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TOPIC TITLE: Wife
Created On 12/1/11 6:04 PM
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Min Hashamayim
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12/1/11 6:04 PM
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I am in a desperate situation. I have been married for 3 years to a man with OCD and it’s only getting worse. He gives me a very hard time when I suggest seeing a professional, though he knows there is a problem and is trying with all his might to work on it.
I was always the top girl in school, went to a prestigious seminary, and began dating right away. I had only one criterion for marriage– that is, the boy needs to be a very serious learner. The first boy I went out with was very serious about his learning and even spent a whole date telling me about how he doesn’t like to waste any time, and how learning is everything to him. He said he needs very little and doesn’t need to take vacations, etc. This seemed like just my kind of guy. I planned to spend a lot of my time working and getting a degree so I could take the financial burden off my “Talmid chocham.” I also need a lot of time for myself because I am a thinker – so this arrangement worked very well for me.
I was quite naïve, looking back. Some warning signs I should’ve picked up on were: 1) he told me he learned for a year by himself, without a chavrusa, 2) on the way back home from a date he thought he heard a noise, and asked me numerous times if I think he hit someone, and said “Should I go back to check?” 3) He switched yeshivas a few times after high school to very different style yeshivas. These things were of concern to me; however, I dismissed them because everyone said he’s a good learner and I wanted to get married right away – I have an older sister who was in her low thirties at the time and still single.
Thinks started going downhill right after we got married. I wanted to be a smiley, no-issues wife. Nothing was ever a problem – I gave in to every one of my “budding talmid chacham’s” needs. However, nothing I did satisfied him. He was very bitter. I would smile to him and he would grunt about something negative. During sheva brachos he was driving and someone else on the road did something he didn’t like, so he went on a whole rampage about this man. My broad smile was painfully trying to stay on my mouth as I tried to comfort him. I recall making delicious suppers for him but when he’d come back from yeshiva he’d insist that I stand and kiss him for at least 20 minutes, and by then the food would be cold. When I’d get impatient and say, can we please sit down now to eat, he’d get very upset and go to his bed and not re-appear for at least an hour.
From the first night we were married, he was obsessed with hilchos nidda. He’d make me tell him every night that I washed my hands, that nothing of kedusha was in the room. I had to repeat this to him clearly until he was satisfied. He’d bang the door about 15 times to make sure it was fully closed. He wanted tashmish every single night, and would spend at least an hour on it each night. In the beginning I was gracious – my kallah teacher told me never to say no, so I didn’t. I smiled and pretended to be happy, but inside I hated every minute of it. My husband picked up on it and asked how come I don’t enjoy being with him. I would deny it but he got angry at me and say that I am not loving, etc. He wanted me to kiss and hug him a lot, all day, and it was physically and emotionally draining for me.
When I would come back from the mikvah, he’d make me tell him about 200 times (no exaggeration) that “I was tovel.” He’d count to three and then I’d have to say it slowly and clearly. Then he’d say, “one more time.” This would go on for at least an hour. Then of course I’d be expected to be attractive and smiley so he can have his time.
All this alone would be nothing. But it got worse and worse. He has a problem with most of his chavrusas. He’s dropped a few in the middle of the zman because they would make him nervous. He would come home in a bad mood every day complaining that he is the “only normal person in the world.”
He also can’t get along with my family. From the beginning, I’d have to beg him to come to my parents, and every time we’d go he would make me take long walks outside while he would dissect everything everyone in my family said and tell me how crazy they are. Then we’d come home on motzei shabbas and spend hours telling me how my parents are insane. He also told me I have to stick up for him always and even made me tell my mother off, which I did because I figured it’s more important to be a good wife than a good daughter. I was very close with my older sister before we got married, but once we were married he would not let me talk to her. If he’d come home and I was on the phone with her, I would try to hang up right away and he’d press me to tell him what we spoke about and then he’d become very irritable. My sister called me up before rosh hashana this year crying, wondering what had happened, how come I never speak to her anymore – even when we see each other like on yom tov, I am not allowed to talk to her. I used to send her kids presents, but all this came to an abrupt end with my marriage.
He starting becoming stressed out with the simplest tasks. He couldn’t pay a single bill; writing a check was too stressful for him. I took over keeping track of the money. He was so uptight, the only thing that would calm him was tashmish-which we did every night. Sometimes he would disappear into his room for hours with no explanation. He would miss shacharis almost every morning and cause me to be late to work almost every day. He would talk so much bein hasdarim, he’d come late to second seder almost every day. Soon he did away with his second seder chavrusa and took off almost every day. Now he only learns morning seder and night seder for 1 hour. He still hardly davens shacharis with a minyan, and mincha only when he is up to it.
Halachah questions cause him to go nuts. He breaths down my back in the kitchen asking me tons of questions. If something questionable would come up, he would first yell, then disappear into his room for an hour or two or three, and then usually throw out the utensil. I have boxes of plastic forks, spoons, and knives that are labeled milchigs or fleishigs because someone took a spoon without remembering if he/she washed his/her hands after eating. Now he makes me wash the stove racks in the bathtub with cold water before cooking because he’s not sure if something might’ve spilled on them. I can’t put any dishes down in our sinks. These are just a few examples.
I also can’t go outside on Shabbas, not because we don’t hold of the eiruv, but because my husband can’t be sure that the eiruv didn’t fall down. He complains all the time that he has no one to talk to, no one takes responsibility for the average guy, etc. He gets so tense that sometimes he would travel an hour and a half to his father to talk to him, or ask his father to come to him.
Now we have a two year old son, and a three month old son. He davens shacharis behind a closed door so our son shouldn’t see, but he yells at me in front of him. He also drives him crazy washing his hands lots of times. He is very hard on our son and I fear it is too much for him. He still goes to his room for hours, and would walk out without saying goodbye. On rosh hashana, he came home from shul at night and I had prepared a nice seudah, but he went on a rampage because someone said a negative remark to him in shul, then he disappeared in his room until after 11pm when I finally cajoled him to come eat the seudah with me.
I am constantly giving in. I work extra hard to bring in a parnassah, and besides for the fact that my husband is not even learning most of the time, my money goes to silly things. When he is upset he spends money. He buys lavish snacks like runny chips and ice cream, and makes me come with him on trips to the ocean on ordinary work days. When there is a sheilah, he throws things out. He spends lots of money on lulavim and esrogim just “to be sure”. Recently he realized that if I travel 25 minutes, there is a library that frum people generally don’t go to and I can take out videos for him to watch on my computer. So he made me do that almost every night for a few weeks and is slowly getting out of the habit. He watched at least 2 videos per night because I was a niddah and he needed something to keep his mind off things.
My relief came recently when we went to the doctor for something “small” to take the edge off. He knew this “intensity” was taking him over and with his father’s prompting agreed to go. The doctor immediately said he has ocd and should see a psychiatrist. He was so upset that since then, it is an unspoken topic in our house.
I think that without the ocd, we would be a great couple. However, I am giving up hope on him getting better and I am burnt out from putting up with it. I have two children, I fear having more, and I know at this rate the future for our children is at risk. I want to get divorced but I know I will feel guilty. Maybe I should stay and help him? Perhaps there is something I can do? This may be bashert and I am a patient person by nature, very well-balanced, and perceptive; maybe Hashem put me with him so I could help him reach his potential? Is such a thing possible?
I need help. I need to muddle my way through this mess. What can you offer/suggest?

 
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Tiredoftired
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12/1/11 7:13 PM
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Edited: 5/28/15 at 7:44 PM by Tiredoftired
 
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Min Hashamayim
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12/5/11 6:40 PM
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Thank you for your kind response. What you said about the fact that there must be something else aside for OCD going on was very helpful. The problem is, I have to be extremely careful with how to approach this. My husband is anti- all things related to social sciences. He thinks he could outsmart them all. He also would not be comfortable going to someone and telling him/her his issues. He wants to suppress the problems. Going to a Rav is not so simple because our family Rav is not exactly the well-rounded type.
 
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Tiredoftired
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12/5/11 7:28 PM
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Edited: 5/28/15 at 7:44 PM by Tiredoftired
 
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Min Hashamayim
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12/6/11 6:38 PM
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He thinks he can outsmart them because he thinks he is the smartest person out there accept for some Rabbanim. Even Rabbanim he won't always agree that they'll know better. With psychologists, He thinks they'll look at him and mentally turn to page 498 of their psychology textbook and read to him his diagnosis and tell him to count sheep. He is also VERY complex and he doesn't think anyone can help him. Also, hashkafically, he would not be able to trust them because they are not based on Torah and he'll keep thinking what they are saying is krum. Lastly, he will not acknowledge that he needs to go because that would mean he is crazy (according to him).

He will not let me go speak with a psychologist so that is out of the question. It would be harder to convince him of that than to get him to speak with someone together with me.

I want to know if it's okay to tell him I want to get divorced unless he agrees to go to the n'th degree with getting help. Would this make him freeze or will it be productive?


Edited: 12/6/11 at 6:39 PM by Min Hashamayim
 
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Tiredoftired
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12/6/11 7:45 PM
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Edited: 5/28/15 at 7:44 PM by Tiredoftired
 
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channafofanna
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12/10/11 11:44 PM
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(((((((((((((HUGS))))))))))))))))))))))))!!!!!
 
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Aba
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12/16/11 12:02 PM
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Min Hashamayim,
I'm sorry to hear you are suffering so badly.

I agree with TofT you need to see a therapist for your own sake. I have no doubt you can go without your husbands permission as he is mechuyuv to pay for your refuah (it's part of his chyuv mezonos) so he definitely can't hinder it.

As far as divorce goes you wouldn't be the first wife who got their husband to go therapy by threatening divorce but, then again, he wouldn't be the first husband to get divorced and not be willing to face himself (all the while blaming you for the marriage falling apart) so (I think) it really needs to be
1. a last last resort and
2. only said when you know you can go through with it emotionally and practically.

The book "Stop Walking on Eggshells", http://www.amazon.com/Stop-Walking-Eggshells-Borderline-Personality/dp/1572246901/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1324053517&sr=8-1 , though written for a different disorder has some very good tips how to set up boundaries so he doesn't walk all over you.

Besides the Rav TofT mentioned above try to get a support group you can "call on" for support.

I'm sure I'm over reacting but you may want to have an "escape" plan if he becomes violent.

By the way I saw this weeks Mishpacha has an article on OCD it may be helpful.

May your emunah in Hashem expressed in your user name stand by you, may your husband be blessed with a refuah shlymah and may the two of you build a bais namnan byisroel.

Kol Tuv


-------------------------
"Success is peace of mind, which is a direct result of self-satisfaction in knowing you made the effort to do your best to become the best that you are capable of becoming." - Coach John Wooden
 
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Aba
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12/18/11 10:39 PM
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One more thing.
Today I mentioned in passing your dilemma to my therapist who commented OCD is one of the most treatable mental health problems.

Good Luck and Kol Tuv.


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"Success is peace of mind, which is a direct result of self-satisfaction in knowing you made the effort to do your best to become the best that you are capable of becoming." - Coach John Wooden
 
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jane
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2/1/12 11:58 AM
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OMG, i have no words


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not happy
 
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HopefulMommy
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2/3/12 12:48 AM
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I'm sorry you're in such a difficult situation! This is not just OCD. OCD is manageable and can be lived with. But your husband is clearly abusive. The way he talks about your family is absolutely unacceptable. Yelling and disappearing into his room for an hour is not acceptable either. The fact that he considers himself smarter than everyone else means he will tend to put you down and make you feel like garbage, along with the rest of your family. That has no place in a healthy marriage. There is no cure for abuse. There is no medication that can turn him into a better person. Here's Miriam Adahan's website: http://www.miriamadahan.com/ She has many articles about abuse. Here's her abuse checklist: http://www.adahan-online.com/index.aspx?id=2567

Sorry to be so negative, but it is much better for everyone involved, and especially the children, to get out of an abusive marriage as soon as possible. It doesn't get better. I'm speaking as a child of an abusive marriage who still has much baggage to work on.

Good luck!
 
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Min Hashamayim
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3/28/12 11:19 AM
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He is actually getting help now and is somewhat "seeing the light." I am very hesitant to get out the marriage because I don't want to be socially ostracized. I am also not convinced that it's better for the kids as I am a very loving mother and I give them the warmth and stability they need. So what if they have a wacko father who yells and fries off the handle and sometimes drives them crazy? At least they can fall back on me and they are not stigmatized among their friends (which would happen in a divorce). I'm not saying I want this. It's just the better of the two evils.
 
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channafofanna
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3/28/12 11:26 AM
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May your husband continue to see the light until he literally is light!!!
((((((((((HUGS))))))))))))
 
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star
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3/28/12 5:37 PM
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min hashamayim, i dont know your personal situation, but coming from a divorced home,
i can only commend you for trying to keep your family together.

stigma is a big deal for me.

also, divorce can cause fear of rejection, b/c the child may think :
if my mother can 'throw out' my father, maybe she can reject me as well?'

i am still struggling with this, and i am an adult already.

So kol hakavod to you for thinking of your children, even though the situation must be very difficult for you.


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there is light at the end of the tunnel
 
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