Monthly Archives: June 2012

Rules

As discussed earlier in my post titled “Human Doing,” people with OCPD are preoccupied with the efficient use of time. To their frustration, however, the combination of their hypersensitivity and orderliness causes them to inefficiently think too much about what can and cannot be done to maintain order in this world. Since rules maintain order without requiring the follower to inefficiently have to think too much, people with OCPD demonstrate a great liking for them.

People with OCPD like rules because rules save them the time of having to inefficiently think about what can and cannot be done to maintain order.

Behind every good rule, there was a person who thought long and hard. Repeating this long and hard thinking process would only be inefficient and redundant. All that is left to be done is following the rule.

But which rules people with OCPD follow highly depend on how much they trust the original rule maker. If they do not trust the original rule maker, people with OCPD will do much of their own thinking and making up of their own rules. Since their own rules were born out of much of their own trusted thinking, people with OCPD will follow them religiously without much concern to go back and inefficiently question their original thinking process, even if it was all flawed.

The breaking of a rule is a big deal to people with OCPD because their all-or-nothing thinking hyperbolizes the consequences. People with OCPD find it “unfair” when others break the rules that OCPDers try so hard to follow. They can feel so much anger when they see this kind of injustice. When people with OCPD break their own rules, they can feel so much guilt.

SO WHAT NOW?

HOW TO CO-EXIST WITH THE OTHER (OCPD):
If you really believe so strongly in some of the rules that you follow, follow them yourself without expecting others to do the same. If others have not asked you to share your thoughts on what can and cannot be done, do not go ahead and impose your ideas onto them. If others break a rule that you follow with so much conviction, do not be quick to judge that they are doing that deliberately to hurt you.

HOW TO CO-EXIST WITH THE OTHER (OTHERS):
If your OCPD friend is upset because you broke a rule, first let him or her know that you did not mean to make him or her upset. In the case that your OCPD friend’s all-or-nothing thinking causes him or her to see you as an enemy, be strong and do not take personally any of the offensive language he or she might use. Assure him or her that the consequence of the broken rule is not as bad as he or she thinks. If he or she claims that the consequence will be something extremely bad, disagree confidently and assist him or her in seeing the “middle-ground.” If your OCPD friend is upset with him or herself for breaking a rule, try to comfort your OCPD friend by telling him or her that it is ok, that the consequence of breaking that rule is not as bad as he or she thinks.

HOW TO BE MORE FLEXIBLE WITH RULES (OCPD):
Understand that, in some cases, it is better to take the time to think about what should and should not be done. After all the thinking, what you decide to do in the end may be quite different from what you would have done had you blindly followed a pre-established rule. When a rule is broken, fight against your all-or-nothing thinking by telling yourself that the consequence will not be so bad.

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Don’t Be Such a Chicken

In my very first post on hypersensitivity, I explained that,

“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.”

What do you think happened to this child?

Though this video is titled “[SO FUNNY] Little boy getting chased by hungry chickens,” what is happening in this video is really not a laughing matter.

It is easy for the boy’s parents to laugh and find it cute because they know that their son will be fine. The parents will probably keep this video and laugh about it with their friends for a lifetime. But while his parents joyfully retell the story again and again at different family functions, the boy will probably feel pain for being reminded of a time that his parents were not there for him when he desperately needed them.

So much of the world is unfamiliar to an infant. He has no way of knowing whether these animals are as harmless as they really are or as deadly as the chicken-sized Compsognathus dinosaurs that kill Peter Stormare’s character in “The Lost World: Jurassic Park.”

Sadly, because of this unfortunate experience, the boy will probably never feel safe around birds because his fear will drive him to take preventative measures for the rest of his life.

WHAT THE PARENTS SHOULD HAVE DONE:
The parents should have given the boy security. They should have picked him up so that he does not need to run anymore. While in their arms, they should have calmed him down. While showing how calm they are themselves in this situation, they should have told the boy, “It’s OK, child. You are going to be just fine.” The parents then should have slowly lowered themselves down and extended their hand out to the chickens to demonstrate to the child that there really is no reason to be scared. Then finally, the parents should have invited the child to do the same.

WHAT DOES THIS HAVE TO DO WITH PARENTING A SENSITIVE CHILD? (PARENTS):
If your child has a sensitive nervous system, he or she needs security from you even more because they may be constantly feeling overwhelmed by the entire world. Like the example presented above, when your highly sensitive child expresses his or her need for security, you should calm him or her down, tell him or her that that he or she will be just fine, give some evidence that there is no reason to be scared, and then encourage him or her to place him or herself back into that unfamiliar situation.

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Push-Pull

As discussed earlier in my post titled “Fear of Mistakes,” perfectionists avoid taking action, making decisions, and making commitments in hopes of keeping all of their options open before deciding on one best “perfect” option. This behaviour often shows up in the romantic relationships of perfectionists. But unlike most of their other inanimate options that can be easily kept within their reach with a minimal amount of control, human beings require much more control because they have a mind of their own.

Relationship perfectionists sabotage and re-establish their romantic relationships (also known as “push-pull”) to keep all of their romantic options open and control their fear of making a mistake in the selection of a romantic partner.

For extreme relationship perfectionists, their search for “the one” ends when they have finally met and evaluated every single potential romantic partner on the face of this planet. But before they can complete their impossible mission, most of them come across some “good” options that do a good enough job of giving them some pleasure until they find someone better.

But these “good” options, to the frustration of relationship perfectionists, do not stay put. Sometimes they express their desire to take the relationship to a deeper level of intimacy. This terrifies relationship perfectionists because their all-or-nothing thinking causes them to feel as though they are being pressured into something as exclusive as marriage. Other times, these “good” options express their desire to remove themselves romantically. This also terrifies relationship perfectionists because it threatens their plans to keep all of their options open. In attempt to avoid making choosing or losing mistakes, relationship perfectionists control the intimacy level of their relationships through pushing and pulling.

All that a relationship perfectionist achieves through successfully exercising push-pull techniques is just the peace of mind of having someone to go to if all else fails. Unfortunately, it is at the severe expense of another person’s emotional welfare.

STRENGTHS OF THOSE WITH OCPD WHO LEARN TO OVERCOME THEIR FEAR OF MISTAKES IN THE SELECTION OF A ROMANTIC PARTNER

  • Your standards actually go higher – You probably think your standards are already high enough. If you have a fear of making mistakes in the selection of a romantic partner, then actually your standards are not so high. Beneath all your “high standards,” you are actually afraid of getting hurt. You have trained your eye to look out for someone who will hurt you the least. After overcoming your fear, you will be able to appreciate much better qualities in a romantic partner than just someone “nice” who would never even hurt a fly.
  • You have so much peace in your romantic relationships.
  • You can be so forgiving and understanding when your romantic partner does something that hurts you.

SO WHAT NOW?

HOW TO CO-EXIST WITH THE OTHER (OCPD):
Understand that your all-or-nothing thinking is inaccurate. Challenge yourself to see the more accurate “middle-ground” meaning of your romantic partner’s affection. Openly communicate with your partner that you have a fear that holds you back from wholly enjoying a relationship. Be honest and let your partner know that your fear intensifies when you feel out of control, which usually happens when the intimacy level of a relationship fluctuates too much.

HOW TO CO-EXIST WITH THE OTHER (OTHERS):
Your relationship perfectionist partner is probably unaware that his or her push-pull tendencies are driven by his or her fear of making mistakes. Address this issue immediately. After he or she recognizes the fear, ask him or her if he or she would like to (A) face the fear by taking a chance and attempting to do away with his or her control patterns or (B) continue to hold onto the fear and all the control patterns that come with it. If he or she chooses the latter, I suggest you leave the doomed relationship. If he or she chooses the former, be patient and give assurance to your partner that “everything is going to be just fine.” Even if your heart wants to express so much affection to your partner, understand that he or she may not respond to it so well because of his or her fear. While your relationship perfectionist partner makes gradual progress towards eliminating his or her fear, resist the urge to express your intense love for him or her. You can unload it all once his or her fear has been conquered.

HOW TO LET GO OF YOUR FEAR OF MISTAKES IN THE SELECTION OF A ROMANTIC PARTNER (OCPD):
You must understand that your relationship control techniques, though they make you feel safe, are actually terrible for you. Because of them, you are not able to face your relationship fears. As long as you hold onto your control techniques, you will never get rid of that fear. Stop exercising your control in relationships. When the intimacy level of a relationship fluctuates, hold yourself back from doing anything about it. It will feel very scary at first, but those feelings will pass. Just continue to tell yourself “everything is going to be ok.”

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Overwhelmed

Though I usually write new posts on a weekly basis, this one came late because I was too busy during the past few weeks. Yesterday, I was acting all day for an Air Canada commercial.

Me in front of the green screen film set with HD make-up on my face

Acting for the commercial, attending multiple meetings for different creative projects, scoring music for a film, searching for jobs and attending interviews, preparing and choreographing my upcoming concert performance, organizing my best friend’s bachelor party, finding a gift for my dad’s birthday – there was just too much going on all at once for me. I wanted to shut down and cancel everything (all-or-nothing thinking), including my father’s birthday (as if that was possible). What I actually did, which worked out just as well, was call off my evening engagement and stay home to watch a light-hearted animated film by myself in my pajamas.

Everyone, OCPD or not, feels best when they are neither too bored nor too aroused. However, the same situation can cause intense arousal for people with OCPD because of their hypersensitivity.

People with OCPD are more likely to experience higher levels of stress when too much is going on all at once.

For more information on hypersensitivity and its strengths, read my post titled “Hypersensitivity.”

SO WHAT NOW?

HOW TO CO-EXIST WITH THE OTHER (OCPD):
Be very open and honest in your communication with others so that they understand that you are not repulsed by their existence but, instead, are just in need of some space to cool down your stress. If you catch yourself reacting negatively towards others because of your sensitive state, apologize and explain that you are just highly irritable at the moment from stress.

HOW TO CO-EXIST WITH THE OTHER (OTHERS):
Give your OCPD friend some space to cool down if he or she is experiencing stress from overstimulation. If your OCPD friend wants be alone or spend time with other people without you, do not take it personally. The sooner your friend is given the opportunity to cool down, the sooner he or she will be able to return back to his or her normal, optimal state.

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