The Birth of an Obsessive-Compulsive
NOTE: This story contains some depictions / references to violence / sex that some readers may find unsettling. However, we do not believe in censoring anyone’s life story, so we have included it in full. Please do not read if you are easily upset by such things.
Regardless of whether you believe in “Nature” or “Nurture”, I really didn’t have a chance. My poor, sweet Grandpa Ralph had OCD, except back then nobody knew what it was so they thought he was just doing weird things because he was drunk. The truth is, he was drunk because he couldn’t stop himself from doing weird things. I know this all too well. I spent my teens and early 20s drunk because alcohol is really good at drowning your obsessions and compulsions.
How did I get to this point?
I had my first panic attack at age 7. My Grandpa Ralph had just died and I was in the tub with my biological dad watching me. I. Flipped. Out. I had no idea what was wrong. I just knew that I wanted out NOW and I wanted my mom NOW and I wanted my dad gone NOW.
I discovered my dad was a child molester. He never touched me. With me he was just a watcher. With my siblings, only they know. Our father was a nightmare of epic proportions. He was mean, heartless, soulless. He would scream at my mom and physically intimidate her. I have vivid memories of him chasing her around the kitchen tossing knives. One day he raped her right in our house with me there. I lived in constant fear that one day he would kill her. There were only two men who had ever made me feel safe. Now one was dead and the other turned out to be a pedophile.
Enter my step-dad. He was my mom’s best friend at the time and he gave her the courage to leave and a safe place to stay. Even to this day he is the one person my biological father fears, but I’m not sure why. Eventually love ensued, they got married, and I got an amazing dad. I need you all to know that, regardless of all the other things I will tell you about him: my step-dad was a great dad and I will forever be grateful to have him in my life.
,Unfortunately, his brother was murdered and my step-dad was never quite the same. He became angry, agitated, and drank way too much. He tried to get help once, but it didn’t work. He just became meaner and more violent. My mom and I tiptoed around our house like mice avoiding a trap. You never knew what would set him off and send him into a terrifying blind rage. He threw things, he broke things, he punched through walls and doors over the most minor of offenses, and we were back to me seeing my mom get hit. One day when it was especially bad I went on autopilot, got in my car, and started the engine. My mom came flying out of the house screaming with my step-dad in pursuit, holding a gun. That was the single most terrifying moment of my life. Everything that happened after that point is a complete blur.
Now I’m an adult. I have my own house, my own marriage, and my own kids. I felt so scared and out of control for my entire life that I’m now obsessed with it. There are dangers, germs, and bad people out in the world that could hurt my babies! My husband could die at work! If I keep them trapped in this little house where I can control EVERYTHING maybe they’ll be safe and I’ll feel sane!
Unfortunately, all I’m doing is suffocating them, making my children miss out on experiences, my husband go mad, family members resent me, and friends leave me. I’m aware of what I’m doing but I can’t stop yet.
Help will come, just please, I beg of you, be patient just a little bit longer.
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