written by: Keren Perles
• edited by: Paul Arnold
• updated: 12/10/2010
If someone you know has obsessive compulsive personality disorder (OCPD), relationships with that person can often be strained. Understanding where exactly the difficulties often lie can help you to avoid destroying that relationship.
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Spouses and Partners
Obsessive compulsive personality disorder relationships can be difficult, and none more so than the relationship between the person with OCPD and a spouse or partner. The partner of a person with OCPD may constantly feel scrutinized, as if their every fault is being examined on a regular basis. The person with OCPD may criticize often (this is especially true about physical defects, even those which other people would never even notice), but may not compensate by verbally or physically showing any positive emotions.
The spouse of a person with OCPD often becomes more passive, trying to avoid conflict as much as possible. The person with OCPD then becomes more and more controlling with ever more perfectionist tendencies. The spouse may bail out of conversations in order to minimize aggressive or critical responses.
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Often, a parent with OCPD will rule the home "with an iron fist," demanding that the children obey at all times. In fact, the children of a person with OCPD may feel that the disorder makes the parent constantly angry. Because external perfection matters greatly, the parent with OCPD may pile on the cleaning chores and prevent children from making any "mess" at all. Discipline can often involve hitting or using other physical punishments, especially if the person with OCPD follows the bible's endorsement to "spare the rod, spoil the child."
Other disciplinary tactics include humiliation, since the person with OCPD feels humiliated after committing a wrongdoing as well. Children of a parent with OCPD may complain about never having the money or tangible objects that they want, since the parent often acts miserly and takes full control over all financial decisions.
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Business Associates and Friendships
In the workplace, people with OCPD may actually seem quite successful. After all, they usually display extreme deference to people who are further up the hierarchy than they are - and they are extremely aware of this difference in status. However, there are two main issues that may crop up in terms of obsessive compulsive personality disorder relationships in the workplace.
The first is that the person with OCPD may constantly criticize any subordinates, or people who are lower down the food chain, pointing out each and every flaw and rebuking them for it. Besides making these business associates constantly feel judged and picked on, the criticisms can also stifle their creativity. The second issue that can crop up revolves around the fact that people with OCPD may take an extremely long time with each task, due to their extreme perfectionism. This can lead to missed deadlines and broken trust between employees.
There are, however, ways to deal effectively with people who have OCPD. To improve your OCPD relationships, read the next article in this series.