Stories Shared: Obsessive Compulsion(s)

Category: Stories

Good Morning Friends,

Within my previous life,

I invested much of my inner energy on obsessively attempting to ‘Control’ my physical environment; including:  Obsessive-Compulsive Cleaning & Organizing and Keeping Order.

Now, I understand, the “Need” to ‘Control’ my external environment was a ‘Survival’ Skill; I developed early on, in my childhood.  Hyper-Vigilance creates sets of skills aimed at Identifying & Assessing & Mitigating ‘Danger”, the Risk of Harm.  Knowing my physical environment & acute sense of Other’s Needs/Wants/Demands is a great survival tool, in an Unsafe & Unpredictable & Unloving Situation.  Indeed, I developed great set of survival skills and they did serve me well (sort of until they didn’t), during my childhood & chosen career (not so much within my adult-personal life & parental roles; perhaps).

Much energy vested in Observing & Registering My Environment.  As a child & into my young adulthood, I could register, all the details of my surroundings (I was able to assess, if my physical ‘space’ was tempered with by merely walking into my room & knowing details of where ‘My’ Safety & Security Breach ‘Occurred’ (it was typical for my mother to enter my room & go through ‘My’ things & to ‘Take’ things from my room & when confronted deny (despite my knowing).  Nothing was ‘safe’ (clothes/money/items like a new mug or jewelry).  Within my chosen career, I managed an open custody for young offenders (community ‘corrections’). As you may imagine, Safety & Security was my main objective (Staff’s & Client’s & Community’s at large). You see, the skills set; aligned with me & was the operating system of my conscious thoughts & behaviours and subconscious programming of my past.   Perception through my lenses of Survival Skills became rooted in my being & all things made sense within this perception.

The behaviours rooted in survival skills kept on maturing & fine tuning.  Intuitively, I would always sit with my back to the wall & maximized opportunity to View/Observe & Assess my environment.  Again, within my career, including employments at The Emergency Management (Ontario)  and teaching/faculty at a collage and Probation & Parole Officer role; these skills were paramount/respected  & offered value.

At home and in the context of raising my own family; they were draining & exhausting not only to myself but my boys.   Believing Self to be ‘creative’, I would devise all sorts of ‘games’ to Sort/Organize/Clean toys & room’s (home).  Reflecting, I’m certain, I spent more time with my kids sorting & organizing & cleaning than actually-Playing;  (Don’t be alarmed though, much of my interactions also included:  camping & hiking & reading/you know, ‘Boy’ Stuff. Lol)

Even, at ‘Home”; I had ‘My’ seat-The only spot/my safety nook; I would sit.  My Seat was positioned-Off to the side/corner of the room & even my body posture was shrunken into my being/always sitting cross-legged & taking up very little physical space.  Friends & visitors would be respectfully informed & asked to sit elsewhere; if they happened to sit in ‘my’ seat (out of inner need).

Order & Organization; all things had/were assigned their ‘perfect place’/the right spot/the right angle & as a response to my sense of need that they remain exactly so/in the right place/the right spot at the right angle.  Should anyone move things or place things different than the system I set/determined; I would move/adjust/rearrange, always ensuring things were in their ‘Order’.

Worse, I was unable to sit/rest/relax as these skills-set required much ongoing maintenance.  There was a ‘Business’ & a need or compulsion to ensure all things were done prior to my ability to recharge/take a break.  I would find myself, extending myself/until severe back pain would prevent my ability to move/unable to make the next step (literally).  Unable to give myself ‘Permission’ to take a break from the demands I imposed on self within such routines. Underlying, an inner-belief that it’s my Role & Responsibility to ensure ‘Other’s ‘Needs’ were met.  An Obligation, I took seriously; in my effort’s to be Noticed & Seen & Appreciated & Loved.  Believing, My Wroth was depended on perfect execution of the obligations, as per My Roles. Surely, Other’s would See & Feel-My Love for them.

Clearly, the thoughts & beliefs rooted in survival skills/responsive to past traumas placed much ‘Stress’ on My Mind & Body & Soul. One is unable to Live in such a State (Forever).  It’s inevitable; one day; One Breaks-Down & Burnout’s Out.

Eventually, One ‘Needs’ a New Perspective of Perception.

Perhaps; One ‘Reaches’ The End of The Road.

Perhaps; One is Blessed to Investigate & Explore & Experience New Things.

Reflecting, my Investigation & Inquiry & Imposing Change within my environment was both lengthy and sudden and gradual within the process (& ongoing).  Process involving; building a momentum of trust & a creating a safe environment (Sanctuaries).  Journey offering much Inner-Knowledge & Awareness & Waves of Insights.

Through One’s Change in Perception/Filter of Viewing;

New Thoughts & Beliefs are Formulated.

In truth, I wasn’t aware during this stage of its value and being so profound in my healing.  First, I painted my place and called it ‘home’.  Within my home, I created little spots/comfortable seating arrangements and beautiful items such as flowers & colourful healing stones & pillows and blankets & scented candles, etc.   Every Sanctuary & Alter a Celebration of Love and Light & created Ceremonies (self-directed) that were and remain instrumental in my ability to Ground Myself & Discover ‘I am Safe-Now’.

Healing doesn’t occur in an un-safe environment.  I suspect, the Mind tries to protect one from the ‘danger’ and The Body responds to the stress/trauma/threat by flooding the body with stress hormones that are not conducive to healing.  The Heart/Soul is ‘closed’ protecting self from more Pain.


One doesn’t need to start big with goals/checklists/best practices to step forward on their healing journey.

Some of the things, I found useful:

Choose a different ‘Seat’ (not your favorite chair & just Became-Aware; noticing all the things you tangibly ‘See’ from this new position.  Check-In with yourself/your body & Acknowledge—“I Am Safe-Now”.

Rearrange…Cupboard, Entertainment Unit, Desk, Move One object from its ‘Right’ place and place else where (small steps) …Furniture.  Take Risks in Rearranging “Stuff” and notice/observe your Feelings (Still Safe-Now).  Keep Doing this and building upon the previous step.  I recall, the phase; during which I would leave a piece of clothing lying around or dishes in the sink and I ‘Watched’ the State of My Being ‘Untidy’ & ‘Messy’ & ‘Unorganized’. Being most confused by my own actions.  Remaining ‘Present’ to the ‘Chaos’ Unfolding Before Me/Created by Me.  Within this stage, learning; I Am Safe even in Chaos. You see, survival skills had me being obsessive and compulsive in my behaviours and chores.  I would ‘Clean’ a clean house. Driven by Impulse that All Things must be “Perfect”. Ultimately, learning; I have a Choice! Choice to Choose if/when I would do things (including chores). Recognizing, I like a ‘Clean’ Home and now I Choose to Clean and Keep a Clean Home.  May seem trivial experience, growth/healing/learning and unlearning doesn’t demand drastic measures.

All Steps Forward are Steps Forward!  The lie suggests, one makes a step forward and few-back.  The fact that One is Aware of making a step backwards IS a Step Forward!!!

Today’s Challenge;

Create a Sanctuary for Yourself!

Sanctuary Place is of your creation & choosing.  Can be physical place inside your home or backyard or on a hiking trail OR Within Your Imagination.

Should you find yourself struggling; look at images that resonate with you (scenery/ animals/flowers/art).

Know, there is no criteria and no expectation for you are The Creator.


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