As previously discussed in my post titled “Fear of Mistakes,” people with OCPD avoid making mistakes because their all-or-nothing thinking hyperbolizes the consequences. It is this same fear that causes some people with OCPD (those who are not so concerned with cleanliness) to hoard.
People with OCPD who are not so concerned with cleanliness hoard because their all-or-nothing thinking hyperbolizes the consequences of the wrongful disposal of things that have value.
To a person with OCPD, every item has value. If there is no beneficial use for something now, there very well might be some beneficial use for it in the future.
In high school, I once had an impressive collection of my own pubic hair inside a Ziploc bag that I stored away in my desk because I thought I might use it as a prank on someone later. Another OCPD friend of mine, for the same reason, managed a jar full of his own urine inside his closet during the same time in his life. We now both look back and laugh at how odd we once used to be.
Just as inaction is the result of an OCPDer’s difficulty to part with one of his or her options, inaction is also the result of an OCPDer’s difficulty to part with one of his or her belongings. Instead of throwing them away, most people with OCPD will tend to let things of little value just sit around and take up space.
STRENGTHS OF THOSE WITH HOARDING TENDENCIES
- You have a gift of foresight – You can see the potential value in people, ideas, and objects more than others.
- You have a gift for archiving – Your mind is designed to be good with keeping track of the whereabouts of an extensive number of objects.
SO WHAT NOW?
HOW TO CO-EXIST WITH THE OTHER (OCPD):
If you are living or working with other people, identify the private spaces that are yours and the public spaces that are shared with other people. In your mind, draw an imaginary line dividing those spaces. If you are going to neglect taking action in disposing items of little value, do that in your own private space and do not let your things spill over that line. If you have reached the capacity of your private space, ask the people you live with or work with if you may extend the perimeters of your private space. After all, your extension will result in the reduction of their public space or even their private space. If they decline your request, do not take it personally. Why should you be entitled to more private space than everyone else anyway? From that point on, if a new item must be archived within your clutter, make room for it by disposing the least important item of your collection. If others come into your private space and move your belongings in a way that you cannot access what you need anymore, communicate openly with them about the fear that you have concerning the whereabouts of your belongings. Kindly request them to respect your private space. If others continue to disrespect your private space, you may resort to using locks to prevent further intrusions.
HOW TO CO-EXIST WITH THE OTHER (OTHERS):
If you live or work with a friend with OCPD, do not spoil your friend by giving him or her infinite space for his or her hoarding tendencies. Remind your friend nicely of the private spaces that are reserved for his or her own use and the public spaces that are shared with others. If your friend begins to take up space in shared areas, notify him or her right away before he or she has established that area as a permanent home for his or her personal items of value. Give your OCPD friend the chance to move it back him or herself. Warn your friend that, if he or she does not move it in a specified amount of time, you will move it back into his or her private space where it belongs. Finally, respect your friend’s private space and do not remove anything. If you believe something must be removed, consult with your OCPD friend first before touching it.
HOW TO CONTROL HOARDING (OCPD):
Keep your personal items out of public spaces and give yourself a maximum capacity for your private spaces so that you will be forced to learn how to throw things away.