• Quote of the Day
    "Our job in this lifetime is not to shape ourselves into some ideal we imagine we ought to be,
    but to find out who we already are and become it."
    Steven Pressfield, posted by David Baxter

MadJohn

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Sep 1, 2004
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My wife, whom I am divorcing, is an extremely strong OCPD case. Nothing I do is satisfactory and I am constantly criticized. In fact, nothing has been satisfactory and the criticism started our third day of marriage! Everything has to be just so, or it is no good. Something like a new car, if the paint gets chipped or the door slightly dinged is "ruined." If something I say is incorrect, then I am a "liar!" It goes on and on and I just can't stand it any more. When she began to apply her perfectionistic standards not only to me, but to how I interacted with my sons when they visited, and then even more stringently when one came back home to live with us, she actually threatened to leave the marriage if the younger also came back to live with us. I had raised them for 9 years and they just had to go try living with their mother...wife and I were already dating seriously when that happened and unbeknownst to me, wife said yes to my marriage proposal with the expectation they would never come back...and they did in agreement with the prediction of their counselor. All the reading I have done on perfectionism and OCPD indicates my wife is an exceptionally strong case complete with total denial she has any problems. Counseling made things worse for us, she tried some medication for 2 days and quit, refused to see a psychiatrist to get appropriate medical management, moved out, quit communicating, gave up on the marriage. I don't know anything else to do as she basically criticized and questioned/challenged my attempt at reconciliation and so I filed for divorce. Seriously, if I have a different perspective on something, she claims I am lying!

What in the world causes such disrespect and hypercritical nature? I know she feels she has to control her environment, but that is not practical in life. It appears the lack of control in getting married and moving into a home under renovation (she knew full well about that beforehand) totally unbalanced her...I just never really knew before we married that she was so close to the edge. What causes people to be this way??
 

David Baxter

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I'm not sure that's a question anyone can answer with certainty, MadJohn, for OCPD or any other personality disorder.
 

MadJohn

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Sep 1, 2004
Messages
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Okay, am I correct that there really is no hope of a bettering of the situation if she won't participate in counseling and take medication? I have heard that Lexapro can be quite helpful for some of these people. It basically has to be her way on everything...there is no compromising on her part. Also, she has had at least two panic attacks - shortness of breath, tachycardia, low dissolved oxygen in the blood (she got a really thorough medical work up complete with a MRI to eliminate a blood clot in the lung), and chronic backache due to being to tense all the time.
 
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MadJohn

Member
Joined
Sep 1, 2004
Messages
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Points
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Oh, yes, about 3-4 months after we began to have serious marital problems...she wouldn't talk about herself at all, but would talk only about me. In fact, there were several exercises the therapist asked us both to do, but she never discussed her results with the therapist. She never really tried to get into her own problems with the therapist and would decry, "I refuse to give up my standards!" Honestly, it seemed her standards were far more important to her than me or the marriage. She knew she was having problems as she got back on a low dose of Prozac from her physician (she had taken that a couple of years before for a while), but quit after only two days and refused to get any further help. I even suggested she see a psychiatrist as someone who could best work with her on pharmacology of SSRIs or whatever...it only made her very angry! I suggested we see another counselor since she complained about the one we had...she criticized that move, too. Nothing would do, everything had a problem...in fact, that is how she views everything - she spots and highlights imperfections, but can not really see the positive attributes of something or a situation. If she finds an imperfection (and it is only a matter of a very short time before she does), then whatever is totally no good. I felt trapped in a marriage wherein I would be constantly criticized and nothing would ever be good enough...and that in and of itself is a highly depressing situation.

She is one of those people who claims to be extraordinarily sensitive to medications and to respond abnormally to them. Her main complaint with the Prozac was sedation/inhibition of concentration which bothered her at work where she was the consummate perfectionist.
 
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