Living with Obsessive Compulsive Personality Disorder Family Members
Coping with obsessive compulsive personality disorder family members can be confusing at the best of times and often frustrating as well. After all, people with OCPD can incite conflict over seemingly insignificant things, such as grammatical incorrectness or a slightly different way of performing chores. They often have a difficult time understanding that their family members can make mistakes, and that human beings are not infallible. Because they hold themselves to very high standards, they expect relatives to also perform at these levels. That means they may bark orders at their children, criticize their spouses, and insist on a house so orderly that family members feel that they are never able to relax. People with OCPD may also find it hard to communicate love both physically and emotionally, and they may use corporal punishment more often than most parents.
People who live with family members who have OCPD may become increasingly passive out of necessity. They may go out of their way to avoid conflict, since they know that they will never come out of a dispute satisfied. Instead, they may constantly try to please the person with OCPD, or go so far as to avoid coming into contact with the person as much as possible.
Dealing Effectively with OCPD Family Members
For family members to deal effectively with someone who has OCPD, they need to realize what the disorder entails and how they can work with it. Unlike people with OCD, those with OCPD usually feel that they are doing the right thing by being obsessive and compulsive.
For example, if they consistently wash the floors, they do so because they are convinced that anyone who does not do that is encouraging filth and causing others to fall sick because of germs on the ‘dirty’ floors. As a family member, it is important to realize that this is the OCPD talking, not the person. Distinguishing between the two can help you cope as you assist your family member in finding help for this disorder.
If issues arise because of your family member’s OCPD, you will need to communicate clearly. Schedule a meeting with the entire family; express your concern rather than your frustration, and try to convince the person with OCPD that they need some help. Make sure to focus on the personality disorder as a problem, rather than on the person. Work together to help overcome the issue, compromising whenever possible and making sure to keep lines of communication open. After this conversation, make sure to verbally recognize when they have made progress.
Do not become a part of your family member’s compulsions. You have a right to say no and to resist. For example, if your daughter insists that you stop the car numerous times on a long trip so that she can redo her hair at a rest stop, do not play ball. The same applies with siblings, spouses, and even parents (to some degree). This may cause some uncomfortable moments, particularly if the OCPD person sulks or throws a strop, but you need to be firm.
Although you cannot singlehandedly stop a person from acting on his or her compulsions, you can prevent yourself from being sucked into the world of OCPD. Coping with obsessive compulsive personality disorder family members can be a struggle, but ultimately the results will be worth it.
This post is part of the series: Dealing With OCPD
Are you the spouse, child, or coworker of someone who has OCPD? If so, this series will give you information and tips that can be helpful with dealing with someone who has OCPD.