited my parents.  She has had a very arm’s length involvement with my mom through all of this. 
My brother isn’t much better.  Though he lives about five minutes away from my parents, his attitude is one of “if I have time I’ll help out”, and it seems that he has resigned himself to the inevitable.  I live four hours away from my parents but it is like pulling teeth to get my brother to attend a doctor’s appointment with them if I am working and unable to make it.  My relationship with my brother in recent years hasn’t been great either.   We are cordial with one another, and he makes absolutely no effort to see me.  If it wasn’t for his kids, I would probably never see him.  But I would like to have a relationship with my nephews, so we cross paths every time I am visiting my parents. 
And tonight – a bunch of “junk” from the past came up with my father.  I still can’t help but be intimidated by him sometimes and it feels horrible.  On top of feeling intimidated – I also beat myself for ALLOWING myself to feel intimidated by him and not being strong enough to have the resolve to say “F YOU.”  My dad has a very passive aggressive (and aggressive for that matter) way of criticizing people.  He had made a very critical comment to me a few days prior, which I chose to not confront him with.  Tonight though, he made another comment, and I just couldn’t let it go.  I had to call him on it. 
I am quite proud of how I handled it.  I let him know that I was certain that he didn’t mean to upset me with his comment, but that what he said really hurt my feelings.  And off it went.  His same old crap.  I managed to hold it together though – and “steer” the conversation in the best way possible, considering that I was dealing with a completely irrational, emotionally inept person.  At the end of the conversation I managed to not give too much of myself, and I think that both of our self-esteems remained intact. 
Why do I feel so crappy though???????
Maybe I feel crappy because I am sad.  I am sad that I will never have a really positive relationship with my dad.  I am sad because this is as good as it gets.  He will never give me what I need from him.  And this is very disappointing for me.  I’m anxious – because all of those old core beliefs that come up  – that men aren’t to be trusted, and that they are all completely emotionally stupid.  And then guess what rears its ugly head?  You guessed it!  The HOCD and ROCD.   What’s the bloody point?  Will I ever transcend my past?  Is it even possible to recover from HOCD and ROCD given my past?    


  1. Sorry to hear that it's been a rough time for you lately! It's been a bit of a roller coaster for me, but I have only myself to thank for that, no family members to complicate matters!

    I know what it's like to have feelings about feelings - meaning, you feel upset for feeling intimidated. I've always been told that that right there is an OCD trap in and of itself. You feel what you feel. Reacting to those feelings because you think you "shouldn't" have them just makes them worse and doesn't do you any good. I'm certainly still working on recognizing this, but as the same time it has been incredibly freeing when I do manage to call myself out on it - just letting myself be mad, sad, whatever, without telling myself I should be able to "control" how I feel is so much easier than reacting to the way I am reacting!

    Hope things get a little bit easier for you soon!

  2. One of the things that sucks the most about ocd is the opportunistic nature of the disorder, how it latches onto things that are important to us, and makes use of core beliefs that go way way back. I'm sorry you have all this crap with your father to deal with on top of your mother's illness.

  3. I look really forward to working on some of this stuff with my new therapist. I realize that core beliefs will be there forever - I am just sick of letting it affect me so much. Fellow - I hear you about the "feelings on top of feelings" stuff. I'm still working on giving myself permission to just feel what I feel!!! Thanks both of you for your support.