In her book, “The Highly Sensitive Person,” Dr. Elaine N. Aron wrote,
“Like those machines that grade fruit by size – [highly sensitive people] sort into ten sizes while others sort into two or three.”
This ability to sort things into finer distinctions comes from the ability to first recognize those distinctions.
People with OCPD have a gift for discernment.
As a result of being born with a greater appreciation for excellence and order, people with OCPD tend to use their gift for discernment most frequently in these two areas. They strongly believe that not everything is equally excellent and orderly. They are able to recognize “true” and “authentic” excellence and order. When something is praised for its excellence by people with OCPD, you can be damn sure that it is excellent! This recognition then leads people with OCPD to work hard at bringing more of this excellence and order into the world.
Unfortunately, there is also a dark side to this wonderful gift for discernment. If this gift manages to get poisoned by all-or-nothing thinking, what you can end up with is a group of merciless judgmental people. Again, the judgments of people with OCPD usually center around the poor execution of excellence and orderliness. When they themselves fall short of perfection in these areas, all-or-nothing thinking OCPDers can become very self-critical and berate themselves with destructive words like “You are worthless!” “You are so stupid!” “You are such a loser!” Not having been privileged with much allowance for imperfection, these self-critical people tend to give others very little allowance for imperfection as well.