Contamination OCD with Hostility

This post has been thanked 1 time. 25 April 2019 - 5:06

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Hello,

I have been married to my wife for 10 years and over this time she has always struggled with some anxiety and self-esteam, but in the last month she has developed full blown OCD and it has hit our household like a tsunami. She has become obsessed with contamination fears around the house. She has an intense fear of dirt from outside causing vague but horrifying disease. Rather than intensely cleaning like the stereotype, she is simply too overwhelmed to address the situation. She either comes up with intricate step-by-step plans required to mitigate the contamination, usually requiring significant involvement from me, or she simply puts off the issue. This has lead to entire zones of the house where no one can enter and half of our clothes are stuffed into bags until she can determine how to best sterilize them. Of course all of this is pepped with a immense amounts of showing, washing hands, and changing cloths. I do not want to accommodate her new rules but any violation of them, be it placing your clothes on the floor or refusing to shower when asked is met with screaming, crying, panic attacks, and just a full on emotional maelstrom. I understand that in her mind this is life or death, and she certainly acts like it, but its becoming an unbearable living environment. We have 3 young kids, and these confrontations usually result with me relenting when my crying son says "Dad, please stop making mum upset and just do what she says". This is tearing our home life a part. She has made an first appointment with an OCD therapist, but it is 3 weeks from now. She has also been a very "natural" person and has already ruled out any prescription medicines. I've read the CBT can be successful, but I don't know if my or the children's well-being can wait that long. I can't find many anecdotes of OCD suffers being aggressive or forcing their compulsions onto others. Is this common? How can I manage this until professional help makes a difference?

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This post has been thanked 1 time. 25 April 2019 - 17:03

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I sympathise entirely, our 26 yr old daughter's OCD is very similar. We find it extremely difficult to withdraw from her demands as we are heavily involved in her rituals. She insists that complying with her demands is the right thing as she doesn't believe she has OCD. Any advice for us would also be much appreciated.

25 April 2019 - 21:59

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I think this is one of the hardest parts of contamination OCD, there is a spectrum of tidiness and we all have our subjective take. Most agree hands should be washed after gardening, my wife thinks hands should be washed after touching any exterior door. There are many scenarios in the middle and it's hard to judge the line between "normal" and OCD. Some people are slobs and some are very neat without having OCD. It's even more challenging when someone is constantly gaslighting your take on what is clean. I think it comes down the reaction to the cleanliness violation, if it's treated as annoying or apocalyptic.

For your situation, I would suggest you and your husband find a therapist of your own to help you manage your daughter with professional guidance and experience. I am considering the same because I often find myself at a loss of what to do next.

4 May 2019 - 2:18

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Can you think of anything that would have caused this massive change in her behaviour? It is good that she is going to get help, it is a process to reduce the anxiety she will be feeling, there is no quick fix. I am the same as her in terms of medication, i refused medication for 12 years but wasnt until a few months ago when I realised that things getting bit bad I decided to try when shrink recommended it again.

My contamination issue is more that I am worried about contaminating others (no reason at all why I would, but tell my head that!) there are days when I cant touch people and I would need to refuse say shaking someones hand, or if someone went to hug me I would pull away. If someone touched me after saying I couldnt I would lose my s*&t and get very agitated. So I can see why she would be agitated and force compulsions. But it is different for everybody.

I really hope things improve for you soon, im sure it is diffucult to see her and the kids like that.

4 May 2019 - 10:06

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Hi

I can relate to this with my brother. He had always had OCD but in the last year He has really deteriorated before our eyes. His ocd is in relation to dirt and cleanliness. He can become extremely aggressive towards my mum if she doesn’t go along with “checking” things for the millionth time. It’s extremely wearing for her but if she becomes angry or frustrated in her tone of voice then he will fly off the walls and shout, throw and break things. It’s awful - a no win situation.

5 October 2019 - 18:39

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Hi,

I hope everyone’s situations have improved.

I’m also struggling with this issue with my partner. The rages and demands seem to be getting a lot worse. Does anyone have any tips for calming things down without following the demands? At the moment, after about 30 mins of being shouted at, I try and go out somewhere. He seems to calm enough after about an hour or two but I’m finding it hard to cope. He’s just been officially diagnosed after 3 failed CBT attempts and is taking meds. He says he can’t help it and has no coping mechanisms until his next treatment starts......but in the mean time I feel like an unloved punching bag..... any tips would be great!  

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This post has been thanked 1 time. 6 October 2019 - 16:04

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I understand completely everything that people are experiencing. We have discussions most evenings explaining to our daughter that the situation 'cannot go on like this'. Yet it does. We are exhausted all the time, her quality of life is very very poor yet she says she cannot change and give up her rituals as they are her only means of keeping safe. We have tried to set some boundaries but at 1 or 2 am we just have to get to bed! We are continually worried about her wellbeing and future, but none of that brings about any change. We would like to change our behaviour, as I don't think she will/can change hers but find it extremely difficult to do so as she gets herself in such a terrible state when challenged. Like others, I would be interested to learn anything which might help. Thanks everyone.

6 October 2019 - 19:20

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Hello:

This is a message from the forum moderators - we usually don't reply publicly to topics unless we think we can help the wider forum community.

Are you a family member, friend or carer of someone with OCD (or a related condition) who is looking for "tips" or are "..interested to learn anything which might help."?

If you are, we'd like to be sure you know that, in addition to our forums, we offer other types of support and resources, some of which are specifically for families, friends and carers.

Please see our website pages about:

Information resources at https://www.ocdaction.org.uk/support-info You can easily access all our information resources about OCD and related conditions here. You can:

 - Scroll down the page looking for topics that interest you, for example, "Supporting a person with OCD" or "What to do if a loved one refuses help?

 - Use the "Audience" box on the left to click on topics such as "Parent of a Young Person with OCD".

- Use the "Search all resources" box on the left to type in a search terms related to your issues or questions.

Support Groups (in the UK)

Support groups can play an important role during and after treatment and often also include family members,  friends and carers. They provide a safe environment where you can talk openly, as well as giving support and encouragement to others. Support groups members can be an excellent source for "tips" on living with and supporting your loved ones.

 To find information on Support Groups:

- Go to the OCD Action website I Need Support page at https://www.ocdaction.org.uk/i-need-information-support

- Scroll down the page and click on "Local Groups"- you'll then see a page "Find a Support Group"

- You can then search for Local Support Groups by scrolling down the page until you see the list of groups. (Or call the phone number shown on the page for help.)

You can also click on the links on the page to read more details about:

 - Skype/Phone groups owned and run by OCD Action. These groups run over Skype or you can choose to be added in with your phone. 

 - the Local Support Groups that OCD Action advertise, which are independent of the Charity. You can read about the different types of support group and learn how we ensure the groups we list meet our criteria.

 - The work that OCD Action does to support and help support groups through our ‘Even Better Together’ project.

We hope that this information is helpful for forum users who are supporting family members, friends or anyone with OCD (or related disorders.) Please remember that you're never alone - OCD Action is here to help you.

Regards,

Forum Moderators

7 October 2019 - 2:21

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It’s tricky if you love someone you want to make them feel better. Yet by doing it you’re just enabling it so it gets stronger & stronger & they get more & more angry. It’ll just continue.  My family did not enable me so things did not get stronger.  A complete physical & blood panel is useful. It caught my thyroid overactivity. Other than that a change in environment or refuse to put up with the temper.   

 

This post has been thanked 1 time. 24 August 2020 - 11:46

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Just reaching out to anyone living with someone suffering from contamination OCD. We continue to struggle with our adult daughter who fears contamination from outside mostly and therefore is terrified to go out, bring anything into the house etc. Our lives are extremely limited and our daughter is convinced that her fears are justified and that she doesn't suffer a psychological disorder. I sympathise with the recent post whose husband is suffering and hope that he commits to therapy and recovers. Although friends and family are sympathetic, unless you experience extreme OCD at close hand, I feel it is impossible to understand fully the impact it has on lives. Our daughter and us! Have had the most awful year; she has recovered slightly but we've been here before so are trying to lay down some different boundaries and expectations this time as I fear we will just end up the same again. It is a very cruel disorder, one in which our daughter is trapped and too terrified to change. Sending best wishes and hopes to everyone. X

26 August 2020 - 12:03

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Hi Chris

I've been trying to read round options for people in situations like us. Have you tried a family contract?

I've decided to reach out and get some counselling myself to help me support my husband. Would that be an option for you? At the moment I'm just crying and worrying myself.

It's an incredibly difficult situation and I send my best wishes to you and your family. I'll keep an eye on this forum if you ever just want to vent.

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