Triggered by My Dad

I sit in the same room as my dad, using all of my willpower to not scream at him and tell him to leave and never talk to me again. My dad didn’t do anything wrong, he was just in the same room as me. This is a newer way my Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is taking over my life.

I think the origin of my new obsession is that my dad used to set off my triggers for his own amusement (yes, it is as mean as it sounds, and he doesn’t see anything wrong with it). His favorite was my obsessions with lights. At home, every light on the floor I was on that I could see had to be on. He decided that if he wanted to have some fun or make me get up that he’d turn off a light or two. While he argued that it’s just lights and good fun, to me it was anything but. By turning off the light he made something very wrong with my surroundings, and I had to fix it if I wanted to be safe and able to concentrate. So, I’d go and turn on the light, and my dad would love my reaction, so the cycle continued.

My OCD decided to take hold of this wonderful opportunity. Slowly, I have been having a harder time talking to him or being in the same room as him. I won’t go in the car alone with him, doesn’t matter who is driving (he has road rage so I won’t let him drive, and he critiques others driving so I won’t drive). I have a really hard time at the dinner table (combining my issues with food and being close to him). I avoid looking at him whenever I can, especially now that he is trying to grow out his hair after being bald for years (it looks so wrong). Whenever I do talk to my dad, I am very snappy and quite rude (I feel pretty bad about this). Slowly but surely, OCD is making me fear my dad.

I haven’t told my dad about all of this because I can’t figure out how. He still doesn’t understand what OCD is, despite my best efforts to explain things to him. No book or explanation seems to get him to understand, which frustrates me greatly. How am I supposed to tell him that he triggers my OCD without him getting upset? I can’t just be like “Hey dad, I know I have been acting weird and avoiding you lately and it is because of my OCD. You trigger my OCD and I constantly want to yell at you to get out and never talk to me again, hopefully you understand.” That won’t work, all it will do is cause him to blow up at me, and then my mom will have to do damage control.

Some might argue that my dad brought this upon himself, and I kind of agree. Setting off your daughter’s triggers for fun isn’t exactly supportive. In addition, the fact that he doesn’t feel inclined to actually understand OCD isn’t helping. However, I still feel extremely guilty about avoiding him. All of these mean thoughts fly through my head. I have lost count of the amount of times I wished he would just disappear, leave, or die so that I wouldn’t have to be so anxious in my own home.

So yes, it is sort of his fault, but it is my fault too. I’m the one who is falling victim to my OCD, and not fighting back all that much. I’m the one being mean and snappy with my own father. I am the one who wants to tear the family apart so that I can have less anxiety. However, I am the one working to change this, to hopefully get back to the point where his presence doesn’t make me anxious. He, however, feels no need to change anything that he is doing.

My OCD makes me fear my dad. My favorite days are the ones when he is gone most of the day, and I wish that he wouldn’t come back. However, he is still my dad and I love him (that was rather hard for me to write). I will not let OCD control my behavior around my family. I will not continue to try to get my mom to leave my dad to lessen my anxiety. I will take responsibility for the hateful things I have said towards my dad. Most importantly, I will not stop fighting. While I have OCD, this is my life and I will persevere.