Tip #17 Building our own ROCD prison

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.

Unrealistic expectations

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.

Exercise:

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?

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15 comments

  1. I have a question. If you have rocd does that mean you will fall out of love with your partner and then will have to work at falling back in love. Because i have rocd and i still feel like i am in love with him

    1. Hi Mariah, once the anxiety kicks in, it is very difficult to feel anything else. I like to think that love is like a plant. If you do not water it regularly, it will eventually dry out. It is the same for any relationship, ROCD or not. The difference is that with ROCD your feelings are buried under a huge mountain of anxiety and this makes it very difficult to give and receive love. And sometimes you can even start to feel like an hypocrite, because of this apparent lack of love generated by the ROCD thoughts. The truth with love is that the more you are able to give, the more you are able to receive and feel.

      1. Yeah that makes sense. Im just soooo afraid that one day I will be like im tired of not feeling anything and break up with him. Because I know I love him and we also have a kid together so its not like a litttle fling thing. But I have been acting exactly the same towards him I refuse to let rocd make me not be affecionate to him. It actually makes me feel better when im lovey with him too. I will not let rocd ruin this relationship for me

      2. That is great. I am glad that you are able to separate occasional thoughts and feelings from what you want life to be like. It is a great step forward!

  2. I have a question, ive had rocd in my past relationship but now its there right from te beginning in my new (perfect) relationship is that even possible? It feels exactly the same and i have been diagnosted with OCD three years ago.. I only read about people who get rocd after a few years

  3. Hello – I have a question. So I most definitely have ROCD (I’ve been diagnosed with OCD) – there are days when I’m totally in love with my partner and other days when I’ve fallen out of love and don’t want to be beside her at all. Can you direct me to some good self help exercises? I’ve already started therapy.

  4. Hi Blip. Is it normal that rOCD makes me fell 100% real that I don t love my boyfriend and makes me feel this strange, morbid pain, as If I am trying to overcome this obsession for wrong reasons when I don t love him anyway. My problem started 6 months ago. By that time my boyfriend broke up with me after 5 years telling me he doesn t love me. After 2 weeks of no contact which were horror for me we came cak together and were sooooo happy. I was so afraid that something will break us appart. Now, it has been 6 months that I am constantly rechecking: do I love him, what if I stop loving him, what if I leave him, what if this is not OCD, what if I just forced myself to fiht, what if I see him an in a second stop loving him, what if I never find out if I love him. This thinking takes away my whole day. My worry started when we were in our happiest period and one day I said to him as a joke: I don t know if I love you, and that is when my life broke down. The hardest part for me is to thrust that I love him when I don t know how I really feel and this takes my will to fight because my feelings tell me: please stop, this is not love, but I don t want that to be the truth…What should I think, should I fight. My biggest wish is to love him and marry him but this pain tells me that my wish is just a lie 😦

    1. Hi, there is nothing normal about rOCD! It is just a tough disease (like any other type of OCD) but you can keep it under control if you do the right work…

  5. I am the girlfriend of an ROCD sufferer.
    We have been together 9 months and the ROCD kicked in after about a month. I just want to say that as the person on the receiving end this is the hardest most punishing and excruciating experience I’ve ever had. I want to run as far away as I can as quickly as possible a lot if the time. The only reason I stay is because I am completely and madly in love with this man. He is the most beautiful soul I’ve ever met. Is there anything I can do that will really be a massive help. I’m researching like crazy to find some answers which helps me understand his thoughts but is there something more I can be doing?

    1. Hi Janelle,
      Yes it is a very difficult experience for partners of rOCD sufferers. One thing that you have to realise as well, is that you cannot help them beyond the point that they can help themselves. An OCD sufferers needs to first get some level of acceptance to seek help. This is the first step.

  6. Hi
    I came across this cite when searching for some answers to how I was feeling, and I was relived to read that other people feel the same as me.
    I had a bad relationship year ago which kept me unhappy for 3 years. I tried to finish it ( I didn’t want to but I just couldn’t see it working) and he would except it. He would cry ect so I would go back on it and convince myself it was my fault, which I think brought on my anxiety.
    We did part in the end but now when ever I seem to be in a relationship and I feel any doubt at all it comes back and I feel I have to run away from it because it remind me of before.
    Last year I met a wonderful guy( my current boyfriend)
    I thought he was the one he was different from all my other boyfriends. Every thing was perfect I was saving for a house then 6 months into our relationship I found a house and moved in. I couldnt of been happier.
    But i started to get a bit anxious with the move and I had problems at work he didn’t seem to understand what I was stressing about and we had our first row.
    This sent me in to a panic, I’d tried to hide my anxiety from him up until now and now I fell like I was losing my cool.
    I also count believe how he didn’t se to understand how stressed I was.
    This led to panic attacks and I started obsessing bout getting enough sleep so I could control the situation.
    We started bickering. Then one day I ft this feeling of dread the same one as I had before, that the relationship had all gone wrong but I could figure out why my feelings had literally changed over night.
    It’s a year later now and I’m sticking with it because although it feels real I refuse to believe that my feelings can change Ike that, but then I worry that maybe they have and I’m living a lie. I can’t finish it cuz I don’t want to lose him but I can shake this feeling of dread and I can’t live like this forever. Will I ever get over this?
    Does this sound like ocd? I’m so upset that my feeling have changed and I wont get them back. I so want to feel that definite love I felt in the beginning.
    How can I know for sure?

    1. HI, I wrote a post today about accepting OCD> Knowing for sure is an impossible task. It is liking trying to take nice pictures with a broken camera. We need to fix the camera first.

  7. Hi,
    Thank you so much for this blog! This has been a huge source of encouragement as I have struggled with OCD and now specifically rOCD. The roller coaster of emotions and then no emotions can be very draining in a relationship. I have the most special, understanding girl who has stood beside me through some of my most difficult boughs with rOCD. I feel myself at times constantly checking how I feel. Constantly checking how I felt leaves me perplexed, confused, and full of anxiety. In the Bible I read a verse that says “Mature love drives out fear” but I have also experienced the reverse is true: fear drives out love I do not want rOCD to destroy one of the best things in my life. I want to love her well but rOCD makes me question every though and feeling I have. I will fight and I must fight for her and for my own sanity.

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