Raised To Be OCD
I spoke to my dad 2 weeks back and he does this thing which drives me up the wall inside my head, it’s like I am trying to scratch the inner walls of my skull to get out and stop listening to him. It’s just a rapid questions with some statements rounds he does from time to time;
- What did you eat? How much does it cost? Is that the average cost in all the hotels around your house, oh that’s like 400 Indian rupees, is there no option for something cheaper?
- How much is the rent, is everyone paying that rent, what about people in your office? Is that the rent in everywhere the city?
- Did anyone ask you for money? Did your brother ask you for money? Do not give money to anyone, it won’t come back, poisons the relationship, tell them you don’t have the money.
- How much fuel do you put in the car, how much is the price? How much is it by cab? What about car repairs, are all your friends there driving cars?
- Do not waste money, save it, it can be used later for something or anything, save money.
- So you paid this money for this long-distance calling subscription, now stop it for the next month and get it back for the next when you have to call, is that possible? Why waste the money on this, you can just call us after another month.
And the final one which just kills me.
- Live in a smaller house, it’s ok, look for something cheaper. You don’t need a bigger house.
And this happens at a time in which lately I have been realizing how much I have been programmed with the idea of saving money, and especially saving invisible money, by putting the lights off immediately once I am done and such. Here’s a list of my OCD episodes with saving money.
- Turning off the faucet immediately when brushing my teeth.
- Worrying that the freezer door is open for too long when filling up the ice tray back so I have some ice when needed.
- Making sure the faucet is running only exactly when I am using it when doing dishes.
- Making sure all lights are off and nothing is being left on for another minute.
- Hagging my flatmate to keep all lights off, getting extremely uneasy with his routine of coming out of the shower with the bathroom lights on, keeping them on for 20 mins until he’s dressed up before again getting back to turning them off.
- Always worried about using electronics too much or the wrong way so that they don’t get damaged and I don’t have to buy a new or repair them.
- Just ignoring shopping for underwear, socks, T-shirts, etc. for months because I just feel guilty of spending money when I already “have so many”. This has just gotten better recently.
- Waiting for mins, or putting off amazon purchases due to the minor shipping fee which is basically a fraction of the order.
- My mind now automatically keeps track of every penny exchanged between me and anyone else, no matter how small the amount and if it’s a slightly bigger amount then I am torn between asking them for it or just start judging them for planning to bloody rob me.
I am also afraid that this financial OCD has probably bled into my emotional life, where I can’t stop the mental bookkeeping about whether I talk more, share more than the other person. Am I calling him more, or seem desperate to hang out with him more than he cares, do I look like a loser for wanting to hang out, or will it show that I have nothing else to do if I call this person up.
Growing up in socialist India of the 60s with an abusive mom and extreme poverty has damaged my father, and possibly mom too, and not to mention how my dad willingly or unwillingly trained her to live an OCD life like this when it came to money. She once told me how we would be replacing soap with a certain plant’s seeds once he loses his job abroad and has to move back to India. I was ten and still remember the feeling of absolute dread in my entire being when I heard it.
Can’t quite imagine what it would be like if he’d never left for work abroad and had to live in India with us on an Indian salary! The best thing about him for a long time was that he spent most of the time in another country while I was growing up.
It definitely saved.
If you enjoyed this, consider signing up for future posts and a weekly newsletter with stories and ideas across wide subjects like history, philosophy, psychology, culture and art where we connect the dots to reach a better understanding of our own times.