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OCPD Is Not OCD: Obsessive-Compulsive Personality Disorder Is a Mental Condition

Maria is a marketing writer and published author. She writes about topics she is passionate about like mental health, travel and food.

Men suffer OCPD more than women. Many OCPD sufferers remain undiagnosed because they are reluctant to seek help or feel they don't need any help.

Men suffer OCPD more than women. Many OCPD sufferers remain undiagnosed because they are reluctant to seek help or feel they don't need any help.

Conversations. We all converse every day whether at work, school or at play. Humans have an intrinsic desire to talk to other humans, to share their thoughts, ideas and opinions. These conversations take many forms and a variety of emotions will be drawn upon to continue the conversation. How we communicate with others is very important.

Having a conversation with a person who has Obsessive Compulsive Personality Disorder can be difficult, frustrating, and at times, not worth the effort. People with OCPD have problems interacting socially so their communication skills can be impaired. The problem is, many people who suffer OCPD don't even realise they have a problem, it is usually a loved one who, through frustration, ends up finding out what is actually going on. This frustration usually stems from the conversation being very one-sided.

OCPD is a condition which has similar traits to Aspergers Syndrome however it is usually aligned with OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder), and this happens more because of the names being similar. OCPD IS NOT OCD and even the experts seem to get it wrong. Watch the video from Psychology Australia - they mention OCPD but the graphic says "Obsessive Compulsive Disorder".

When researching this topic I find time and time again that a video or article is titled OCPD but it is invariably about OCD. OCPD is a personality disorder that a person is born with, they cannot change, in fact, they fear change and very rarely (or never) go out of their comfort zone. They can be argumentative about the most trivial things and will often not answer a question directly. Eye contact is also a problem, OCPDers find it difficult to look people in the eye.

Anxiety is a big part of OCPD, especially when they are confronted with uncomfortable situations, which can be as simple as social interaction. The personality of an OCPDer can be closed and passive, they tend to be loners and stress is a big part of their lives.

People with Aspergers Syndrome (Aspies) also have impaired social and conversation skills, they can be obsessive and have interests in obscure subjects, no different to an OCPD sufferer. Basically OCPDers and Aspies view the world in a very different way to people who do not suffer these conditions. Rarely though is OCPD aligned with Aspergers.

This mental disorder affects all parts of the person's life but especially their relationships.

Communication is the key in any relationship. OCPD takes away that key.

A Conversation With A Person Who Has OCPD

To set the scene let's imagine a suburban home where the partner has returned home from work late (a regular occurrence) ...

"Hi, I was just about to call you, I left a message earlier. You're quite late again tonight"

"Yeah, had lots of work to do"

"Well you could have called, your dinner has been in the oven and is now probably dried out. Anyway, you always have lots of work to do. Why? It's not your business, why all this effort for little reward?"

"I'm working ok, what more do you want?"

"Is that all you have to say? What about 'sorry I was late because...'"

"Because what?"

"Andrew, you don't just come home late with no explanation. When you're in a relationship you have a responsibility to your partner, namely me."

"I was at work, not lazing about somewhere. You knew where I was."

"Did I? It's 9.30pm, anything could have happened."

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"Nothing happened, I'm home aren't I? Anyway I was home earlier last night."

"Nothing happening is not the point, and 8pm is still late! I was worried and you're not even prepared to say sorry."

"Sorry for what, I was at work not lazing at the pub or something. I work hard for both of us."

"I work too but there has to be a balance in life, you can't work all the time."

"I don't work all the time, I'm home now."

"Well when you are home you're working anyway. How about spending some time with me, I am your partner remember?"

"I'm here now, what do you want?"

"I don't want anything in particular, just some quality time with you. Lately all you do is come home and do more work. I may as well be living by myself."

"Elaine I don't understand, I work hard and then come home to this. Just leave me alone."

"All I wanted was a phone call to let me know you would be late, is that too much to ask?"

"When I'm busy I don't think about anything but work."

"Oh you are impossible to talk to. Obviously I'm just not important enough. I'm going to bed!"

The above is a fictional conversation but can be typical of a partner speaking to an OCPD partner where the point of the conversation just doesn't get through to the sufferer. People with OCPD do have impaired social skills and tend not to take responsibility for their actions when in a relationship. They don't like admitting they may be in the wrong.

These issues, which do start off being minor, can escalate into huge marital and relationship problems as the relationship develops. Notice how the OCPDer's answers are short and not really answering the question. Andrew has no idea what Elaine is complaining about because in his mind he is doing the right thing for both of them by working long hours.

Being a hard worker is not necessarily a bad thing but if the long hours affect your relationship then a balance needs to be reached. With someone who suffers OCPD being a hard worker is their priority so relationships do tend to suffer due to lack of intimacy and relaxation time.

People with OCPD may have similar traits to others with High Functioning Autism

The traits for someone with High Functioning Autism (previously known as Aspergers Syndrome) are similar to those who have OCPD but one of the main differences I have observed with Aspies is they tend to know they are different. Many embrace these differences and are very successful in their lives.

People who suffer OCPD may not even know they have a problem and even when told they do, they will dispute the fact. Some OCPDers will accuse the other person of having the problem because how can they have a problem when they always strive to do things right?

OCPDers can come across as arrogant and at time malicious, especially when they are trying to force their ideas onto others. This is by no means intentional, they truly have no malice. It is just that they believe their way is the only way of doing something and it won't be finished correctly unless they do it themselves. The irony is OCPDers concentrate so much on small, insignificant details they very rarely finish any task, especially if it is a large or long term project.

OCPD can impact quite negatively on a person's quality of life. Many people with OCPD prefer to be alone and do choose to live their lives on their own. This is fine as long as they can effectively look after themselves without enforcing their perfectionist ideals onto others.

It is in relationships where problems occur and this is when help should be sought. If you suspect a loved one has this condition it would be a good idea to seek help for them, even if they refuse it.

If You Suspect Someone You Know May Have OCPD the following websites may help.

Dr Sarah Edelman helps people with OCPD.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.

© 2011 Maria Giunta


Maria Giunta (author) from Sydney, Australia on April 21, 2014:

Dear Bluejeans63, it is not my place to advise you what to do, all I can do is wish you every happiness in whatever you decide. You should do what is best for you and your partner, and you are the only one who can make that decision.

If it is of any help at all try visiting Tony Attwood's site (if you haven't already)

Bluejeans63 on April 18, 2014:

Thats's for your comments. I'm looking at this hub again since we had a session last night where I was berated for just about everything I have done lately and in the past. A record of wrongs , I remind my wife , is what Corinthians 13 says love is not. I feel depressed and feel very stuck in this marriage. Since I made a vow before God to love this woman, I don't feel I have the permission to just up and leave , but this seems the natural thing to do.

Maria Giunta (author) from Sydney, Australia on February 09, 2014:

Thanks for a very good comment etownred, I always appreciate getting feedback from OCPD sufferers because it gives people more understanding. You mention "tiny comfort zones" and this makes it clear to me why OCPDers really like routine. I do get how society seems to make people feel the need to do "more and more" and some people feel the pressure of "keeping up with the Joneses". This can be hard for anyone, not just OCPD sufferers but especially so for OCPDers. As you say there must be a happy medium when dealing with relationships so if an OCPD sufferer was to partner with an extrovert then that just wouldn't work. I believe being true to yourself is the most important thing, don't lose who you are for the sake of a relationship. Being honest with your partner is important too. My best wishes to you in finding someone who accepts you the way you are, if you are in fact looking for another relationship.

etownred on February 04, 2014:

Not a bad article, but the "theoretical conversation" is really kind of off the mark. The person being dismissive in that conversation could have a number of issues, and it could be a personality disorder or other problem. The biggest challenge for me as an OCPD sufferer is the constant feeling of being "dragged about" by other people. "Society" seems hyperactive and never content to me - always need to be doing something. I find it very stressful. I enjoy very few activities and yes, do have a very small comfort zone. I can be very amicable early on in relationships - people these days don't seem to ask a lot of questions before getting involved. Now, single again, if I were to meet someone I would be very forthcoming about my relatively simple and small life, and the fact I do not like chasing about every day. I like routines. So, to normal people, we would seem obstinate, miserly, boring, "wet blanket", no fun, controlling, hyper-vigilant, distrustful etc. For us sufferers, I think the world seems to fast paced, too unpredictable, never satisfied, always "chasing about", and in a constant state of nervous upheaval that makes people want to do even more and more things. Like they need to be in a continual state of entertainment and distraction and just can't sit still. Normalcy probably lies in the middle somewhere, between the "wet blanket / do nothing" OCPD person with tiny comfort zones, and the restless person who can't sit still for more than ten minutes and gets bored if they have to do the same job for more than an hour.

Maria Giunta (author) from Sydney, Australia on January 29, 2014:

Bleujeans63, thank you so much for sharing your experience with an OCPD sufferer. Do try to get some help from a qualified medical professional for your wife as my articles are only what I have observed, I am not a trained practitioner. I know from my friend just how crazy things can seem when you are living with this, you are doing the right thing by taking time out for yourself when you need to.

Bleujeans63 on December 27, 2013:

Your articles are helping me sift through the weird and strange interactions I have had with my wife. The frustration over the past years have built up to great levels. With even the need of taking an anger management course . I don't know where I'll go now.. End the relationship or try and learn to manage OCPD effects. I have had suicidal thoughts at times due to the hurt and loneliness. I have left the marital home in haste to escape the strangeness at times. Hopefully the worst is behind me now that you have been able to pass on the knowledge of this disorder. Thank you so much.

Maria Giunta (author) from Sydney, Australia on September 30, 2012:

seeingthelight, firstly thank you for your personal account of dealing with someone who has OCPD, and secondly thank you for reading and taking the time to comment. OCPD can sap the life out of a partner and it takes a very independent person to be able to cope with such a 'one-sided' relationship. I wish you every happiness as you deal with your own personal stuff and am glad my insight may be of help.

seeingthelight on September 30, 2012:

Hi MPG. This has been the most helpful article I have read so far on OCPD. I am currently very much in love with a man with this condition and have had to remove myself from the relationship in order to keep my own sanity. What has been hardest for me to understand is why, despite loving me, he prefers to keep his distance and not address what has gone wrong. We are both hurting apart, but I feel that I have a solution yet cannot communicate it with him as he refuses to meet and talk. He is very "demand resistant" and I only have to suggest something to be certain he will do the opposite. I wish I could turn the love tap off and move on but I guess I have stuff in myself that needs addressing. Anyway, thanks again for your insight.

Maria Giunta (author) from Sydney, Australia on September 16, 2012:

Genetics has a part in a person developing OCPD but as I am not medically qualified I cannot answer as to how much it is genetics versus environmental. What you say is correct, they try to avoid people contact where they can.

dean.h on September 15, 2012:

Thanks for the reply, MPG. Is OCPD a disorder one is born with (or predisposed to genetically) or is it more environmental? When you say many find their niche, I would assume that means placing themselves in occupations that don't demand so much people contact, or relationships that require the partner to be extremely understanding and helpful. All very interesting!

Maria Giunta (author) from Sydney, Australia on September 15, 2012:

As far as I know dean.h there is no cure for OCPD or Aspergers. There are strategies that can be learned to help people with these conditions cope better in the 'real' world but many do find their niche and live a happy and fulfilled life. Thank you for taking the time to read and comment.

dean.h on September 15, 2012:

From reading this, it sounds as if there is no way these people can change. If they are born with it, does that just make it a permanent aspect of them like a biological defect? There is not much on this out there, so I don't hold out much hope for their 'cure' - if at all possible.

Maria Giunta (author) from Sydney, Australia on June 25, 2012:

Dennis you sound so sad and it's your daughter you seem to miss more than the relationship. I am sorry you are in this situation and I do hope my articles have helped you but I recommend you seek professional advice within your local area to help you with what is an awful situation. My best wishes to you and your daughter.

dennis on June 21, 2012:

Well after 20 years of living in a controlled relationship we have separated. I have been trying to talk with her therapist but the only contact I have is through my wife and she tells me toh write a note. I really wish I could speak to her. 1 hour a week with 10 or so people don't give much time to know someone especially when in public she is so sweet. Im lost for solutions and she ain't gonna change. I had to do what's best for my daughter tabatha and me mental state of mind.

Maria Giunta (author) from Sydney, Australia on May 13, 2012:

Dennis thank you for your comment. Please do not take this article as a diagnosis. OCPD is not an easy condition to diagnose, speak to mental health professionals first. I have written this article because I know people who have the disorder and my experiences with them.

dennis on May 12, 2012:

this is really a miracle for me to find this out now after 20 years of marriage.they have treating her for ocd,adhd,and anxiety.she clearly has all the syptoms you have talked about .thank you .and thank google.

Maria Giunta (author) from Sydney, Australia on April 13, 2012:

Thanks for commenting Tams R and nice to "meet" you.

OCPD is certainly a complicated condition and you are right, the person can seem vicious but it is not intended. Apparently what they are trying to do during a conversation is listen to everything that is going on as well as listening to what is going on in their head and then trying to decipher and answer. Confusing isn't it?

Patience is needed if you have to live with someone who has OCPD.

Tams R from Missouri on April 12, 2012:

I've heard of OCD but never OCPD. After reading this I truly believe I know someone who suffers from it. Conversations with her never seem to hit home and they always are focused on seemingly small details which do not complete the intention of the conversation. Sometimes it sparks arguments with people close to her because she obsesses on these tiny things and believes she has to be right. It seems she is vicious at times, but if you knew her you'd know that is not true. It's definitely confusing to watch.

Thanks for an awesome explanation and for awareness.

Maria Giunta (author) from Sydney, Australia on March 08, 2012:

You are so right That Grrl, everyone is different. Not talking is not necessarily a problem, neither is always talking, but if a relationship is affected that's when there is a problem.

By the way, it's not unusual for a writer to be quiet, it comes with the territory of being one.

Thanks for your comments and being a fan, much appreciated.

Laura Brown from Barrie, Ontario, Canada on March 07, 2012:

That almost sounds like my Mother and I. She likes to talk about everything and always seems to have questions about everything I do. Meanwhile I get involved in what I'm working on. Sometimes people are just different. She is outgoing, to me she is always talking. But, I could just about become a hermit and be fine.

Maria Giunta (author) from Sydney, Australia on December 04, 2011:

Thanks for your comment anginwu and some spouses do sound like this sometimes, lol. OCPD is a condition which is hard to diagnose but if you do know someone who is troubled ask them to consider seeking help.

anglnwu on December 01, 2011:

Nice job of explaining OCPD. Reading your example, I would think it was my spouse (just kidding...or me). Good information and rated it up.

Maria Giunta (author) from Sydney, Australia on November 30, 2011:

You are welcome prasetio30 and it's nice to hear from you too. I do hope you learned that there is a difference between OCD and OCPD because that is the point of this hub. Cheers my friend.

prasetio30 from malang-indonesia on November 30, 2011:

Very inspiring hub and I learn something new from this hub. Thank you very much. ~prasetio

Maria Giunta (author) from Sydney, Australia on November 29, 2011:

Hello Nell, nice to hear from you. Just as my hub suggests, it is usually a loved one who picks up the problem as you have with your brother. If your brother has OCD then he will be aware of the problem and this condition is easier to diagnose than OCPD. Good luck in your investigations and helping your brother (hopefully he will accept your help).

Nell Rose from England on November 28, 2011:

Hi, reading this it makes me more certain that my brother has this problem, I am not sure if he is aspergers or ocpd, his doctor has always said it is depression, and given him medication, but I don't agree, he has ocd, the 'normal' version, but there is much more too it, I remember when he was a child, he is a year and a half older than me, and he always wore gloves, even in the summer, never got himself dirty, not like me covered in mud, in the middle of a field studying flowers! he would always be washing his hands, and when we went on holiday he would have nightmares and sleep walk, he was and still is set in his ways but so much more, after reading this I think I will have to investigate it further, thank you, nell

Maria Giunta (author) from Sydney, Australia on November 28, 2011:

Thanks for commenting MT. It is important for me to point out the difference between OCPD and OCD as they are always being mixed up or seen as the same disorder. OCPD can be more serious as it severely impacts on a person's life and relationships. Only a very patient partner can live with someone who has OCPD.

Linda Rogers from Minnesota on November 28, 2011:

Great article on OCPD and I found it very helpful to see a conversation between someone with the disorder and a loved one as it really helped to highlight it. I thought it was also important to point out how OCPD and OCD get mixed up. Great writing MPG :-)

Maria Giunta (author) from Sydney, Australia on November 21, 2011:

Hi nemanjaboskov and thanks for reading this hub. OCPD is not an easy condition to diagnose so I suggest you visit your GP first. Your doctor will refer you to a psychologist or an anxiety disorder specialist if he feels you need it. Good luck and I hope this is the first step to a better, less anxious life.

Nemanja Boškov from Serbia on November 19, 2011:

Hey, MPG!

This is a great hub.

As I was reading it, I couldn't help to notice that I have a lot in common to people you have described as OCPDers, but I'm not completely sure...

Is there any way of knowing this for sure?

Maria Giunta (author) from Sydney, Australia on November 11, 2011:

Thanks for your comment Millionaire Tips. Maybe the people you know that have these traits will get help or be encouraged to.

Shasta Matova from USA on November 11, 2011:

This is really interesting. I know people who think like this.

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