Everyone has a personality, but not everyone has a personality disorder.
A personality disorder is such when it interferes with work performance, relationships, friendships, daily activities, or causes a significant distress.
It’s important to be aware of what makes us uncomfortable, so we know what it takes to feel better. We can’t find a solution until we know what the problem is.
Obsessive-compulsive Personality Traits
Each personality disorder comes with a pattern, a list of traits.
As I stated above, possessing some (or all) of these traits doesn’t imply there’s a disorder.
– Perfectionism that interferes with task completion;
– Preoccupation with details, rules, lists, order, organization, or schedules, and the subsequent inability to see the larger picture, or enjoy the activity for what it is;
– An unjustified excessive devotion to work and productivity, at the expenses of social and leisure activities;
– Reluctance to delegate tasks or work with others because of the fear the rigid standards won’t be met;
– Inability to get rid of worn-out or worthless objects, even when they have no sentimental value;
– Inflexibility to morals, ethics and values that transcend religious faith or political views;
– Rigidity and stubbornness;
– Frugality and miserliness, money must not be spent but hoarded for future needs.
Obsessive-compulsive Personality Disorder
Why would these traits create distress?
When is an obsessive-compulsive personality a disorder?
– The perfectionism makes the person affected by OCPD unable to complete the tasks on time or meet the deadlines. He might even give up once he realizes there’s no way to reach the amount of perfection he set upon himself, leading to apathy and lethargy.
– The workaholism causes isolation: friends and lovers feel they aren’t given enough attention and leave. The family also feels frustrated and left aside.
– The person with OCPD might be overwhelmed by all the tasks he has to do, as he won’t delegate to anyone. Vice versa, his high requirements and expectations towards employees or colleagues create discomfort at work.
– The rigid moral and ethical values create inhibitions or heated arguments among friends, lover or family members.
Perfectionism is also found in the Narcissistic Personality Disorder. The difference is that narcissistic individuals usually believe they met their standards, while those affected by OCPD tend to be very self-critical and unsatisfied about their work.
OCD differs from OCPD because the behaviors of the former are generally due to anxiety, while the latter’s are due to a distorted philosophy. The people with OCD are aware their compulsivity is out of control, while OCPD often can’t explain what causes the distress.
The Obsessive-compulsive Personality Disorder can be associated with eating disorders and major depression. People with OCPD are often pessimistic, and some can be suicidal.
Causes of the Obsessive-compulsive Personality Disorder
What causes the OCPD? Are genetic factors involved, or is it due to a traumatic experience?
There could be a genetic predisposition, but more research is needed in this field.
However, the environment is what certainly makes a difference.
In most cases, the childhood was compromised by excessive requests from overly controlling parents: high expectations, strict rules or moral values to follow, exaggerated reproofs when mistakes were made. Common scenario, isn’t it? No wonder why this is the most common personality disorder (US study).
Traumatic experiences such as physical, emotional or psychological abuse can also help to develop OCPD.
Cognitive behavioral therapy is definitely the most popular effective treatment.
Medication is generally avoided, but can be prescribed to treat anxiety or depression.
Test for self-diagnosis, the website is also entirely OCPD-themed.