OCD: Living by the Rules: Profanity (Topic#040)

Sunset leaves

Sunset leaves

Some time ago, I promised a post to explain why I swear. (This will be quick because really I’m just avoiding packing.)

Basically, I swear because one of my favorite-ever psychologists insisted that I needed to. Even after he insisted, it took me several years to try it. I’ll explain that in a bit.

My whooooole life, I did not swear. I couldn’t swear. It was an OCD thang. You know. Another Rules thing. I didn’t mind swearing in others. But I could NOT do it myself. I avoided certain numbers and I avoided certain words.

Any religious word was automatically off-limits. Any word that could possibly be offensive to anybody else was automatically off-limits. That included parts of the body, anything to do with reproduction, profanity, on & on.

Well, I lived by that without too much bother, although maybe sometimes I did wish I could use certain expressions that I found HILARIOUS. I used to CRACK UP when I heard someone say, “hot damn!” I started saying, “Hot Dawg!” but it wasn’t as funny to me.

In college, in a psychology class, the professor had everyone in the room take turns saying either “vagina” or “penis”. Holy. Fuck. There was no bloody way. When it got to my turn, I opened my mouth and nothing came out. I just couldn’t do it. I COULDN’T. I no longer recall even which body part had fallen on my turn, but it doesn’t matter. I finally was able to squeak out, “I can’t do THAT!” And everyone turned and looked and thought I was weird because everybody else in the entire room had done it. The professor just used me as an example of her point, about different cultures and upbringings. Eventually, I excused myself from the classroom and walked around campus, having an anxiety attack. (Again, these were the days when I was developing PTSD from other things college-related but hadn’t yet accepted anti-depressants or anti-anxiety meds.)

So yeah. AFTER those years, one of the psychologists I saw (to deal with those years, actually, since those are the years of my first mental breakdown), learned, in our final session (he was moving to another city), that I Do. Not. Swear. So one of his parting lessons to me was how important it was for me to do just that. Since it’s something I “can’t” do, it’s something I “need” to do.

I didn’t begin trying it for a couple of more years. This will be lame to admit, but the first time I tried swearing was actually in my first year of marriage. I was very upset with my husband and I chose to utter a swear word as passive-aggressiveness (probably “shit”). (Brief backstory: He swore ALL the time and was always trying to stop and saying how it was bad and it was so good that I didn’t do it. So he hated the fact that he swore all the time, but he swore all the time.) So I swore in a sentence because I knew it would bother him. O_o I know, that is not a healthy, stable, good-for-the-relationship-thing-to-do, but I did it. So there you go.

So yeah, now I swear. I mostly swear in writing, but I swear a little bit in person now. It’s still hard but I do. Just as it’s hard to say sex stuff in person still, but it’s waaaay less of a big deal now. I can even say things like “alter” or “pew” or “cross” etc. I couldn’t have said any of those words before (anything I felt was “sacred”, I was terrified to say — it goes for ALL religions, not just one; I wasn’t raised to any one religion).

I used to have panic attacks upon entering churches. But that’s a different story and I’ll end here. Ta da! I swear! I am sorry for offending anybody, but I’m not going to stop. It’s important to me.

{AHHH it feels so GOOD to have finally written out another Topic post! Okay, now for packing!}

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