Dear Dr. Archer,
I loved your book, 'Better Than Normal', and I have a question regarding my husband. He has OCD and takes medication, which is four tablets at bedtime. He has had this diagnosis for years, and has a medication specialist he sees at least one a month, as well as a psychologist who is Harvard educated, and who supposedly is specially trained in OCD, every other week for cognitive behavior therapy.
My husband has been in an outpatient therapy program for 13 weeks. His mother died May 1, after living in our newly built home for three months and after a long battle with cancer. His strengths as a salesman make him extremely successful at work, but he has had problems with his boss and co-workers because of his controlling ways and perfectionism.
Presently he has isolated himself in extreme ways -- he doesn't speak to me at all and barely looks at me. He has pulled away from his 7 year old daughter. He is isolating himself from his only brother, as well, as in not answering or returning his phone calls. He's the executor of his mother's estate, and blames me for his current issues.
He swore at me, so I'm currently living in the guest room. I tried writing him two letters to say how I was feeling, to try and open up the communication lines.
Do you have any ideas? Thank you for reading, and thank you in advance for any psychological advice you can share.
Living with someone whith OCD can be trying, and I can understand how you could feel overwhelmed and in over your head, especially if your husband is not receiving what he needs to bring his OCD under control.
I'm not sure what you mean by a medication specialist, Julie, but I will assume you mean a psycho-pharmacologist, i.e.: an expert in treating chemical imbalances of the brain. Certainly in more severe cases of OCD both therapy and meds are indicated, so you are doing that right.
However, in a case like this, when progress is not being made and things are actually getting worse, a second or even third opinion is warranted. If he’s not seeing a psycho-pharmacologist, then he should be evaluated by one soon.
Also, make sure his treatment professionals know everything that is going on; that he is distancing himself not only from you, but from his daughter and his brother as well. He also needs to know that problems are arising at work with both his employer and his co- workers. He can continue therapy, but his problems need to be addressed sooner rather than later by a specialist.
In the meantime, make sure your daughter knows that daddy has a medical condition and cannot help the way he is acting. Take care of yourself and your needs, too. I know this is stressful, but I'm also confident that under the right care, he can get back on track.