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Recognizing OCD's Relational Obsessions

ocd's relational obsessions Oct 15, 2023
OCD's Relational Obsessions

Relational obsessions are one of the less well-known subtypes of OCD. OCD can present in many different ways. The obsession with relationships at the centre of this kind of OCD frequently results in severe suffering and functional impairment. We will go into the realm of relationship obsessions in this blog, examine their effects, and talk about Exposure and Response Prevention (ERP), a very successful treatment strategy.

Understanding Relational Obsessions

Persistent, upsetting uncertainties and anxieties about interpersonal connections are known as relational obsessions in OCD. This subtype of OCD can cause a person to worry about a variety of things, such as:

  1. The dread of hurting loved ones: This anxiety might appear as ideas of unintentionally hurting friends or family members.
  2. Doubt about one's emotions: Even in cases where someone truly cares for their spouse, people may have doubts about their attraction or love for them.
  3. Moral scrupulosity: An excessive sense of guilt and a dread of immoral activity might result from worries about being a "good" person in relationships.
  4. Fear of rejection or abandonment: Needy or clinging tendencies can be brought on by fears of being rejected or abandoned by loved ones.

Impact on Daily Life

An individual's everyday life can be severely disrupted by relational obsessions, leading to emotional suffering and damaged relationships. These fixations may result in:

  1. Decreased relationship quality: Relationships between friends or lovers might suffer from a lack of trust and fear, which can cause a rift.
  2. Time-consuming routines: In relational OCD, compulsions may entail asking loved ones for comfort or engaging in mental rituals to reduce worry. This can take a lot of time and be quite draining.
  3. Social withdrawal: To prevent their obsessions from being triggered, people with relational obsessions may retreat from social situations, which can result in loneliness and isolation.

How ERP Works for Relational Obsessions

Relational obsession sufferers might have ERP customised to meet their unique needs. In this situation, ERP can function as follows:

  1. Recognising triggers: Counsellors assist clients in pinpointing the precise ideas or circumstances that set off their relationship obsessions. This might entail identifying trends in their interactions and connections.
  2. Developing exposure activities: Exposure exercises aim to methodically address these triggers. For example, exposure therapy may entail talking about hypothetical scenarios that arouse a person's worries of harming a loved one.
  3. Avoiding compulsions: During the exposure activities, participants are instructed not to partake in obsessive behaviours like going over previous exchanges in their minds or looking for confirmation.

Success of ERP

ERP is a very successful treatment for OCD, including relationship obsessions, according to research. With ERP treatment, many people report considerable symptom reduction and an improvement in their quality of life. ERP can assist people in escaping the loop of obsessions and compulsions that have been preventing them from moving forward, albeit it may take some time and commitment.


Studies have demonstrated that ERP is a very successful treatment for OCD, which includes relationship obsessions. With ERP therapy, many people see a considerable improvement in their quality of life as well as significant alleviation from their symptoms. The loop of obsessions and compulsions that have been preventing people from moving forward can be broken with the use of ERP, however it may need patience and commitment.

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