Originally, the terms “obsession” and “compulsion” were defined in Latin as “being surrounded, besieged, blocked” and “being forced to do something you do not want”, respectively.
More currently, the description that is applied in psychology about obsessive personality refers to a way of being centered on perfectionism and rigidity in cognitive reasoning from which the individual cannot escape; as well as an operation based on extreme order, frequent doubts and a significant slowness in the performance of any task.
After the findings that behavioral psychology and cognitive psychology have been able to make in the last decades in the experimental field, obsessive-compulsive individuals seem to present the following common features: a great anxious interference that makes it difficult for them to conclude an action already initiated and a type of distortion at the cognitive level based on dichotomous thoughts (from which they categorize ideas in an absolutist, extremist and nuanced way of “all or nothing”).
This operation leads them to have a low tolerance to assume their own and others’ mistakes, as well as to generate a large volume of obligations and strict rules on how things should be (and the people around them) in general. But this is only a sample of the extent to which the obsessive-compulsive personality has its own characteristics. Let’s see what they are.
the nature of the obsessive-compulsive personality
Obsessive-compulsive personalities tend to focus their attention on very specific and delimited areas of interest, showing limited creative thinking skills and severe difficulties in developing in unstructured situations, such as those of a social nature. They are characterized by presenting high fears of being wrong or not knowing how to act, so they show great interest and relevance towards insignificant details.
They define an obsessive-compulsive personality disorder as a dominant pattern of concern for prayer, perfectionism and mind control, at the expense of flexibility, openness, and efficiency, which begins at the early stages of adult life and is present in various personal contexts. This profile is characterized by the presence of at least four of the following aspects:
- Concern for details, order or lists.
- Perfectionism prevents the completion of tasks.
- Excessive dedication to work or the performance of tasks to the detriment of dedication to leisure time and interpersonal relationships.
- General operation scrupulous, conscious and inflexible in excess in ethical and moral values.
- Difficulty getting rid of useless objects.
- Unwilling to delegate.
- Greedy towards himself and others.
- Rigid and stubborn operation.
- Development of obsessive-compulsive behavior
- The causal origin of the obsessive-compulsive personality also seems to be explained, as in large part of the constructs in the field of psychology, by the interaction between the hereditary component and the nature of the environment where the individual develops.
Thus, many studies corroborate how the presence of a certain hereditary burden on the subject is the one that predisposes it to this way of being determined, to which the environmental factor is added, which is defined above all by highly rigid and normative contexts. More specifically, the investigations carried out with samples of homozygous and dizygotic twin subjects indicate a significantly higher percentage of obsessive-compulsive symptoms in the first group, with 57 and 22% respectively