Question: OCD With Personal Hygiene

Aslmkm brother, your wife had actually led me to your ask box. I was wondering if you can tell me anything or any way to help my sister who has severe ocd to the point she cannot use her bar of soap more than once or touch her own mother. She will not see a doctor even though my parents have suggested it, and uses a lot of money buying cleaning supplies as she won’t listen to us and my parents are too kind to refuse. We all feel helpless and she is too sensitive to have a discussion with.

Wa Alaykumussalaam,

I had a brief discussion with my wife about this. I’ll try to help as far as possible, even if only to offer some insight into what might be driving her behaviour so that we can understand what the real issue is, Insha-Allah.

From past experiences similar to this, I’ve found that it’s almost always related to a severe insecurity that was triggered by a significant event. That sounds quite cryptic, but I guess the process we need to go through is to try to understand what was happening around the time that this behaviour first became problematic.

I get the sense that she’s afraid of something, and what she’s demonstrating in her behaviour is really just a symptom of her expressing that fear in a very disruptive manner. So try to see her behaviour as a symptom rather than the problem itself. There’s another more concerning possibility that may be driving her behaviour, but it’s really premature for me to suggest it at this point, so I would prefer if we could discuss this in more detail via email before I say anything else.

You can rest assured that everything will remain confidential from my side, but trying to have a meaningful discussion via the horrible Tumblr Ask box would be very difficult. My email address is on my homepage. I look forward to hearing from you further, Insha-Allah.

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