Best Thanksgiving Ever

Discussion in 'Family Life - Stories, Pictures & Updates' started by punk-a-doodle, Nov 27, 2011.

  1. punk-a-doodle

    punk-a-doodle Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Hm, wow. I had the parents visiting for Thanksgiving. Normally this is a time when said parents will spend all night on their first night here obsessively scrubbing the house down with every chemical known to man, and going through the entire house to point out any cobwebs or floorboard dust that may have been overlooked. One year, it ended up being a meltdown on their part due to leave particles collecting in the sidewalk cracks. "This isn't that kind of neighborhood!", was one phrased screamed out. OCPD (not OCD). Fun stuff, as those of you with relatives who have it, or who have it yourself well know. Only one parent has this personality disorder, but it obviously effects the way both act.

    I'm not sure if it is because I am on anti-anxiety meds these days, if they have improved on holding back the bubbling wall of criticisms, if it was too cold to really do much work on the house, if they decided to spend the nights at a hotel instead of here, or a mixture of all the above....but I actually had fun with them this visit! Yes, there were still scenes with other people (particularly lower income) that made me want to stick my head in the sand, but as far as respecting that this is our home and a life full of *our* choices...this time it went surprisingly well. Don't want to get my hopes up, as every phone conversation before this still contained biting hyper-criticism of every minutia (try to keep conversations limited to them only, and to keep them supportive, but this does not always work), but wow, what an improvement. Every drawer and personal item was not dumped out and gone through by them. My kitchen is still in the order *I* arranged it in, rather than completely changed to how they have their's arranged at their home. I can still find my soup spoons! XD There were no long talks about how we are simply making every worst mistake ever, and the anxiety level on their side wasn't nearly as high.

    Do I have medication to thank? Tireless years of gently trying to subtly alter their behavior (haha, yeah right)? Therapy? Hormonal shifts? A willing change in their self awareness? Not sure, but whatever it is, I'm beyond thankful for it. It hurts having to keep those you love at an extreme distance emotionally and physically at all times. To not be able to share even positive things that happen to you with those who are family, let alone negative ones. I was able to let my guard down, able to share more this time (including in happiness), it was just...so very nice. OCPD tends to worsen with age, not get better. The OCPD is not diagnosed as far as I know, but if they have gone to therapy and it was pinned down I would not know about it regardless. And I'm definitely not going to ask. I've been carrying around that knowledge for years, but I feel I am the last person who they should hear that from. Hearing it from me would likely shut down any future opportunity for treatment, due to the way I am viewed within the family, and due to the fact that with OCPD, it is everyone else who is wrong. I think only a professional, or someone seen as being untouchable (for them, wealthy and well dressed, who at least appears to be confident and well respected) would have to be the one to bring something like that up and have it get past those decades of defenses.

    Well, over thinking it I guess. Very happy to just be able to sit down together as a family and laugh and enjoy the company of one another! Hope so much that this keeps up, but it'll be crushing if it doesn't. So very rare to see them actually at ease and...happy. I didn't think I'd ever see it in my lifetime to be honest.

    Here's hoping that others either enjoyed time with the family they have or the family they've made. <3
     
  2. turney31

    turney31 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 14, 2008
    palestine texas
    I too have ocpd. So I so sympathize with YOU! Moms with this are hard on their kids without even really realizing it. There is just the way of doing things that makes sense and no reason in the world to do it any other way. [​IMG] Although I would never touch my grown childrens homes. I found out it was a personality disorder and take an occasional half a xanax and I am fine. What is hard is my Dh is a collector, never throws any thing away. Drives me nuts. It is hard to live with this disorder. After diagnosis ....I have apologized to my children. But they are all successful, respectful contributing members of society. My Son is a Marine and told his Drill Sgt. " No Sir you're not so bad, you should have seen my mother" [​IMG] [​IMG]

    I am so happy you had a great day! I know how stressful that must have been for you. Be ready though there are folks on here that will tell you that there is no such thing as OCPD. You know who you are.....
     
    Last edited: Nov 27, 2011
  3. punk-a-doodle

    punk-a-doodle Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Aw Turney, poor thing. I just hate seeing that world of hyper anxiety, insecurity, and distance it can create for those who have it. [​IMG] The killer thing to me is that so many people with it are very empathetic and sensitive...but can have those wonderful traits not shine through the symptoms very well. I'm not sure how it expresses in you, but there was a time we couldn't even sit down and play a board game together because the particular parent with the disorder could not relax and would be perfecting this or that rather than able to just sit down and enjoy the present time...just heart breaking. I am so, so glad you had the strength to pursue your OCPD...and to get treatment for it! Wow! That really makes my heart just sing every time I see someone who has been able to work through it, because as a general rule, personality disorders are the ones that *don't* get treated. I bet your kids are very thankful for it too. If you don't mind me asking, in your opinion, is OCPD something a, adult child should talk to a parent about OCPD with, or is it something that has to come from another source, or something the one with it needs to pursue on their own?

    Oh man, a material collector? I don't have much knowledge or experience with that, but a family member of someone I work with is a material collector. Very empathetic person, but again, that side gets obscured by their obsessive need for control over any item they see as their's. The particular coworker left home at 17 because of it. That has to be incredibly stressful. I really hope that gets easier for you both.

    Thanks so much for sharing. Your line about the Drill Sgt. cracked me up. X)
     
  4. turney31

    turney31 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 14, 2008
    palestine texas
    Ok about speaking to your parent about it...Do they have a good sense of humor? This is how my children 1st brought it to MY ATTENTION. Dramatically getting a paper towel to wipe the butter, peanutbutter, mayonnaise etc...greasy stuff off the flatware because it doesn't make sense to ruin the dishwater with that mess. [​IMG] Pantry organized to a fault because it just makes perfect sense to me that at a glance I could see what was needed at the store...They would turn several cans the wrong way...put 1 box of macoroni and cheese on the wrong shelf. [​IMG] And to me that is how it made me feel. [​IMG] Drinking glasses always in the top cabinet to the right of the sink because most people are right handed. Countless GOOD reasons why it had to be done my way. I would rather my whole house be a mess than not be able to do it PERFECT. I can not surface clean, I have to tear it all apart clean it and then put it back. Mind and body wracking procedure! And this is why God made muscle relaxers. I did expect way too much of my children. But they all thank me for it today.

    If you can't approach them with humor then I would suggest sending them a thank you note of sorts. Heartfelt and expressing that you had a great visit and you realise how hard it must have been to respect your lifesyle choices. No condemnation just acknowleging that you noticed and it did make a difference.

    We ocpd people really don't realise we are doing it until at some point it affects others to the point they let us know. [​IMG] Loving laughter was the way my children handled it and it has helped me channel or curb it. [​IMG] A real struggle every day.

    Now DH is a different story. [​IMG] We designated a bedroom just for him and I don't touch it no matter how it looks. I resist all temptation to do this... [​IMG]

    I do close the door! If his stuff starts to make the rest of the house hard to clean, I just quit cleaning till he notices and stops it. Its a regular routine with us now. [​IMG]

    My children were very forgiving and that really helped me. But I also raised them to stand up for themselves. I have no doubt that if I had tried to rearrange or clean anything they would have put me in my place PDQ.

    Micah
     
  5. caspernc

    caspernc Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Great story. My Dad had a girl friend who would have been a OCPD if she had been my mother. But as a kind elderly lady and me with three babies under three (HOW did that happen) she was a great help. Do you think your parents could have found the same anti-anxiety medications that you have also found and you are on the same kind of inner peace? Good to know T-Day was good.
     
  6. sourland

    sourland Broody Magician Premium Member

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    Glad that things went smoothly. Them staying at the hotel was probably a good thing.
     
  7. punk-a-doodle

    punk-a-doodle Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Turney: I sure wish I could use humor! I learned how to laugh at myself from my husband, and it is a coping mechanism that has really helped me get through so much of life in a much more happy and secure manner than I used to. I'm afraid that would be taken very personally though with this parent, and only further distance them and cement the idea that others are being cruel in the face of their absolute correctness. [​IMG] Witticisms are used by both parents, but the one parent with OCPD usually uses self-depreciating humor (in their case, almost always to attempt to gain reassurance in return from others). It took me years to work at humor after moving from home, and my husband carefully helps me monitor my self-depreciating humor (as opposed to truly being able to joke about oneself).

    That is such a great and loving way that your family came up with to help draw attention to what was going on! I'm really glad to hear that you are the type of person who responded well to it too. I love the idea of a thank you, and that is the method I use after every small pleasant passage of words or more pleasant visits. I really hope that it is helping in even some small way. [​IMG] I'm tempted to discuss this with my sibling who has much better standing in the family and especially a better relationship with this particular parent. This sibling is the family member I am closest with. But, I'm afraid too. They live so far away and have so much of their own life to live, that I'm not really sure how they would react at all. And I'd only try to speak with them about this in person. I think it would be the only real possible option for actual discussion though, especially since they are a doctor through the military, I just don't want to cause waves with the only family member I can really more openly speak with. Haha, and there is my social anxiety coming out. Doubt, doubt, doubt. X)

    Sounds like a clever and livable solution with your husband, and so glad he is able to keep things confined to that room.


    Caspernc: That really is my hope. Medication and hopefully therapy as physical and emotional abuse definitely plays a role in the OCPD parent's history (and I feel manipulation still plays a heavy role in the other parent's life with their family and parents). If there is anything like that going on though, I'm afraid I will most likely not hear about it. Things like medical emergencies and surgeries are often saved and hidden until the OCPD parent uses them in a manipulative manner during any verbal retaliation on my part. That is actually how I found out as a teen that one parent was getting shipped off to war. [​IMG] They had asked me why I do not eat a certain animal, and I was explaining. I got angry about them putting words in my mouth and getting angry at me for making a personal choice, and that bomb was dropped as an, "I hope you realize that your parent may not always be around because they are going to war in a month". I burst into tears and felt so guilty, but am so glad I had my now husband to talk with on the phone at the time to help me through those emotions. I'm just really not sure though because of their views on medications and therapy. Aw, I'm so glad to hear that others have had positive experiences where the OCPD took a back seat, and the wonderful personality of the individual was able to shine through. And oh my gosh, three tots at once? [​IMG]

    Sourland: I really, really think that helped us both have our space and time to regroup, although the last time they stayed in a hotel, the trip did not go so smoothly. I really hope I will get to see them relaxed and happy next visit too. It was just the best!
     
  8. ChikeeMomma

    ChikeeMomma Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 29, 2009
    Mid Michigan
    Glad you had a nice Thanksgiving! And can I ask -- what is OCPD? I know what OCD is, but not the other.
     
  9. punk-a-doodle

    punk-a-doodle Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks Chickee, it was such a nice time!

    Let's see, here is a brief and fairly limited description for Obsessive Compulsive Personality Disorder (which is different from Obsessive Compulsive Disorder just to make things confusing [​IMG] ):
    http://www.biologicalunhappiness.com/DSM-OCPD.htm

    Here is a more in-depth one:
    http://www.ocdonline.com/articlephillipson6.php

    And here is a version that is more about how the person with OCPD views the world, rather than how they are often viewed. It's rather long but is worded to be an easy to read reference for the general population:
    http://www.lendingtheway.com/tightrope/OCPD2.pdf
     

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