This series will look at a small snippet of The book on the Perfectionist Personality, aka The Obsessive Compulsive disordered Personality, aka OCPD, each week. Please follow along, leave your comments, engage more on the FaceBook website... whatever your heart calls you to do.
Too Perfect, When Being in Control Gets Out of Control by Allan E. Mallinger, M.D. and Jeanette DeWyze was published by Random House in 1992. If you believe you are dealing with OCPD or someone who is "Too Perfect," whether that's you or a loved one, please buy a copy of the book and read it for additional insights that will not all be covered in these excerpts.
THE COMPLETION COMPLEX
A trait related to the need to be flawless is the need to be thorough. Bowing to this pressure when preparing a presentation of written report, the perfectionist will include far more information than necessary. He can't draw the line between what is and isn't important, and he can't risk leaving something out for fear someone will think he wasn't fully informed. <snip>
Among countless examples of this behavior, one is provided by the teacher who feels driven to give the perfect lecture. She fastidiously presents reams of background information, but then finds herself having to rush through the very issues to which she was building. In fact, her students often can't follow her increasingly frantic lectures and walk out without having absorbed the main point.
<snip> However, the obsessive's chief motive in covering topics in such fine detail is usually his exaggerated fear of omitting something that will turn out to be important. This fear blinds the person to the fact that too much detail can dull the impact if his main points, boring and confusing listeners rather than clarifying. If every base has to be touched and all pros, cons and caveats acknowledges, communication is sterile. It lacks color, force and focus. Perfectionism once again winds up detracting from overall performance, rather than enhancing it.
One thing I want to say about my beautiful, self-aware OCPD friends - they do know how to laugh at themselves. The photo joke above was posted on one of my support boards by somebody who has OCPD, and many of the aware OCPDrs joined it to laugh at it, and, ruefully, at themselves.
Nobody wants to be on the receiving end of a massive info-dump. Again, I think this goes back to my analogy of a malfunctioning or over-sealed filter - those with OCPD really don't know how to filter what's A level important, B level important, C level important. So everything is included, in one big pile o' crap. With the result that nothing makes sense.
They did not get the show biz memo: Always leave the audience wanting more.
When I ask what's wrong with my car, for instance, what I really want to know is just three things: 1) How long is it going to take you to fix it, 2) How much is it going to cost, and 3) Is it my fault the whatever-it-is broke, so I can avoid breaking it again in the future? I don't want to know about the entire history of the internal combustion engine, or how my whatever-it-is works compared to twenty other models of cars. That makes you happy to know these things, good for you, but I. Don't. Care.
Sometimes I battle the TMI (Too Much Information) tendency in myself, but mostly, people (at least who do not have OCPD) tell me I do a decent job communicating, both verbally and via writing.
How about you?