I'm going to try and keep this post as short and simple as possible...we'll see if that happens.
I've been doing some research on OCPD, and I believe that I have a few tendencies for it. I'm not trying to self-diagnose...but for the sake of this forum post, I will assume that I have OCPD. Following the DSM-IV-TR:
1. I am constantly preoccupied with details, rules, lists, order, organization, but not so much schedules - I'm very flexible and adaptable with my time. I typically perform better when I "wing it" or "play things by ear" than if I plan things out...now that I think about it, that may because I realize that when I try to plan things I get too wrapped up in the details and lose focus [shrug]. The rest of the list, though, applies fairly well. Recalling creative projects I have worked on in the past (web design/development), I distinctly remember strictly following standards and even creating unwritten rules for myself on the project so that it was uniform throughout.
2. I certainly show perfectionism that interferes with task completion. I actually failed to finish developing a theme for a website owned by myself and some close friends. It had potential for generating a good amount of revenue, but we were delayed due to my perfectionism - and soon discovered that another website had beaten us to the punch on offering the functionality we intended. The 5 of us lost nearly $300 each that we had invested in the venture. We eventually abandoned the website and the business that we started for it. It still bugs me today that I let my friends down.
3. I don't sacrifice friendships for work or productivity. I can easily stop what I'm doing to go hang out with friends. Unfortunately, I can get somewhat stressed-out if I know that I have an ongoing task looming over my head. Hanging with friends can counteract some of that stress, but if the task is of major importance, it doesn't help much.
4. I'm not sure about how overconscientious/scrupulous/inflexible I am about matters of morality, ethics, or values. I'm a Christian, so I definitely have certain moral/ethical principles that I hold to, but I consciously make an effort to have an open mind. I know from experience that not everything is black-and-white, so, intellectually, it's hard for me to justify an absolutist position (in most cases -- I still hold fast to a few core beliefs that are very unlikely to change, but there are really only a few). For quite a few topics (that many other Christians consider black-and-white), it's hard for me to say that I'll never be convinced otherwise. I'm a weird breed, I guess.
5. I do have mild trouble discarding worn-out or worthless objects. I often will hang on to the packaging for items just in case I need to return them -- sometimes I even keep shipping boxes from items I ordered online. However, when the object has proven to be unneeded or useless for my potential needs, or when I realize that such a potential event is no longer likely, I have no problems discarding it. I don't keep everything, but I often have a desire to keep things that "could" be somewhat useful for some unknown event in the future.
6. I am often very reluctant to delegate tasks. Cooking is an excellent example. My wife and I sometimes have problems in the kitchen when we are cooking food together. I have a tendency to step in and take control over whatever food she is preparing and I often give her overly specific instructions to follow if I can't step in and cook it myself. I was born and raised in the southeastern US, so a good bacon/eggs/biscuits-n-gravy breakfast is a huge enjoyment of mine. However, it's extremely hard for me to enjoy the meal if the bacon is not crispy, or if the eggs are not properly salt-and-peppered before cooking. If I can influence the cooking of breakfast at all (e.g., if I'm with family or friends -- not often an option at a restaurant), I will often offer to "help cook", or at least make those very requests...typically in an overly-specific manner.
7. I don't at all have a miserly spending style. I'm actually very bad at saving money (or "hoarding" it for "future catastrophes"). I'm a big fan of technology and cool gadgets, and I'm also very "brand-conscious" with clothing or anything else that has branding attached. So I often will prefer to spend the money I get/earn on new things over saving it. As for my "brand-consciousness", I lean more towards brands with a reputation for quality (or perhaps just "elite") products - but aren't yet "popular". As an example, I've just recently bought a pair of Camper shoes - which are fairly expensive ($150-$200), but fairly unknown in my local area or around my social circles. Another example is when I purchased a Mountain Hardwear Gore-Tex jacket. I had no actual need for a Gore-Tex jacket at the time, but I needed a jacket, and I wanted the social admiration of owning a North Face jacket without seeming pretentious or "yuppie-ish" by wearing a North Face jacket. Either way, I've actually had to delegate our finances to my wife (who is much better at managing them) so that I don't squander them -- it is one of the only things I'm perfectly happy to delegate.
8. I can be particularly rigid or stubborn -- especially when it comes to having myself or others (that I have influence on) meet the self-imposed rules I have arbitrarily developed (for things like cooking, web design...etc).
One thing I feel that I should mention is that I'm often fully aware of these idiosyncrasies, but I still feel compelled to do them anyway. Not always, but on many occasions I will be aware that what I am doing is trivial and useless to the goal I am aiming for, but I will still continue in my behavior because I believe that I will feel more satisfied upon completion. Most of the time, however, I doubt my success on a completed task and will go back to review it and ponder if I did things right or if I could have done them better. A great example of this: LONG FORUM POSTS.
I can intellectually justify some of the idiosyncrasies that I am aware of, and I will even defend them with logic and reason -- but I am usually open to a logical counterpoint if one is offered. There are still quite a few oddities, however, that are mostly unjustifiable - and if a friend or family member has pointed one out to me and I become aware that it is annoying or frustrating them, then I will consciously avoid the behavior so that I can stay in their good graces. It bothers me a bit to do that, but I would much rather keep the relationship standing well than to obsess over a trivial detail. At times, I will even apologize for my behavior *before* obsessing over a trivial detail.
After sharing my OCPD research with my wife over the past few days, I asked her if it has caused any strains on our relationship or on any relationships with my friends. She said that there have been times where I have unwittingly frustrated her or other close friends of ours. She then claimed that I am reasonably aware of my obsessive-compulsive behavior and do a decent job of keeping it to a minimum when I can tell that it is frustrating others. So, thus far...I guess I'm fortunate.
[to be continued...]