Obsessive Compulsive Spartanism

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Verity

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Obsessive Compulsive Spartanism
« on: March 19, 2017, 08:55:50 PM »
I'm wondering if anyone has experienced this. I just got back from a week away with my older children to a sporting competition. I left my youngest home with my uN/OCPDh. When I returned, my husband complained once again that we have too much stuff.

This need to get rid of stuff has been consistent through our relationship (we've been together 28 years, married for 26), but his agitation with it has increased with each additional child. He seems compelled to get rid of our things. My older daughter and I have taken to keeping our important things in our rooms (I have my own tiny room) to keep him from throwing away our stuff. When I met him, he had nothing except a futon and his plywood dresser from childhood. He quickly got rid of my things because they weren't necessary to him.

Even now, my friends say our house is very "minimalist" I've had realtors ask where our stuff is when we've sold houses, so we obviously don't have an excess of stuff. I had read about hoarding as an OCPD symptom, but this obviously didn't fit our situation. Today I finally discovered obsessive compulsive spartanism, which was an aha moment for me. It is very stressful living with this situation because he will hound and bully me until I give things up. I no longer have anything that I treasure because he has made me give things up over the years. I'm just wondering if I'm alone with this behaviour.

Here is an article on the subject
https://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2015/09/ocd-obsessive-compulsive-decluttering-hoarding/401591/

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Bloomie

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Re: Obsessive Compulsive Spartanism
« Reply #1 on: March 20, 2017, 10:54:11 AM »
Verity - I am so thankful for this article and terminology for a common behavior I have most certainly encountered with a loved one with uOCPD. I don't know if you have also noticed there is an almost spiritual superiority or self righteousness that can go along with this? It is very hard to deal with for sure. Important documents shredded, unending conversations to nowhere about the horrible hoard and state of a common area (not at all accurate), entrenched and imperious ways things must be stored or done.

A question if you don't mind answering... is your H as spartan with is own belongings as the belongings of everyone else?
Bloomie 🌸
"When there is no enemy within, the enemies without cannot hurt you." African Proverb
The 3 C's Rule: "I didn't Cause it, I can't Cure it, and...I can't Control it." http://outofthefog.website/what-to-do-2/2015/12/3/the-3-cs-rule

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Liftedfog

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Re: Obsessive Compulsive Spartanism
« Reply #2 on: March 20, 2017, 11:28:32 AM »
Very interesting.... my PD actually is opposite.  He is a hoarder and even would keep other people's garbage that he found.  We are no longer together.  But my father who is not PD, is always throwing away stuff that doesn't belong to him.  He doesn't even ask what its for, who does it belong to, why is it here?  Nope.  It is heartbreaking when you notice something is missing and you find it in the trash.  He will actually go one step further and break whatever it is so that it is no longer recoverable.  It is even more heartbreaking if by the time you notice it gone, it has already left in the trash.   It doesn't matter how many times we go over this with him.  It doesn't matter how many people he reduces to tears with this behavior.  He will continue to do this.  Just did it last week with one of my things even after the last time I was so upset over him throwing something that he could have easily just told me he doesn't want it around, and to find another place for it.  Why ?  Why?  Is he not correcting his behavior.  Ummmm.  Could he be PD? 

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Bloomie

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Re: Obsessive Compulsive Spartanism
« Reply #3 on: March 20, 2017, 11:35:38 AM »
Quote from: Liftedfog
Ummmm.  Could he be PD?


Very good question. Any other signs of OCPD? In my experience this one flies under the PD radar quite often because our society honors the decluttering as minimalist - something highly valued in such a materialistic society (at least in my neck of the woods it is highly touted). But, there is a continuum with this behavior like any other and if it is causing hurt and harm to others and compulsive to the point someone refuses to manage it in ways that are not harmful... the breaking of the item is a further step to make permanent the discarding I am thinking. Very interesting.
Bloomie 🌸
"When there is no enemy within, the enemies without cannot hurt you." African Proverb
The 3 C's Rule: "I didn't Cause it, I can't Cure it, and...I can't Control it." http://outofthefog.website/what-to-do-2/2015/12/3/the-3-cs-rule

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Whiteheron

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Re: Obsessive Compulsive Spartanism
« Reply #4 on: March 20, 2017, 01:13:22 PM »
I would say my stbx has selective "OCS." We moved a lot. More than we needed to because he wanted a "change of scenery" (I think he just didn't want people to get to know us...in the spirit of keeping me isolated). Each time we moved (11 times in 10 years) more of my stuff would come up missing. Never his. Only mine. When I asked about such-and-such item or an important document, he'd say, "oh you didn't need it anymore so I threw it out" He would also "accidentally" break things I liked. They were seemingly always in the way.  :roll: I finally drew a boundary...on both moving and him throwing away my things without asking. Then he resorted to throwing my stuff into a pile on the floor. Even if it wasn't in his way. He would randomly get a bug up his a$$ and decide the place was a dump, and start trowing my stuff into piles. Then he'd tell me I needed to deal with it NOW. Despite me being occupied with dinner or the kids (hmm...just hit me, was he doing it because I wasn't paying attention to him?). He didn't care if I was "so busy". He'd told me to jump, so I'd better comply.

Thinking back really makes my blood boil. His stuff was scattered everywhere. I had one corner table where I kept my stuff. That was the only space I had. Yet he repeatedly told me I had too such stuff...called me a hoarder all the time. It annoyed him to no end. Yet he could sit around with all of his piles of stuff I wasn't allowed to touch. Piles I had to vacuum around. Grr.

He still has old exams from college. 35 years ago. Old notebooks full of notes, tons of old textbooks because he "might need them someday" I told him chances are if he needed info on xyz, he'd look it up on the internet before pulling out boxes trying to find the right book. To which I just got a blank stare... :blink:

I'm not sure if this is what the article was talking about...I always thought of this behavior as part of his control and manipulation toolbox.
You can't destroy me if I don't care.

Being able to survive it doesn't mean it was ever ok.

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Verity

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Re: Obsessive Compulsive Spartanism
« Reply #5 on: March 20, 2017, 01:49:26 PM »
Thank you for responding!

Bloomie, there is a spiritual superiority to his spartanism. He's not religious, but I know he sees it as almost holy to get rid of things. And no, he isn't as Spartan with his belongings. I homeschool, so we tend to have quite a few books. A couple times each year I'll go through the books and donate a pile to the library for their book sale. uN/OCPDh has a bookcase full of books from his first degree 30 years ago. He never reads the books and the kids and I don't want to read the books, but he insists on keeping them. He also keeps any and all electronics, no matter how out of date, doubles of pictures that we'll never look at, and free swag from conferences he goes to.

Furniture seems to make him anxious. He has gotten rid of my piano and a beautiful dresser of mine. There are five of us, but our living room only has seating for four.

I agree that this behaviour seems to be something that doesn't show up as a red flag because it seems that everyone wants to be minimalist these days.

Whiteheron, it's interesting about the moving. My husband moved constantly as a child, and we moved huge distances frequently in the first 15 or so years of marriage. He hated to move things, so this was an opportunity for him to purge our goods. We've been in the same town, in the same house for ten years now. He keeps agitating to move, but I like it here and refuse to go.

My husband also "accidentally" breaks my things. Never his things of course. I keep the things I don't want him to throw out in my little room. He calls me a hoarder (my room is 9x9 with a queen size bed), but it's the only way to make sure he doesn't toss out things I need. He wanders into my room, picking up things and making snide comments about them, but at least he doesn't toss my things. Teenage daughter is also called a hoarder because she keeps her treasures stacked in her room as well.

Liftedfog, I do have to go through the trash to rescue the younger two's Lego and playmobil. He hates little pieces of toys. He doesn't ask us to put things away, he just tosses. I'm sorry your dad does this as well. I think it's very selfish and cruel.

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Liftedfog

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Re: Obsessive Compulsive Spartanism
« Reply #6 on: March 20, 2017, 02:31:55 PM »
Now that I have come to think of it...I do see it as PDish.   He has no insight.  Will continue to do this. He thinks he is in the right and if you try to bring up the discussion, it goes circular and he doesn't acknowledge the point.  No matter how nicely you put it.  My dad is close to 80 years old so he won't change any time soon.  I can only change myself and hide anything that I don't want to end up in the trash.  You should see the trunk of my vehicle.  Its a flea market.  but, at least he won't go in my vehicle.  My expdh was a hoarder.  It took me 6 months to declutter and clean the family home on my own to make it presentable to sell.   When I was living there he would pick up garbage furniture from somebody who had thrown it out.  Then he would demand I Find a place for it.  Ummmmm.    We don't need another table!   Never want to go back there. 

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TalenCrowhaven

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Re: Obsessive Compulsive Spartanism
« Reply #7 on: March 20, 2017, 05:09:33 PM »
Wow. This seems to be so much about control!

Whether the behavior is hoarding one's own stuff, or purging another's...the control aspect jumps right out at me.

Kind of all about "claiming space" in the extreme. Both primal and adversarial.
« Last Edit: March 20, 2017, 05:12:20 PM by TalenCrowhaven »

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Verity

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Re: Obsessive Compulsive Spartanism
« Reply #8 on: March 20, 2017, 05:28:21 PM »
I agree Talen. It's all about control. My husband was labelled a control freak by a former boss, but he just can't see it. His way is, of course, the right way and the only way.

I think he really only wants his life to include him and his things. We other humans are just too needy and messy. We must be assimilated.

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Bloomie

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Re: Obsessive Compulsive Spartanism
« Reply #9 on: March 20, 2017, 05:28:26 PM »
Quote from: Verity
And no, he isn't as Spartan with his belongings. I homeschool, so we tend to have quite a few books. A couple times each year I'll go through the books and donate a pile to the library for their book sale. uN/OCPDh has a bookcase full of books from his first degree 30 years ago. He never reads the books and the kids and I don't want to read the books, but he insists on keeping them. He also keeps any and all electronics, no matter how out of date, doubles of pictures that we'll never look at, and free swag from conferences he goes to.

Wow Verity! Very interesting. I agree control, but wouldn't  you all say also dominance and compulsion as well? So, same linear spectrum of hoarding behaviors, only at the other extreme end. I never thought of it that way, but have a family member that holds themselves up for the rest of us as a paragon of virtue and this is their behavior and it goes so far it is hurtful and abusive at times as there is an insistence it be done "the right way" aka their way.

Compulsive spartanism and hoarding. Both are extreme preoccupation with "stuff" as a coping mechanism - possibly disassociation from discomfort - and using either the keeping or discarding of "stuff" as a way to own the entire environment they share with their partner and/or family.

Really interesting discussion and very helpful for me.
Bloomie 🌸
"When there is no enemy within, the enemies without cannot hurt you." African Proverb
The 3 C's Rule: "I didn't Cause it, I can't Cure it, and...I can't Control it." http://outofthefog.website/what-to-do-2/2015/12/3/the-3-cs-rule

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Verity

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Re: Obsessive Compulsive Spartanism
« Reply #10 on: March 20, 2017, 05:50:23 PM »
Yes Bloomie, it is as extreme as hoarding, only the opposite end of the spectrum. And my husband needs to be dominant in everything he does. He is a very "good, honest person" according to him and is extremely rigid with his view of right and wrong. I think this is a reaction to growing up with his ASPD mother and brother. He wants to differentiate himself from their crooked ways. He is the good one. He has to be in control at all times and how we behave in public is a huge reflection on him, so we better be well behaved at all times or else. As you can probably imagine, our anxiety levels are pretty high. My husband refuses to believe that he is abusive because he is only directing us to do the "right thing".

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Liftedfog

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Re: Obsessive Compulsive Spartanism
« Reply #11 on: March 20, 2017, 07:32:21 PM »
My expdh claimed he was teaching the right way.  And he would rant there were only one way to do things....HIS way.   The anxiety he caused me for 30 years of walking on egg shells in private and in public killed my health.   :sadno:

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Verity

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Re: Obsessive Compulsive Spartanism
« Reply #12 on: March 20, 2017, 11:00:52 PM »
I just came across a term that describes my husband's pride in decluttering: it's "an act of self reverence".  He really considers himself a superior being for getting rid of things.

I remember a phone conversation he had with his best friend a couple of years ago. His friend is an amazing artist and has managed to support a wife and three kids in an expensive city for the past 30+ years through his art. uN/OCPDh was telling his friend that it was probably time for him to stop making art. After all, how much of friend's art does the world really need? Needless to say, I was flabbergasted that my husband could make such a suggestion and told him so after he had hung up. My husband just felt that no one needed more stuff. This friend is pretty much the only friend my husband has left. I think he puts up with my husband because he only has to see him once or twice a year. Too much beautiful art? I don't think it's possible.

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tommom

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Re: Obsessive Compulsive Spartanism
« Reply #13 on: March 21, 2017, 11:18:41 AM »
Verity, thanks for the link. It helped me understand something I have never heard of. I am married to a hoarder who occasionally has what seems to be some sort of anxiety about his hoarding and goes into the "I want to just throw it all away!" I always assumed it was his way of forcing me to accept his hoarding (by making me say "No" to that idea). Now I'm not so sure.

We do know a couple (actually we know their son better) and he seems to have this problem. His son has told stories -not exactly funny- about how his dad would "make" his mother get rid of beautiful antiques he inherited. (Why the son's house is so beautifully decorated -he beat the trash men to it.) It happened just recently. She bought this cool thing to hang on the wall in their garage - only $10 at a sale in her neighborhood- and he went ballistic. The garage??? I mean, get a grip, it was just the garage. But he is definately OCD, at least. I fear OCPD (especially for his very sweet family).

I have read a good bit about hoarding and it, or so they say, has two components. OC behaviors and an inabilty to prioritize. Very true of my H in both cases. But this is a new one. Thanks for the info.

I agree it is about control, though, no matter what. But according to Marjorie Fjestad's "Top 10" things about NPD/BPD, they "get extremetly anxious" when things aren't competely under their control. Sounds like that fits.

BTW, my hoarding H hates to watch design shows on TV and sneers that they always look like "some stripped down motel room". (Gives me a silent chuckle.)
"It is not my job to fix other people; everyone is on their own journey."

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livinginmyhead

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Re: Obsessive Compulsive Spartanism
« Reply #14 on: March 23, 2017, 05:39:02 PM »
My H has all of his report cards and old driver's licenses.  He has piles of magazines and papers all over the place.  Receipts for furniture he bought 40 years ago that he no longer even has.  But the only people who have too much stuff are me and the kids.

I sometimes wonder if the little piles of magazines and papers are to claim space or something.  It's like they have to mark their territory with stuff.  They even take up all the air by being extra loud or constantly coughing or fidgeting and making everyone else in the house nervous.  Probably just more control control control.

His stuff was never a problem I was always told I had too much stuff though.

I an guessing I was supposed to just buy the groceries and do all the cooking and cleaning and not act like I lived here or we were actually married or anything.

The last time I tried to get out I took everything out of that house that I brought with me or added later.  The house looked barren, cold and inhospitable.  Empty.  Loveless.  Lifeless.  Lonely.

He never said anything about MY stuff ever again.  It became our stuff.  But our stuff probably really means everyone's except his.
"I don't need you to be happy. I just need you to leave me alone when I am!"-from "The Prizewinner of Defiance, Ohio", starring Julianne Moore and Woody Harrelson