I had always relied on my spouse’s support to manage my OCD, but lately, I had started to feel like her efforts were doing more harm than good. It wasn’t until one evening when we were getting ready for bed that my spouse suggested that she would stop helping me that I realized how much I had come to rely on her help.
As I got up to check the windows for the umpteenth time, my spouse calmly suggested that it was time for me to manage my OCD without her help. I was outraged and felt betrayed that my spouse would even suggest this. I told her that she didn’t understand how hard it was for me to manage my OCD, and that without her help, I would never feel safe or secure.
My spouse listened patiently as I ranted and raved, and then gently explained that she wanted to help me manage my OCD in a more effective way. She suggested that her reassurances and help in checking the windows were actually making things worse, as I was relying on her to feel safe and secure. It was a tough pill to swallow, but deep down, I knew that she was right.– Ed
How do I know if I may be unintentionally enabling my partner’s OCD?
It can be challenging to know if you are enabling your partner’s OCD rather than helping them. Here are a few signs that you may be unintentionally enabling your partner’s OCD:
- Accommodating their compulsions: If you find yourself frequently accommodating your partner’s compulsions, such as helping them avoid triggers or engaging in their rituals, you may be unintentionally enabling their OCD.
- Avoiding triggers: If you find yourself avoiding situations or activities that may trigger your partner’s OCD, you may be enabling their condition by reinforcing the idea that these triggers are something to be feared.
- Reassuring them excessively: If you find yourself frequently reassuring your partner or offering them excessive reassurance, you may be reinforcing their anxiety and compulsive behavior.
- Taking on too much responsibility: If you find yourself taking on too much responsibility for your partner’s wellbeing or compulsions, you may be unintentionally enabling their OCD and preventing them from developing the skills they need to manage their symptoms.
If you suspect that you may be enabling your partner’s OCD, it is essential to seek the help of a mental health professional who specializes in OCD. They can help you develop a plan to support your partner while also helping them to learn how to manage their symptoms more effectively.
But what if I am just trying to help?
It’s understandable that you want to help your partner, and your intentions are likely coming from a place of love and care. However, it’s essential to recognize that some ways of helping can unintentionally enable your partner’s OCD and make it harder for them to manage their symptoms in the long run.
It’s important to remember that OCD is a complex and often chronic mental health condition, and managing symptoms can be challenging. Your partner needs the support of a mental health professional who specializes in OCD to develop a personalized treatment plan that works for them.
Your role as a partner is to support your loved one in seeking the help they need and providing encouragement and empathy along the way. You can educate yourself about OCD, learn more about evidence-based treatments, and help your partner access resources and support when they need it.
In short, the best way to help your partner is to be an ally in their journey towards recovery, and to support them in developing the skills they need to manage their OCD symptoms effectively.
Be kind to your mind, try it: