Imagine if you will....

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Mehi5

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Imagine if you will....
« on: August 02, 2016, 03:03:19 PM »
A day in the life of my PPD wife.

It's dinner time and I am using the microwave to warm up some leftovers for the kids.  Each requires 2 plates and 2 bowls and 4 total rounds in the microwave.  I make a plate, pop it in the microwave and start on the next while chatting with my kids.  Usually about some event that happened that day, a funny story, or sometimes we play a rhyming game where we try to out rhyme each other using one word (ex:  too, chew, you, blue, and so on).  There is only about 2 1/2 feet of counter space to use next to the stove (the microwave sits above it) and I noticed there was a fruit bowl full of bananas, oranges and applies sitting on this small counter.  It was preventing me from setting the hot plate down on the counter.  So I casually moved the bowl of fruit back about a foot to make room for a hot plate - fully intending to put it back when I am finished with the microwave.

I set the plate down to cool off.  Once cool enough I set it on the table in front of one of my kids and I go to the opposite counter where the food is to grab a new plate to warm up the 2nd round.  Once it is finished, I go to set the plate down and the fruit bowl is back in the same place it was before - in the way - preventing me from setting down the 2nd round of food.  I take a second to wonder how that could have happened and thought maybe I had thought I moved it but really didn't.  So I casually move it over (again) the same distance to make room for the next plate.

This same cycle keeps repeating.  I try to take food out 2 more times and the fruit bowl keeps being moved back to the same spot.  I'm thinking poltergeist activity or something.  I asked the kids if they were moving the fruit bowl to mess with me.  They looked just as perplexed as I did.  Out walks my wife from the bedroom into the living room and then the kitchen.  We were laughing about the fruit bowl moving on it's own.  Of course she demanded to know what we were laughing at - thinking it was a joke on her.  Without realizing it at the time, I guess the joke was on her.

We each helped tell the story of the fruit bowl moving and that we were confused as to how it kept being put back in the way of me warming up food.  That's when she said, "Yeah, I moved it back.  That's where I want it."  I asked her why the fruit bowl had to be in that particular spot because it was preventing me from setting down hot plates/bowls of food and making me walk several feet to the next counter to set it down, pretty much burning me each time.  Not enough to use pot holders, but I felt the sting.  The kids and I looked at her and started laughing.  We all thought it was funny and that she was joking....

Come to find out it wasn't a joke.  The conversation then turned into a fit of rage over her OCD and how dare the kids and I laugh at her.  The bowl belongs there and the kids and I were not to move it.  The kids and I looked at each other and I can tell we were asking the same question, "Is she for real?"  They quickly started eating their food, finished and immediately went to their bedroom to hide.  At this very moment, I knew I was in for it.

I of course was shocked by the events and of course made things worse by moving the bowl over about an inch and asking, "Does it really bother you that much that the bowl is 1 inch out of it's place?  Are you serious right now?"  Each time I moved it, she would get up and go move it back.  This kept going for the few minutes it took for her to really lose control.  I tried my best to logically explain that sometimes items in the house need to be moved to make way for something else.  I was told that no, items in the house need to stay where they are and I was not to move them, not even to make way for a hot plate.  That is where she wanted to fruit bowl to live and that is where it is going to stay - permanently.  We had a knock down drag out that night.  Yep, over a fruit bowl.

The next morning I got up to grab some coffee and instantly noticed the very object we were fighting about the night before had vanished.   I began to panic and was trying to find it before my wife woke up.  I thought maybe one of the kids had moved it thinking it was still funny.  I asked them about it but they said they didn't know anything.  I scoured the usual places:  sink, other counters, cabinets.  I couldn't find it.  I thought to myself, "Oh, this isn't good.  Boy am I in for it now."

When she came out of our room I thought she would blow up at me thinking that I moved the fruit bowl again.  A few hours passed and she didn't even seem to notice that it was gone.  I couldn't take the pressure of waiting for another rage episode so I broke down and asked her where the fruit bowl went to.  She told me, "Don't worry about it."

To my surprise she was very calm.  It didn't seem to bother her that the bowl was gone.  I thought to myself, "Woo hoo, she must have realized that this was silly and not worth arguing about." 

By this time it was time to each lunch.  I am still perplexed about that darn fruit bowl.  Curiosity got the best of me so I kept looking for it.  I looked again in the usual places thinking that I may have over-looked it.  I tried the dishwasher this time - nothing.  I even went to our 2nd living room and the garage - nothing.  It was like it disappeared into thin air! 

I conclude that I may never find out what happened to that darn fruit bowl.  I also surmise that I am happy I don't feel like eating fruit for lunch.  That would be like ripping the band-aid off.  So I go into the pantry to get the bread and that's when I noticed it.  The large brown bowl sitting on the floor in the deep dark corner of the pantry.....empty.  What?  It's empty.  No bananas, apples or oranges.  That's what I would call a head scratch-er.   I finish making my sandwich with all the normal ingredients....meat, cheese, lettuce, tomato, mayo.  I went to the pantry to throw away the cheese wrapper and what did I stumble upon?

Yep, you guessed it.  All of the fruit.  She had thrown it away!  To sum it up, she threw the perfectly good, edible fruit in the trash and set the bowl in the corner of the pantry.  Do I live in the twilight zone or something?

Of course being the logical person I am I wanted to understand why she did what she did.  So I bit the bullet and asked her.

Her response:  "To show me that it didn't matter where the fruit bowl was."

Huh?


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Liftedfog

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Re: Imagine if you will....
« Reply #1 on: August 03, 2016, 10:34:27 PM »
Wow.  They are so rigid that they defy loigic.  Hence the head scratching after they have spoken.   You are doing a great job trying to deflect her chaos away from the kids. You are protecting your children and showing them you are the stable parent. Keep strong and focussed. You can't change your wife. You can only help yourself.

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Mehi5

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Re: Imagine if you will....
« Reply #2 on: August 04, 2016, 01:26:28 PM »
You are doing a great job trying to deflect her chaos away from the kids. You are protecting your children and showing them you are the stable parent.

I wish this were entirely true.  As much as I try to protect them I can only do so much. 

A few weekends ago my wife took my daughter to a local amusement park to "tan."  When they came back I noticed that her lower back was really burnt, like she missed a spot when putting on sun screen.  She dismissed the idea of being burnt (naturally because she can do no wrong).  She made the comment that she has Indian in her blood and yes she does turn red, but doesn't burn. 

Fast forward to this past weekend.  We were going kayaking for my birthday.  The spot on her back was peeling.  I made a comment about how bad it looked and she said that she wouldn't have been burnt if my daughter would have applied sunscreen on her properly!  Unfortunately, it was right in front of my daughter.  My daughter looked like a deer in headlights.  What could she say when her mother accused her own daughter of hurting her and she wasn't the one who even put sun screen on her to begin with?  I tried to step in, but the damage had already been done.

I am beginning to wonder what is said in my absence.  My wife has a bad habit of hoarding the kids from me when we aren't getting along.  She only seems interested in them as a pay back for me not being interested in her.  I try to explain to our kids that they should not change themselves or their habits because of their mother, but it is a war I am losing.

My kids will go as far as facing a labels completely straight because they know how much it bothers my wife.  They know not to help put groceries away because my wife likes to put items in their place.  Both of them vacuum straight lines because they know she likes it.  I could go on, but you get my point.

The kids are one of the main reasons I stay.  I feel the need to stay and help them make sense of it all.  Though they are not my biological children, I feel like they are mine.  I wish I could take them with me when I leave, but they are the first thing she removes from me when we are in a disagreement.  It breaks my heart but when push comes to shove they will choose their mother over me (as I would want my own children to do).  I have had to digest this over the years and I can only hope that what I have taught them is enough for them to survive until they graduate.

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healingforward

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Re: Imagine if you will....
« Reply #3 on: August 13, 2016, 09:22:09 PM »
Definitely wow.

I feel moved to comment as a congenital OCD/GAD and adult-onset Panic Disorder patient (Axis I-variety anxiety disorders, not the Axis II PD variants).

What you're describing goes way beyond "typical" OCD as I understand it from therapy and lived experience. I'm not a therapist myself, but my MD and LCSW therapists are affiliated with an anxiety disorders clinic at a well-respected psych hospital, so I have pretty high confidence in the work we've done and what I've learned from them.

Environmental controls (fruit bowl positioning, label positioning, vacuuming in straight lines)? Sure, typical OCD stuff in some of its expressions. But: using those obsessions and compulsions to control and manipulate people directly? That's a whole different order of magnitude. I'm just learning about PDs and how to deal with them (having to navigate them with two adult family members), but this really seems to me like OCD within a larger PD context.


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Mehi5

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Re: Imagine if you will....
« Reply #4 on: August 15, 2016, 02:43:09 PM »
Definitely wow.

I feel moved to comment as a congenital OCD/GAD and adult-onset Panic Disorder patient (Axis I-variety anxiety disorders, not the Axis II PD variants).

What you're describing goes way beyond "typical" OCD as I understand it from therapy and lived experience. I'm not a therapist myself, but my MD and LCSW therapists are affiliated with an anxiety disorders clinic at a well-respected psych hospital, so I have pretty high confidence in the work we've done and what I've learned from them.

Environmental controls (fruit bowl positioning, label positioning, vacuuming in straight lines)? Sure, typical OCD stuff in some of its expressions. But: using those obsessions and compulsions to control and manipulate people directly? That's a whole different order of magnitude. I'm just learning about PDs and how to deal with them (having to navigate them with two adult family members), but this really seems to me like OCD within a larger PD context.

healingforward,

Thanks for the comment.  I was toying with an idea and wanted your opinion on it.  I have convinced my wife that she needs to get help to figure out what is wrong with her - or lose me forever.  I sealed the deal when I moved out of our bedroom into the spare bedroom.  It doesn't seem like much, but with someone like her - it was a drastic decision.

Since she has been in therapy for 2 years, I have seen her behavior spiral out of control.  She says that she is working on her "issues" but in my opinion, the therapist must not know exactly how bad she really is.  I was thinking about making a list of actions/words that detail exactly what she has been up to over the last two years.  Not in an accusing way.  In a way that says, "Hey therapist, this is what we are dealing with at home that you never get to see.  Maybe you need to investigate this further."

Example:  She is so paranoid about me "cheating" on her or "talking about her" that she always had to have the password to my phone.  She would review conversations with my family when I wasn't around (I always left it lying around because I didn't realize this is what she was doing until she called my mom and I out on a specific text conversation we had).  I recently changed the password and refuse to give it to her.  This was a few weeks ago.  Last week, she elected to look at the phone bill to see who I was communicating with during the day.  I didn't know she was doing that either until she actually asked me to show her the text messages between my mother and I.  I was shocked to say the least.  This is not something that a rational person would even think about, much less act on!  The idea that she thinks it is perfectly normal to ask to see text messages as "proof" that she has a right to be paranoid is a little too much for me to digest. 

Examples like this leave me to believe that she isn't speaking to her therapist about her irrational/paranoid thoughts or her behavior - which is mostly during working hours.  This is an example of what I would like to send to her therapist. 

Do you see any real benefit here? 

I told her as long as she is seeking treatment and finds an actual diagnosis (currently diagnosed with "severe anxiety") I will support her and the kids.  I was wondering if it would help to get things moving in the right direction?

Thanks for reading.  I appreciate your response as I am in over my head.  I want to do the right thing, but since this is so new and foreign, I am unsure of what the "right" thing really is.

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healingforward

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Re: Imagine if you will....
« Reply #5 on: August 16, 2016, 04:03:26 AM »
Mehi5, I would love to be able to tell you what the "right thing" is, but I'm as utterly baffled as you are, I think. I've just (this past month) realized that both my sibs are probably PD, and I'm still flailing around learning all of the terminology, reading the pages here, basically trying to get my bearings.

Aside from my personal OCD perspective, one thing I can share --- hopefully it's helpful --- is that both of my sibs have been in therapy for other issues, and they were both super-selective about their therapists, and (I really believe) super-selective about what they presented in therapy and what they accepted/rejected from that therapy in a very controlling way. I also have a close friend going through a similar process with a family member who is clearly (dx by proxy) PD, yet that family member's own therapist doesn't "see it" or is being ignored or misrepresented. My takeaway: there's some fog in the therapy field around PD, or maybe, as someone has mentioned before, it really takes a PD specialist to nail the dx. And I have no doubt that PD patients cherry-pick therapists to try to maintain their own --- worldview? sense of self? delusion? --- as best they can, based on my experience so far.

Sorry, that isn't really an answer. I don't know whether approaching her therapist would make a difference. IME, trying to bring up the issues of controlling behavior with my sibs, even gently, was disastrous. It was "their reality" or nothing.