How did I get here? Thoughts, advice, shared experience welcomed

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Sara

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20 years with my (likely) OCPD OH now, although as I’m sure many of you will recognise, their are glimpses of other disorders thrown in, whatever I might call it, it is toxic.
I seem unable to leave, and he refuses to. To be fair, he hasn’t worked in as long as I have known him so hasn’t the money to do so, unless he returns to his parents, who live overseas - he won’t do this.
I could leave - I don’t.....vague feelings about disappointing and/or upsetting my elderly parents seem to be involved in my reluctance, together with, I guess, shame that I would have to expose the horror I know I shouldn’t have tolerated, being outwardly strong, independant and supportive of his disorder....and hope eternal that the day will come when he suddenly ‘gets it’...
Somewhere along the way, I lost myself.
I function, and smile and laugh, and particpate outside of the home (alone of course, since his reality is confined to our 4 walls...) but my domestic life  is increasingly nightmarish. I will muddle along, on tip-toe for some days, but more and more frequently am overtaken with waves of bitterness that I can not control, that make me angry with him, with myself....that leave me screeching in his face for some kind of empathy, apology, acceptance that this safety net he has erected for himself, is a prison to me...My life has been stolen away through fear, through my  optimism, belief in empty promises and I am left not recognising myself, crying, isolating myself from him, whilst still vainly awaiting the ‘eureka’ moment when he takes me in his arms and makes me feel loved, safe, wanted....the moment my head knows will never come, whilst my heart says I just have to find the right words, the right language, the right moment.....
I do not want to be this monster, but the scales are tipped so far in his favour and he refuses to change, conveniently believes people are what they are, and should be accepted as such...that I have lost emotional control. If I yell loud enough he will take himself out of my sight, and I have peace...but what a way to live?
He is not mean, as such, this would require deliberate action he is incapable of....rather he can not see the impact of his condition on me....
Every decision takes days, no matter how small....when he can not decide the better option, I have to step in or we would be uninsured, repair not done, not having a meal, not watching TV, decision paralysis....then I am blamed as the moment one decision is taken, the other becomes preferable
He can not cope if he does not get the cheapest deal available, this week deep depression over loss of £5 when money is not an issue for us, the same reaction for paying 40p too much for Roadside assistance contract, and because I forgot to take £2 vouchers to the supermarket....I receive deep criticism that hurts, no sympathy as the result, not emotions, matter in his world. Actually, he complains at me for not being sympathetic towards him, he has no understanding of materiality, just needs to be perfect in every decision and action, to the extent it makes our life a perfect example of imperfection...oh the irony!
He will not go out with me anywhere - not to the cinema, for a walk, to friends, to the theatre, not to a bar or cafe, not to my sisters.....understand, he can go out...we will go to a football match, or the motor racing...he just won’t go anywhere he doesn’t want to. This is a little limiting, but fine with him since he maintains his good man pose by saying I am obviously free to go alone, anywhere I want, but am bad to want him to do things he doesn’t like...he uses the rather sly statement..in a couple both should agree, sounds ok? Apart from he never agrees with my preferences....this manipulation has meant if I want to do anything with him, he decides what it is, since he doesn’t do anything he doesn’t want. My needs are not part of any conversation or decision making - his agreement I can do anything I want by myself absolves him of further engagement.
He does nothing around the house - since the dirt, dust, rubbish bothers me, I should be the one to do it...
He is miserly with money, even if I earn it all, getting to spend it requires either an inquisition or, if I go solo on a purchase, the dreaded silent treatment
He hoards receipts, boxes, bags - apparently he is emotionally attached to them
I can not have friends to the house
He has no friends
We don’t decorate as he can not cope with change
Ditto....new furniture etc....which are purchased only after old is completely broken, stored in the garage, not discarded, and I have to really have a tantrum to beat all tantrums...dysfunctional, exhausting, pathetic...
He will complain if my parents visit, or if we visit them....in deed we have reached a place where I have to consider it a favour if he accompanies me....
I have taken the quiet life, the path of least resistance, and enabled behaviour that was never acceptable, for years and now, I can’t extract myself...
How can I find my balance again? How do those of you in this kind of place, make it tolerable? How can I detach and get off this emotional roller coaster?
I am not strong enough to leave right now, given he will be no different, what can I do for me?

many thanks


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Penny Lane

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Re: How did I get here? Thoughts, advice, shared experience welcomed
« Reply #1 on: June 12, 2020, 05:15:16 PM »
Hi and welcome! It sounds like you're in the right place and a lot of people here have very similar experiences.

I hear how hard it's been for you and continues to be. I hope you find the support and commiseration you're looking for. The Chosen Relationships board has others who stay in similar relationships who might have good ideas.

I like that you're asking what you can do. What you can't do is change him. He's going to act this way until HE decides to change.

There are some strategies that people here have found to be helpful, and they're in the toolbox at the top. Look specifically at medium chill (under what to do) and the things to avoid, like circular conversation and JADE. These strategies will help you live your best life even attached to a possible PD.

I'm glad you found us and I hope to see you around the boards.

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notrightinthehead

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Re: How did I get here? Thoughts, advice, shared experience welcomed
« Reply #2 on: June 12, 2020, 06:44:27 PM »
Welcome Sara! I want to add my welcome. You sound so sad. You have found a good place of information and support. In addition to us here - do you have any emotional support in real life? A friend who knows the reality of your life? A counsellor? Therapist? CoDA group? I found, that when I opened up to one person about what was going on in my home, and she was supportive, change started to happen for me. I started to change myself. You have made the first step here. A brave,  big step! See you around.
Our march to freedom is irreversible. We must not allow fear to stand in our way.  Nelson Mandela

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BeautifulCrazy

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Re: How did I get here? Thoughts, advice, shared experience welcomed
« Reply #3 on: June 14, 2020, 12:34:09 AM »
Hi Sara,
I relate so heartbreakingly much to your post!
Some of us here are in marriages very similar to yours. I strongly suspect my husband has OCPD.
Sorry that you are living in such difficult circumstances.
I am glad you are here!! Welcome!!
Like PennyLane, I highly recommend learning the Medium Chill technique, and lots of other things in the Toolbox section of this site. This has saved my sanity interacting daily with a pwPD and helped me not be so reactive.
NRITH recommended finding a CoDA group, which is awesome advice. Whether you find and join a group or not, reading and exploring anything you can find about Co-Dependency will probably be really helpful.
All of these, and the support of this forum have helped me so much.
I understand your
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shame that I would have to expose the horror I know I shouldn’t have tolerated.
  I know many others do too. There are posts in a thread this past week about that very thing.
So much in your post resonates with me! I hope you jump in around the boards and share your journey with us.
 :grouphug:

~BC

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Sara

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Re: How did I get here? Thoughts, advice, shared experience welcomed
« Reply #4 on: June 30, 2020, 05:11:52 PM »
Thank you to those of you who have taken time to read my post, and to those who have responded.
I short....as yet, it is not going that well, I am trying the medium chill approach with repeated failure, but keep reminding myself Rome wasn’t built in a day so it is unlikely my brain will retrain itself in a couple of weeks....practise makes perfect, the irony of which brings a small smile. Draw a lone, try again, is my new mantra 🙂
I have started reading the CoDA with interest, and a little apprehension!
Onwards....
Thank you all.

S