How to be yourself when you have OCD?
In order to overcome OCD, you have to be able to be yourself and stop living like a slave to fear, guilt and other people’s opinions. This month we will give you tips to learn to deal with the opinion of others and to face situations that generate anxiety.
How does the opinion of others affect a person with OCD?
People with OCD often grow up in very strict environments. Many get used to strict rules and live with many restrictions from an early age. Because of this, they can develop a very rigid mentality, in which fear and guilt prevent them from being themselves.
As they get older, these people learn to inhibit their desires, to repress their emotions and to live a rationalized and uninstinctive life. They don’t allow themselves to be themselves and they don’t live the life they want. Consequently, this unhappiness generates more anxiety and aggravates the obsessive symptomatology.
These people are very concerned about what they will say. Therefore, they repress parts of their personality to conform to what they think other people expect of them. They have a constant concern about what is the right thing to do and about fitting into that idea, which is always too strict.
How can it be treated?
When OCD therapy is performed, all aspects of the person’s life are comprehensively addressed. Among other things, those factors that cause anxiety and perpetuate OCD are treated.
In addition to individual therapy, group therapy is also very beneficial. For example, in the Intensive Group Program to a greater extent or in the Workouts for patients to a lesser extent, social aspects of OCD are worked on and personality and individual freedom from the gaze of others are reinforced.
3 reasons that prevent you from being yourself when you have OCD or Anxiety
People with OCD or Anxiety often experience situations where they cannot be themselves. This increases the level of anxiety and obsessive symptomatology and prevents you from living the life you really want.
Some situations are:
- Enduring an unpleasant situation for fear of defending yourself.
- Feeling bad after not saying what you really think.
- Being blocked and not knowing what to say until a long time later.
3 reasons why this happens:
1) Blocked system
The nervous system is blocked in moments of anxiety or stress. It is a natural protection mechanism. However, this can mean that in social situations or in stressful situations, anxiety blocks you and you cannot act the way you would like.
Sometimes a situation can be stressful if there is something about it that reminds you of a bad experience from the past. For example, if you had a relative who manipulated you as a child, you may have difficulty handling similar situations as an adult . Not only you might not be yourself, but this can produce a great feeling of helplessness.
On many occasions, what paralyzes the person with OCD or Anxiety is the fear they have of potential catastrophic consequences: dismissal, losing the affection of the family, etc. Nothing has happened (and sometimes there is not even a chance of it), but that fear is enough by itself to generate anxiety and paralyze the person.
Sometimes, people tend to think that they have to resist and go through the situation, because “nothing is happening”, but pretending that they are not suffering can increase internal anxiety.
And what can be done?
In order to deal with obsessive-compulsive disorder, you have to start being yourself, even in situations where another person treats you badly.
- Do not give up.
- Say what is bothering you.
- Defend your rights assertively.
- Express yourself
3 Ways to be yourself when someone treats you badly
1) Analyze the situation
It is common for people with OCD to put up with situations and behaviors that other people would find intolerable.They can even justify them.
It is important not to fall into this. Think about what bothers you and where your limits are. What are your needs?
If you have doubts, you can ask another person to have a different point of view.
2) Be prepared
If you are going to talk to the person who is bothering you, prepare what you are going to say. The message must be clear, specific, and assertive.
Think about what concrete consequences you want. Break up the relationship? A change in their behavior? Be clear about what bothers you and how you want the situation to change. These are the kind of things you must communicate. Do not think about the possible answers, just express what you want clearly.
It’s time to act: choose a quiet moment without interruptions; and communicate firmly and precisely. Structure what you want to say in 3 key points:
– What behavior has bothered you?
– How does it affect you?
– How do you want it to change?
– Communicate in an assertive way.
– Don’t be afraid to be wrong or change your mind.
– Don’t be afraid to be firm.
You may see some resistance at first, but this is the way to get your needs fulfilled. Being assertive will help reduce anxiety.
How Being Yourself Helps You Overcome OCD
People with OCD live under anxiety, fear and guilt. Little by little, they have inhibited their true personality and desires to conform to their environment.
In order to overcome OCD, the person must recover their courage, their daring, their ability to face their fears and to make decisions.
You must also recover hope and illusion.
The lion metaphor
Let’s imagine that we find a lonely lion cub and take it to a care center.
If we treat it like a cat, it will grow into a cat. So we won’t be able to return it to the jungle, because it won’t adapt.
So it will be necessary to help it recover its instinct, teach it to hunt and to be a lion. Only then it will survive when it returns to the jungle.
We can apply this metaphor to obsessive disorder: if the person with OCD grows up conforming to the norms of their environment and blocking their instincts and personality, they will suffer a lot when facing the real world. Therefore, they need to be helped to recover their authenticity.
Two fundamental steps to overcome OCD and be yourself again
Step 1: Activate the instincts
Through a series of vital processes, we activate the blocked aspects of the personality. That is, through activities and exercises, we help you to begin to release the emotions that you had repressed. Thus, little by little, you can be a more authentic person.
Step 2: Fight for your life goals
We will help the OCD patient to discover what they are truly passionate about. And once you know that, we’ll seek to set concrete life goals and work toward them.
Here it is possible that guilt or resistance appears in the patient’s environment, but we will help you to be clear about what you want and fight to be yourself.
Conforming to the wishes of others and living a life that you do not want just to comply with the rules, are two strong aggravating factors of anxiety. When you begin to live for yourself and fight for your true desires, you will see how anxiety and obsessive symptoms decrease.
Some comments from our readers
Our readers on social networks share with us some experiences about the difficulties of being yourself when you have OCD.
“OCD tries to control even the smallest details of my being, making me feel under scrutiny.”
OCD can come to control every moment of the person who suffers from it through constant and intrusive obsessions and rituals. The personality blocks that high anxiety produces lead to this feeling. In order to get out of it, we have to work to break those blocks and that the person can gradually recover their freedom and autonomy.
“I don’t know my self without OCD. Perhaps sleeping.”
The person with OCD can spend hours immersed in obsessions and compulsions. In addition to this, they often grow up learning to limit their personality and adapt to very rigid social norms or what they believe is expected of them. This type of situation means that in the end the person cannot be himself/herself. Fortunately, therapy can break these blocks, give you back your personality and, little by little, overcome the obsessive symptomatology.
“I assimilate it and try not to give so much importance to rituals and be happy. Time will do the rest.”
A positive attitude to get involved in therapy and the desire to improve are the first steps to start looking for help and, little by little, to walk that path that leads to overcoming OCD. This can be very difficult due to anxiety and obsessive symptomatology. But therapy helps to recover illusion and hope.
June: OCD and Loneliness Month.
During the month of June, we will talk on our social networks about OCD and Loneliness. We will upload a post with lots of practical information and answer our readers’ questions about OCD. You can join the conversation on our Instagram or Facebook account.