28 thoughts on “A Narcissist Drove Me to OCD…then Forbade It

  • January 31, 2016 at 8:28 pm

    Wow! Thank you for sharing wonderful piece and so true

    Reply
  • February 1, 2016 at 6:36 am

    I think what Lenora has been through is similar to what many anorexics experience. Obsessive behaviours are about trying to regain a bit of control. Whenever a narcissist judges, criticises, condemns, (or sneakily try to make their daughter a substitute wive) etc… it absolutely DOES trigger the need to take back control.

    Reply
    • March 5, 2016 at 12:24 am

      Interesting perspective. Thank you for your comment!

      ~ LT

      Reply
  • February 1, 2016 at 12:07 pm

    I totally agree. Families like to keep secrets but children’s symptoms tell. It’s like the truth has to come out. Then the parents are angry and punish or try to shame the children for behaviors actually caused by the parents! In my case, I was made to feel like I was “crazy” but later realized my parents had the same issues I was having. However, instead of showing support for me in those issues, they did the opposite. I think a lot of their actions were/are unconscious. My experiences have instilled in me a great desire for self-awareness as it sounds like yours have.

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    • March 5, 2016 at 12:24 am

      Hi Heather,

      Thanks for your wonderful comment. It was so painful to have to be perfect…in a most imperfect family. I’m sorry you went through this too.

      ~ LT

      Reply
  • February 1, 2016 at 9:08 pm

    No doubt about the emotional abuse, but it’s sad that the author continues to revel in her victimization and blame those awful parents for her behavior. Then, although probably therapeutic to a degree, she creates a platform to inform strangers about her experiences, garnering attention much as a narcissist would. Hmmmmm

    Reply
    • June 10, 2016 at 7:09 am

      Hey Dude, in case you read this, I think you are a TROLL.

      Reply
  • February 2, 2016 at 3:23 pm

    Wow… Just wow…
    Great article.
    Once I peeled paint off of an entire door… I’m a paint picker…scabs are good too… Heaven help me I can’t not watch blackhead removal videos on YouTube (or cat videos)
    Thanks for an enlightening read!

    Reply
    • March 5, 2016 at 12:23 am

      Hey Lucy – You just reminded me how I peeled the (already) peeling varnish off my bedroom floor as a very little girl. I thought it was fun at the time, but I wonder if it was a form of OCD. Hmmmm.

      ~ LT

      Reply
  • February 3, 2016 at 10:40 am

    To me, this sounds like wallowing in victimization. Not that what the parents did wasn’t horrible, but why was she still living there in her late teens, never mind her twenties? I think maturity is better reached by looking at the part YOU play in dysfunctional relationships and working to understand and correct that, instead of labelling and blaming others.

    I had pretty much decided to stop getting these psychcentral newsletters, as many of the articles take this victimized, blaming attitude, and this one drove me over the edge. Bye!

    Reply
  • February 3, 2016 at 3:52 pm

    Wow, I can totally relate as my father had/has raging outbursts too and has done so my whole life. I am 39 and still suffer from incessant nail biting. I mean down to the cuticle. It’s all anxiety related and a habit that is virtually impossible for me to be rid of. At least for now. I didn’t make the connection to my childhood anxiety until this. Thank you for sharing and opening my eyes.

    Reply
  • February 3, 2016 at 4:15 pm

    I agree with u on this opinon.I feel narcissistic once upon time I predicted such thing in my life n my dedication to volunteer work was admirable in public

    Reply
  • February 3, 2016 at 5:55 pm

    I am so relieved to see my story – or one painfully similar – shared.

    I picked my face horribly. It gave me the same sense of “trance-like” detachment and obliterated relief. It must have been subconscious, because there were no obvious benefits to have a very blemished or mutilated complexion.

    I picked all of them – the oily ones, the whiteheads, the blackheads, and the others I thought I could feel below the surface. I was certain I could get out the “culprit” if I pressed my finger tips into my face harder. Inevitably it bruised the skin, caused bleeding, oily swelling, and severely lengthened the time of healing.

    I covered my messes in liquid and powder concealer. If I blurred my eyes I could imagine that it did not look as obvious. I needed to be able to have access to my makeup almost all of the time.

    My communication dropped very low. I had released the expectation for engagement. It really did not bode well for developing confidence or a sense of worth.

    My mother still has strong picking tendencies and pursues up to dermatological intervention for what she senses in her pores, and what is nearly invisible to the naked eye. My father also has critical tendencies and has had the rages you speak of. I have really discontinued having involved or regular communication with him over the last several years.

    He and my mother divorced when I was beginning high school, and things started to deteriorate then. He was just recently married for the fourth time. He was always much more image conscious than I have ever been. I believe he is ashamed of me. I do not feel he thinks I am worth the time or effort. It makes me sad, but I have met a few kind people who are patient and deeply loving since then. So I think it is possible with me too.

    I picked my face pretty bad for almost 15 years – from adolescence until about a year ago. I am 33. Thanks so much for sharing your story. I know so much of what you speak of because I have been there. You have done an incredibly wonderful job of translating the experience into words.

    Reply
    • March 5, 2016 at 12:21 am

      Thank you so much for your wonderful comment. In our cases, OCD was just a result of the real problem…not a problem in itself. Our stories are eerily similar!

      ~ LT

      Reply
  • February 3, 2016 at 10:13 pm

    You are not “wallowing in victim hood”. It takes years to deprogrammed yourself. It takes years to truly assess the damage done by narcissistic parents. I comfort ate, dieted, and had no friends. I also had terrible depression. My parents were embarrassed by me. My mother was a youth worker by profession. Yet she had no empathy, and certainly did not get me any help.

    Reply
    • March 5, 2016 at 12:18 am

      That deprogramming can be a bear, can’t it. Narcs are masters at mind control!

      ~ LT

      Reply
  • February 6, 2016 at 8:30 am

    What a monster your father became – what power he exercised over the family. How sad that your mother was unable to stand up for you- or to even see the attacks for what they were. And I hope you are completely able to break the pattern and find relief, and that those memories lose their ability to cause anguish- or you find a technique to extinguish their power.

    Reply
    • March 5, 2016 at 12:11 am

      Thank you for your comment! What I realized is that Mom was hand-in-glove with Dad. I think she was just fine with his abuses, in fact. I’ve been in such denial, believing better of her. But alas!

      Reply
  • February 23, 2016 at 2:25 am

    It’s not wallowing in victimization- it’s having the courage to put the story out there so that someone who may be going through the same thing, or went through the same thing and still suffering from it, may know they are not alone and may see the way out! It is compassion and courage to be vulnerable for the sake of helping someone else!

    Reply
    • March 4, 2016 at 11:43 pm

      Thank you for your kind comment, Shy! It’s not easy to be so vulnerable, but what the heck! If it helps someone, then it redeems my purposeless suffering for so long.

      ~ L

      Reply
  • March 20, 2016 at 1:29 am

    Lenora-
    I just discovered your blog tonight, and I can’t even tell how I’m feeling. There are so many parallels between my life and yours. On one hand, there’s a certain relief that you know there’s someone out there somewhere who would understand you, all of the embarrassing, shameful, painful, confusing moments in your life, but on the other hand, I never really feel ‘better’ knowing that someone out there also went through some difficulty that I experienced. I’m also shaking my head and laughing with recognition at some of the “If…, then…” articles. Suffice it to say that there are patterns in romantic relationships with narcs (have had 2), relationships with narc friends (have had a few of those, too), and with narc parents, whether you have one narc, two narcs, or a narc and an accomplice.
    Seriously, I haven’t read your whole story yet, but reading this post, the one about your dad’s cancer, the paranoia from your mom and grandma when you were growing up, reading about you not being able to wear stuff other kids did, references to religion, your living at home til you were over 30, even having a ‘secret’ courtship — I’m blown away by the similarities. Unfortunately, though I knew the way my mom treated me when I was growing up wasn’t ‘normal,’ I didn’t know how abnormal until the last several years. We lived a very isolated life for a long time, so yes, it was like a cult. I’m about 20 years older than you. I didn’t start learning about narcissism until my narc husband wanted to end our marriage about 5 years ago now. My therapist clued me in, and I started reading about him, which then led to Dr. McBride’s book. My mother was already dead a couple of years by then. I am still working to get to the place you have, knowing that you are not who your parents said you were all those years. I am still fighting but her voice is never very far away. I was angry at my dad for leaving us when I was a teenager, but I understood that he had to to save himself. I’m lucky that he has been there for my brother and I for years now, but it was also tough being her main care-taker for years with him out of the picture, which only fueled her rage even more.
    I will have to come back and read more. To those people who accuse you of reveling in your victimhood, and judging you for being immature and not getting out earlier, I’m sure they would say the same thing to a POW, right? Because when this sh!t starts from the time you are a child forming your own sense of self, it IS a form of war — against your psyche, waged by the very people who are supposed to love you more than anyone else.
    Thank you for writing. You touched at least one person tonight.

    Reply
    • March 20, 2016 at 2:26 am

      What a lovely, long comment, Stella! I too am so sorry that you had a similar experience to mine. But…consider yourself much validated! I loved what you said about being a P.O.W. In fact, I may shamelessly steal it! 😉

      There are also articles on these topics on my website () and my Huffington Post blog (). Enjoy? Enjoy!

      ~ Lenora

      Reply
      • March 20, 2016 at 11:49 am

        Lenora-
        Go ahead and use it — it’s not stealing; I’m hereby donating it to the “cause” of spreading the word about these people. 🙂

        Reply
      • June 10, 2016 at 7:59 am

        Stella, I’m with you! In fact I commented earlier under an “alias” to one of the trolls here 🙂 . Thinking I must have read this article several months ago and actually shut out part of it–most of it because I began reliving the first 1/3 of my life–age 0 to 22–and couldn’t handle it. I was completely alienated by both parents, abandoned, mentally tortured, and of course physically mostly by my wild ‘mother’. I didn’t realize about the OCD either, though until after my “surprise” divorce from a 40 yr marrage 5 years ago this month, I’ve certainly been toying with the role of OCD in myself. But I couldn’t figure when it began or if it was real–but alas–the constant attending to my terrible complexion. It also offered me a “place” to disappear into for long sessions, focusing only on my zits. They were plentiful and painful. Just as Lenora said–my mo dearest would never ever consider taking me to the dermatologist and spending 10 bucks for real medical care on for such a devastating problem for any teenager. My older bro had terrible acne too, he suffered in silence w/no makeup for temporary fixes. The only stuff I could afford (because they also didn’t give me any money) was the cheapest junk available which made the condition even worse. They never noticed, never cared. In fact, while reading Lenora’s story, I realized that my father never, in his 93 years, told me that I looked pretty, never said he loved me, nothing! She didn’t either. I’ve been working so hard to recover from the long years of abuse from a trauma bonded marriage w/narcopath, to recently having a total setback when I discovered I had severe problems lingering from unresolved alienation and abandonment issues from both narc parents, plus my narc husband. I don’t know who I am at this moment, and wonder if I ever will–second guessing who I thought was the real me that I thought I had my grips on at times between bad episodes with the different narcs in my life. Now my son, the only family member left in my life, has become exceedingly more narcissistic, abusive and scary since his marriage 6 years ago, but especially since his narcopath dad (my ex) left the state to go be taken care of by his new supply. It’s tough when a person is over 65, in compromised health and actually dependent on a narcissist for help at times. But, reading Lenora’s article helped me this go around. I feel less “weird” in knowing that picking at my face for so many years into adulthood was just another safe place to go. Thank you for the enlightening read!!! xx

        Reply
  • July 15, 2017 at 3:13 pm

    I know I’m late for the party, but I still obsessively pick my face and over the years I’ve developed a habit of picking my legs for ingrown hairs… Never linked it to OCD before… Thanks Lenora 😘

    Reply
  • October 27, 2017 at 8:39 am

    Just found your blog ! Thank you for being so open and honest !! Like another poster I never thought I would “meet” someone with so many similarities. I picked scabs too and remember the relief that it gave me when i gave that last yank. But after reading your blog I realized that much of the intensity of “needing to pick” was related to issues with my mom OR relating to people who were narcs. Good to know that I’m not the crazy one !! Again – THANK YOU

    Reply
 

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