I’m given to compulsive behaviors, particularly when under stress. For the most part they don’t interfere with my life, so I tend to let them be. When they get bad, I know it’s time to find ways to resolve outstanding tensions in my life.
That’s now. When I was in college the compulsions pretty much had free rein. There were a few specific ways in which they tended to manifest, but broadly speaking it was all about verification. I’d check that the alarm was set, sometimes upward of twenty times. I’d get partway down the hall and have to go back to make sure I’d really locked my door.
Wendi is very much her father’s daughter. People amuse her, particularly when she can play with their heads. She’d let me get out to the elevator lobby and ask innocently if I’d locked my door. Of course I had to go check, even though I’d verified it repeatedly just after leaving my room.
After a few days of this I noticed her grinning as I’d return. After that, I’d glare at her before stomping off to check the door. Within a few weeks I decided that I’d rather be robbed than give her the satisfaction of checking the door, whereupon Wendi declared that her therapy had worked.
She still pokes at that compulsion now and then. We’ll be laying in bed, waiting for Wyeth to bring us the tarantula (not a euphemism) so we can fall asleep, and Wendi will ask expectantly if I locked the door.
“I don’t care,” I grumble, despite the urge to go check. She laughs and, contented, falls asleep.