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Hi all,

 We have been married for 17 years and have 2 kids.  My husband is an absolute clean freak.  He was not like this when we got married but for the last 7 years he has become an absolute clean freak.  He cleans the house (carpeted house) by wetting a towel and wiping the house carpets all over out apartment.  He does that in the evening everyday.  If the kids or me come into the house with their socks on he scolds them harshly and then again cleans the house.  We leave our shoes out and have to take out socks out before entering the house.  It is getting from bad to worse.  If we inadvertently leave out socks on he is very harsh with us.  I am not sure what to do, or how to handle this.  

  He is otherwise a very loving and caring husband and father.  But his cleaniness drive often is the cause of arguments between us.  While cooking if I drop even a small bit of chopped cilantro on the floor I am scolded harshly indicating that we have no regard for him and we all care only about ourselves.  I am at a point where I feel the children are reprimanded for no reason.  I am uncertain on how to handle this.

 

Even when he is dropping the kids to school he has to wash his hands first because he touched his shoes.  Any tips on help in addressing this will be appreciated.

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Hello MonMad

Your description suggests that your husband is suffering from Obsessive Compulsive Disorder which seems to be on the increase. Explain it to him - politely and let him research the topic on net. If this behavior gets to the extremes, may I suggest that you take him to a doctor and have him psychologically evaluated - maybe he has genuine concerns or just compulsive disorder.

Hope this helps

Aushi

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I agree with Aushi . I think should take help of counselor or you may advice him to do meditation.

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Meditation actually helps. 

But I think that your husband's situation is really a huge issue that requires a medical help. In his case you can't wonder and keep asking yourself what makes person angry so much that he can change his behavior totally. 

He has some type of disorder that requires a treatment obviously.

My neighbor had similar situation with her husband. Thanks God, he wanted to visit someone who is an expert because he was aware of his situation.

In your husbands case, this behavior is causing all those issues for him.He needs to find someone to help him soon because that is the only way to save your marriage. 

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Hi MonMad,

 

I agree with Aushi- your husband is definitely OCD and needs to be seen by a professional. However, despite medication helping short term, you may have to look in to therapy. I don't know what your mental health care system is like where you are, but here in the UK it can be better to go private than wait for the NHS.

 

The core trigger for obsessive compulsive disorder is anxiety. Often it comes after a traumatic event or illness, where the person had absolutely no control over the situation or they have residual anxieties about not taking control over the situation. OCD is actually an evolutionary behaviour- to stop negative things from happening, humans have learned over thousands of years to use rituals; cleaning rituals to prevent disease and ultimately death, rituals of work to ensure survival and group compliance and rituals of respect and reverence to higher powers (to prevent the disasters we knew/know nothing about!). They're healthy in some ways- a ritual for washing & brushing your teeth every morning is termed as 'normal'. However, when we feel that our life is out of control for some reason, we resort to rituals in order to feel safe and in control.  

 

If I was in your shoes, I would get some more information about OCD, keep a diary of his ritualistic behaviours and try and talk to him to find out when his obsessive cleaning started and what was going on in his life then. I can almost guareentee that there will be a main trigger.

FYI, I'm OCD and yes, it's a cleaning one (and a lists one- I make lists for nearly everything!). However, I'm not as bad as your husband, although I used to be. I once had a full-melt down in front of the whole neighbourhood because my mother had left a kitchen knife in the garden after using it to cut down a blackberry bush. My mother had gone to bed and I was cleaning, as was the ritual. At the time, another OCD was counting the kitchen knives (I was sure they would be used against me). When I found the knife missing and went on an all night hunt. In my mind, there was nothing more important than this possible festering knife, not even the small baby I had asleep upstairs. The event ended when I had a very public argument with my mother in the street at about 8.30 the following morning and accused her of plotting against me and hiding it- all because she mistakingly left a knife outside in the garden!

I'm not bad now. I managed to work my issues out with therapy (there were other issues too, I might add!) and while I still have a certain amount of OCD, I class it as 'managed'. Now-a-days, I still clean, but I don't count things and my cleaning is no longer as obsessive as it was. I do the usual things every day- washing up, tidying up, clean the cat trays, but I can go a day without doing anything. It kind of hurts the next day- I look around and can feel a familiar panic rising, but I don't succumb to it, like I used to, as I know it's unnecessary. The lists obsession is quite handy- I don't list things like CD's, books, etc (although I have done in the past!); it's things like shopping, food in the cupboards, finances, daily tasks, decorating tasks & future goals.

My core trigger is my background. We were always moving and if the house was dirty or untidy, it was chaotic and very stressful. Often, we had to leave things behind- I lost so many toys by the time I was 8, I took to not becoming attached to anything materialistic. Subsequently, my favourite 'toys' became a writing book and pens, because I could pack them quickly and they were replaceable. As a teenager, we settled in a house, but it was a little too late by then. Anxiety and the feeling of being unsettled were already a part of my personality. When I had my son, it bought on the worst of my behaviour. I was a little OCD before I had him- my bedroom was always immaculate and I took on a lot of cleaning tasks around the house, as my father had died and my mother worked full-time. But my biggest obsession before he was born was that I was very particular about food- colours, fat content, etc- and I would feel panic rising when certain foods were together on a plate. For this, I used to avoid a lot of eating out and spent two weeks only eating green veg & pasta! I was also obsessed with death and would go through the same ritual of getting ready to die each night (letters to loved ones, a will, getting dressed in what I wanted to be buried in, etc). It was all very unreasonable, illogical behaviour, but I couldn't see it or understand it. I simply felt that I had to do it and that bad things would happen if I didn't.

 

It's very hard to realise that certain behaviour is having a negative impact on those around you, so your husband may not listen at first. That's why I advise you to keep a journal of his behaviours. It was one of my first pieces of homework from my therapist and it really gave me an insight to how often I carried out obsessive behaviours. Once I was able to see when they happened, I was able to look at how I was feeling when I was behaving in that way.

 

Good luck & I hope you and your family gain some peace soon.

 

V

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