Tag Archives: jew

Race and the Obsessive Personality: Jews and Koreans

Are some ethnic groups more anxious than others? I definitely think so. Imagine for a second that each country is a school student and our world is a big locker room. Some students are assigned lockers that are surrounded by the lockers of bullies while other students are fortunate enough to have lockers that are far away from any danger. Who do you think would go to school every day with a higher level of anxiety?

The obsessive personality is more likely to show up in people groups whose ancestors once shared an overwhelming experience that caused their entire race to lose their sense of security.

Jews and Koreans had a very rough past. Both were once under the rule of big bullies who told them that they are inferior. Both suffered through war, poverty, slavery, ethnic cleansing, cultural genocide, and human experimentation. During these horrific times, they lost much of their sense of security and developed the idea that the world we live in is a very unpredictable, dangerous place.

Sadly, this fear continued on even after all the bullying came to an end. Survivors could not all of a sudden let go of all their defense mechanisms. They continued living in “survival mode,” overreacting to inconsequential mishaps and overemphasizing safety and stability.

To make matters worse, they raised their children to look at the world in the inaccurate way that they do. These anxious parents bred a new generation of smart, but very self-conflicted survivors who would also one day pass their fear down to their own children. The cycle then repeats generation after generation.

What also makes Jews and Koreans similar is their shared method of escape from pain. Although there are many different ways to escape pain (none of which I recommend), both people groups promote work as the most effective method of escape. Workaholism is consequently one of the biggest problems within the Jewish and Korean community.

[ “Work sets you free” slogan on the entrance of Nazi concentration camp in Dachau, Germany ]

Below is a dialogue illustrating how many Jewish and Korean parents teach their children to escape their pain through work:

Jewish and Korean Parents

Perfect Parents

CHILD: Mom/dad, I am experiencing pain and I don’t know what to do.

MOM/DAD: Your pain is nothing compared to what I went through. You have it so easy. You’re just not working hard enough. You need to work harder.

CHILD: Mom/dad, I am experiencing pain and I don’t know what to do.

MOM/DAD: Aww. I’m sorry, child. Come here and let me hug you. *hug* Pain is a normal part of life. Don’t try to avoid it. Just experience it and let it pass. Don’t worry. You’re going to be just fine.

All of this is pure speculation on my part. I have just grown up all my life with Korean people and I happen to notice the anxiety in so many of us. I have also felt oddly so connected to Jewish people by our many similarities. Jewish people also seem to agree that they are an anxious bunch. OCD is so common within their community that it is even jokingly nicknamed “the Jewish disease.”

Anxious ethnic groups have a lot of similarities in the way that they function. Here is a list of some of the things you might find within anxious ethnic groups:

  • parents who worry too much about their children
  • controlling and over-involved parents
  • grandparents that are impossible to impress, like “Yiayia” <- watch this funny 30 second commercial of an unimpressed Greek grandmother 😀
  • high standards for health and education
  • competitiveness
  • strong work-ethic, workaholism
  • inability to relax
  • inability to feel satisfied, perfectionism
  • smart use of resources
  • success in business, but inflexible business partners
  • stress

SO WHAT NOW?

HOW TO BREAK GENERATIONAL FEAR:
Fear is contagious. So before you have children, put an end to your fears by facing them. When you finally have children, be calm around them. Be the secure caretaker that you never had as a child. Teach your children that the world is not a dangerous place.

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OCPD and Religion

The “meaning of life” is one of the many questions that a lot of sensitive people think about. This contemplation often leads these people to explore different religions. But among these sensitive thinkers, there is a smaller group whose personality makes them more likely to miss the point of those religions that are centered around a personal God.

People with OCPD are more likely to miss the point of religions that are centered around a personal God.

Having lived all their life using their exceptional logical reasoning skills to figure out the answers to their many questions, many people with OCPD develop the idea that all things can be figured out by the power of their mind, including God. This idea, however, comes from their all-or-nothing tendency to generalize: “I have figured out A and B with logical reasoning. Therefore, I can figure out C with logical reasoning.” As a result of this generalization, many people with OCPD ignore descriptions of God as an entity that is beyond human reasoning. They will then continue their ineffective pursuit of trying to figure out the validity of this God.

People with OCPD like rules and routines. They feel good and in control when they are able to follow them perfectly. When they break them, however, people with OCPD feel guilty and out of control.

This is no different when people with OCPD misuse religion. Much like the previous example, people with OCPD are likely to feel either good or guilty by their ability or inability to follow the rules and routines of religion perfectly. The only difference is, people with OCPD are likely to confuse these feelings as spiritual experiences when they occur in the context of religion.

As discussed in my earlier post titled “Discernment and Judgment,” people with OCPD can be quite judgmental when their gift for discernment is poisoned by all-or-nothing thinking. This can lead people with OCPD to judge themselves and others harshly when anything less than religious perfection is achieved. But rather than recognizing that these judgments are rooted from their own OCPD, many people with OCPD will falsely claim that it is the God of their religion who makes those merciless judgments. In the end, these false claims contribute to the misrepresentation of different religions and their God.

What people with OCPD will eventually find with this kind of empty relationship with religion is that it does not fulfill them. They may then hastily conclude that religion does not work, even though they may have never pursued it properly to begin with.

Some of the world’s religions believe in a personal, all-powerful God who is on the side of humankind. If this is true, it would make sense for all humankind to hand over their control of their lives to this God. However, since letting go of control happens to be the most difficult thing for people with OCPD to do, many of them hardly ever find out whether or not this belief is true.

SO WHAT NOW?

HOW TO PURSUE RELIGION WITHOUT USING IT AS AN EXTENSION OF YOUR OCPD (OCPD):
Assume that your inner voice that makes extreme judgments is wrong. Does God really speak like that? Or is that just you? Familiarize yourself more with who this God is and what kind of relationship He has with humankind so that you will be able to differentiate between your own voice and His. Ask yourself if the purpose of this religion is to gain more control over your life or lose it. If the purpose is to lose it, then you are probably missing the point if you feel in control through your perfect ability to follow all the rules and routines. Does the God in question promise that He will take care of you if you let go of control and place your trust in Him? If so, let go of control. Anxiety and stress will probably follow as you have been using control all your life to protect yourself. That is normal. But be comforted in knowing that, if this God really exists and keeps His promises, He will probably keep this one too.

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