Discernment and Judgment

In her book, “The Highly Sensitive Person,” Dr. Elaine N. Aron wrote,

“Like those machines that grade fruit by size – [highly sensitive people] sort into ten sizes while others sort into two or three.”

This ability to sort things into finer distinctions comes from the ability to first recognize those distinctions.

People with OCPD have a gift for discernment.

As a result of being born with a greater appreciation for excellence and order, people with OCPD tend to use their gift for discernment most frequently in these two areas. They strongly believe that not everything is equally excellent and orderly. They are able to recognize “true” and “authentic” excellence and order. When something is praised for its excellence by people with OCPD, you can be damn sure that it is excellent! This recognition then leads people with OCPD to work hard at bringing more of this excellence and order into the world.

Unfortunately, there is also a dark side to this wonderful gift for discernment. If this gift manages to get poisoned by all-or-nothing thinking, what you can end up with is a group of merciless judgmental people. Again, the judgments of people with OCPD usually center around the poor execution of excellence and orderliness. When they themselves fall short of perfection in these areas, all-or-nothing thinking OCPDers can become very self-critical and berate themselves with destructive words like “You are worthless!” “You are so stupid!” “You are such a loser!” Not having been privileged with much allowance for imperfection, these self-critical people tend to give others very little allowance for imperfection as well.

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3 thoughts on “Discernment and Judgment

  1. Nick says:

    Daniel, I think it is more than just a gift of discernment. I believe that OCPDers need to review the grade of whatever they purchase (which is why many do not like to shop, especially if they can make a mistake in their purchase or spend too much money) or obtain. For example, my Ex owned the buidling material called “Clicks” and my kids owned their own “Clicks” from their prior home when we moved in with my wife’s family in one home. When it was time to split our property when we separated, I suggested that we simply split the large amount of Clicks into two bins that were of the same approximate amount and that she can take one and we would take the other. “No”, insisted my Ex, she wanted to split the Clicks EVENLY between us. I then asked my daughter if she had time to split the Clicks with my Ex. My Ex then proceeded to spend alot of time inspecting every piece (and rejected some unworthy ones) and counted every piece that she took and that my daughter was to take (even though my daughter used some shorcuts to count the large number of Clicks) to make sure that the Clicks were “EVENLY” split between the two families, which I thought was a ridiculous waste of time. Indeed, there were more than 1,400 individual pieces of Clicks, and my Ex inspected and counted each one of her Clicks because an estimate would not do (should she get a few extra or, even more egregious, if we got a few extra pieces). This behavior helped solidify my diagnosis of my Ex’ OCPD.

    • Daniel Kim says:

      Yeah that sounds like OCPD anxiety alright. The OCPDer feels that the only way to avoid the anxiety that comes with not knowing whether or not the split is fair is to be exact in the split.

    • I say, that she might have learned a lesson from all this counting – that it sucks and it really changes nothing in that she is a failure as a parent and spouse.

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