Perfectionism, the desire to do everything perfectly, or the desire to be perfect, is at the core of the obsessive compulsive personality. Most individuals with obsessive compulsive personality (as opposed to obsessive compulsive disorder*) have developed within relatively healthy circumstances, except for one thing.
That is the dilemma that plagues the obsessive compulsive.
People who are obsessive compulsive are appreciated by others for what they do. They take care of their things and their homes, and typically they also dress well. Obsessive compulsives are the people who, on job applications, make the statement true: "My biggest weakness is I try to do things too perfectly."Although many things go "right" for the person with obsessive compulsive personality, some very significant problems do, nevertheless, arise.
They're also helpful in most circumstances and, generally speaking, they can be relied upon. The inability to feel one's own innate worth as a human being is at the core of the problem.
They don't realize it, however, because, oddly, their experience of trying to prove their loved doesn't feel that way at all.
Most of the time, in fact, the obsessive compulsive perceives themselves as being the one to whom others must prove themselves. In fact, the obsessive compulsive expends so much effort at being beyond reproof, that they are often almost unassailable.
When other problems arise, such as how obsessive compulsive traits affect relationships or the depth of desperation that overtakes the obsessive compulsive when something does go wrong, all other issues come back to this basic inability to love oneself.
Obsessive compulsives lack the automatic thought that they are worthwhile and important because they feel the love they have received is conditional.
As indicated above, they feel that they had to do things "right" or to "be good" or they would lose the love of their parents.
This inability to experience an innate sense of self-worth makes the obsessive fend off disaster by proving their worth repeatedly.
The obsessive compulsive thus aims to control these harmful emotions by doing things "right" or by "being good." The control obsessive compulsives maintain over their very human attributes does not require wholesale denial as it does in other personality types, but the rigidity that was once experienced as disapproval is now co-opted within the obsessive compulsive to ensure those traits are not expressed.
The obsessive compulsive does not need love for those attributes. But because they are deemed to be harmful, the obsessive compulsive works diligently so these potentially harmful feelings will not be seen.
Part of thinking one is doing things "right" or is "being good" is the thought that it is simply the "right" or "best" thing to do.