The Two Manifestations of OCPD
In order to understand the relationship between anger and OCPD, you need to recognize the two possible manifestations of OCPD. The first type of person with OCPD is a perfectionist, who feels that everything has to be “just so” in order for life to go on as planned. This type of person is extremely anxious, but not necessarily angry.
In the second manifestation of OCPD, the person believes that she holds the truth in her hands, and that anyone who disagrees with her is incorrect or intentionally misleading. This manifestation does create anger, when the person with OCPD feels contempt towards others or righteous indignation towards the aspects of the world that do not agree with her. When the situation strays from what the person expects due to OCPD, anger results.
One interesting aspect of OCPD anger is that some therapists and theorists believe that people with OCPD do not display anger openly (while people with OCD do), unless they have comorbid mood disorders that can lead to anger. Instead, they let their frustration and indignation simmer beneath the surface in reaction to the various events in their lives. However, this hidden anger can sometimes explode outward at unexpected times. The person with OCPD has the added pressure of keeping this anger hidden and making sure that others do not see its results. Some theorists believe that this anger is subconscious, and that people with OCPD may not even realize that they are angry. Instead, they feel fear due to some hostile force inside of them that they do not understand.
Treating OCPD Anger
People with OCPD can get a handle on their expressions of anger if they are allowed to explore their feelings in a relaxed environment, such as with a therapist. The therapist can teach the person with OCPD to learn how to identify their “feeling states,” connecting events in their lives with feelings rather than letting them become intellectualized. Journaling about their feelings can help people feel more in control as well, since they may forget afterwards just how they felt at the time. Support groups can also help them feel more in control of their emotions, which can enable them to avoid angry outbursts.
One difference between OCD and OCPD is that medications are usually not indicated with OCPD unless comorbid disorders are suspected. However, some people with OCPD may find some relief of their symptoms through using SRRIs, such as Prozac, for a short period of time (such as during stressful situations). Once they are not feeling the effects of their disability, their anger may lessen as well.
Handbook of Psychology: Clinical psychology, by Irving B. Weiner, Donald K. Freedheim, George Stricker, Thomas A. Widiger
Understanding Anger Disorders, by Raymond DiGiuseppe, Raymond Chip Tafrate
This post is part of the series: Obsessive Compulsive Personality Disorder (OCPD)
Many people confuse Obsessive Compulsive Personality Disorder (OCPD) with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD). This series discusses the differences between the two, and discusses various aspects of OCPD.