Monthly Archives: May 2012

Losing Track of Time

As discussed in my earlier post titled “Human Doing,” people with OCPD feel like they are always racing against the clock. Once in a while, however, they completely lose track of time.

People with OCPD tend to spend their time extremely generously when their preoccupation with the efficient use of time comes together with their hyper passion (tunnel vision).

Time is hardly an issue for people with OCPD when they are engaged in an activity that they are passionate about. For a moment, the world feels to them like it has stopped spinning and nothing else matters than the object of their fixation. While others hold back on spending too much time on one activity to be realistic and safe, people with OCPD can give up all of their time.

So many of the world’s greatest success stories come from this kind of all-in time investment. While a lot of people, including my very Korean parents, would consider dropping out of Harvard to be an unwise decision, both Bill Gates (founder of Microsoft) and Mark Zuckerberg (founder of Facebook) did just that because they felt that college was hindering them from spending all of their time on their respective passions.

This tunnel vision time spending can become a problem when so much time is invested into one priority that no time is left for other important priorities. When people with OCPD are in the zone, they can sometimes even forget to eat, sleep, shower, and spend quality time with other human beings. Such an unbalanced lifestyle can be detrimental to one’s health and even lead to early death. But not even the risk of death is enough to discourage a passionate OCPDer.

For more information on tunnel vision and its strengths, read my post titled “Tunnel Vision.”

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Diablo 3: Hoarding in Games

Last week, on May 15th, Blizzard Entertainment released their long awaited role-playing computer game Diablo 3.

Having thoroughly enjoyed the first two games of the Diablo franchise while growing up, I could not help but reminisce about my earlier video game playing days, the days before I discovered my enjoyment in music composition and women. While looking at my past, I could see that my OCPD even affected the way that I played video games as a child.

In Diablo, you control a warrior in battling against evil to save the world. Along your heroic journey, you come across different weapons, pieces of armour, magical scrolls and potions, and money. Unfortunately, much like in real life, you cannot carry absolutely everything with you.

As shown in the screenshot above, each player is limited to a 10×6 space of inventory. This player has nearly maxed out his inventory with only three empty spaces remaining. Once all the spaces are occupied, the player must then drop items from his inventory to make room for new items. This can be distressing for gamers with OCPD because, according to my earlier post about hoarding,

“their all-or-nothing thinking hyperbolizes the consequences of the wrongful disposal of things that have value.”

Whether they are playing a new game like Diablo 3 or an old classic game like Monopoly, gamers with OCPD tend to hold onto items of little value because there still is a small chance of winning unexpectedly with them.

For more information on hoarding and its strengths, read my post titled “Hoarding.”

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All-In Spending

In my last post titled “Every Cent Counts,” I explained that,

“in attempt to maximize their efficiency in the use of their money, people with OCPD generally try to spend as little as they can, especially on things that are not aligned with their passion.”

But what happens when they do come across something that they are passionate about, something that is worth spending the extra money?

People with OCPD tend to spend extremely generously when their preoccupation with the efficient use of money comes together with their hyper passion (tunnel vision).

When they find the things that have been placed in this world specifically for them, such as their one “perfect” soul mate or their one “perfect” dream job, money is hardly an issue to people with OCPD. While others hold back on their spending to be realistic and safe, people with OCPD can give up everything that they have, sometimes even drive themselves into debt in their attempt at gaining everything.

In one point in my life, without any concern for saving money, I spent all of my earnings on world travel. 

So many of the world’s greatest success stories come from this kind of disregard for money. Obsessive director James Cameron is notorious in the film world for shooting his pictures as if he is on an unlimited budget.

While it can be extremely rewarding when their tunnel vision has gotten them fixated on something destined to excel, it can also be financially devastating when their tunnel vision has gotten them fixated on something doomed to fail. Despite all the signs that signal the eventual collapse of the object of their fixation, despite all the opposition by everyone around them, people with OCPD fight until the end because they are wonderfully built to do just that.


  • You can be infinitely generous
  • You really do put your money where your mouth is
  • You are not mentally bound by financial limitations
  • You make an excellent entrepreneur


Be aware that your tunnel vision often has you so focused on one priority that you tend to neglect other priorities, including other important people in your life. Train yourself to include them in your generous spending habits. If the money that you spend so generously comes from a shared pool of money with another person, understand that you do not own all the rights to that money. If the other person who you share money with does not approve of your all-in spending, do not take it personally. They are among many who cannot see or understand your obsession. If your loved ones do support you financially, accept their generosity with gratitude. Do not turn their genuine act of kindness into a cold, heartless transaction that you would get from uncaring moneylenders.

If you are the object of their fixation, consider yourself quite lucky. Enjoy their generosity and do not feel overwhelmed by the pressure to match it. Being appreciative is enough. If, however, your needs are being neglected because your OCPD friend is fixated on something else, do not take it so personally. Instead, communicate openly with your OCPD friend that you would appreciate more of his or her attention. If you and your OCPD friend share money and he or she appears to be using it excessively in a manner that worries you, communicate openly about that as well. If his or her assurance is not enough, do not be afraid to draw the line in your shared pool of money.

Whenever you are in the zone, although it feels against your nature to do so, pull yourself out a bit and consider all the other important things in your life. Though it might be painfully tedious for you to record all your spending in a spreadsheet because of your disregard for money when you are fixated on something, doing so can really help you understand the problems in the way you spend your money.

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Every Cent Counts

For the same reason that they make efficient use of their time (see earlier post titled “Human Doing”), people with OCPD also make efficient use of their money.

People with OCPD are preoccupied with the efficient use of money because their all-or-nothing thinking hyperbolizes the consequences of money that is spent in any other way.

In attempt to maximize their efficiency in the use of their money, people with OCPD generally try to spend as little as they can, especially on things that are not aligned with their passion. When shopping for an item stocked in all stores A to Z, people with OCPD most likely check out the prices in all twenty-six stores, revisit the cheapest vendor, and then further negotiate the price down until they have gotten the best possible deal.

Although their efficient use of money may accumulate to a sizable amount of savings in the long run, it can also be a source of frustration to many others who expect generosity. In the OCPD mind, generosity is an inefficient use of money because it is spending more than what is required. In their attempt to maintain their protective spending practice, people with OCPD often refrain from spending generously on others. Though people with OCPD are only trying to meet all their financial obligations while simultaneously coping with a fear that governs most of their lives, the rest of the insensitive world often belittles them and calls them “stingy.”


  • You have a strong ability for money management
  • You are skilled at discerning the value of different purchasable goods and services
  • Your mind can keep track of large sums of numbers and calculations
  • You are good at bargaining


If the efficient use of money is that important to you, always ask for a separate bill apart from your friends so that you only complicate your own spending, not everyone else’s. Do not expect others to spend their money in the way that you do. Remember that, unless you have been assigned to a position of leadership in the management of others’ money, you really do not have any right to control how money is spent by everyone else. If others appear displeased or offended by the way you use your money, assure them that it is not out of your inconsideration for them. When others extend their generosity towards you, accept it gratefully and let their gesture enrich your relationship. If you only pretend to be grateful on the outside while treating their generosity as a debt that you are now obligated to pay back sometime in the future, you have just taken their genuine act of kindness and turned it into a cold, heartless transaction. How dare you do that! Accept their generosity for what it is and do not keep track of “debts” with your friends.

Understand that your OCPD friend is the way he or she is because of fear, not because he or she does not care about you. Do not take his or her lack of generosity personally. When your OCPD friend feels devastated by his or her inefficient use of money, provide emotional support by showing empathy. Try to help him or her see that the consequences of his or her misuse of money are not as bad as he or she thinks. If your friend attempts to control your use of money, stand your ground and say that you want to spend your money in your way, not because it is better or more efficient, but because you feel more at ease with life. If you two are married and you share a bank account with your OCPD spouse, remind your OCPD spouse that he or she is not solely in charge of the shared money. If your OCPD friend is lacking generosity in an area that means a lot to you, put down your pride for the sake of the relationship and openly communicate to him or her that you would really appreciate his or her generosity in that area. If you do not want to come across as being very unfair to your OCPD friend, you should be able to explain how you have been generous towards him or her in that area in the past. If your OCPD friend makes the effort to put his or her efficient use of money aside for you, show him or her a lot of appreciation for it. This will help your OCPD friend see that such “inefficient” use of money does make a difference.

Understand that your preoccupation with the efficient use of money is a cognitive distortion. When you feel distressed from the inefficient use of money, reject that negative feeling. Train yourself to feel at ease in these times. As you allow yourself to make good spending decisions rather than the best spending decisions, your mind will send messages of discomfort less frequently and less intensely in times that you do not make the most efficient use of your money. Encourage yourself with the idea that your relationships will be enriched by your generosity.

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I Perform, Therefore I Am

When humankind examines its heart and painfully recognizes the deep hole inside of it, its natural reaction is to fill that void with something. But when that something injects a potent supply of a quickly fading euphoric sense of completeness that leaves the heart emptier than before, the risk of addiction is dangerously heightened.

While many other sources suggest that their strict need for control usually cancels out issues of addiction, people with OCPD are in fact more likely to become addicted to performance.

As a result of their hypersensitivity, people with OCPD can experience immense pain from others’ criticism, disapproval, rejection, and betrayal. On the other hand, when they are rewarded with positive affirmation, usually from their exceptional performance, people with OCPD experience a “high” that makes them feel so alive and complete. Unfortunately, that “high” does not last very long.

The addiction to performance is just as destructive as any other addiction. It destroys the addicted victim’s health, relationships, and ability to function self-sufficiently without the aid of his or her “drug.” But unlike most other addictions that are frowned upon by society, the world encourages the outcomes of performance addiction, making it a much deadlier addiction that often gets overlooked. The most problematic withdrawal symptom of performance addiction is depression.


  • You are a person of excellence
  • You are a hard worker
  • You are courageous – You have the courage to put yourself out there at the risk of being judged by the world.


  • You have such a strong sense of identity – What you do does not define you.
  • You are the master of your life – There is nothing bigger than you that can control you.


Your performance addiction is the enemy, not your friends and family. Do not antagonize them for getting in between you and your destructive drug.

As much as you can, tell your OCPD friend how great of a person he or she is for who they are. In order to avoid being ignored for sounding so cliché, tell your friend specific qualities that make him or her so great. Show more excitement for the condition of your friend’s character and heart than his or her exceptional performance. Whatever you do, do not limit your positive affirmation only to his or her exceptional performance – it would actually be more helpful to your friend for you to be silent. If your OCPD friend appears to be depressed because of performance addiction withdrawal, help him or her get through it by assuring him or her that it is ok, by telling your friend that he or she is a great person regardless of his or her performance, and by inviting your friend to participate in fun activities together that have little to do with performance. Do not pressure your OCPD friend to get a job if he or she happens to be depressed while not working – that is like pressuring him or her to go back to his or her drug.

As with any other addiction, you must cut it out of your life – not necessarily cold turkey as your extreme nature would probably have you attempt to do. Identify the areas in your life where you are trying to perform well in and give yourself more grace. Do not allow your performance to define who you are. Do not believe that you are a lesser person at times that you perform poorly. Likewise, do not believe that you are a better person at times that you perform well. Tell yourself that you are an amazing person regardless of your performance. If you are experiencing depression as a result of performance addiction withdrawal, understand that it is normal and it will pass. In this difficult time of withdrawal, learn to accept and love yourself. As tempting as it may be, try not fall back on performance. Instead, participate in activities that have little to do with performance, evaluation, etc. If you have been laid off from work or have nothing to do, see these as your opportunities to break free from your performance addiction.

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