Uptight: The Obsessive Compulsive Personality

Uptight: The Obsessive  Compulsive Personality by Dr. Randy Gilchrist, LDS Psychologist
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In past articles, I have written about the personality disorders I have seen create great conflict in the LDS singles scene with dating and relationships in general. Those personality disorders previously addressed have consisted of antisocial, narcissistic, borderline, and histrionic. There is one more personality disorder that I wish to discuss to also help you beware of. It is lesser known, but still a real, research-based, troublesome condition. It is called “Obsessive Compulsive Personality Disorder” (OCPD). This is a different condition than the more well-known condition, “Obsessive Compulsive Disorder” (OCD), which can include things like excessive checking, counting, washing hands, etc. OCPD, conversely, is more of a relational disorder.


Obsessive-compulsive personality disorder is characterized by a preoccupation with orderliness, perfectionism, and mental and interpersonal control, at the expense of flexibility, openness, and efficiency. When rules and established procedures do not dictate the correct answer, decision making may become a time-consuming, often painful process. Individuals with obsessive-compulsive personality disorder may have such difficulty deciding which tasks take priority or what is the best way of doing some particular task that they may never get started on anything.

They are prone to become upset or angry in situations in which they are not able to maintain control of their physical or interpersonal environment, although the anger is typically not expressed directly. For example, a person may be angry when service in a restaurant is poor, but instead of complaining to the management, the individual ruminates about how much to leave as a tip. On other occasions, anger may be expressed with righteous indignation over a seemingly minor matter.

People with this disorder may be especially attentive to their relative status in dominance-submission relationships and may display excessive deference to an authority they respect and excessive resistance to authority that they do not respect.

Individuals with this disorder usually express affection in a highly-controlled or stilted fashion and may be very uncomfortable in the presence of others who are emotionally expressive. Their everyday relationships have a formal and serious quality, and they may be stiff in situations in which others would smile and be happy (e.g., greeting a lover at the airport). They carefully hold themselves back until they are sure that whatever they say will be perfect. They may be preoccupied with logic and intellect.


A pervasive pattern of preoccupation with orderliness, perfectionism, and mental and interpersonal control, at the expense of flexibility, openness, and efficiency, beginning by early adulthood and present in a variety of contexts, as indicated by four (or more) of the following:

*Is preoccupied with details, rules, lists, order, organization, or schedules to the extent that the major point of the activity is lost

*Shows perfectionism that interferes with task completion (e.g., is unable to complete a project because his or her own overly strict standards are not met)

*Is excessively devoted to work and productivity to the exclusion of leisure activities and friendships (not accounted for by obvious economic necessity)

*Is overconscientious, scrupulous, and inflexible about matters of morality, ethics, or values (not accounted for by cultural or religious identification)

*Is unable to discard worn-out or worthless objects even when they have no sentimental value
*Is reluctant to delegate tasks or to work with others unless they submit to exactly his or her way of doing things

*Adopts a miserly spending style toward both self and others; money is viewed as something to be hoarded for future catastrophes

*Shows significant rigidity and stubbornness

Obsessive-compulsive personality disorder is approximately twice as prevalent in males than females, and occurs in between 2.1 and 7.9 percent of the general population.

Information Source: https://psychcentral.com/disorders/obsessive-compulsive-personality-disorder/

Dating Implications/Conclusions:

If you see yourself as potentially having some or all of these symptoms, it will interfere greatly with your ability to find and maintain a long term, committed relationship. I suggest beginning regular psychotherapy with a qualified licensed psychotherapist to help you develop greater flexibility, openness, and efficiency. You can prepare for and still enjoy a healthy relationship, but there is some real work to do first to prepare yourself.

In the dating arena, I do not recommend dating and committing to an individual with this condition, as these traits tend to lead to high levels of relationship distance, resentment, and frustration, along with the need to “walk on eggshells” around such individuals. People with OCPD can be especially rigid and challenging, so be careful. If you still choose to date a person with this condition, I at least recommend going to couples therapy before an engagement to see what issues can be ironed out.

Who you choose and what you decide to take on in your dating lives matter. Please be careful with who you get involved with for the greatest chance for relationship success. Because "…neither is the man without the woman, neither the woman without the man, in the Lord" (1 Corinthians 11:11).

Dr. G

*To submit a question for a future Q & A column or to request a possible future article subject, contact me at drgilchrist@yahoo.com.

**Do you struggle with pornography or another addictive tendency? Do you struggle with eating issues or want to lose weight? Anxiety issues? Other issues, challenges, or problems? Consider my special custom hypnosis recording service for fellow LDS members only, available worldwide by online delivery. A powerful, effective, convenient tool for change. Learn more now at www.dr-rg.com/lds or email me questions at drgilchrist@yahoo.com. Completely private and confidential.

2018-04-23 Randy Gilchrist Dating, Communication, Psychological health

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About the author

Hello, my name is Dr. Randy Gilchrist (aka "Dr. G"). I am a licensed clinical psychologist, a licensed marriage & family therapist, and a certified hypnotherapist in private practice in Roseville, CA (www.dr-rg.com), practicing since 1997. Also, I am happily married in the temple (Manti) since 1996 and have 4 sons. I am a volunteer writer and contributor to LDS Dimension. I use my training, education, and experience to share insights with LDS Dimension on all things of interest to the LDS dating community. Please read my articles and columns on this site to assist you in your online dating journey. Also, to be considered for an answer in a future Q and A column, please email me your dating/relationship oriented questions to drgilchrist@yahoo.com. Finally, I also offer a powerful, effective worldwide custom hypnosis recording service just for LDS Dimension members for weight loss, pornography, and many other issues of concern to those in the LDS dating community (please learn more now at www.dr-rg.com/lds; email me questions to drgilchrist@yahoo.com).