Relational OCD: Are you obsessed that all your relationships are perfect?

When we talk about Obsessive we imagine a person cleaning to the point of exaggeration, checking a thousand times if they have closed the door or accumulating useless things until they completely fill their house. However, there is another disorder that distances itself somewhat from these compulsions and focuses on relationships. Are you obsessed that all your relationships are 100% perfect? We talk about relational OCD and how it can affect EVERY and every area of ​​your life.

What is relational OCD?

Repeating words or phrases, washing your hands automatically, checking, and accumulating old newspapers… All these actions are part of some of the most frequent Obsessive Compulsive Disorders.

But relational OCD has certain differences from them. It is a disorder that generates anguish due to intrusive thoughts in the form of doubts. Does he love me or does he not love me? And we are not referring only to relationships.

Relational OCD affects all kinds of relationships. Obsessions come in the form of questions. If you have behaved well with someone or not, if that person is cheating on you, if you love someone enough or if they love you, if you would be capable of hurting them.  They are ruminative thoughts that do not let you think about anything else and that can end up destroying the relationship you have with that person.

Relational OCD in the family

Relational OCD affects the family. A mother who wonders if she is taking good care of her baby is something common, but when these doubts become obsessed they can become dangerous, especially because they are disabling. Then there are the horrible thoughts that arise from negative emotions after an argument, for example.

The father who can’t take it anymore and thinks of throwing his son out the window. What a terrifying thought! He’s not going to, of course. But that it crossed his mind becomes an obsession and questions the quality of him as a human being. Would I be able to do such a thing? And the more you try to avoid that thought, the more recurring and intrusive it becomes.

Relational OCD in your circle of friends

A thought appears and magnifies itself until you can’t get it out of your head. Your friend hasn’t called you for coffee. Is it her that she is mad at you? Surely you have done something that has offended her and now she is going to turn the whole group against you. You will be left alone and isolated, without friends.

This chain of catastrophic thoughts doesn’t stop night or day and you can’t think about anything other than that. Surely your friend was involved and that’s why she didn’t call you. But you can’t help but think that something bad is happening and you can’t help but punish yourself for those thoughts. What if you are a jealous, envious or possessive person? And back again to why hasn’t she called me?

Relational OCD at work

A misinterpreted look from your co-worker can trigger a whole day of intrusive thoughts, obsessions, anguish, anxiety and fear. Fear because you have interpreted that look as anger. Could it be that you have not done your job well and it has been his turn to take care of it? Will it be the end of your career? Will they fire you?

You tirelessly search for a reason for that look, you can’t do anything else, you can’t concentrate and, of course, you can’t do your job well. Because there is your obsessive thought questioning your abilities as a worker, as a partner and as a person.

Relational OCD in the couple

The couple does not get rid of this relational OCD. Doubts turn into explosions of jealousy and possessiveness, questioning everything you do in the relationship or everything your partner does, that no demonstration of love is enough, thinking that you are not good enough for that person or that your partner is not what you were looking for.

If relationships are already surrounded by doubts in common situations, when we talk about OCD, the story can become a real hell. What if I’m not in love with my partner?  What if my partner is not in love with me? Why hasn’t he asked me to marry him after all the years we’ve been together? Why has the passion vanished? Have I chosen my sentimental partner well? Why didn’t you reply to that message? Are happy couples like that? What if we take another step in the relationship and I regret it?

All these questions about the relationship may be logical at a certain time and that does not mean that you are suffering from Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. But look at his own name. How far does the obsession go? The truth is that it can lead to a break, but not only in the relationship, but also in your emotional balance.

The small details generate anguish and such a load of anxiety that your mind lives in a permanent hell of questions, the search for explanations and guilt. A lot of guilt for doubting, for asking, for insisting, for obsessing. And because you see how that obsession is wearing down the relationship by leaps and bounds.

Relational OCD and self-esteem

You cannot find a specific cause for relational OCD, but it falls within anxiety disorders and the truth is that it is closely related to self-esteem. After all, these intrusive thoughts arise from insecurity. Insecurity about the bond that binds you to that person or insecurity about your own abilities to maintain that bond. Do you have low self-esteem or is it in your nature to question everything? As always, the limit is found in how your life and relationships are wearing out.

However, improving self-esteem is not enough to overcome a relational OCD, since we are dealing with a serious disorder. It is true that if you are sure of yourself, believe in yourself, trust the people around you and value yourself, those questions will not appear in your mind. But if self-esteem is one of the keys to this Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, it is not enough to work on that aspect.

Treatment of relational OCD

Psychological therapy is necessary to treat relational OCD. We talk so many times about learning to manage emotions that sometimes we forget that in order to do so, we first have to learn to manage thoughts. And it’s not something we can do ourselves or follow the steps in a self-help manual.

Therapy is very effective both in cases of phobias, anxiety and depression and in this type of Obsessive Compulsive Disorders. This therapy begins with the origin, the obsessive thought, the ruminative thought, the intrusive thought. That thought that triggers a whole series of compulsions that end up conditioning your whole life.

Acceptance and Commitment Therapy is also very helpful, a technique that gives thoughts their fair value relativizes them and can even transform them from torturing thoughts to useful thoughts. In some cases of relational OCD, drug treatment may be needed. And, let us insist, it is absolutely necessary to put yourself in professional hands to overcome this type of disorder.

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