Obsessive-Compulsive Personality Disorder Support Group

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 Post subject: Re: Any Idea WHY OCPDers Believe They Are Perfect or Must Be
PostPosted: Wed Feb 26, 2014 12:34 pm 
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belgianguy wrote:
OCPDmanager wrote:
It seems to me unnecessarily complicated to say the OCPDer feels bad when he's perceived to have done something wrong, rather than just to say the OCPDer has a harsh conscience, so that when he does something wrong, he feels bad.

This quote for me is the source of the 'denial' that shame and humiliation are core to ocpd. I want to add that the extreme sensitivity to humiliation felt completely out of character in my ex as well.

I do not fully understand why we might subconsciously deny or be out of touch with our feelings of shame, but assume it is just a robot-like emotional response to painful situations or the the desire to not be/appear vulnerable or vain enough to worry about our image. I do care about my image and what others think of me, but dislike this about myself very much as I do not want to be/appear self-absorbed or shallow.

Caring about the opinion of others and feeling ashamed if we make a mistake is somewhat egotistical - it means we believe others notice or care about us. We're constantly watching, analyzing, absorbing and trying to understand people, so it is only natural we assume they are doing the same with us. And if others are as critical of us as we are of ourselves, we've got good reason to avoid shame or deny our ability to experience it.


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 Post subject: Re: Any Idea WHY OCPDers Believe They Are Perfect or Must Be
PostPosted: Wed Feb 26, 2014 1:12 pm 
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OCPDmanager wrote:
It seems to me unnecessarily complicated to say the OCPDer feels bad when he's perceived to have done something wrong, rather than just to say the OCPDer has a harsh conscience, so that when he does something wrong, he feels bad.

I disagree.
My OCPx did things that were well-intentioned, eg. doing zero due diligence & providing huge sums of $ for a business venture to make mommy happy even though he didn't have the $ and had to borrow it. He felt no guilt whatsoever because he believed he was doing the "right" thing---being good to mom. But he felt SHAME because he believed (correctly) that others would think he was foolish (and crazy). Thus, he hid this matter from all his friends, family and even therapists for years. When the situation turned disastrous and could no longer be ket secret, he misrepresented the facts to friends and therapists to look less foolish, to look like the victim (blaming someone else).

So first the hiding, then the lying, all to avoid shame and humiliation. Guilt isn't even in the picture.

I agree with Belgianguy's following assertion:
belgianguy wrote:
The 'why perfect' is in my view the consequence of the fact that ocpd'ers feel extraordinarily bad when they are 'put to shame'. They learn to avoid that at all cost and 'perfection' is the best strategy to avoid being 'blamed and shamed'.


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 Post subject: Re: Any Idea WHY OCPDers Believe They Are Perfect or Must Be
PostPosted: Wed Feb 26, 2014 2:00 pm 
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Hi all,

belgianguy wrote:
OCPDmanager wrote:
It seems to me unnecessarily complicated to say the OCPDer feels bad when he's perceived to have done something wrong, rather than just to say the OCPDer has a harsh conscience, so that when he does something wrong, he feels bad.

This quote for me is the source of the 'denial' that shame and humiliation are core to ocpd. I want to add that the extreme sensitivity to humiliation felt completely out of character in my ex as well.


It's hard to defend against the charge of denial.
"You're in denial"
"No, I'm not"
"Ah HA! Just as I said"

So much to be said. Just some brief thoughts then. My take is that the OCPDer doesn't like to be humbled, or made to feel small or insignificant, but I don't believe that's because of a sensitivity to shame or humiliation. I believe it's because it limits his power to do his OCPD thing, which is to fix the world in word and deed. But limiting an OCPDer's power is a far cry from humiliation. And this isn't a semantic difference either.

I think of the OCPDer as like Atlas carrying the world on his shoulders, and how much strength and power that takes. And, as with the OCPDer, what a relief it would be to put it down, relax. To feel small and insignificant, and humble, that you can just be yourself and not carry the weight of the world around on your shoulders. Again, that, being humbled, is very different from being humiliated. I think what the OCPDer fights against is being humbled like that, because he's got his OCPD job to do, to shoulder those burdens, and don't interfere. Because if you do, the world will go to hell. Telling Atlas to put the world down, take a break, that's not humiliating him. It's saying, let it go. It doesn't have to be on you.

In response to sunnysky who says her OCPDer seems to feel shame much more often than guilt, it's important to note the OCPDer is already consumed with shame, saturated in it, partly because as Francie mentions, the chasm between his dreams and reality. These features of shame -- stiffness, tenseness, stoic facial expression, self-consciousness, looking at oneself through the eyes of others, a very constricted focus and awareness and emotional life, a stopping of feelings, off the top of my head, are also characteristic of OCPD. The OCPDer lives with a huge amount of shame, walls of shame around him. So he lives with a lot of shame, but can't stand to live with guilt. And yet much of his actions are driven by guilt, by his inability to tolerate it, just as much of Dracula's actions are driven by his inability to tolerate sunlight. Note Dracula is driven by sunlight, but spends all his time in the dark, just as an OCPDer is motivated to avoid guilt, so he's consumed with shame.

So to me, the OCPDer, living with so much shame as a part of having OCPD, has become inured to it. This is his life. Interesting to note also, that when and if an OCPDer begins to get in touch with his feelings, he's going to be hit with this wall of shame he's built up around himself over the years. Then his challenge is to break down those walls, and walk through them, to a better life.

I'm reminded of a story about dog fighting. Two pit bulls were fighting, and their jaws became locked, and one of them started to whine. One of the owners suggested (don't know if this is true or not) that the dog was whining not because it was in pain, but because, with his jaws locked with the other dog's, it was unable to bite the other dog. Belgianguy, in the same way, there's the question of why does your SO rage at you -- a reaction to being humiliated, or a reaction to having her power limited. There's a big difference between humiliation on the one hand, and being told something is not your responsibility, not your business, so stay out of it, on the other.

Humiliation is personal, like telling someone they are stupid, sick, twisted, a joke, a clown, a loser, ugly, smelly, awkward. It stings, it hurts. Actually, if someone called me those, I'd more likely consider it as data, and weigh it against what I know, and consider the source. Being challenged, doubting myself, that's not new to me. I do that to myself all the time.

We had a forum member about a year ago who I had to suspend and ban, and afterwards she did her best to try to get my goat, to denigrate me, to question my motives, to hurt me in a personal way. I think a lot of other people would have reacted to that, that attempt to humiliate, to offend one's dignity. It was mostly just annoying to me. It hurt my feelings, yes, but, I thought, do I want to be one of those people whose feelings are the most important thing in the world? I mean, aren't there other considerations?

Francie and LizaJane, I do see gender differences in shame and guilt. I think of middle school, when teasing and bullying with girls takes on a different form, where the emotional socialization, and feeling of belonging, are so important, generally, compared to boys.

I like the quote, "Shaming another in public is like shedding blood". No one likes to be shamed. It's just my experience that OCPDers are less sensitive to it than most, because they're so out of touch with their feelings. Guilt is a little less about feelings, and more about the mind, and limiting what you can think. And OCPDers want to think what they'd like.

Sincerely, Paul


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 Post subject: Re: Any Idea WHY OCPDers Believe They Are Perfect or Must Be
PostPosted: Wed Feb 26, 2014 2:20 pm 
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Hi Francie, belgianguy,

Francie wrote:
First, props to this line. While I don't think OCPD can easily be encapsulated, the following feels like a fantastically accurate summation of this part of things for me, in a clear and objective way I hadn't grasped before:
belgianguy wrote:
I can easily accept that ocpd is basically about a bewildering, threatening world where an intelligent, logical child cues in on the cause - effect approach in order to avoid bad things happening rather than on the emotional 'safety' provided by other people.



It's a great line. Something to think about in depth.

Sincerely, Paul


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 Post subject: Re: Any Idea WHY OCPDers Believe They Are Perfect or Must Be
PostPosted: Wed Feb 26, 2014 2:38 pm 
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OCPDmanager wrote:
These features of shame -- stiffness, tenseness, stoic facial expression, self-consciousness, looking at oneself through the eyes of others, a very constricted focus and awareness and emotional life, a stopping of feelings, off the top of my head, are also characteristic of OCPD.

I wonder if we understand the word "shame" differently. I understand "guilt" as "oh no I did this wrong, I shouldn't have done this..."
I understand "shame" as "oh no, other people will think badly of me, think I'm stupid, greedy..." just like Paul's:
OCPDmanager wrote:
Humiliation is personal, like telling someone they are stupid, sick, twisted, a joke, a clown, a loser, ugly, smelly, awkward. It stings, it hurts. Actually, if someone called me those, I'd more likely consider it as data, and weigh it against what I know, and consider the source. Being challenged, doubting myself, that's not new to me. I do that to myself all the time.

My OCPx is different from Paul. E.g. let's say one woman described my guy as "stupid". If he senses that other people may think like her, then he'd start making misrepresentations (read: lying) in the hopes that people will believe he was a blameless victim. He gets furious and indignant, and feels victimized. And gives lots of rationalizations as to why he did x, y & z.

I am wondering how many of your OCPDers are like Paul who take the accusation as "data", or are like my OCPx who treats the accusations with extreme anger, righteous indignation and endless rationalization?
OCPDmanager wrote:
No one likes to be shamed. It's just my experience that OCPDers are less sensitive to it than most, because they're so out of touch with their feelings.

I find the opposite to be true. No one enjoys being shamed or humiliated, we all want others to love, like and respect us, that's human nature. But most of us recognize that we're not perfect and are going to make mistakes that will make us look stupid or irresponsible or thoughtless. In contrast, my OCPx gets tremendously more anxious about what others think of him. He is also a inveterate people pleaser. Maybe the 2 are linked?


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 Post subject: Re: Any Idea WHY OCPDers Believe They Are Perfect or Must Be
PostPosted: Thu Feb 27, 2014 12:36 am 
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For my SO, I think it started with his childhood. The consequences for doing something wrong were severe and swift. Add to that a spoiled sister who could do no wrong, so he must be wrong, and his parents punished him no matter who did what. It didn't matter how hard he tried, it was never good enough. His parents made it clear, even as an adult, that they would throw him to the wolves in favor of anyone else. I think he was still trying to get his father's approval, up until dad died a couple years ago.


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 Post subject: Re: Any Idea WHY OCPDers Believe They Are Perfect or Must Be
PostPosted: Thu Feb 27, 2014 12:37 am 
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For my SO, I think it started with his childhood. The consequences for doing something wrong were severe and swift. Add to that a spoiled sister who could do no wrong, so he must be wrong, and his parents punished him no matter who did what. It didn't matter how hard he tried, it was never good enough. His parents made it clear, even as an adult, that they would throw him to the wolves in favor of anyone else. I think he was still trying to get his father's approval, up until dad died a couple years ago.


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 Post subject: Re: Any Idea WHY OCPDers Believe They Are Perfect or Must Be
PostPosted: Thu Feb 27, 2014 3:31 am 
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OCPDmanager wrote:
It's hard to defend against the charge of denial.
"You're in denial"
"No, I'm not"
"Ah HA! Just as I said"

Paul, there is a major difference between a 'charge' of 'denial' and one of 'being in denial'. You state that shame is less significant in ocpd behavior that 'self induced guilt' and you have some reasonable arguments. I do not quite agree, but I am not relating that to your being in denial.


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 Post subject: Re: Any Idea WHY OCPDers Believe They Are Perfect or Must Be
PostPosted: Thu Feb 27, 2014 4:18 am 
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I find the shame versus guilt confusing, and I guess I should have used the word 'humiliated' instead of 'shame'.

Are ocpd'ers more or less sensitive to humiliation than other people and/or than their SO's? What I found is that ocpdx could take a lot of intended humiliation by 'outer circle people' about her views - if these were well thought out in her opinion (and for the largest part they effectively were, but definitely not mainstream). Did not mind slights, enjoyed the fight, convinced people would in the long run come around to her views because they are logically inevitable. Some of it actually happened, fuelling this idea even further. When in humiliating trouble at work, took it in her stride and solved it professionally.

Compared to myself, when in professional trouble, I decided not to be humiliated and quit, starting a company.

In our relationship, she could take banter in areas she recognized being weaker at (foreign languages, say, or skiing, or matters relating to cars). Superficially better than I. In the relationship with an ocpd'er, there is a big background of humiliation (unless you have been exceptionally good at setting and maintaining boundaries): you have to follow an extraordinary number of imposed rules, you are often belittled, you live with the shame of a hoarding partner or are not allowed to take showers at will, whatever. I could not take all banter from her as lightly. There had been too many sessions where the same stuff was thrown at me in real anger.

But this is only the superficial side of things. In reality, ocpd'ers can be offended and humiliated by every so light offenses. Ms. Blackbird's father forgot a birthday: 30 years later still not weathered away. Ross through no fault of his is a day late with a present: not acceptable. My own experience of some really terrible rants, way worse than normal, when she somehow was landed in a situation where people might laugh at her. Do not, repeat not, banter about sensitive areas. We definitely learn to avoid that. Compare it the ocpd'ers 'heartfelt duty' to keep you well-informed about your personal weaknesses.

I feel I can still make the point that ocpd'ers develop their ocpd (the strict rules, the thorough thinking or mulling over stuff, until it sets in concrete) as a mechanism against the bad feeling of humiliation. OCPD'ers can only accept 'accusations' as 'data' when they have solid rock under their feet, meaning thoroughly - and I mean thoroughly - thought out cause - effect relationships. Or, as may be the case with Paul's example, if backed by clear and agreed on rules. In your example, Paul, you may not have looked on a stream of insults as a stream of data if you would not have had the backing of the eminently sensible rules of the forum?

This does also explain a point in my own relationship. Over time, the frequency of rants diminished, she became more self-confident, even relaxed some of the rules, yet overall, I would say that the ocpd became 'worse' even though it also was more relaxed. There were just more areas where she was 100 % convinced she was right and could no longer be reached, or humiliated as the case may be.


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 Post subject: Re: Any Idea WHY OCPDers Believe They Are Perfect or Must Be
PostPosted: Sat Jul 05, 2014 12:53 pm 
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OCPDmanager wrote:
I think it's important to distinguish between being shame-avoidant (narcissism -- NPD), and being guilt-avoidant (having a harsh conscience, the compulsive -- OCPD).

Sincerely, Paul


I disagree, Paul, as probably do many OCPDers.
I think we discussed this several years ago. You were working on a book or monograph that explained this theory. How's it coming along?

Ramon.


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 Post subject: Re: Any Idea WHY OCPDers Believe They Are Perfect or Must Be
PostPosted: Sun Jul 06, 2014 12:56 pm 
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Hi Ramon,

Ramon wrote:
OCPDmanager wrote:
I think it's important to distinguish between being shame-avoidant (narcissism -- NPD), and being guilt-avoidant (having a harsh conscience, the compulsive -- OCPD).

Sincerely, Paul


I disagree, Paul, as probably do many OCPDers.
Ramon.


If you have something more specific to say I'd be willing to reply. I've written about this ad nauseam. If you look deeply into the literature on NPD and OCPD, you'll see what I said above is definitional.

(edited to add -- Again, this is what the literature says about shame and guilt and NPD and OCPD. I don't believe everything I read, but I believe it because I understand it in my own way, and that happens to agree with what the literature says. And I have no interest in taking the time to either do the literature searches required and quote them here, or sum up my own understanding of the issue, here.)


Ramon wrote:
I think we discussed this several years ago. You were working on a book or monograph that explained this theory. How's it coming along?
Ramon.


Well ... I continue to do research and look for patterns and make associations and learn more. I've been doing this for 35 years. At this rate, it's not going to happen. It's such a big subject, and I want to get it all in my head before I publish it, and again, it doesn't look like it's going to happen. I wanted to get some kind of financial benefit from writing it, such as a book contract, which is why I put off publishing anything.

If I reveal the important original ideas and original research for free, then I suspect much of the value for a book publisher would be lost -- the most important ideas of the book would be given away for free. Though, perhaps the only way I can ever publish any of it is to start putting my ideas on the internet, for free. Otherwise, no publisher will have any idea what I'm talking about. It's a bit of a catch-22 for me.

Thanks for asking.

Sincerely, Paul


Last edited by OCPDmanager on Sun Jul 06, 2014 3:51 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Added clarification re: shame and guilt and NPD and OCPD


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 Post subject: Re: Any Idea WHY OCPDers Believe They Are Perfect or Must Be
PostPosted: Wed Jul 09, 2014 1:18 am 
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Ramon wrote:
OCPDmanager wrote:
I think it's important to distinguish between being shame-avoidant (narcissism -- NPD), and being guilt-avoidant (having a harsh conscience, the compulsive -- OCPD).

Sincerely, Paul


I disagree, Paul, as probably do many OCPDers.
I don't necessarily disagree. But sometimes discerning between guilt and shame seems laborious or confusing and I just lump them together.

In a more technical sense though, I can see there would be differences. Feeling guilt involves taking on the responsibility for having done or caused something, which is certainly something I think I avoid. I'm more likely to just feel badly overall - a general sense of shame for just being me, rather than for anything specific I've done. Feeling guilt, I think, eventually allows a person to consider doing something about it (at least in my experience; I've been able to get to "ok I did this. what can I do about it?") Whereas shame just keeps a person rooted in the bad feelings and not really seeing options, a place I often find myself.

The clearest thing I think I read on this once was like this:
Shame: "How could I have done that?"
Guilt "How could I have done that!"

_________________
'
People do not change when they see the light. They change when they feel the heat.  ― Freda Lewis-Hall


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 Post subject: Re: Any Idea WHY OCPDers Believe They Are Perfect or Must Be
PostPosted: Thu Jul 17, 2014 7:13 pm 
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I've slowly got to the bottom of my wifes OCPD causes and it's abundantly clear that her childhood experiences are responsible for it. But I do also beleive that a genetic predisposition is also partly responsible. Recently she has told me stories from her childhood and the difficulties she had with her mother. Her mother has all the signs of OCPD with some Narcissism mixed in.

DW was always a very hard worker at school, always achieved top grades yet never got any praise or approval from her mother. Her mother would forever tell her off for doing things 'wrong' even though they weren't, make her fight for approval and praise and even when praise was given, her mother would find a way to take the credit for it. Her enabling father would come into DWs room, and break down into tears, telling her that he was only staying with his wife (her mom) because of her - which made her feel guilty for prolonging his stress and torment.

Despite all her efforts she was always made to feel second best to her sister, always made to feel guilty and doubt every decision she ever made. Her mom still does this to her, still controls her, still questions every choice, invokes doubt.

She failed to learn the normal social skills that a child should learn. She never experienced genuine empathy, love and care. She has learned that no amount of effort is ever enough to gain approval and that EVERY mistake, no matter how small, will be punished severely. As a result she has developed an overwhelming fear of failure, and her coping mechanism is to adopt the attitude of perfectionism. It is so ingrained in her behaviour now that I doubt it could ever be changed, and certainly as long as her mother is STILL controlling her and invoking such anxiety it will not be changed. She has been condtioned to live in frightening world where the only way to survive is to avoid making ANY mistakes, to control everything and everyone in it. Every decision has to be carefully anaysed and calculated, so that the outcome has the best chances and can be justified with every angle covered. Nothing can be left to chance. She has developed a remarkable memory and an eye for detail that I can't even fathom, just so she can be aware of EVERYTHING going on around her, and never foget anything, that way mistakes can be anticipated and avoided...

I must admit that I can't begin to understand how it must feel to live in a world of pure axiety, all the time. What seems like a nice quiet day to us is a buzzing fury of white noise to her. so many things going on, so many details to keep track of, so many potential mistakes to avoid. But, despite understanding how hard it is for her I can't deal with being drawn into her world and made to stick to the same standards and expectations. I have to say, I don't have the patience to spend 5 minutes dealing with what she deals with 24/7.


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 Post subject: Re: Any Idea WHY OCPDers Believe They Are Perfect or Must Be
PostPosted: Fri Aug 22, 2014 4:33 pm 
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This condition is formative, and in my case my overbearing likely OCPD parents gave little other than constant criticism. We have OCD in the family, so add the 2 and you have an OCPD kid. Sad part is it can not be changed, just managed. I am hoping to open up and love enough to pave over it.

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Cramer : 72
Too Perfect : Buku Yes's
Al Bernstein: 13


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 Post subject: Re: Any Idea WHY OCPDers Believe They Are Perfect or Must Be
PostPosted: Mon Jul 13, 2015 9:04 pm 
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I can only speak for what I have observed in my wife - but I think her case is quite typical.

She does not realize that the standards she is requiring of her self and others are way too high, unachievable and unrealistic. As a matter of fact she does not think of these overly high standards as being high at all - she thinks of them as being the lowest standards necessary to make something work. She does not see herself as perfect or even as aspiring to perfection. As a matter of fact, the truth is she thinks of herself quite lowly. In part that is a self-fulfilling prophecy and a cycle that is hard to break out of. But it all starts with her thinking too LOW of herself. She thinks she won't be good enough (for whatever) and so she imposes overly high standards on herself and others to insure her success. But of course the standards she is imposing on herself are too high, so she will inevitably fail. Once she has failed, she will think even less of herself and will impose even higher standards on herself. She is very much aware of her problem and suffers tremendously because of it, but she mistakenly thinks that her imposing overly high standards on herself would be the solution, when in actuality it is the cause for her problems. But of course it isn't the ultimate cause, the ultimate cause is her thinking too lowly of herself to begin with.


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