Let us now look at a peculiarity unique to ROCD. OCD itself is difficult to understand. Recovery is so nuanced that sometimes people may know what is to be done, but not how or when. The same act that you may do during the triggered state may be a compulsion, but it may be important to do in the non-triggered state. In addition, ROCD presents a unique nuance simply because of the two directions in ROCD – Type 1 and Type 2. Look at table 4.11.1.

Table 4.11.1: Contradiction in ROCD

DirectionObsessionCompulsionExposure
Me to partnerI don’t find my partner attractiveAvoidanceSaying ‘I Love You’
Partner to meMy partner will leave meSaying ‘I Love You’Resisting seeking reassurance

In Type 1, where the obsession is that ‘I don’t find my partner attractive’, there is a tendency to avoid. You may avoid being with your partner, to avoid getting triggered. When your partner says ‘I love you’ to you, you may feel anxious and doubt your love for your partner. In such a situation, the exposure is to say ‘I love you’ back to the partner and sit with the anxiety that comes with it. 

In Type 2, where the obsession is reversed, that is, ‘Does my partner love me?’, you may feel the need to check if your partner loves you. So, you may do things to get your partner to express love. You may say ‘I love you’ to the partner to see if you get the same response back from your partner. In this case, saying ‘I love you’ to your partner becomes a compulsion. 

Thus, if you have both Type 1 and Type 2 ROCD, you may sometimes obsess about your love for your partner and at other times, about your partner’s love for you. The directionality will need to be understood and the appropriate response will need to be provided. Generalized uni-directional statements may not be correct and may strengthen your ROCD. So, extreme caution is needed. Identify such contradictions and, write them down in the Contradictions Worksheet in Worksheet 14. 

In the next chapter, we shall begin the process of creating the anxiety hierarchy which will be the most important document in your recovery process.

To-Do:

Fill WS14 – contradictions noticed in ROCD