Saturday, 24 June 2006

Being obsessive; it's hard work

And that's me saying that; I'm just experiencing it secondhand.

J, in his usual "I'm not going to be able to be perfect in doing this so I'm just going to put it off until the last minute" faulty coping mechanism mode, put off all the homework for this week's CBT session until last night. ]

Ah, but they're not in a straight line...

He was seeing his therapist this morning at 0915.

It is weird. I've done quite a lot of reading on perfectionism and Obsessive-Compulsive Personality Disorder, and he definitely has a hint of obsessive perfectionism about him.

For instance, he can't read fiction because he finds himself unable to understand every single detail in the story, and therefore keeps reading the same passage over and over again which means he can never finish the whole book.

And he likes the remote controls to be in a straight line on the table and always has to enter a staircase with his left foot first. But his obsessive tendencies aren't all that bad.

I think, fortunately for me but not for him, that he is of the "impossibly high standards for himself" kind rather than of the more destructive for the surroundings "impossibly high standards for others".

J doesn't think he's a Good Person underachieving through other people being useless(like that second kind), he thinks he's a Bad Person because of his underachievement.

Nothing he does is ever good enough, he could always do things better, and if something goes really well it's just luck and not because of (the copious amounts of) hard work put in.

He thinks he's a fraud and is terrified that people will find out how "stupid" he really is.

Says the man who can say who scored every single goal in every single World Cup, ever, pretty much. OK, I'm not saying this is a conventional measure of intelligence, but you get my point. Incompetent he ain't.

His mother, though, I am quite convinced she has the same tendencies, but in the more destructive way where she takes it out on others. That second kind probably creates depressed individuals like J.

I'll never forget the way she yelled at her 12 year old niece for de-husking strawberries in the wrong way. It's not pleasant and I seriously think it's pathological.

Everything has to be done in her (CORRECT) way, and if anything is moved in the house or otherwise seems out of control, she completely freaks out in an aggressive emotional blackmail kind of way.

Anyway, back to J... He felt very down after failing to complete his homework properly; I felt quite proud of myself for not having mentioned it a single time for the last two weeks, despite knowing that this was how it was going to end up.

The homework focussed on how his most basic idea of himself (which I'm assuming is "I'm useless") manifests itself in everyday life.

"I think I probably need to spend time on it every day even if it's hard," he concluded ahead of a consolatory episode of Buffy last night.

How right. But if I hadn't left him to find out for himself it wouldn't have been the same. Take that, J's mum. People have to be left to make mistakes, they have to learn to deal with failure not to become perfectionist freaks.

J, for instance, doesn't think what he feels for me could be love because "it's not completely perfect, I still get annoyed with you sometimes and if I was a good boyfriend and really loved you, I wouldn't get annoyed so often, would I?"

How horrible is that; being brought up to doubt whether you are actually able to feel "proper" love? Or in fact, at all having to doubt what "proper" love might be?

Not to mention the fiction book thing, that would be a real killer.

To read a good article on OCPD (which I hasten to add I am in no way saying that J has the full-blown version of), click here. Ugly formatting, but good writing.

I really admire J, not just because he's funny and clever and very, very sexy, but also because he's willing to put in so much hard work to become a happier, better person.

If only his mum would have made the same sacrifice.

Silly search of the day: "fearne cotton blowjob". Sorry, mate.

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1 comment:

  1. There's a WHOLE lot of psychopathology in your life right now!

    My father has OCD issues. He wipes down boxes BEFORE he puts them up in his dusty loft, and tells my mother off for spilling food on the clean kitchen surfaces when she cooks.

    In turn, I am the cleanest 23 year-old I know.

    Hope J sticks at the CBT.


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