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Chapter 16. Compulsive Managers > Underlying Psychodynamics

Underlying Psychodynamics

High levels of anger and fear of its destructive capacity leads to a general sense that things are not going well and creates an obsession with maintaining control. They fear and seek to control both the chaos of the world and of their own feelings. The fear is so great and the solution so rigorous that they lose all flexibility and spontaneity. Warm feelings toward people and engagement in playful activities require spontaneity and a loosening of controls and are therefore eschewed. Their intense desire for control and perfection leads to preoccupation with details, rules, lists, order, organization, and schedules to the extent that the major point of activities is lost.

Their anger often leads to explosions of righteous indignation at those who do not do things as they feel things should be done. Compulsive managers may take a perverse pleasure in being wronged by someone, since it gives them license to attack with righteous indignation. Venting their anger can give them a brief respite from their chronic tension. Focusing their anger on someone else also provides a respite from their eternal self-criticism.


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