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.
The Costs of Worry and Rumination
<snip>failure to forgive and forget is much more apt to provoke resentment than it is to elicit a loving or nurturing response. And that's only one of the costs exacted by these destructive thought patterns.
Since both worry and rumination are unproductive by definition, they waste time and energy. All the time spent on either could be better used - either in some other activity or by concentrating more fully on the task at hand.
Worry and rumination also exert physical costs. They may deprive one of sleep, and some physicians believe that the feelings of tension and anxiety accompanying them can trigger (or worsen) other medical problems ranging from heart trouble to ulcers. They also tend to be mentally exhausting, not only draining one of intellectual energy but also robbing one of time that's much needed for creative rejuvenation. Although they're not physical acts, worry and rumination can be very strenuous.
Similarly, most rumination carries with it a sense of retroactive control. By chastising themselves for some pitfall they should have foreseen (even if there's no way they really could have), they are denying the frightening reality that mistakes are inevitable.
Worst of all is the senseless emotional pain obsessives inflict on themselves with these thoughts. Chronic worriers or ruminators fail to enjoy most aspects of daily life because of this habit. They don't fully experience even pleasurable moments - time filled with family and friends, music, laughter - under the weight of their oppressive thoughts.
Again, it all comes down to perspective. Obsessive people have lost (or perhaps, never had) perspective. Like a two or three year old who throws a tantrum because some small thing didn't go his way, my ex would be crushed if something didn't work out according to plan. Unlike a two or three year old, however, he couldn't be distracted with something shiny.***
Each disappointment, each betrayal (as he saw it) by me built up and built up in his mind. There was no forgiving and forgetting the minor things; there were no minor things. He was frequently exhausted, he complained of chest pain (heart? anxiety attacks? who knows?), but in the end, he couldn't even enjoying making music with his best friend.
Has worry and rumination cost you pleasure in the moment?
Do you chew the past to bits?
Do you chew the past to bits?