Having to prove something

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Jsinjin

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Having to prove something
« on: June 06, 2019, 10:22:20 AM »
The behaviors below are examples and the story is an anecdote although examples of similar behaviors have occurred.

I've been married 25 plus years to what I now realize is an undiagnosed ocpd spouse.   I have noticed a behavior that I call "having to prove something" and I don't know I'd there is a better title for the behavior.   I also wonder if some other interactions with people I don't quite understand stem from traits on this behavior spectrum.

My spouse was in law enforcement which included patrolling the local parks and lakes.   She had the badge, gun, etc. and was good at her job which involved public safety, rules, etc.    She was not someone you would call a bad cop or authoritarian.    One night I was invited along with her and two other rangers on an evening patrol in the boat and I witnessed a behavior that hits me in similar fashion.   The two rangers did regular safety checks on ski boats, jet skis etc.   This included visual checks to see if the driver appeared intoxicated, life jackets were present and if a kid appeared under a certain age were worn and if lights were on in the boat after sunset.   They did not indiscrimnately "pull' people over.   But on this particular evening a group was wildly driving and skiing so they did a spot safety check since none of the adults had jackets on and the boat is required to have one jacket per person even if not worn.   The people were very annoyed and insisted they had not broken any rules and spouse asked to see their life jackets.   The group scrounged for about 5 min and came up with a couple of jackets and a couple of children's jackets that would not have fit the adults.    Spouse asked one of them to try on a jacket and obviously it wouldn't fit.   She began to discuss the spirit and intent of the safety rules and it was clear they didn't care at all.   They had not technically broken any rules although they had contempt and just wanted to play.   What followed that evening was the most incensed upset behavior about how that family just had no idea the danger they were in.   She insisted that they had to choose who would have died if the boat had capsized.   The anger carried over for days.   Mostly because the group kept basically asking did we do anything wrong and can we go.   I realized she was upset because they did not care about the moral and justified consequences of their actions

I see this play out time and time again in my life.   Our city has rules about the distance trash cans are to be from the road for pickup.    I contend that these rules are so the automated trash can grabber arm had an easy time and as long as I'm close in setting it out there it's not that technical a system.    She can't let it go. If I'm a few inches off and is actually angry if I'm in a hurry and it's a bit closer or a bit farther away from the road.    She gets most angry that I don't care about the importance of the rule.   She is more angry about my lack of care than she is about the fact that the rule is followed or broken.

I've noticed these moral interests are always around fairness or in many cases waste.    We have piles of old t shirts, old socks, rags and clothes that are in the garage..   she can't dispose of that sort of thing.   If I use a rag to wipe up oil or grease and throw it away she is angry with me that I don't care about the waste, the landfill problems or the fact that I just don't care about throwing away a perfectly good rag.   A couple of times ive burned that sort oil soaked rag in the outdoor fireplace so that it can't come back into the wash cycle and be out back out on the pile in the garage (it's several trash bags full).   When she learned from the kids I was using these as fire starters she blew up over my waste of rags.

I once believed this type of moral indignation was related to a sense of being poor growing up but I've learned that it's likely part of OCPD.

The behavior  questioning in this post is the physical and mental anger that comes and lasts for days over the fact that someone may or may not follow a rule but the real anger comes from that person not even caring about the rule in the first place.   She is angry that I don't care about the rag, or the trash can distance or that someone has a tiny life jacket that wouldn't keep them afloat.   The fact that they don't care and won't care is what brings her into a state of absolute physical and mental anger with a need to prove the case


Has anyone else seen this in their spouse/SO?
It is unwise to seek prominence in a field whose routine chores you do not enjoy.

-Wolfgang Pauli

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Hazy111

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Re: Having to prove something
« Reply #1 on: June 06, 2019, 01:34:22 PM »
I dont have a spouse like this, but i have a friend who becomes extremely moralistic about safety and risk and waste.

He obsessively turns off all the services before leaving home, gas electric water etc.  If we are walking and sees something someone could trip over or low hanging branch that could injury someone he has to do something about it. Hes very concerned about waste, always recycling stuff. Rails against other people for not being like him. Never goes into debt etc.

Ive broached it with him once or twice but he puts the risk and safety down to the jobs hes done.

I think it goes much deeper and he "intellectualises" his way of explaining his beliefs, thus keeping the real emotions and feelings  at bay.  I think its all part of childhood trauma spectrum. Hes not into anything like that, but likes to think somethings have "genetic" causes. I believe another intellectual cop out.

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11JB68

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Re: Having to prove something
« Reply #2 on: June 06, 2019, 01:42:38 PM »
OH, Jsinjin....were our spouses separated at birth?? ;)
SO similar in so many ways.
Your quote: Our city has rules about the distance trash cans are to be from the road for pickup.    I contend that these rules are so the automated trash can grabber arm had an easy time and as long as I'm close in setting it out there it's not that technical a system.    She can't let it go. If I'm a few inches off and is actually angry if I'm in a hurry and it's a bit closer or a bit farther away from the road.    She gets most angry that I don't care about the importance of the rule.   She is more angry about my lack of care than she is about the fact that the rule is followed or broken.
 :yeahthat:
YES, EXACTLY this. We have the same system and uOCPDh (who can no longer put out the trash due to health issues) INSISTS that DS and I adhere to his VERY STRICT interpretation of the distance/angle/etc of the trash. No one else in our neighborhood does this and their trash is picked up just as ours is.
And, yes. The 'righteous indignation' I think is a key part of OCPD. Also -yes, he gets extremely angry if I do not match his anger/emotion. He also has 'forced' (i know, I have choices....) me to be his proxy in some of these matters in which I have to call someone to report something, or speak to someone on his behalf, etc.
And one thing that makes me more and more sad is that this is an example of his double standard. If I'm upset about something he will tell me don't worry about it, or it's not that important/not a big deal, I'm overreacting or being 'shrill' etc.

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Poison Ivy

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Re: Having to prove something
« Reply #3 on: June 08, 2019, 01:26:26 AM »
Good news:  My ex-husband does not believe in mindless adherence to rules.  Bad news:  He thinks he can pick and choose which rules to follow. For example, tax laws (he hasn't filed returns since our divorce); motor vehicle laws (he's probably driving uninsured these days); divorce laws (he hid some of his assets during the divorce). Also bad news:  Like your wife, he's somewhat of a hoarder, and I'm still digging out from the junk he left in the family house.

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Spygirl

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Re: Having to prove something
« Reply #4 on: June 08, 2019, 02:06:29 AM »
Very sorry.

I did my best to take a positive spin on all that and have some fun with it.

Better the junk than him, maybe a bonfire?

Its his tax probs, arent you glad you are not attached to that anymore?

Good luck driving without insurance.....

My stbexpd has never changed the passcodes to utilities and whatnot. I still get the late notices for everything,

Every
Single
Month


But when i look back, it was always that way..thats why i paid all that myself when married. I am proud i gave him ten years of good credit! :tongue2:

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Poison Ivy

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Re: Having to prove something
« Reply #5 on: June 08, 2019, 01:07:21 PM »
Thanks, Spygirl.  I'm dealing with these issues much better, both psychologically and physically, than I did when we were married, because now either I don't have legal responsibility or, if I do, I'm free to decide what to do without having to consult my ex. 

It's kind of weird.  Even though my ex doesn't follow rules, it almost seems as though the not following of rules rests on some OCD-like thoughts. 

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Call Me Cordelia

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Re: Having to prove something
« Reply #6 on: June 08, 2019, 03:04:13 PM »
I always secretly called my uN and probably uOCPD dad “Percy Weasley” when he would get all uptight about following the rules. My dad once brought a ruler along when I had to parallel park... after I already had my license.  :doh:

They also made things a moral issue when they were not... pre-washing the dishes before going in the dishwasher. Getting the laundry the second the machine beeped. Seriously, if it had a minute or two left my dad would stand there and wait to grab it the second the buzzer sounded. He’d jump like it was the starting gun to a race every time.

Safety was a giant load of hypocrisy where he was concerned. Is your wife like that too? There were many many safety rules that did not apply to him, but he was sanctimoniously indignant about anybody else breaking them. Rules against tailgating and speeding for instance. But we always followed rules about seatbelts and he hounded me about making sure our car seats were the right ones and properly installed. And both parents made darn sure ALL the rules were over-applied to us. An explicit one: Don’t even think about asking to see a PG-13 movie until you are at least 14. No going anywhere ever without an adult, not even to the neighbor’s yard to play with their kids. Heck, not even the front yard, someone might drive by and grab us. We had to stay in front of the kitchen window, where she could see us. I could go on but you get the idea. Why? Because their precious babies need to stay SAFE.

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Wilderhearts

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Re: Having to prove something
« Reply #7 on: June 08, 2019, 04:36:49 PM »
Everything always came down to "fairness" with my former uOCPD roommate as well.  Fairness, however, was everyone else doing an equal proportion of work to meet standards that only she got to set - not "fair" at all in my mind that we have to do additional work according to her rules just so she would be "happy."  When she couldn't justify what she wanted, it was just "fair" or "better."

I don't recall her moral indignation being about others "not caring," unless it was people "not caring" about her - i.e. not complying with her rules so her wants and needs would always be met.  I can see though, how a pwPD could easily take somebody not caring about a minor detail (such as the garbage can situation you described) and use it to paint the whole person - you don't care about the trash being inches away therefore you don't care about anything.  It's called splitting, or black/white thinking, in which the pwPD idealizes or devalues a person as a whole (you're all good or all bad) based on a simple behaviour.

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athene1399

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Re: Having to prove something
« Reply #8 on: June 11, 2019, 11:18:56 AM »
The uPD I work with shows some of these traits. She freaks if her rules aren't followed. Even her manager tells her to leave it alone, that upper management is fine with the monetary loss and it is covered with write-offs, but my coworker still freaks out for days about "so-and-so not following the rules properly and the company losing money as a result." It's worse because it ruins her mood for the rest of the shift and she is miserable and complains about everything. Her manager is baffled she takes it  too heart so much. The manager said once "You would think it was money out of her own pocket the way she acts." I sometimes have trouble with the constant muttering under her breath over minor things, like it's the end of the world if someone doesn't account for a $1 part. Sometimes I have to just walk away as I feel it affecting my mood. Nothing I can tell her stops her from being upset about it.

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Swarley

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Re: Having to prove something
« Reply #9 on: June 12, 2019, 04:02:11 PM »
My MIL is a bit like this. She's very "Type A" with quite a few OCD traits and she grew up in the era of "rules" and conformity ( "nice" people keep their lawn trimmed and do the dishes immediately after dinner and make sure any holes in their children's clothing are immediately mended).

She is not a creative or flexible type of person. Rules give her structure and comfort and control and a sense of morality, which is where it becomes irritating. She is not good at evaluating whether a rule is necessary or makes sense or is even really a "rule" vs. just "the way we've always done it" or something she was told by a person in a position of authority once. ("Family photos are only properly displayed in one's private bedroom" her Domestic Science professor told her during a college course in the '50's. She dutifully wrote this in her notes and believes it to be "true" with all her rule-following heart). It bothers her TREMENDOUSLY when others fail, or, worse,  refuse to conform precisely and unquestioningly, or skirt a rule because, well, it's a stupid rule.
« Last Edit: June 12, 2019, 04:18:51 PM by Swarley »

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TriedTooHard

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Re: Having to prove something
« Reply #10 on: June 13, 2019, 08:03:20 AM »
Hi, I hope this helps hearing from someone who had a bit of this inside myself for a while.  For your sake, and the sake of your children, I hope she can better manage these behaviors. 

I grew up in a dysfunctional family, was raised to be co-dependent, and had untreated anxiety for many years.  I so much wanted to get better.  This type of behavior was not top on my list of things to fix, but when I started addressing the other things, this behavior gradually disappeared.  My husband grew up in a different type of dysfunction - he witnessed and experienced trauma in his neighborhood and developed a bit of these behaviors.  Especially when he became ill - he was inordinately fearful of germs for a while and had very strange ideas about  cleaning and food preparation techniques.  Your issues with rags reminded me of this.  Once he was treated for his illnesses, anxiety, and depression, those behaviors went away.  Sometimes we look back on those times and laugh at ourselves.  At some point we felt a lot of shame, but thankfully for our child's sake, no longer feel shame.

We were especially devastated when we learned about personality disorders.  We both went to our therapists and asked for help in figuring out if we had them and if we could be cured.  That was a good sign that we didn't have PDs.

I think part of it may have been the type of minds my husband and I inherited.  He enjoys fixing/maintaining things and I enjoy working with numbers, so we aren't very artistic or creative.  Our siblings who grew up in the same environments, and are more artistic, developed different unhealthy coping mechanisms.

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11JB68

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Re: Having to prove something
« Reply #11 on: June 13, 2019, 11:42:19 AM »
I was going to weigh in here on OCD vs OCPD, but will start another thread so as not to hijack.