This series looks 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.
FEAR OF DEPENDENCY
Besides the fear of exposure and the fear of trusting, intimacy poses another threat. The closer you get to someone, the more you come to need him or her. And this in itself unnerves many obsessives.
<snip> But there's another aspect to dependency that also bothers most obsessives. Dependency requires some sacrifice of autonomy, some loss of control over one's life. <snip>
In other words, dependency, like trust, creates vulnerability. Moreover, the obsessive's all-or-nothing thinking magnifies the threat perceived in any amount of dependency: What if it were to lead to more and more dependency? <snip>
Keeping A Distance
To protect themselves from the vulnerability of intimacy, many obsessives shy away from it in a variety of ways. For one thing, they tend to give other people as much physical space as possible. <snip>
A few have told me they feel trapped or smothered if their mates sleep too close to them. One patient said she wasn't totally comfortable when her husband hugged her. <snip> For some, the aversion to being touched is so strong it may cause them to shun physical therapists or doctors. Obviously, anxiety about physical closeness also can seriously impair one's fulfillment in sexual relationships.
Many obsessives do participate eagerly in the mechanics of sex, but avoid an emotional connection during physical intimacy. <snip>
The idea that we - as human beings - can be totally independent of others and still survive is a LIE.***
First off, we didn't. However indifferent, sporadic, and abusive their care of us might have been, somebody fed, clothed, and sheltered us when we were infants and small children. There are several myths/stories of children raised with only those bare necessities - and no more - who died as a result.
"foster-mothers and nurses to suckle and bathe and wash the children, but in no ways to prattle or speak with them; for he would have learnt whether they would speak the Hebrew language (which had been the first), or Greek, or Latin, or Arabic, or perchance the tongue of their parents of whom they had been born. But he laboured in vain, for the children could not live without clappings of the hands, and gestures, and gladness of countenance, and blandishments."There is horrifying evidence now of the majority (if not all) children who languished in Romanian orphanages bearing long-term medical, mental, and emotional problems.
I just finished reading Jean Auel's The Land of the Painted Caves. While fictional, the work is extensively researched and checked as to probable social interactions among peoples in hunter-gatherer societies, based both on archaeological finds, and on anthropological research among modern hunter-gatherer societies. No man is an island. Most people in a primitive culture have at least rudimentary general skills at recognizing edible foods, hunting, fishing, garment and shelter-making, but if a clan-group is to survive, all must work together. Skills are traded; a large fish that is caught is shared with others who contribute roots and vegetables.
Modern man is even more dependent on others. If you're reading this on a computer, I'm positive you didn't manufacture it yourself from minerals you personally mined from the earth using only your hands and your flint digging tools. I'm almost as certain you're not generating your own electricity.
The Amish and other agricultural societies who live by choice without electricity and "modern inconveniences," are very much centered around not just the family, but the community. Barn-raisings, church functions - again, everyone helps one another.
Even if you choose to live solo in a shack, Unabomber hermit style, you're going to use money (bank accounts, or currency printed/minted by somebody else) to buy materials (hammers, nails, saws) to build said shack. You might transport to your shack how-to books (written and printed by others) on how to catch fish, tan hides, and build latrines.
And didn't somebody, somewhere along the way, teach you to read?
So, give it up with the delusion "I can get along fine without other people."
You may choose not to have a partner, or children, or to socialize with your co-workers. You may cut yourself off from family (often with good reason). You may fight with your neighbors and not have any friends. You may decide that, because you have OCPD or bipolar disorder or chronic bad breath or whatever your excuse is, it is just too damn much work to get along with others, to make small talk or to risk asking for help or admitting vulnerability.
This is not a sign of strength, but of weakness. It is as weak to be unable to stand being with other people as it is to be unable to spend a few hours of solitude.
As healthy human beings, we must learn to be INTERdependent upon one another. To help others, to ask for help when we need it.
In the beginning, my ex was quite physically demonstrative. He brushed my hair, for hours. Massaged lotion into my feet. Held hands, lots of touching and kissing, but not cloyingly so. Later, as his OCPD tendencies worsened, the affectionate touching evaporated. He barely touched me - except when he wanted to have sex. He wouldn't allow me to give him a back massage - and outright refused to give me one, even when I begged because I was in pain.
Being kept physically and emotionally at a distance, and then used as a periodic sexual outlet does not build closeness.