I struggle a lot with what I call "worry questions," a/k/a reassurance seeking. "Are you sure I didn't hit anyone with my car?" "Are you sure this shirt is clean enough to wear?" "Are you sure I didn't say something stupid?" "Are you sure what I did wasn't a sin?" "Are you sure it's safe for me to do that?" "Are you sure I didn't write anything bad on my blog?" Are you sure, are you sure, are you sure??!!?? I should write a book and title it "Are you sure?"
Reassurance seeking (in any form) is a compulsion. It continues to be the most difficult compulsion that I fight. In fact, it's probably the compulsion that I've made the least amount of progress with (though I have made some). I can touch something I think might be contaminated if someone says it's alright to do it. I can continue driving after hitting a bump if my passenger says to keep going. I can publish what I consider to be a "scary" blog post if my husband says it's not inappropriate. Essentially, I can do many things now that I couldn't do in the past, however, very often I can do them only if someone tells me it's alright to do them. It seems like I'm putting the responsibility on everyone else, so I can blame them, if I think I've done something wrong in my OCD world. For example, I can say to myself, "Well, he told me to keep driving after hitting that pothole, so I guess it's his fault if something bad happens because of it."
I know when someone reassures me, it is just enabling me. I also think there were times when this type of enabling was probably ok. I wouldn't have been able to move forward with CBT and ERP if people I trusted didn't convince me that what I was doing was right. It would have felt cruel if my family had cut me off of reassurance seeking all at once. I do think there was a time and a place for it. I think that time has ended though. I have to start taking more responsibility for myself. Ugh. It's hard! So often I just don't trust myself to make good decisions. I can't keep living like this though. I'm getting to the point that if I make a bad decision, then so be it. I'd rather make a bad mistake then continue to live in constant doubting torture.
Yesterday, I struggled with an issue. I went back and forth in my mind several times with it. I really, really wanted to ask my husband or my mom about it. I did not. I made a decision about the issue and told no one. I'm not even going to tell you what the issue was, as that would be reassurance seeking too. I'm not totally convinced I made the best decision about the issue. However, I think not seeking reassurance WAS the best decision I could have made.