Fri Mar 22, 2013 7:46 pm
from pp. 11-13 of the book "Too Perfect" (1992) by Mallinger and DeWyze
A Self Test
The first step is recognizing and understanding the cluster of traits that constitute the obsessive personality. To help you determine if you (or a loved one) are obsessive, I've prepared the following questionnaire, intended as a further clarification of the family of obsessive traits.
1. Do you get caught up in details, whether you're preparing a report for work or cleaning out the garage at home?
2. Is it hard for you to let go of a work project until it's just right -- even if it takes much longer than it should?
3. Have you often been called picky or critical? Or do you feel you are?
4. Is it important to you that your child, spouse, or subordinates at work perform certain tasks in a certain specific manner?
5. Do you have trouble making decisions? (For example, do you go back and forth before making a purchase, planning a vacation, or choosing what to order from a menu?)
6. After you do make a decision, do you find yourself second-guessing or doubting your choice?
7. Do you find it embarrassing to "lose control" and be emotional (e.g., to look nervous, weep, or raise your voice in anger)?
8. At the same time, do you sometimes find yourself wishing it were easier for you to show your feelings?
9. Do you have a particularly strong conscience, or do you often feel guilty?
10. Is self-discipline important to you?
11. Are you especially wary of being controlled manipulated, overpowered, or "steam-rollered" by others?
12. Is it important for you to get a "good deal" in your financial transactions, or are you often suspicious of being "taken"?
13. Do you think you're more guarded than most people about sharing your possessions, time, or money?
14. Do you tend to be secretive? That is, are you reluctant to reveal your motives or feelings?
15. Is it hard for you to let yourself be dependent on others, rather than self-reliant? (For instance, are you uneasy about delegating tasks at work or hiring help with taxes or home repairs?)
16. Do you have trouble putting a problem out of your mind until it's resolved, even when you're doing other things?
17. In thinking about some future event, such as a vacation, a dinner party, or a job report, do you dwell upon the things that might go wrong?
18. Do you worry more than most people?
19. Do you derive a great deal of your sense of worth from being able to perform your job flawlessly?
20. Do you get extremely upset when someone is unhappy with or critical of a piece of work you have done, even when the criticism is mild or valid?
21. Do you feel that your family life, social life, or leisure-time enjoyment is being damaged or compromised by the amount of worry, time, or energy you put into work?
22. Do you feel guilty when you aren't getting something done, even in your time off (no matter how hard you've worked all week)?
23. Do you make lists of things you "should" do, even in your spare time?
24. Do even occasional "white lies" bother you?
25. Do you find it hard to trust that things will probably turn out for the best?
Interpreting Your Responses
If you find yourself answering "yes" to more than just a few of these questions, you (or your loved one) are probably at least somewhat obsessive. Now look once again at the questions to which you answered "yes," and for each one, answer a second question: Does this characteristic cause difficulties in relationships, work, or leisure activities, or does it interfere with your ability to enjoy life in general? If you answer "yes" to this even once, you will benefit from learning more about obsessiveness and about the possibility for change.
Before beginning, however, I offer this cautionary note: If you are strongly obsessive, you're a careful person who finds security in sameness and predictability. You're more wary of change and newness than the average person -- and changing isn't easy for anyone!
But change is always possible. It may involve time and struggle. It may occasionally be painful. But it can be a journey toward a happier, more relaxed and fulfilling life.