Understanding OC(P)D

October 21, 2019 • Psych

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, as many people understand it, is a form of compulsive and repetitive actions such as washing hands, arranging books in a certain way, or doing things in a ritualistic manner.

Yet there is a different kind, though similarly named, of disorder called Obsessive Compulsive Personality Disorder. Both may display overlapping symptoms, though the latter is more internally motivated.

An OCD person may be preoccupied with orderliness of their environment, while an OCPD person seeks excessive orderliness of one’s life.

In people with OCPD, visible symptoms are:

  • preoccupation with past events
  • attention to minor details
  • excessive compliance to rules
  • compulsion to making list
  • rigidity of beliefs
  • showing too much perfectionism

Thinking about it, the symptoms not only make things difficult personally, but also affect interpersonal relationships as these are manifested to their environment.

Unlike OCD which bearer inherently knows how their behavior is affecting their lives, a sneaky problem with OCPD is that they may think nothing is wrong or may even confuse the symptoms as virtues. One may think that he exhibits good attention to details, while in reality it is excessive.

In case of perfectionsim, one may have a rigid expectation of how things shall be done to reach a certain outcome. This is a sure way to fail. And when their own standards are imposed on others, that would out a big strain on relationship.

As Healthline put it, a person with OCPD may face difficulties such as:

  • Finding it hard to express their feelings.
  • Difficulty forming and maintaining close relationships.
  • Hardworking, yet inefficient due to excessive perfectionism.
  • Feeling righteous, indignant, qnd angry.
  • Facing social isolation.
  • Experiencing anxiety and depression.

I once had a relationship with a woman who exhibited these behaviors, though I can’t really say that she has OC(P)D as I am not a clinician or have psychological background. It was a frustrating ride. Even though I deeply love her, OCPD was getting in the way of building a healthy and solid relationship. Adding in my own baggage from previous relationship just made things worse. Needless to say it didn’t last long, which is a pity because we had a great chemistry and attraction for each other, and that she was a person I once seriously considered marrying.

As with many mental difficulties, the first path to recovery is awareness. Now the question is, how can a person be aware that it is a problem when he thinks that it is a virtue.

That is how I understand OCPD and how it manifests in everyday life. My post here is not conclusive. If you think you exhibit OCPD symptoms or have a loved one who has it, there are plenty of resources online on it.


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