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  • ericaanne

The Mindset Shifts (4/4): Teammates

Imagine this: you work in an office and you have two bosses. One boss wants to expand the number of services the business offers. The other boss wants to work on perfecting the services the business currently offers. Boss #1 is telling you that you need to hire someone to provide the new service. Boss #2 wants you to break down each service you currently offer and find areas to improve on. Neither of the bosses are aware of the other's goal and neither are aware of what they're telling you to do. The lack of clear goals and direction leaves you confused.

This was me and Nick. We had two completely different goals and were on completely different pages.

I was feeling like roommate instead of his wife. I felt ignored and hurt that he could barely put his video games down long enough to eat dinner with me. I felt lied to when he would say he would stop playing video games for the week, then wouldn't. I felt frustrated that I was cleaning the entire house without his help. I was mad that he wouldn't help with walking the dog. My goal: to not feel ignored.

Nick didn't like feeling constant, debilitating anxiety. He was frustrated that the only time he wouldn't have his obsessive thoughts was when he was playing video games. He was irritated that I didn't understand. He was mad that this was happening to him - in fact, he felt it was unfair. Nick's goal: to not feel constant discomfort and anxiety.

To use a sports metaphor, we were playing soccer. I was trying to get Nick to see me across the field. I wanted him to acknowledge me and pass me the ball. Nick was blindfolded and trying to avoid the ball altogether. It wasn't working. We may as well have been playing two totally different sports.

When I finally tried to put myself in Nick's shoes, I realized that in order for my goal to be met, Nick's goal had to be met first. I needed to be on his team and have a similar goal.

The new goal (although it wasn't explicitly stated): get Nick to overcome OCD. Ultimately, this was what we both wanted.

The challenge was trying to get Nick to do the things required to overcome OCD. It required facing his OCD head-on and not ignoring it like he had been.

I practiced tough love.

It didn't always work.

In fact, it didn't work more often than it did.

I started getting frustrated again, but for different reasons this time.

I started getting frustrated that I was finally understanding what he needed to do, but he just wasn't fucking doing it.

I started to realize that this was not for me to fix. It was for him.

I started to get so frustrated with him not doing the work, that I started considering divorce.

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