Is it Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) (heavy on the O) or control freak?

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by KTMom91, Jun 18, 2011.

  1. KTMom91

    KTMom91 Well-Known Member

    Miss KT has always had difficulty with changes; in plans, in name it. For the last few years, this has manifested in excessive organization of her "space," and an increasing frustration with my supposed disinterest in being organized. It's not a lack of interest, it's a lack of time and energy...but I digress.

    She got home about a month ago. In that time, I've had surgery, the panther boys and the senior cats have been in a p*$$ing contest - literally - in the kitchen, and she got the notice that the college she attends is closing - not closing - closing - not closing- closing. Hubby has been working 12 hour days, 6 days a week, and he's tired. Life is not going exactly as planned, and her inability to "roll with it," is making her irritable, short-tempered, name it.

    She's miffed with Hubby because he doesn't button and zip his pants before putting them in the dirty clothes basket, and because he has the most amazing collection of random stuff. She's ticked at me because I haven't sorted things in a little wire storage basket in the kitchen, and because I had (GASP) things in the cupboard that had passed their expiration dates.

    She does laundry constantly. She has been keeping my kitchen counter cleared and dishes done. Yesterday, she cleaned out and organized the fridge and the freezer, and one of the kitchen cupboards. Today, she's working on the other cupboard and the little wire storage thing, and the kitchen floor. Tomorrow, she plans to scrub the stove.

    Don't get me wrong; I'm thrilled that the kitchen is finally getting cleaned. It just seems to me a bit obsessive to have everything perfectly neat and organized. Is it Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), control issues, working off nervous energy, or what?
  2. tiredmommy

    tiredmommy Site Moderator

    I think it sounds like anxiety.
  3. keista

    keista New Member

    in my opinion Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) causes control issues. This may only be becoming obvious now because she is becoming an adult. Since she is in YOUR house, she needs to learn to pick her battles, just like parents do. In other words, enjoy the cleaning and organizing, but tell her to "chill" when she's demanding you do things HER way.

    Also, if she's like this ALL the time, then it's just the way she is, but if it comes in spurts - cleaning frenzy for a few days or weeks, then not so much, then not so much, and then another frenzy - it might be hypomania. That doesn't mean she has BPII, but it's worthy of keeping an eye on it. My friends and I all have such spells from time to time, but the duration is too short for BiPolar (BP) diagnosis and we try to make the most of them by being productive.
  4. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    I vote for "working off nervous energy".
    Personally, I have always HATED housework. The only time my space was EVER neat and clean, was just before final exams... and boy, oh boy, my Mom sure wondered a) whatever hit me, and b) how come it never lasted. But of course, once the pressure of finals was off, I no longer had the nervous energy to tackle such horrid tasks.

    It would be Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) if she cleaned the stove, for example, and only the stove - but had to clean it multiple times a day, whether dirty or not. If she's going from one cleaning task to another, and you're admitting that this stuff actually does need to get done, then its not a "cleanliness" compulsion, but rather a "clean and tidy perfectionist" streak coming out under duress.

    HOWEVER, perfectionism can be a form of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD). So... if she's ALWAYS so particular about cleaning, that everything has to be perfect in every step of the process of cleaning... then maybe, there's some Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) there. But, in my humble opinion, that wouldn't be the driver for the behavior you describe.
  5. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    Seems to me it is a bit of everything. One thing rolls into another into another and it builds up into a snowball. Not sure what you can do about it, other than to not let her bully you over keeping the place immaculate. My gfgbro has NEVER been happy with anything I have done because I am not totally immaculate and neither is my home. I cannot tell you how many jobs he lost because he couldn't be there on time and missed entire days (or weeks) because he had to clean something.

    But gfgbro literally cannot relax or sleep if his house is in the tiniest bit of disarray. It is scarily neat to me. Last time he came to OK for the holidays and ended up at my parents for months, my mom had to go and pay first month's rent on a place around the corner because she would pour a cup of coffee and then go to get a book or use the john and she would come out and her cup would be washed and he was lecturing her about leaving her cup sitting around!! If she left it for 2-3 MINUTES he did this, not hours or days. MINUTES.

    He literally cannot function if there is a mess. Not on any level. WHen his female dog has gone into heat he freaks totally - won't pay for diapers for her and cannot cope with the signs of being in heat all over. At one point he was on his hands and knees washing the signs of it off the GRAVEL in his driveway. Not using a hose, or even pouring soapy water on it - hands and knees scrubbing gravel. To be honest it frightened me because it was just so strange and obsessive. But he needs it to all be just perfect in order to cope.

    Luckily he has found a way to handle things. He just cannot live with anyone but his daughter who could be trained to do it his way.

    Would Ms. KT be open to a medication tweak to help her cope with everything? All the changes would be hard for her to cope iwth.

    If you run out of things for her to clean, ship her here. We could keep her occupied for a month or more!
  6. LittleDudesMom

    LittleDudesMom Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I think it's a combo deal. It could be anxiety, being back in a space where she doesn't have total control, nervousness about what is happening in the future, nothing else to do - a kinda nervous energy, not liking what she perceives as disorder........

    When is becomes an issue that is preventing her from tuning into life, then I would worry.
  7. skeeter

    skeeter New Member

    With my daughter in law - it's the manic phase of her BiPolar (BP) kicking in. Drives my husband nuts (I just ignore it) because we'll be at their house and she'll have to start organizing drawers or something. My son handles it by having ONE room that she is not permitted to enter, so he can have it his way (he's not messy, but not an extreme neat freak either).
  8. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Ummm....would you ship her here? I could sure use her help!
  9. flutterby

    flutterby Fly away!

    Well, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is an anxiety disorder. That said, I was just like KT before I got sick. And even though I'm sick and have a hard time keeping up with the house, I still don't like anyone else to do it because they don't do it right (read: my way). For a while, my mom would come up and clean and while I really appreciated it, I would spend the next week on a treasure hunt trying to find things. Things have a specific place, cleaning is done in a specific order with specific products, etc. I often get sidetracked when cleaning because I find a cupboard (or something else) that is jumbled and I have to stop and fix it. That becomes really frustrating when you have set a time limit - I would figure in my head how long it would take to do the kitchen, to dust, to vacuum, to clean the bathrooms, to mop, and if it took me longer I would become very annoyed. And it always did because I always found something that needed "fixed". I don't know what was/is the driving factor with me, other than I can't relax in my house when things aren't just so. It doesn't apply to another's house, though. It also feels *really* good when my house is done the way I like it. I'll just sit in the living room, look around, and sigh contentedly.

    It does have it's benefits. Years ago my boyfriend got tickets to a concert last minute. I was at work in work clothes and not at all dressed for a rock concert, so I sent him to my house to pick up what I would need. And I was able to tell him with exact precision where everything was, i.e., my foundation is in the bottom drawer of the vanity, in the green tray, front left corner. He was amazed.

    A likes to clean and keep busy, but she never seems to put something in the same place twice - and sometimes you find things in really odd places. She just doesn't like to be still - always has to be moving. That was probably a lot of it for me, too. However, I still feel the compulsion even though I'm not physically able to keep up with I don't know what's behind it. It didn't interfere with my life, so I never really worried about it.
  10. Peace Please

    Peace Please New Member

    This, to me, sounds like the compulsive side of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD). I have Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), heavy on the obsessions, and I did the exact same thing as a teenager (my Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) hadn't been diagnosed yet). I am still very concerned about keeping everything organized and VERY clean. I also have a specific routine every day. I start with my bedroom because it is the very back room in our apartment, and work my may forward. Everything has it's place, and everything must be cleaned in a certain way with a certain cleaning product.

    I have learned throughout the years that my cleaning habits are compulsive and I become more ridgid about it when I am having obsessive thoughts about something. For me, the compulsive cleaning is a defense mechanism against the obsessive thoughts. Following a certain routine and organizing things makes me feel in control, which is important to someone like me because when I'm having an obsessive bout, there is NO controlling my brain. It doesn't matter that I know in my heart that my worries are irrational, my brain convinces me that my fears are real. Having control over SOMETHING helps ease the anxiety of this vicious circle.