How To Live With Someone With Obsessive-Compulsive Personality Disorder And Not Go Crazy

Having obsessive-compulsive personality disorder (OCPD) can make a person want to control everything around in their environment, including people. If anyone would fit the term of "crazy-maker," it would be a person with OCPD. Some of these traits can be indicative of other psychological problems, so you need to get a full picture of what it is and isn't. Some knowledge and understanding of this disorder can help you to cope.

OCPD Traits

OCPD is not the same thing as OCD or obsessive-compulsive disorder, although the names are very similar. People with OCD experience intrusive thoughts and have compulsions to engage in ritualistic behaviors. People with OCPD are rigid people who are obsessed with doing things the proper way.

They are convinced that their way is the only correct way. They won't take risks, they avoid intimacy and are stilted in their behavior similar to people with Asperger's syndrome or schizoid personality. They tend to be workaholics, and are detailed-oriented to the max.

If you also run a business with them or work with them, they are the ones who make a lot of lists, post copious reminders about rules, and send subordinates unwarranted emails about procedures. They take no sick or personal days, so you won't get any breaks from them unless you take a "mental health day."  Not only are they excessive, but they are frugal to the point of miserliness. If they ask you to do anything for them, they may throw a fit if you don't it according to their standards and they might even take the task over.

 You would think they would accomplish a lot due to their constant presence, but they actually hinder productivity for themselves and others. They may also hoard useless stuff and then be obsessively concerned with organizing it.

Even in recreational activities, they can take the fun right out of fun stuff. If you go on vacation with them, their complaints about everything from how the food is prepared to how the hotel maid makes the bed could make you fervently wish you went alone.

Coping Strategies

To deal a person with this personality disorder, you should strive to be patient, kind, and unruffled by their behavior. The root of this disorder is a deep fear of failure and people who have these traits benefit from another's steadiness and can draw strength from it.  

To be the mate of an OCPD sufferer really puts one in a difficult position, especially if you are a mild-mannered person. You will need to plan some alone time or get out with friends to get a break.

Showing empathy will certainly help but there are times when you have to be strong and tell them their behavior is unacceptable. This is especially so if your children are feeling harassed by your mate. You will need to insist on professional treatment for the mate, and possibly marital or family counseling.


People with strong OCPD traits see the world in terms of black and white, and have an all-or-nothing approach to life, so a therapist will help them to appreciate shades of gray and to tolerate some ambiguity. They will also help the person to start acknowledge their feelings and get away from intellectualizing everything. Treating these individuals is very challenging because the OCPD sufferer tends to turn their resistance and nitpicking on to the counselor. This is when you have to be really tough and insist they keep going or risk losing your relationship with them. 

Contact a local psychiatrist, such as one from Commonweath Affiliates PC, for further assistance.