It is said that we are the makers of our own prisons. It could not be more true for people with ROCD. Without knowing we slowly build the walls of our mental prisons by using different “bricks”. I will talk about two particular bricks: unrealistic expectations and comparisons. I am sure there are a lot more but these two seem the ones that are used the most.
Everytime we want to feel a certain way when we are with our partners we are building unrealistic expectations. If we expect to feel love all the time in their presence, it will not happen. If we expect the same feelings of infatuation and discovery that we had in the beginning of the relationship to be present all the time or continue throughout the relationship, it will not happen.
The truth is that we have no power or control about the way we want to feel in a particular moment. The only power or control we have is to put ourselves in a situation where the desired outcomes or feelings will happen “naturally” or over time. And this is more likely to happen when we forget about it.
Confusing? Let me put this into context. You have ROCD. You had intense feelings for your partner in the beginning of your relationship. You do not feel those feelings anymore. That makes you spike badly. You CONSTANTLY checking to see if you have those feelings back. As already discussed in previous posts, checking is one of the worst things you can do.
From my personal experience, this sort of behaviour did not bring my feelings back. In fact it only made my anxiety worst. I had to be patient, try to solve my anxiety through a combination of medication, self-help exercises, therapy and deciding to love my partner throughout my anxiety.
Our brain wants to fix the ROCD dilemma (is this love? is love gone?) so that we are able to fix the anxiety problem. But we need to fix the anxiety problem first to be able to feel love again. Living with anxiety constantly can make you emotionally numb and exhausted, so do not feel surprised if it is hard to feel again during your anxiety period.
I will talk about comparisons in a following post.
Can you think about other unrealistic expectations that we put ourselves/partners under? They can be related to feeling or thinking or behaving a certain way.
Do you COMPARE yourself often to others as well? And in what ways? How do you think this is impacting your current happiness and living in the present?