What is Obsessive-Compulsive Personality Disorder?

People with Obsessive-Compulsive Personality Disorder are preoccupied with rules, order, organization, ethics, cleanliness, and perfectionism. They have difficulty relaxing or having fun, being spontaneous or flexible.

Other signs and symptoms of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder may include…

  • Over-focusing on lists, rules, order, and organization, that the greater purpose of an activity becomes lost. For example, spending so long preparing a shopping list, that you run out of time and can’t get to the store before it closes.
  • Being so perfectionistic that gets in the way of completing tasks. For example, trying to make every detail of a project so perfect, that the project never gets completed.
  • Devoting so much time and energy to work and getting things done that you do not have time for fun or relaxation. This is not due to financial necessity, but is based on an internal pressure to avoid “wasting time”. It can involve turning leisure activities into serious tasks or hard work, e.g., telling a toddler to ride their bike in a straight line.
  • Ignoring contextual variables, and being inflexible when it comes to rules about “right” and “wrong”, morality, ethics, and values. Not bending the rules, even for extenuating circumstances. Note: this does not include rules governed by religion or culture.
  • Keeping worthless objects because they “might be useful one day”.
  • Fear of delegating tasks to others, unless they agree to do things exactly as you’ve instructed.
  • Depriving yourself and living well below your means due to fear that money will need to be saved in order to cope with a future catastrophe.
  • Having an overall attitude of rigidity and stubbornness. For example, thinking that there is only “one right way” to do something, failing to consider the ideas of others, planning ahead with meticulous detail and being unwilling to consider a change in plans.

Obsessive-Compulsive Personality Disorder Treatment

Although personality traits tend to be relatively consistent over time, you can learn to be more flexible – if you decide that you want to be. Sometimes people are so entrenched in their own viewpoints that they do not really see their inflexibility as a problem. However, once you realize that those around you may be negatively impacted by your inflexibility, and perhaps you as well, you might feel more motivated to change.

Therapy for Obsessive-Compulsive Personality Disorder can help you to…

  • Gain awareness and insight into how being inflexible may be negatively impacting you, others, or your relationships with others.
  • Strive for excellence, rather than perfection, for the greater purpose of getting more done.
  • Finding ways to relax and have fun – life is too short to be working all the time.
  • Being flexible so that your behaviour will better reflect what’s truly in your heart.

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