The rigid structure can be a compelling coping mechanism. It becomes obsessive and self reinforcing the longer it goes on. Any deviation from the routine/duty can seem unbearably threatening. Something 'terrible' will happen if the rules are violated, very anxiety producing. If one pictures a small child acting this way, like the fit if the peas touch the carrots, it makes more sense. This behavior is also a great way to avoid self revelation and true intimacy. You only get to know the 'uniform'. This can go on for most of a wounded person's life, a gray existance with little joy, punctuated by flashes of terror if the routine is upset.

About the gifts have strings- as a result of my own abuse, my first reaction is still to be embarassed and suspicious if someone tries to give to me. I have to conciously look at the present time situation so I can evaluate with clarity. Often my abuse was packged as giving to me and I was supposed to be grateful! At least the two of you are talking about these issues, congratulations.