Freud will tell you that OCPD developed from the way you were potty trained. Other sources will tell you that OCPD is simply passed down genetically from your parents. I have a different theory.

Obsessive personalities begin with hypersensitivity.

Being born with a sensitive nervous system is quite normal. According to Dr. Elaine N. Aron, it occurs in about 15-20 percent of the population. Although it can be quite advantageous to be a member of this minority group and have the natural ability to be more aware of subtleties in your surroundings, it can also be quite overwhelming at times.

It is during childhood when the majority of people, extra sensitive or not, often lose their sense of security as a result of being overwhelmed by the world. After all, it is during this time when everything is new and unfamiliar. Unfortunately, this loss of security occurs even more frequently for sensitive children.

When children lose their sense of security, their immediate reaction is to go to their parents. Those children who are able to find adequate security in their parents move on and learn that the object that originally caused their insecurity poses no threat to their survival. However, the other children who are unable to find adequate security in their parents develop fear and learn that the object is a threatening one. For one of my closest friends who is a big Jiu Jitsu fighter, that object happened to be a spider. To this day, he still is afraid of spiders. But unlike my friend whose fear is isolated to one easily avoidable object, the object that gets feared by unattended sensitive children is pretty much the entire world. Having been raised mostly by my anxious stay-at-home mother who has a tendency to catastrophize everything, I became one of those children who adopted the idea that the world is a dangerous, threatening place.

That is the beginning of every obsessive person’s life of survival.

Added May 29, 2014

Here’s a video blog I made on “Highly Sensitive People”


  • You are detail-oriented
  • You have a greater awareness of stimuli, like sounds, smells, temperature, and textures
  • You have a vivid imagination
  • You are quick to see patterns and connections
  • You are able to understand and appreciate more complex levels of people’s nonverbal expressions, such as art.
  • You are able to read people and their motives well (emotional intelligence)
  • You can sort things into finer distinctions – “Like those machines that grade fruit by size – we sort into ten sizes while others sort into two or three.” (The Highly Sensitive Person)
  • You can communicate in such great detail – You are a thorough storyteller who can tell dynamic and exciting stories that are full of detail and emotion.
  • You are smart – You reflect more on everything. All that thinking and strategizing has developed you into a very smart person.
  • You have strong intuition – “Your intuition is right often enough that HSPs tend to be visionaries, highly intuitive artists, or inventors, as well as more conscientious, cautious, and wise people.” (The Highly Sensitive Person)
  • You consider the past and future more


When you get overwhelmed, try your best to react in a manner that is not offensive to others – it will lessen their defensiveness, allowing you to have more of a chance to feel like you are being heard. If others appear to be losing patience with you because you do not possess a “normal” level of sensitivity, forgive them for their ignorance and nicely ask them to extend more patience to you.

Even though you cannot fully understand how your OCPD friend feels because what he or she feels is outside of your emotional range, try your best to show empathy. Telling your OCPD friend, verbally or non-verbally, that he or she is overreacting, exaggerating, or being a drama queen will only make him or her feel more frustrated, alone, and unheard.

Forgive the people in your past who failed to give you adequate security when you needed it. How were they supposed to know that you required special attention? Not only are you a minority, but you are also probably your parents’ first experience with raising a child. They did not know any better. Try to revisit those times in your past and give yourself that security. Pretend that the now-adult-you is comforting the past-infant-you with words like, “Don’t worry, child. You’re going to be just fine.” If you are rejecting those words because your lack of experience keeps you in disbelief, force yourself to have those experiences so that you undoubtedly know that you are going to be just fine. Once you are able to overcome your mentality of survival, you can begin using your sensitivity, not as a tool to sense danger and consequences, but as a tool to catch the beautiful details of this world.

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10 thoughts on “Hypersensitivity

  1. Tracy Green says:

    I also think that depending on one’s neurological wiring – sensory issues are often an issue. One of my favorite books is The Out of Sync Child. I know you give great parenting advice – and I think this will help many parents with children sensitive to sensory environment. For example, in clothing – I’ve cut many tags out of my boys’ clothes and they are very picky about fabric. Sensory issues they have to varying degrees: food textures, smells, light, sounds,

    There is an interesting interplay between the psychological and the neurological. I think if a child who is neurologically wired to be sensitive to emotions and environment is raised by critical demanding fear-inducing parents, it doubles things up. And if there is physical discipline, that’s an issue. So many interesting points you raise. It’s all complex. And this is why when people are adults and going through therapy – it gets harder to separate out the psychological, family based issues from genetic wiring. Treating children well and appropriately and remembering that each child is unique and different is important.

  2. Bob Jones says:


  3. princess marie antoniette says:

    this is just so amazing♥

  4. Tamara Tatiana says:

    Of all the theories out there, yours makes most sense to me. I’m a 24 year old Dutch girl, after years of struggling with depression I’ve been recently diagnosed with OCPD. I find this website to be extremely helpful and I can really relate to everything written on here. I never expected to feel so relieved to find out what’s actually wrong with me, and it’s not half that bad. ;) Thanks!

  5. Kathleen says:

    I am a parent of a highly sensitive child, now a 17 year old. It wasn’t until today that I fully realized there is a formal definition. I always Knew my daughter was extra sensitive and needed even more security and support. I was not one of those parents that was not able to offer her a sense of security. When my young child lost her sense of security, her immediate reaction was not to find a parent, she did not want to be comforted or touched, it only aggravated her. For her it is more of an issue of control. She is not an affectionate person and has trouble with empathy. Besides being HSP, Her OCPD traits complicate the issue. Because you mentioned the book “The Highly Sensitive Person”, having never heard of the book or author, I am so grateful. I purchased the book The HS Child. What a great find. It will help get to to root cause of some of her issues. I hope to introduce her to this theory of HSP and that it is ok and help her manage it. She is in therapy and will work with him .

    • Daniel Kim says:

      Ah yes. I didn’t write about it but that loss of security starts even earlier than when the child has the ability to go to his or her parents. I am talking about infancy. Infants that grow up with familiar routines for eating, sleeping, etc. with set times that are set by the parents feel safety and security because their life becomes predictable. That’s why children love watching/listening to the same story over and over again… because the predictability makes them feel safe. But infants who call the shots and the parents match their needs according to the infant’s schedule (“go with the flow parenting”) are more likely to have anxiety creep into them.

  6. Willa says:

    Hello! This is my 1st comment here so I just wanted to give a quick shout out and tell you I really enjoy reading your posts.
    Can you suggest any other blogs/websites/forums
    that cover the same subjects? Thank you so much!

  7. SEM says:

    I have a willing synthetic vision for the purpose of fine detail
    and can anticipate issues just before they take place.

  8. AndrewInterrupted says:

    What your theory states is what has been recently found by research organizations like The World Health Organization.

    What you are describing is in the epigenetic/soft inheritance realm. These accounts meet the description of the DRD3 gene expressing anankastic.

    Wikipedia: OCPD–scroll to WHO/anankastic….

  9. Wow that was strange. I just wrote an really long comment but after I clicked
    submit my comment didn’t appear. Grrrr… well I’m not writing
    all that over again. Anyways, just wanted to say superb blog!

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