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How OCPDs Escape Responsibility

People with Obsessive Compulsive Personality Disorder (OCPD) can seem to be overly responsible at first. But given time, their ability to escape responsibility becomes clear. After all, everyone has the same amount of time in a given day and while OCPDs seem to be more productive when compared to others, in reality they are less productive.

This is primarily because their obsessive traits, thoughts, and behaviors consume large amounts of time and energy. Their never ending desire to be right in every instance and all circumstances is exhausting and draining. This perfectionistic trait frequently alienates them from loved ones who can’t live up to the demands of their fastidiousness.

So to minimize the damage, they become escape artists. People with OCPD will gladly be responsible for things when they can be viewed as an expert. However, when others place responsibility on them, they view this as controlling. This violates one of their personal mantras: “No one will have power over me.” So they escape. How?

  1. Pester/Blame. The conversation usually begins by annoying the other person endeavoring to hold them accountable. This puts the other person off balance and on the defensive. Once a subordinate position has been established, the OCPD person blames the other person for the situation they are in claiming it is the other person’s fault.
  2. Prosecute/Project. To circumvent any accountability, the OCPD person preempts attacks by prosecuting the other person with detailed lists of their previous failures. Their accounts are usually accurate but lack any admission of their own personal failures. In a final blow, the OCPD person projects things they are answerable for onto the other person.
  3. Argue/Exhaust. This is the simplest tactic that leads to great immediate results. When confronted, the OCPD person picks one small detail and argues it to the umpteenth degree. If the other person argues back, they pick another tiny point and persistently wear down their opponent. Exhausted, frustrated, and annoyed, the other person gives up holding them responsible.
  4. Refuse/Rewrite. One way of avoiding responsibility is to refuse to accept an assignment, even if it is a task only they can complete such as a driver’s license renewal. Then the argument becomes, “I couldn’t do it because you refused to help me.” This self-victimization is designed to rewrite history by making the other person accountable for their task. This tactic often leaves the other person questioning themselves and their memory.
  5. Divert/Attack. This method begins with an outburst over something very insignificant. Then, the OCPD person exaggerates the point to incite the other person. This diverts attention away from what really is happening so an attack can be made when the other person is feeling vulnerable.
  6. Anxiety/Circumvent. People with OCPD live in a constant state of anxiety and frequently entice others to their level to justify their poor reactions. But there is another reason for this behavior, it is to circumvent responsibility. When the other person becomes equally anxious, they settle down and claim that the other person’s anxiety is due to their lack of effort. Thus, the task is dodged and the other person is held accountable.
  7. Rescue/Obligate. First the OCPD person rescues the other person from a dreadful situation. In exchange, loyalty is demanded. But there is another hidden objective to the rescue efforts. The OCPD person expects that at any given time, the other person will take on the OCPD’s tasks without question. When it is done, it is never enough to satisfy the rescue debt. When the task is not done, the OCPD person accuses the other person of being ungrateful and builds resentment.

Understanding these seven tactics allow a person to escape the traps of dumped responsibility. Regardless of a person’s mental status, everyone is responsible for their own actions. This fundamental truth is frequently avoided by those with personality disorders.


How OCPDs Escape Responsibility

Christine Hammond, MS, LMHC

Christine is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor by the State of Florida with over fifteen years of experience in counseling, teaching and ministry.

She works primarily with exhausted women and their families in conflict situations to ensure peaceful resolutions at home and in the workplace. She has blogs, articles, and newsletters designed to assist in meeting your needs.

As author of the award winning book, The Exhausted Woman’s Handbook, Christine is a guest speaker at churches, women’s organizations, and corporations.

You can connect with her at her website Grow with Christine at www.growwithchristine.com.


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APA Reference
Hammond, C. (2017). How OCPDs Escape Responsibility. Psych Central. Retrieved on July 18, 2018, from https://pro.psychcentral.com/exhausted-woman/2017/05/how-ocpds-escape-responsibility/