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Updated on October 18, 2011

Obsessive Compulsive Personality Disorder

In a previous article I took you inside the mind of an OCD sufferer. I brought it forward that there can be many complications and or obsessions of an OCD sufferer. What I failed to discuss was the difference between OCD and OCPD. Obsessive Compulsive Disorder simply put are intrusive thoughts that produce anxiety. These “obsessions” that produce anxiety are often put to rest by repetitive actions to reduce the anxiety, I.E washing your hands for hours, or locking and relocking a door seven to ten times. Things like that are common in OCD sufferers. I believed that I had OCD due to people telling me I was OCD. Well I researched it and discovered that I, in fact, do not suffer from OCD. I have a slightly more common ailment referred to as OCPD, or Obsessive Compulsive Personality Disorder. And yes I did obsess about this until I felt I was correct.

Control issues

Things not going his way
Things not going his way

Obsessive compulsive personality disorder is a personality disorder that demands adherence to rules, order, and perfection. Do you require things in your home to be in a certain place? Do you become anxious or upset when those items are not in their prescribed place? Do you have to have dinner at a certain time every day? What about your closet or dresser, is it organized perfectly? Do you have a strict set of rules for your household, rules that are required to be met by all persons in the house? Do you get anxious or upset when those rules are broken or forgotten? Are you hard on yourself when you perform less than perfectly?

If you answered yes to any of the above questions, then you may have OCPD. Though, don’t freak out yet, it may just be a mild version of it. I know for a fact that I do have many of the traits of an obsessive compulsive. These traits I believe are learned and yet natural in their dominance. In your working life you learn how to be proficient, whether by a desire to achieve a promotion at work or through fear of reprimand and subsequent firing. Nobody wants to be fired from a job, and nobody wants to work all their lives at the same position. This is why OCPD is such a common psychological problem. Most times though people are not able to leave their OCPD at work and end up bringing it home with them. OCPD is a great tool at work; it will help you achieve the rank or position you want so you can continue to provide for your family. However, when you bring it home to your family it becomes an automatic hindrance.

Obsessive compulsive personality disorder was first discovered by Sigmund Freud in 1908. He first called it anankastic personality disorder, which means anal retentive. The anal retentive character directly reflects upon the person’s character in terms of orderliness, frugality, and obstinacy. Below is a table of the different categories of personality disorders, just for your knowledge.

Three Categories of Personality Disorders

A (Odd) 
B (Dramatic) 
C (Anxious) 
Borderline Histrionic 

Grammar Nazi


In the 1990’s, early on, a lot of new research emerged as far as OCPD and the characteristics associated with it.  The research showed that OCPD has a tendency to run in families and can even appear in children.  If you notice your child having symptoms of OCPD by the constant obsession with neatness and orderliness, there is help but don’t call in the psychologists yet this is only one of the symptoms.

More Info from Dr. Rhoda Hahn

The Symptoms

There are primary symptoms and non-negotiable symptoms. The primary symptoms are:

  • A preoccupation with details, rules, lists, order, organization, and schedules.
  • Rigidity and inflexibility with their beliefs.
  • A showing of perfectionism that interferes with task completion.
  • An unhealthy focus on productivity with their time
  • Being conscientious
  • Inflexible with their morals, ethics, and values
  • Hoarding items of zero value
  • Reluctance to trust assignments to co-workers for fear their standards won’t be met.

The non-negotiable symptom is rigidity.

You may think that being obsessive compulsive would be beneficial to a clean and orderly home. Well, you’d be half right. OCPD sufferers usually have a strong need for cleanliness but not all of them. Most have a natural gift in setting up systems to help accomplish that task. One thing I notice about myself is, though I need a clean and organized home, I often get sidetracked with other more important thing. Though, my house is not a pigsty it is not always as clean as I like it to be. The reason for this is because I get going on other more important things and that portion tends to fall by the way side. However, whenever that task is complete the house gets a thorough cleaning.

Task completion is very difficult when the guidelines are vague. It will usually always require me to take excessive time in making sure the project comes out right. Another trait of an obsessive compulsive is an insistence on always being in charge because of the belief that they are the only ones that know what is right. This action can put a serious and deadly strain on social and personal relationships. The potential for things to go wrong in an OCPD sufferer’s life is cause for them to hoard money, “just in case.” This will come off to other people as a stinginess or selfishness. The intent is to downgrade the amount spent on daily living.

Whenever someone with OCPD is working in a group and the people involved are not doing what they want, it can often become anger and sometimes violence. An OCPD sufferer may and usually will have a natural pessimistic outlook on life, and they sometimes have a mild form of depression. With this in mind OCPD people have a higher risk of suicide than other psychological disorder sufferers. If you or someone you know has the symptoms of OCPD, seek help with a psychiatrist.

In conclusion


In conclusion, I hope this article has assisted you in defining whether or not you or someone you love suffers from OCD or OCPD.  The person suffering from OCPD may deny they have it but it is always best to seek psychiatric help in further diagnosis. Disclaimer: I am not a health care, or mental health care provider and I do not have the degrees necessary to diagnose anyone with OCD or OCPD.  If you believe you or someone you love suffers from OCD or OCPD seek professional medical assistance. 

Thank you for reading

© 2010 by Wesley Cox. All rights reserved. Copying without permission is illegal and will be prosecuted.


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    • wesleycox profile image

      wesleycox 6 years ago from Back in Texas, at least until August 2012

      Thank you for adding to my hub with those books. I am glad that you found relief from it and I hope you are living a healthy and happy life now.

    • profile image

      Mars 6 years ago

      A book - Brown - Soul Without Shame - helped me a lot with OCPD.

      And another book - Shapiro - Neurotic styles helped me great deal too.

      I had OCPD becauce of immense shame for having to poo.

    • wesleycox profile image

      wesleycox 6 years ago from Back in Texas, at least until August 2012

      Babs, I wish I could give you a concrete answer in how to solve this problem but I cannot, I can only tell you what I would do. Sit him down and tell him that his behavior is not that of a husband and needs to change. Tell him to seek counseling to help him address the issues. If this fails I would suggest you find your happiness again, even if it means with another. I'm sorry for your situation but sometimes there is no way to solve that problem, except through drastic measures. Take care and I wish you well. Also thank you for reading and I am sorry it took so long to get back but I've been in the desert for a month.

    • profile image

      babs 6 years ago

      I'm sad because I believe my husband has OCPD and it is causing major strife in our family and I can't help him. He tells me I am the problem. He is obsessed with shopping for the best deal, he criticizes me for the work I do around the house because I don't do it right, he makes endless lists, but nothing gets done, he won't let me throw anything away or touch his stuff. He has never told our kids he loves them, and goes for weeks without talking to me because I have done something he considers wrong. How can I help him if he doesn't think he needs help? What is the best way to handle it? Thanks!

    • wesleycox profile image

      wesleycox 7 years ago from Back in Texas, at least until August 2012

      Dame: I agree, and after awhile we start to seek and strive for perfection, which is ok, just getting too worked up about it is not ok. Thanks for reading.

      MPG: I'm glad I could help.

    • MPG Narratives profile image

      Marie Giunta 7 years ago from Sydney, Australia

      Thaks for the advice wesley, the person in question has attended counselling however he was 40+ years by the time he was diagnosed. A case of being 'set in his ways'I think.

    • profile image

      Dame Scribe 7 years ago

      I always tell my children, it's ok to have standards just not to the point of perfect as it doesn't exist, :). Great article! :)

    • wesleycox profile image

      wesleycox 7 years ago from Back in Texas, at least until August 2012

      MPG: It is true to have this is deniable but to be accountable for ourselves when we have these traits to go for counseling and seek answers about the condition I speak of. There is also plausible deniability to which your friend most likely is using, I would recommend though before casting stones, to have this person visit a counselor more qualified than myself to diagnose them. Thank you so much for reading and commenting.

    • MPG Narratives profile image

      Marie Giunta 7 years ago from Sydney, Australia

      Interesting to read about OCPD from someone who suffers the condition. I know of someone who has been diagnosed but refuses to believe they have a problem. Rigidity and obsessing about finances seem to be real issues, oh and a huge clean freak! I have written about this topic as well and like you I am no expert, just interested.

    • wesleycox profile image

      wesleycox 7 years ago from Back in Texas, at least until August 2012

      Thanks Kathy, for visiting and commenting.

    • kathy little wolf profile image

      Little Wolf 7 years ago from Dusty Trails, Arkansas