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Chapter 16. Compulsive Managers > Origins of Obsessive-Compulsive Personality S...

Origins of Obsessive-Compulsive Personality Style

Compulsive individuals are rigid as a result of an internal struggle to control their feelings. They have a constricted lifestyle with very limited ability to enjoy things and be close to people. The need for order in all aspects of their lives enslaves them.

A variety of factors come together to lead an individual down the path to a compulsive personality style. The perceptual style of excessive focus on details without the ability to see the relative importance of those details may be inborn. The focus on control (rather than affection) and tendency to aggression may be partly inborn as well as a result of problems in parenting and development when the child was two years of age and beginning to establish control of his or her own body. A vicious cycle can develop in which the parents’ attempts to control the child angers the child. The child is scared of his or her own angry feelings and therefore eschews feelings and spontaneity and seeks rigid self-control. The preoccupation with power, control, and anger blocks out warm, tender emotions. Play is also inhibited by the fear of spontaneity and the loss of control that arises when we feel warm, tender feelings. Work activities markedly predominate over play.


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