What is OCPD?

Obsessive-compulsive personality disorder (OCPD) is the emotional anxiety experienced by extreme “left-brained” highly sensitive people.

“Giftedness is a dual diagnosis with Obsessive-Compulsive Personality Disorder since intellectualization may be assumed to underlie many of the DSM-IV diagnostic criteria for this disorder.” (Misdiagnosis and Dual Diagnosis of Gifted Children)

CAUSE

OCD VS OCPD

The main difference between OCD and OCPD is that OCD is characterized by the fear of one’s own imagination while OCPD is characterized by the fear of one’s own emotions. Read my theory in more detail on “OCD vs OCPD: Restoring Our Imagination and Heart.”

SYMPTOMS

DSM IV CRITERIA

ROOT

1. is preoccupied with details, rules, lists, order, organization, or schedules to the extent that the major point of the activity is lost. “Left brain” dominance combined with tunnel vision.
2. shows perfectionism that interferes with task completion (e.g., is unable to complete a project because his or her own overly strict standards are not met) Passion for excellence (excellence takes time no matter who you are) combined with fear of the consequences of imperfection.
3. is excessively devoted to work and productivity to the exclusion of leisure activities and friendships (not accounted for by obvious economic necessity) Fear of the consequences of the inefficient use of time. read more…
4. is overconscientious, scrupulous, and inflexible about matters of morality, ethics, or values (not accounted for by cultural or religious identification) “Left brain” dominance combined with emotional sensitivity.
5. is unable to discard worn-out or worthless objects even when they have no sentimental value Fear of the consequences of the wrongful disposal of things that have value. read more…
6. is reluctant to delegate tasks or to work with others unless they submit to exactly his or her way of doing things High standards combined with fear of the consequences of the inefficient use of time and money. read more…
7. adopts a miserly spending style toward both self and others; money is viewed as something to be hoarded for future catastrophes Fear of the consequences of the inefficient use of money. read more…
8. shows rigidity and stubbornness Fear of the consequences of being flexible. read more…

Gift

THE GIFT UNWRAPPED: Who You Are Without Fear

You are a champion of excellence. Your standards are so high because you know what excellence looks like. When you see excellence being celebrated, your heart leaps with excitement!

The way that you live your life is a testament of your passion for excellence. You cannot bear the thought of compromising your high standards for life by settling for “comfortable” or “good enough” as most other people do. That kills you inside. You would rather die trying to have the most enriching, fulfilling life.

The way that you work is a testament of your passion for excellence as well. You work so diligently because excellence takes a lot time and effort. As a result of your consistent hard work, you have ingrained in yourself a superhuman work ethic. When you find that one thing you love to do more than anything else in the world, nothing can stop you. What others might consider a chore, you consider a joy. While others count the hours that they work, you lose track of time. When excellence is delivered by the work of your hands, it inspires the world. It opens people’s eyes and makes them say, “Wow! So this is what excellence looks like!” Oftentimes, financial success follows excellence. But money can never supersede your uncompromisable love for excellence.

The way that you love your romantic partner is another testament of your passion for excellence. When you find that one person you love more than anyone else, you really give your life to them. While others let the passion in their romantic relationships fade too easily, you work hard at making yours exhilarating. You fight everyday for your partner’s heart. You are like the knight in shining armor whose love for his princess is so powerful that you would slay dragons everyday for her.

You pursue excellence in your other close relationships as well. Rather than spreading your attention thin over multiple surface-level relationships, you zero in all your energy to a few friends to experience deep, meaningful friendships.

You have a gifted mind that aids you in your pursuit of excellence. You are highly intelligent, especially in logical reasoning and problem solving. You are a talented strategist. Your mind has a knack for understanding things that have an orderly structure to them. If a complex machine from outer space was designed in a logical manner and given to the people of Earth to try to figure out its use, you would be the first one to master it.

But the most amazing thing about you is your big heart! You experience heights of joy and depths of sorrow that remain a mystery to most people. Your greater emotional range gives you the ability to empathize with others so well that your relationships reach such a deep level of intimacy. Your heart not only senses the pain in others, but it also knows how to deliver the right comfort and healing. When this awareness is combined with your abundant care and generosity, people’s lives change. Your heart is so big that it has the capacity to care for humankind on a larger scale. While most others might easily dismiss the needs of the world in order to focus on their own needs, you lay your life down for the benefit of the world. Your heart breaks when you see injustice happen as a result of the absence or lack of moral order. You passionately fight for what is right and make the world a better place.

YOU ARE A BEAUTIFUL MASTERPIECE!

The above description is the true identity of people with OCPD. This identity, however, gets lost and distorted by trauma, fear, and lies. Fortunately, these things can all be worked out and the true identity of people with OCPD can be restored.

If you are a person with OCPD, read the above character description to yourself frequently and believe in it. If you care for someone with OCPD, help him or her find his or her identity by affirming the above truths in his or her life.

WHAT CAN BE DONE ABOUT OCPD?

You are not stuck with OCPD for the rest of your life. You can restore your true identity. This restoration will come as long as you work hard on facing yours fears and removing the lies in your head.

As a highly sensitive person with emotional overexcitability dominance, your fears are mostly centered around your emotions. It is likely that you have also developed all kinds of control mechanisms to help you cope with all your overwhelming emotions. You must learn to live without these mechanisms of control as they are preventing you from facing your fears. You must get in touch with your emotions and find out for yourself that you are going to be OK.

This will not be easy. In fact, this will cause a lot of anxiety at first. Your mind will scream, “Are you crazy?! You are being extremely reckless and foolish!” Ignore it. Your mind will judge and criticize you in the areas that you are most insecure about. It will scream, “You are ugly!” “You are worthless!” “You are stupid!” “You are a loser!” You must ignore all of these as well. If you agree with them and meditate on these lies, you will only end up even more insecure and broken at the end. You must believe that you are going to be just fine and that you are a beautiful masterpiece. Ask your loved ones to support you in this process of restoration by sharing words of affirmation to you. After some time, those screaming voices in your head will quiet down and eventually stop altogether. By that time, you have conquered your fear.

GETTING HELP

As a highly intelligent person with a gift for figuring things out, you are very well equipped for self-therapy. It may be difficult, however, for you to identify all your mechanisms of control on your own because you have lived the majority of your life thinking that those things were normal. For that reason, it can be a good idea for you to get additional help in checking your “blind spots” with a professional. The kind of professional you should be looking for is one who will encourage you to get in touch with your emotions and help you learn how to eventually do that on your own outside of the patient-therapist setting. If you struggle with addictions that hurt yourself and others, you should definitely seek help.

49 thoughts on “What is OCPD?

  1. Adam Green says:

    thank you :)

  2. Kari says:

    Very insightful, and while I found myself recognizing most of what you were describing above, I found myself balking at part of it. However, I read on and if I can help my loved one discover those truths about himself I know he would be a much happier person. Thank you!

  3. Rob says:

    Thank you very much, Daniel, for writing about OCPD in a POSITIVE light. I am almost 55 y.o. – and was diagnozed with OCPD at age 49 y.o. I have been struggling to understand it since; and to understand HOW to cope with it & control it. Having recently had the need to delve deeply into my subconscious [and recognizing WHY I "am like I am"] – I feel that this is the first step in “overcoming” this debilitating condition. However, now, I see that it’s not at all “completely debilitating”. Thank you so much.
    Rob

  4. Robert says:

    Hello Daniel,

    Your “message” (regarding the POSITIVE effects of OCPD) is the most beautiful message I have ever seen. I mentioned your site to my Counsellor today – and she was KEEN to check it out. I have never been able to RELATE to any write-ups on OCPD before. Whilst reading your words – I was balling my eyes out, because “Someone actually KNOWS what I’m going through”. Your portrayal of this condition is ABSOLUTELY MARVELLOUS and so POSITIVE !!!! Thank you so much for your ENLIGHTENMENT. Cheers – Rob

  5. meenam says:

    yes, this is the 1st positive picture….so the mission is also clear…half the battle is won if one knows the enemy.

  6. Roy says:

    Hmm..
    You talk about how people with OCPD can bend their brains more towards “normal.”

    Do you think “normal” people can also acquire some of the beneficial aspects of OCPD? E.g. increased efficiency, strong work ethic.

    • LunchGal says:

      I think people with OCPD are “normal” or what ever “normal” is defined as, just that there is an exceptionality to them of setting up too high a standard that not many can meet. Then they give off the impression that they are disappointed in the person and it presents itself as self defeating. Some of the ocpd traits can be viewed as a positive trait to have until it sets itself up for disappointment when it can not be met. That’s what makes someone with ocpd in denial of there being anything wrong with having these exceptional standards. In there eyes, it can be easily argued that there is nothing wrong with possessing these traites…until the hifpgh standards fail to be met and anxiety and stress sets in …

  7. Meenam says:

    Its not about either bending to be more like the other , or more ” normal “…its about accepting differences, understanding them, and learning to live compatibly together without conflict, inspite of differences.

    • Daniel Kim says:

      yes I agree with you :)

      • But to be compatible, one has to be flexible and accept others points of view, needs,, wishes…etc too. You can be right and even if other differs from you, he/she can also be right. There are just different perceptions/different personalities…and must be able to accept differences, not feel only I am right….and so one has got to be flexible and adaptable to co-exist peacefully with people.

  8. Luca says:

    Ciao Kim

    Amazing work ! Send me an email. I’d like to collaborate w you .

    Luca

  9. Rebekah says:

    I love you and I love your words. Tonight I read this and the description resonated with me so perfectly and I understood and I reconnected with my God whom I had pushed aside for weeks. I finally understood in my heart that He has created me with a gift and I viewed it not as a curse but a bestoweth of his incredible love. And as I struggle with my own addictions and my own past as a result of being so hypersensitive, and as I wait for my professors to allow me to continue in a Masters Program, of which I am at risk for being withdrawn from due to related OCPD issues, I am encouraged. Thank you, Dan, you are a blessing to many.

  10. Jennifer says:

    I cried reading this. Mainly, I am saddened due to the lies I was spoon-fed as a child from, albeit well-meaning, adults. These are lies that I still, on some level, believe today and am working to overcome. While self diagnosed, I clearly and without a doubt have OCPD. I will be looking further into an official diagnosis since I was recently also diagnosed with ADHD (confounding or misdiagnosed altogether?).

    Now I wonder if I really am brilliant, what I could have accomplished if anyone had ever recognized it earlier, and most importantly what I could accomplish now if I believed it. Thank you beyond anything I could express.

  11. yolanda says:

    I am suffering from OCPD, this article is more hepl then any therapist I can see. Thank you Daniel because ive been suffering from depression and anxiety for years, im in a pretty bad rut right now in my life. This article has given me HOPE and the courage to seek help and know I can change without losing my personalities that can help me in life.

  12. Patrick says:

    I just wanted to take a moment to thank you for writing this blog, and sharing your research and insights on OCPD! I always knew that I was a little odd relative to everyone else around, but I could never find a label and description that seemed to fit. I had pretty much concluded that what was going on in my head was un-categorizable, until someone pointed me toward OCPD. The description on this page is perfect, I felt like I was reading about myself.

    And what a useful thing it is to know that the tendencies and issues one experiences have been studied and resolved by others! Your blog is a tremendous public service; and there are several nuggets of wisdom here that I am already applying in my life.

    It’s a shame that OCPD has the name that it has, because it is an incredible misnomer. It really is completely distinct from OCD, and while I’ve suffered from all sorts of depression and mental distortions thanks to being an OCPDer, I don’t think that this condition really deserves the label ‘disorder’. It can cause trouble, but I think that a person can learn to control the 99% of the negative aspects of OCPD and still keep all of its upsides. I wouldn’t want to be anything or anyone else.

    Cheers!

  13. Heather says:

    Thank you SO much for sharing your story! My husband has tried in the past to show me different OCPD. I, of course, thought it was ridiculous. Mainly I thought, “that doesn’t sound like a disorder, it sounds like some good groundwork for everyone else to follow.” Your link on Intellectualization completely nailed me! Looking forward to finding focus instead of some medication to help with my relationships. Also, I’m so thankful for my daughters sake that I found your site now. She will be the big benefactor. Thanks again!!

  14. Luna says:

    Thank you so much for writing this! I was diagnosed with OCPD when I was 12 and I couldn’t even bring myself to find out more about it until now. I am 15 now and I feel proud to be different, you have put OCPD in such a beautiful light!
    thank you

  15. Dale McCarraher Sr says:

    After hearing my wife tell me over and over that the way I think isn’t normal, I put in a search and read what you had to say about OCPD. I told my wife that the only thing missing from this discription was my photo…… then I apologized to her. I have a lot of reading to do after just finding out that life is “NOT” the way I think it should be… there’s actually more to it and I dont want to miss it. Thanks

  16. Genna says:

    Hi Daniel
    I was wondering if you had any information about the relationship between OCPD and anxiety problems.

  17. chloe♥ says:

    hi. im 21 and i know i have OCPD since i was 19.. what if, im happy with who i am today and nothing is bothering me at all? is that normal? i mean, i have no plans of changing myself in any way.. i love myself and i get along well with my family and friends. i strongly agree with your blog title — ocpd is a gift. so why get away from it? ☺

    • Daniel Kim says:

      I think the biggest problem with OCPD is the inability to feel our difficult emotions. Those emotions can be so overwhelming that many of us run away from them. We might be completely fine with “running away” and using all our coping mechanisms to avoid our difficult emotions for the rest of our lives, but that’s not so fine with other people who are emotionally involved with us (romantic partner, children, etc.).

  18. Marie says:

    Thank you for your thoughtful and well researched writings. My husband and daughter both have ocpd and my son is autistic. My other daughter is severely dyslexic. I have stage I’ve cancer and live with great disabilities. So you can see that we are a family of great sensitivity and emotional as well as physical pain. Your insight was the first that explained what has been happening with my husband and daughter. Fortunately my daughter is recovering well with therapy. I shared your blog with her. My husband is more difficult. Watching me die and brought several times and watching my son struggle daily has truly and deeply affected him. Do you have suggestions on other research/books/web sites that may help him. Again, thank you for beautiful and positive contribution to the world!

  19. Doraemee says:

    Thank you for this constructive piece of writing on OCPD. I recognize that the very important person in my life has this trait and is suffering the negative side that comes with it particularly in the area of personal relationship. I can only hope that this writing will help him recognize the wonderful things that exist within himself, and start to initiate the right steps towards handling the negative side effects of OCPD – and help to save our beautiful relationship that we once shared.

  20. Rachael says:

    Thank you so much for writing this. I cried as I read it because I finally felt like someone understood me and my intentions. I’m bookmarking it at work and home so I can read it often and remind myself who I am underneath the negative stuff that I’m working to release. :)

  21. jamie says:

    This brought me to tears! I love when people find the positive in something thought to be negative.

  22. Kamil says:

    I suffer from OCDP in the way that it stopping me from functioning when I was 17. No friends No job, no girlfriend…… started recovery at 20 took all the ssri, neurothropics, benzodiazpeinges for 4 years, been for 6 months in therapy (psychoanalysis) in closed facility. Now I see my therapist once a week because that’s all there is available for me. I don’t see much hope….

  23. Sarah says:

    I have never officially been diagnosed with OCPD, but I think this is so me. I retain an introverted personality, but I don’t think that would explain my skills and inner drive to perfectionism and orderliness enough.

    I also don’t think it’s something bad per se but rather a gift for the reasons you mentioned here. I’m glad you pointed this out.

    Many people say, I’m weird at first, but quickly they notice the excellence I can perform, if they only give me the time to prove them and don’t stick to that weirdo-thought.

    Another benefit is the eidetic memory, which, however, can sometimes be a curse as you remember too many details and reveal a lot of inconsistencies that you think are lies. It makes me recoil from people I though who were friends.

    Your biography is pretty interesting, too. I found myself in it as being highly creative and receiving compliments on the tasks I perform(ed); but my inner critic is never satisfied with myself. I used to be the teacher’s pet, so to speak. Often, it really annoyed me, because other students began to hate me for that, so I seeked refuge in creative work I could do on my own like writing.

    In short: I’m glad I found your website. Keep up that good work! — Oops, another compliment.

  24. Joel says:

    Thank you for this. I so needed it. Even I had tears when I was reading this. It explains so much I’ve been dealing with for so long. I have a long way to go. I wish I had known about this. I am 55 now and it just amazes me that so many of these issues here are my makeup. A perpetual quest for perfection is so exhausting. I want to be able to relax again. Steve Jobs on your site. Amazing, but at the same time, not surprising. I saw something a few days ago about how people with OCPD would draw two circles at the same time when compared with “normal” people. Before he showed me, he asked how I would draw them. I was classic OCPD type. I did it the most efficient way, of course.

  25. Belle says:

    I just wanted to thank you. I am soon to be seventeen, and I have been living with OCPD for as long as I can remember. Ever since I found out about OCD and OCPD five years ago, I have been too scared to find out more about this, destructive but irrevocable disorder. Now I have come to realize that just as anything in life, it has a positive side to it. Thank you for changing my view on my OCPD. :)

    Excuse me if I have failed to express myself, english is not my native language.

  26. Annonymous says:

    Daniel,

    I’m a 21 year old female living in California with, what I know now thanks to you, OCPD. I knew since high school something wasn’t “normal” about me, I figured possibly OCD, anxiety, and depression. Three years out of high school I decided to do some research online and found OCPD, how accurately it explains my personality was/still is very creepy to me. I’m still trying to accept the fact that I do have this personality, and to learn to appreciate this gift. From reading, and rereading your posts I’m currently going to work on getting past my depression, anxiety, forgiving others, letting go and moving, and this black and white view of the world I have. Your blog has been so helpful and informative with providing information and details other websites don’t have, and helping to see this as a gift and not something bad. You have no idea how thankful I am to have stumbled upon your blog, I plan on showing my boyfriend and mother and hope they’ll support me and find this informative as well. I do hope you come across this comment and know your blog has truely, truely made a difference in people’s lives. Thank you so very much.

  27. Breanna Laracuente says:

    I have spent the last few days on your blog.. First I have to say thank you…if I didn’t come across it my thoughts would be scattered.. Confusion of why I am the way I am without understanding…are there any more people out there like me..I could go on and on I’m sure you know. Most people with OCPD will never get diagnosed or even think they have a problem.. I cried my eyes out from the extreme relief I feel now from the understanding of the condition.. I know I will NEVER be on the same level as others but I can comprehend my thoughts and actions are not of norm… This is why I say people with out “common sense” annoy the crap out of me and then I begin treating them a certain way with out even noticing… My son is 9 and was diagnosed at 3 with OCD but he has always been very sensitive and can’t ever seem to get his words out..I knew there was more to it..he is me all over again…. Now I know it is way more than that and can approach differently…i was told by his therapists from the school that it was my fault he has OCD and I have to change my ways… i immediately threw my life into a whirlwind so I didn’t have to see my son suffer like I have… I’ve had OCD my entire life same with my mom and grandfather…except i got a little extra thrown in..i suffer from ADHD also.. it wasn’t until recently i started searching for more of an answer.. i have the extreme highs and lows and my parents just labeled me bipolar and crazy.. finally i came across the OCPD diagnosis.. I actually suggested to my doctor and is was like a light bulb went off in his head (of coarse I was deeply criticizing him in my head..how can i figure it out and not him)… I married who I feel is my soulmate.. Always had a special feeling about him.. Turns out he has OCDP also.. Marine Corp changed him..he became cold.. And then was diagnosed with PTSD.. Suffered since 2006.. I did the research and fixated on “fixing” him and bringing him back to the real him.. I always knew I had the ability to fix things..there is nothing you can’t solve through thinking it through and putting your mind to it.. I can not explain the extreme change (for the better) that my husband and i are now experiencing and working our logical thinking through together instead of using the my way or the highway thing! Your blog has created a string of life changing events for my family and I. i don’t even know you and i swear i am reading all about me… I read people very easily (not judging them) I love the way the brain works and probably would have become a psychiatrist if I wasn’t put down so much and was told I couldn’t do things/wouldn’t amount to any thing…plus the ADHD part was/is a huge impact on my life. Just in January I started medication for ADHD (makes the OCPD worse compulsion wise) i am actually able to focus and control my impulses and thoughts.. making me able to focus on the big picture and focus on the control of the OCDP..i never believed in drugs or alcohol because I can’t be in total control of my self or my surroundings.. i was reluctant to ever get on medication to help me sleep or for the ADHD from the fear.. high dose sedatives didn’t stop the process of my brain and started giving withdrawal symptoms so i cut it cold turkey against the docs advice.. i said withdrawal and addiction is all mental and i will not succumb to it..I can get threw it with a breeze..and I did just that.. I have become a successful (still growing) company owner in the event planning business (ironic huh lol).. i know i am on this earth to change lives, help others and inspire others to not give up after being put down.. my entire family says how proud of me they are and so glad i turned my life around (didn’t know i was on a bad path..still don’t see it).. my mother still wont admit she is proud of me to my face yet tells others all about me… I married the man I always thought I would (friends from 99 to 2002 went to the Marines and we both had crazy lives in between always had each other I guess u called it as a push and pull) then married in 2007.. fought for custody of his 2 kids from a narcissistic personality we have my son and have a son of our own..we took in my 8 year old niece a year ago and now will be taking in my younger cousin that is n the beginning stages of OCDP and doesn’t understand what is “wrong” with her.. I know I can’t save the world but I can start small and do what I can with out over doing it (i never feel stressed with even a million things on my plate). I never saw I would force my self to sleep because I didn’t want to deal with it.. You have a special gift for inspiring people through your words and music (has always been my escape and block out for my obsessions with out even realizing). You are very talented and destined for greatness.. I am sure you criticize all compliments given to you as do I.. It was as if I was reading my life story minus the being Korean oh and you being a guy lol.. I believe every thing happens for a reason and or purpose.. I now see my life not going any where but up from here now being able to be in control of the condition.. Again Thanks for having the courage to share your thoughts and feelings because i’m sure you have SAVED so many lives and marriages by being able to explain the disorder in detail… You have saved ME and showed me the path to challenge my old way of thinking and have instilled this new sense of well being.. not only for me but my family… I now believe I have the GIFT OF OCPD and not the curse ;)
    ps.. sorry so long…

  28. Charlie says:

    My husband is the kindest and most wonderful man you could ever hope to meet and I absolutely adore him. He is an unbelievably talented professional and was promoted very early in his career, heading up a hugely successful department. This year he seemed increasingly stressed out, becoming increasingly irritable with me (when he had never said an unkind word to me in all our years together). I came home one day to find him absolutely furious with me and unable to articulate what was wrong, other than that I ‘could not make him happy.’ We separated, and have been living apart for nearly four months. I have struggled with trying to work out what was wrong, but it started to unfold that he felt very unhappy and out of control with our domestic set up – cat hair, anxieties about lateness and lack of organisation etc etc. We have recently been going to counselling and would still consider each other as absolutely best friends, but he is not ‘in love’ any more and is terrified of letting me down, putting us at a romantic arm’s length, even though there is still much love between us. I had been looking into depression when it first happened, then OCD when I saw what he did to our home (obsessively ordered) and then, today, found your site, which sums up his beautiful little soul to a tee. I’ve never written a reply like this in my life, but reading what others have written gives me real hope that he’ll see himself in what you’ve put (my attempts at ‘diagnosing’ him are driving him mad!) and maybe start the process of getting some peace back in his life. He’s so unbelievably hard on himself. Anyway, I have no idea what will happen with us, but his happiness is all I care about and I thank you for your inspiring and informative words of wisdom.

  29. Almost there says:

    Wow… I can finally stop being accused of being in denial… I didn’t deny the fact that I had something different (or for lack of a better word “wrong) with me, it was just the way it was presented to me… my relationship was broken up by it. My partner’s friend basically helped with it instead of trying to find the root of my stress, working on that, my behavior escalated until I was noticing things, but was increasingly agitated because I couldn’t control everything and it was all falling apart. My OCPD was thrown in my face, diagnosed by my partner… and I was left to deal with it. I felt alone. And I personally would prefer to deal with it as much as I can on my own…possibly an OCPD trait… I want to see if I can accomplish this on my own. I don’t feel depressed, have a substance abuse problem, I am outgoing, have a great circle of friends, and I think I can take the first steps. I always knew I was over-striving for perfection, control, and like one of the posts above, belittled those who lacked “common sense”… At 53, I have had a long history of being rather opinionated and always seemed to feel on the “defense” but never knew why. About 25 years ago, I learned to stop being a perfectionist, and also to accept mistakes and learn from them. It was such a great achievement that affected me profoundly. I still remember where I lived and what job I had. Having a good memory is not always a blessing like that, either. I wish I could turn it off some days. But I think this site explains the positive sides of having this “disorder” and will help me strengthen the weaknesses to turn them to positive. I always wondered who’s brain was studied to become the base-line brain to diagnose things. Are there people out there who are perfectly balanced? I was resenting being called OCPD because it was not in a nice way. I did argue, and was accused of JADEing and I thought it unfair that I am diagnosed with the problem and felt like I was being cajoled and cornered by someone who played the victim. My stress escalated with heavy financial burdens, household burdens, emotional balances while my partner was not very supportive: wasn’t working, wasn’t helping around the house, was emotionally upset which led to depression. So we both were spiraling down, my partner’s depression was not helping my stress… my escalating behavior was not helping my partner’s depression. I didn’t know it at the time, but my partner had been looking into my disorder since March ’11. We split up in Oct ’13. I don’t know how I would have taken to the idea that maybe I had a disorder, but I do know that I need to do something. But I am not alone in this relationship, and if it is over, it is over. I will learn from this and try very hard to work with what I have instead of fighting it. I am creative: I paint, draw, photography. I have strong emotional ties with my pets, I do love deeply… I may have separation anxiety stemming from my father’s death when I was only 7. I thought I got over it. Maybe it was the catalyst… My mother was very overbearing…a perfectionist to the end. It was hard growing up under her rules… and yet, I have rules too. I have a hard time bending them! And I don’t know why!!! This page is very helpful and I know that I can do it…I’ve already made some changes over the years, and there is so much more work to do. I try to live with the notion that I can always learn something new each day, and to try to learn from others. I really hope I can learn from myself, too. Thanks so much for having a page that helps me see myself not as a monster, but with such great potential when channeled in the best direction! :)

  30. Idania says:

    Hi Daniel! I just wanted to say THANK YOU!. Your blog has been really helpful for me, as I was recently diagnosed with OCPD and did not know what to do. The journey of my recovery has just started, thanks to your blog. A big hug from someone who thought she would never see the light at the end of the tunnel.

  31. Keisha says:

    I absolutely LOVE this. I was recently diagnosed with OCPD at only 26 years old. I am so happy that SOMEONE wrote something good about OCPD. I’m just getting started on my journey to understanding myself (though I’ve been on this roller coaster ride my whole life)… THANK YOU!

  32. Jamie says:

    My partner had recently left me after 12 yrs, due to my behaviour, she felt i didn’t love her but she couldn’t be further from the truth. I love her more than anything only I didn’t show her, I thought I was just anal about certain things and would become angry in a second and back down to normal a second later. We have 2 beautiful children who have seen me at my worst. I don’t know what the future holds but I have had to face a lot in a short time. I will conquer this and was please to see a positive write up, I am and still am me but have lost my way, I will find my way back and just hope my wife can see this. I am not in denial I just want to make it better for my family, it is only now when we speak that I realise the impact it had on those that I truly love. It was nicd to see something positive thankyou

  33. DeWitt says:

    I will be 70 next month. As a child I was always out of step the other kids in our small bible belt town, and that difference brought daily physical and mental abuse. At 17 I was diagnosed by a psychiatrist as “neurotic”, a term which came to flavor my life for over a decade. In the long run, these things have made me stronger, made me learn all I can about who I am inside my own consciousness. My 36th anniversary with the most perfect person in the world is coming up.
    Never forget! OCPD is a precious gift. People who don’t have it are the handicapped ones. They live in a sepia world, whereas ours is high definition Technicolor. We see the details.
    Love who you are.

  34. Mike J. says:

    I’m almost 38 years old. I was just diagnosed a few months ago. I have been married for almost 19 years. OCPD has all but ruined my marriage. My children and my wife have seen me hit rock bottom. All of these years I have spent thinking it was everyone else I have just realized it was me all along. I have gotten in with a counsiler and began learning excatly what it is I have. After reading some of the things on your site, hopefully I can begin to heal myself and my relationships with my wife and my children. I haven’t lost to OCPD yet nore do I plan to. Thank you to the ones that left comments. You were all inspiring…

  35. Nick Williams says:

    Great article, over the years of struggling with this disorder, recently, I have been able to cure myself of it, and I just want to share my experience. The root cause of my OCPD was my need to feel satisfied, which only happens when everything is perfect in my mind, and I realized that the feeling of satisfaction is unnecessary, I tell myself “you don’t need to feel satisfied” and regardless of my emotions I am able to be productive, and become comfortable in my “imperfect” world, and eventually those negative emotions begin to fade away.

  36. I wouldn’t claim to suffer from OCPD but apart from 5 and 7 I would say I have certainly shown those symptoms although not necessarily all at the same point in my life.

  37. LaCoquette says:

    This is my former boss. He suffers from OCPD. He happens to be a moral corrupt person as well. I just want to point out that not all OCPD are gifted. My manager was not too bright.

    There are many that have OCPD and are extremely prejudice or have integrity issues. My former boss worked in financial services and was very unethical. He expected everyone to share his lack of ethics. I have seen him ruin people’s lives. In fact, he worked one of my coworkers to an early grave. My manager forced him to work while he was very sick. Turns out he was having an heart attack. But he was afraid to leave work due to my manager’s penchant for retaliation when his strict work standards were not met.

  38. Leanne says:

    Yes having an OCPD boss is a nightmare. Nothing anyone does is perfect enough. Even her hand picked compliant favourites. Never knew what micromanagement was until I got this ultimate practitioner. So many projects that required hours of lists and charts and excel spreadsheets and reports before, during and after. Then they were mysteriously put on hold forever. Or when they were completed it was basically useless stuff no one would read. Argh! Drove me out along with others. The survivors are in counselling or on antiderpessants/anti anxiety pills.

  39. Tariq says:

    Hello Daniel,

    I have a question for you. Do you think if HSP people don’t have a negative experience in childhood, they would not have all the problems like all or nothing and others?

    Tariq.

  40. Matthew says:

    I am angry. I’ve always tried so hard. I always wanted to help. I am tired. I want to be left alone. I hate this world.

    You’re writing reminded me of these things.

    What would your mindset and character have been like if you, as an individual with OCPD, and thus increased emotional sensitivity and anxiety, had suffered true loss in your life?

    What kind of person would you be if you, a born emotional over-achiever, lost your parents as a child, was forced to live with astonishingly abusive relatives, before finally being pulled into foster care for 10 years, resulting in the separation of you and your 3 siblings, and being bounced around over 15 homes and locations, each resulting in lost friends and relationships? Each placement full of it’s own unique setting and issues; unique (or seemingly so, initially) people.

    What kind of person would those experiences make of someone with true OCPD mentality?

    OCPD mentality is a gift. I would never dream of wanting otherwise, even with my life being what it was. And my family being what it is.

    Despite my life, I am one of the luckiest people in the world. Maybe in some ways because of it.

    For instance…. while I often still tend to be judgemental of the world around me (hold it to my standards), I have become adept at seeing grey, when I am paying attention, instead of just black and white.

    My life forced me into situations where I had to make decisions that would have normally seemed abhorrent to me. I also witnessed many people make poor decisions, but because I was able to follow their train of thought/logic, while it still seemed abhorrent, it was at least understandable.

    There were many times in my life that I would see something that wasn’t “right” and I would internalize that. Then feel extremely hurt. This would eventually manifest itself in extreme outbursts. Almost nervous breakdowns, really.

    There were times when I lashed out in extreme anger (hitting someone, breaking a chair, etc.).

    It was only when I couldn’t handle the hurt and stress anymore.

    As a child, it would be simplistic things. Like the order of whose turn it was to ride in the front being followed.

    As a teenager they became more complex and difficult to identify, yet still always based in justice, order, and my black and white views of what should be.

    The rest of the time I was the most caring and intelligent person you would ever meet. Even skipping a grade.

    I helped people to the point of self-sacrifice. Giving my savings that I had spent months accumulating from my allowance (in one of the homes that I lived that gave me an allowance) to my second youngest sibling on one of my extensively rare chances to visit any of my brothers. I gave it to him because I was overwhelmed with hurt and compassion for him because I knew what he was forced to experience by having to live with my grandmother.

    Ultimately, with all of the pain and hurt that I have felt, a lot of it caused by an unjust system and the rest
    by other people’s lack of……. I don’t even know the word. Lack of empathy? Lack of order? Lack of logic, I suppose.

    In any case, there came a time when I seriously considered killing myself.

    I was so hurt and angry by the world and people that I had only ever cared about. I would have chewed off my own arm for someone that I didn’t even know, if I thought the person needed my arm more than me. And I mean that near literally (I suspect it’s physically impossible to chew off your own arm without succumbing to blood loss). My empathy was stronger than any physical pain.

    But the emotional pain and hurt that I felt. The pain that the world caused me, when all that I wanted to do was spend my life helping people and doing the right thing………

    Eventually it grew, and the pain got to the point that I wanted to kill myself to end it.

    And then that pain turned to anger. Hate even.

    HOW DARE THEY? Who the hell are they to take someone like me, that truly only wanted to do good without the need for acknowledgment or reciprocating feelings of warmth, and cause such pain?

    What right did they have? Hadn’t I proven that I was just as good as anybody all throughout school, and my whole life? If not even better than most?

    And my anger grew. I made a promise to myself, that if it ever got to the point of suicide, that I wouldn’t let the world, and the people running it win. Instead, I would take as much of this world, and the people it’s made up of, with me. I’d do the worst things imaginable that I could think of so that at least the world would know that even though it had beaten me, I seriously messed it up.

    I began to think and fantasize about ways to cause destruction. People that I would take my vengeance on first. I even considered walking into an elementary school and killing off as many kids as I could before killing myself.

    Oh the effect something like that would have. They’d never forget me, and maybe then they’d realizing the pain they were causing. Think Columbus was bad? Obviously not bad enough, because the lesson still hadn’t sunk in. Let’s up the scale a bit. Maybe they’ll realize, this time, that you can’t allow people to be treated this way without consequence.

    Ultimately, that was the peak of my emotional pain. Brought on both by pain in my personal life, and by the sudden shift in my perceptions of reality that I was experiencing as a young adult. I was finally seeing the world for what it is. Understanding deeper logics than I ever had before. And realizing that everything that I had believed in for my whole life up until that time (my early 20′s), was fundamentally flawed.

    With the pain of my life, the things I was forced to live through because of other people’s decisions, and the pain from suddenly being able to see the deeper logic of life, thus proving that everything I had ever believed or tried to be, was flawed……… well let’s just say that it created a sort of madness. Mental instability, if you will.

    Yet I believe that it was a good kind of madness. One that allowed me to heal.

    While it’s true that I often fantasized, and even planned ways to hurt others, thus striking back at them for my pain, on a deeper level I knew that these weren’t things I could do. Even if, in my anger I refused to admit it to myself.

    Reader, could you look someone in the face, see the fear, know that they have family members that love them, and still be able to pull the trigger on the shotgun that you have pointed at their head? Knowing that shotgun would disintegrate the flesh and face leaving nothing more than a spewing bloody hole littered with mass of hair, flesh, and bone?

    I sure as hell couldn’t.

    And quite frankly, reader, if you could, then I feel so bad for you, n hope beyond hope that you can become better and happier. Change your life to something happier. Learn to truly love others.

    Eventually, having the thoughts described above, I realized that I could kill anyone or hurt anyone directly, no matter my own pain.

    But I was still angry.

    So I determined that although I couldn’t hurt anyone directly, there’s nothing saying that I couldn’t do damage when people weren’t around.

    Blow up buildings, sneak into the police station parking lot at night, douse the empty police cars with a jerry can of gasoline (from a couple of towns over 6 months before then) and light them on fire, etc.

    I eventually came to the conclusion that I couldn’t do anything like that either.

    As I stated, once I understood some of the deeper logic of the world around me, it left me floundering because everything I had known to be true up until that point was either wrong, twisted from what it should be, or incredibly naive.

    Well, I eventually re-orientated to my new understandings of the world, came to terms with the fact that my views of the world as a child were just that…… childish, even if I never would have believed it as a child, and as a child had even considered whether my perceptions were “childish”, and determined that they were not.

    I was mistaken as a child. Blinded by looking into a one-way mirror (child being the one side, adult the other…. the adult having the benefit of being able to see through the mirror/window).

    So in fact, a lot of my pain (although by no means all) came from my own twisted/underdeveloped expectations of the world. Not the world’s failure to meet them.

    And a lot of those things that had happened to me because of other people’s choices? I could finally accept that as those people’s lack of understanding of the world, different ways of thinking because of different environmental variables during development, and many other reasons. Mostly not because they were intending to hurt me. Thus, I could forgive them.

    Lastly, my emotional pain from the people that had deliberately hurt me…. for instance, the teacher that had deliberately snapped my arm in a fit of rage, resulting in two pins and surgery on my arm, before lying about it and saying that I “did it to myself while he was trying to restrain me”. Or the foster family that I was forced to live in that took in foster kids for money, and then forced to live in the basement while the “real” family lived upstairs. Or my uncle that had dragged me down to flights of stairs by my hair before throwing me across the downstairs living room and into the wall when I was 8. Or the father that whipped me with the garden hose (metal end) when I was 4 years old, prior to him being carted off to jail for however many years.

    Ultimately, I realized that laws are not laws like we are trained to believe. They are not gods divine will, or the be all end all.

    In actuality, they are rules set down by human beings to guide, govern, rule, and keep safe our society.

    But they are just rules. Created and enforced by measurable human beings.

    Want to break a law? Don’t do it in the ways that the system is geared up against. Think outside the box a little.

    Something notoriously hard for me, but accomplishable because of my tendency to obsess.

    I realized that I could seriously strike back at these people. I could even do it in ways that are virtually untraceable. I had the ability. I had the knowledge.

    And there are many reasons that I didn’t.

    Without hurt, there is no contrast/context for happiness. Those people, although obviously hurt me knowing what they were doing, obviously had issues or they wouldn’t be doing it. Even just lack of empathy, in my opinion, is an issue. They needed help, not hurt. Besides, I’m tough and it’s in the past. Lastly, by hurting others because of problems that I had in my life or with others……. I would be no better than them :)

    Reader, if you are OCPD, then be thankful. You’re one of the best in the world. You have the special ability to look at things a hundred times over from different angles and thus see things that most others don’t. You’re most likely intelligent. And you most likely have one of the biggest hearts out there. People like us are what makes the world go around.

    The largest issues, as far a I can tell, are the increased stress levels from over analyzing/obsessing. The increased potential for emotional hurt. And the occasional over/under motivation, each form of motivation causing it’s own issues.

    But we are OCPD. We are built to handle jobs and make things perfect.

    So make your OCPD perfect. Analyze ways to deal with over-analyzing. Figure out the over-sensitivity (I’ll give you a hint……. it has to do with overdependence on others).

    No matter your issue as a person dealing with OCPD you are capable of it. I was.

    Dan, any recommendations? Please feel free to input. Sorry if the messages was somewhat rambling, or there are any issues. I wrote this using my smartphone and had some inline framing issues. Also, I swear to god, this new android has a third part text parser or something, rather than an integrated one.

    If you’ve read this far, then bravo on your mental endurance. You should be given a metal. Not many can stay with me when I ramble on :(

    Please take it with a grain of salt, and try to use any helpful parts.

    (Please note that disorder is different than syndrome. OCPD is not a disease or clinical syndrome. While there may be some basis in genetics and environment, it is rather simply a descriptor of behaviours and thought patterns that some people have. Although admittedly it is considered DSMIV categorically).

  41. George says:

    First of all, sorry for my bad English, I’m from Romania and English it’s not my natural language, of course.I’m stuck with OCPD for the twelve years now, but I think I have made some progress.You are so true about control mechanisms and all the other stuff, I’m so grateful that are people who understand and want to help, I love you guys! Today I found out that is a great difference between control mechanisms and motivation and organization. This can be the best day of my life. I feel free like never before because I couldn’t live any longer with those demons inside my head. My perception has been that I have needed control mechanisms for assuring my motivation to do whatever I want, but now I’m sure that’s not true. I don’t need them!!! I will be fine. I can do anything if I follow my dreams, I’m not a looser :)

  42. Parker says:

    Hello Daniel:
    Thanks you for this informative and sensitive portrayal of OCPD. It is by far the best I have ever seen on this topic.

    I became familiar with OCPD because one of the owners in my wife’s place of employment has this condition. Many employees have left through the years (including me) because on “Bill’s” policies and procedures. This is a family run business with two sides of the family (each owning 50% of the business) running things. Over the years, “Ed’s” family has acquiesced to Bill’s family to keep the peace. More recently, Ed has become aware of his brother’s condition and has tried to make some administrative changes.

    As a result, Bill feels “attacked like never before” and a very devastating and hurtful family feud has resulted. This family used to get along in an inspiring and loving way and now are barely on speaking terms as they struggle for control of the business. This profoundly effects Ed, Bill, their children (who work in the business) and many other employees.

    Ed has told Bill about the OCPD, which only served to intensify the already stressful situation. Bill thinks this is absurd and another attack. Ed recommended your web-site, but Bill will not consider even reading it. Bill’s adult children all side with their father (as does the father’s girl-friend). Even is they see OCPD symptoms (and they do – Bill’s control mechanisms are financially and emotionally based. You cross Bill and you are cut off) I do not anticipate that they will say anything to him, for fear of Bill’s reaction.

    Everyone is suffering, especially Bill who firmly believes “if they just would do it my way, everything would be fine!”

    My question is: how would you recommend sharing the OCPD information with Bill and his family in a way that they could hear it? This family needs to heal and so especially does Bill. Any recommendations and suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

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