You know that your hands are squeaky clean, so why are you convinced that they need another scrub? Your home may be clean and tidy, yet you feel the driven to give it another good going over and make it extra clean. Maybe you can't leave the house without checking you've turned everything off, or you count things in a sequential order.
Way back in the 70's I met my future mother in law as she was mid vacuuming her living room carpet. She was a vision in her pink dressing gown, fluffy slippers and hair in curlers. I apologised for turning up early to which she replied "Don't worry Ju, I do this every day at the same time! I'll make you a cuppa when I've finished."
As a 15 year old who had barely ever wielded a duster, I was super impressed by the dedication of this lady, although I couldn't quite fathom why she needed to do her deep clean every single day and at the same time. My mother, who ran a pretty tight home herself, was quite critical of her, although I thought this was misplaced envy! I think that my Mum thought she was trying to outdo the rest of the female race!
As my children came along, my mother in law showed no sign of varying her routine to suit the kids sleepovers. So the children accepted that Nanny just liked to clean a lot. Woe betide them though if they spilled a drink or ate a biscuit without using a plate. She would get very anxious, complain bitterly and then start her routine over again.
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder is a mental health disorder where a person has obsessive thoughts and compulsive behaviour and OCD behaviours can affect us all.
Thinking back to my mother in laws routine, she probably had some of this going on. She was certainly being driven by something to get her home up to what she felt was an acceptable standard of cleanliness. I do recall telling her that her house was the cleanest I'd ever been in and asked if she would she take a day off to come out with me and the kids. Her reply was always the same "I'd love to Ju, but my house won't clean itself!"
The key to my mother in laws obsessive housework routine became apparent much later. She was diagnosed with terminal cancer and at the age of 47 she left her home and moved in with me. That last summer before she passed away, we got to know each other like never before. She talked about how she had moved, aged 18, from Londons East End, pregnant and hastily married, to a tiny village in Buckinghamshire. Her mother in law used to tell her daily that she had ruined her sons life by getting herself pregnant. Apparently that was all the rage then, girls everywhere were getting themselves pregnant! This is a whole other story though and for another time.
This stunningly beautiful, feisty, young Cockney lass had to show everyone that she was good enough, didn't she? Now you can see the pattern emerging.
- You're told that you're not good enough
- You initially fight it
- After a while you start to believe it
- Maybe its better to try and prove that you are good enough
- How about you scrub your house clean?
- So now your brain has a positive job to do
- This behaviour quietens the mind
- Now do it again, which feels a relief
- And again and again and again
What a different mindset (and life) my mother in law could have enjoyed, had she understood how she had become locked into doing her routine over and over. She talked about a lack of confidence and having no control over her life. We both agreed that her sparkly clean house had been her way of convincing herself that she was a decent person. How she would have loved someone to take her quietly to one side and reassure her that, OCD behaviours can affect us all and that NLP brings rapid and effective ways to get rid of these OCD behaviours.
While it is not clear what causes OCD behaviour, there is information about this condition available. A basic outline can be found by visiting the NHS A-Z of conditions.
OCD behaviours can include:
Repetitive routines such as cleaning, hand washing, counting in sequence, checking locked doors checking that the gas is turned off, repeating words internally, arranging things in order.
One of the differences between medicalising OCD and using NLP (Neuro Linguistic Programming) coaching is that I do not diagnose the condition. I am not a medic and do not diagnose. More importantly, I don't see much benefit from pinning a label on someone. What good comes from saying "I'm OCD?" If a client says this to me, I ask if this is all they are. Quite often they've been doing their obsessive behaviours for so long, they feel like this is all they are. How sad is this?
What I do offer though, is an opportunity for my clients to learn about themselves. This is the first time that some of my clients have seen chink of light ahead. Using a combination of hypnotherapy and talking together, we can create rapid and effective ways to get rid of OCD behaviours.
We look at:
- What is the purpose behind my behaviour?
- How am I thinking just before I do my compulsive behaviour?
- Does it follow a feeling of insecurity or doom?
- It's nothing to do with my intelligence and logic is it?
- Are those people close to me showing concern about my behaviour?
- How do I want to be instead?
- What will the freedom from this mean to me?
OCD behaviours can affect us all We probably all have some routines that we like to stick to. I feel more at ease when wearing striped clothing. Yes, since entering the world of NLP, I've explored this and it is a preference now rather than a compulsion! It's about feeling balanced, which stripes bring me. The difference is that I have a choice and am not compelled to only wear stripes.
Imagine the stress involved for people who cannot function unless they are repetitively and compulsively doing their thing.
The sad fact is that these behaviours are usually stopped as soon as something bigger and badder comes along. My poor mother in laws cancer diagnosis stopped her in her tracks. She bitterly regretted how much time she had wasted cleaning her house, when she could have been enjoying her life with her grandchildren. One client of mine had only stopped his obsessive compulsive behaviour when his partner left him, only to start up again when she returned. Fortunately for him we used hypnotherapy and NLP to completely free him from his ODC behaviours.
So if you are concerned that you aren't living your life to the full and feel trapped by your thoughts, remember that OCD behaviours can affect us all.
Why wait for something bigger and badder to come along?
get in touch to see how I can help