When we struggle, it is natural for our loved ones to want to comfort us, reassure us and help us out. It is also natural for us to want to be comforted by them. For example, when a child is hurt, he may look to his mother for comfort and may want to be hugged. Similarly, when an adult is rebuked at work, he may seek comfort from his partner to soothe his frayed nerves. But there is a difference between healthy comforting and unhealthy accommodation. Often, that which may seem to be comforting or reassuring may turn out to be unhealthy accommodation, in retrospect.
Particularly in OCD (ROCD in the current context), comforting may take the form of enabling proxy compulsion, offering reassurance, enabling avoidance and so on. While some form of support from your partner is understandable, if the expected support makes you feel less anxious, and if providing such support requires your partner to make more than normal adjustments, then the accommodation might be unhealthy.
For example, does your partner make small decisions for you that you should be making yourself? Or does your partner take up more responsibilities on herself because some of them cause you anxiety? If yes, these could be indications of unhealthy accommodation. It might seem like a perfectly normal expectation to you and your mind might say that if the situation was reversed, you would do the same. However, the drain it causes on your partner may not be visible to you. Not to mention the harm it is doing to you by strengthening your ROCD further.
Pinto et al (2012) developed a scale called the Family Accommodation Scale for Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (FAS) for assessing the accommodation provided by the family members of people with OCD. The self-rated version (FAS-SR) has been provided with the permission of the authors as PT6 in the Worksheets file that needs to be taken by your partner. Higher scores indicate more accommodation, which needs to be reduced.
The next chapter will provide the basic information you need to know about OCD.
Get your partner to take PT1 – the FAS-SR test