I touched on my experience with Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD) before. So when I was reading an academic journal on rOCD it was interesting to see that BDD or simply anyone who puts hyper-attention on themselves is likely to do the same to their partner.
"Hyper-attention to one's own perceived flaws in appearance and catastrophic misinterpretation of such flaws may reflect a general predisposition to detect perceived deficits and overestimate their consequences, not only in the self, but also in the relationship partners." (*Guy Doron et al, 2012, pg 241)
The study drew several conclusions one of which was that if a suffer is overly critical of themselves, they are likely to be critical of their partner. If you struggle with type two relationship OCD (rOCD) which is the preoccupation with your partners perceived flaws, then the above quote may apply to you.
Guy Doron and co point out that in type two rOCD. character flaws come in 6 domains – physical appearance, sociability, morality, emotional stability, intelligence and competence.
Since the age of 17 I have been overly critical of myself, and constantly putting myself under the microscope to be the best I can. So it makes sense that in relationships I put my partner under the same scrutiny, making it easy for OCD to latch on to my partner’s perceived flaws. Do you notice a similar pattern in your relationship?
If so, my advice is to start loving yourself. Learn to appreciate you for the miracle you are. Learn to love that what makes you different can often make you special. When you start to love yourself, without being so critical and overly self-aware, this will then role onto your partner and you will stop picking holes in them. This will weaken OCD’s grip on their perceived flaws.
Let me know if that helps,
*Flaws and all: Exploring partner-focused obsessive-comulsive symptoms by Guy Doron et al, 2012, pg 241.
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