Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Awareness of the good stuff

These are the hallmark characteristics of a person who has OCPD, which stands for Obsessive Compulsive Personality Disorder:

1. A preoccupation with details, rules, and schedules to the point in which any joy in the activity is lost.
2. A sense of perfectionism that interferes with getting tasks accomplished.
3. Friends and family members play a second or tertiary role in life.
4. Excessive rigidity and stubbornness. 
5. Over-conscientiousness and inflexibility about his or her values.
6. He or she resembles a hoarder. 
7. The person often can't let others work for him or her because they often don't meet his or her standards.
8. An unhealthy use of money -- often excessively hoarding money or being miserly.

In one form or another my husband has hallmarks of all 8 indicators of this type of personality, which is why I have encouraged him to seek help for a mind that is working overtime.

Of course, he hasn't done that and he won't ever do that, but this morning, he did indicate to me that he has some personal awareness of what I am saying to him. Naturally, as expected, he felt there was good reason to determine that only he has the wherewithal to do most of life's tasks himself, but he did acknowledge that I perceived the situation as such that it appeared to me that I was being neglected.

I stayed completely calm. Truly. I don't expect different sorts of responses to the ones he gives me. I know that the condition is deeply entrenched, in some ways genetic and well established in childhood due to his upbringing and life's circumstances at the time. I was simply appreciative of the fact that we were talking about it in a civilized fashion.

Once again, I said it was unfortunate that he refused to seek help to deal with thoughts that were not serving him well. However, if I was forced into the role of healer (it's either that or watch him stew in his soup without hope of living with a happier partner) I said that I'd like to start with one simple strategy. Only one. Each day I would ask him to tell me one thing that had made him happy or joyful that day. Had he enjoyed the taste of a particular food, heard a bird singing on the walk through town; been lifted up by a conversation with someone; enjoyed a memory; felt gratitude?

I'm going to focus on tipping the scales in the direction of joy and happiness, of living life well, because although Malcolm Fraser brought into our everyday vernacular the phrase, 'Life wasn't meant to be easy', truly, there's no-one who ordained that it should be hard either.

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