Things My OCD Makes Me Hate About Others (But I Don’t Want To)

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I rarely operate off anger, and by rarely I mean sometimes I do. Anger to me feels half on purpose (it is a great1 coping mechanism) and half something I cannot control (sort of the definition of mental illness, huh?)

It is also important to note that I rarely use the word “hate,” but because a lot of the below items are outside my control, we can consider that half in jest. I have a thesaurus, but the word is staying.

While we’re in the caveats section of this… none of this is about a specific person or people. And all of it is most likely irrational. And none of it I like about myself. Nevertheless, this site is about me being fully open about my brain, so… to the list we go…


1. Scheduling

I very much believe in being on time to the minute. This was detailed more in my article about time. There is certainly some nature/nurture2 stuff going on with this one. I cannot stand people being early, and I cannot stand people being late. And my window in-between these two classifications is quite narrow. I both have to be prepared for social interaction (being early makes this difficult), and once the energy is there for social interaction it is purely potential, not kinetic. My energy is in a holding pattern waiting for something social to happen. I have been known to pace at the door around 3:00:00 PM when someone is supposed to visit “around three.”


2. Files on your computer

I have a copy (and multiple backups) of pretty much every file I have ever created or needed since I started using computers around 1987. The organization system I have is thirty years into perfecting. Nothing is out of place. If you needed to find something3 on my computer, I bet you can in a matter of a minute or a few minutes. WHY, I ask, do you have important documents on your desktop? Why don’t you have a master documents folder on a separate drive? Why do you not use two (or more) backup systems?


3. People looking at my work before it is finished

I’m an artist and computer programmer. So my work is in creating things for the most part. And if you are in either of these fields (or similar) you know the essential process is starting with a mess and forming it into something hopefully perfect. Let me step back from that word—I actually don’t like the term “perfect” or being labeled as a “perfectionist,” because I am actually not. I have a destination in mind with my work, and my OCD has be focused only on that destination. For someone to look at one of my pieces of art halfway through is horrifying. I do not want to hear anything good or bad about it! Nothing! I fear it will bring my thought process into the journey rather than the destination. (Article on my feelings on the journey vs. the destination in my mind here.) Same goes for any work I’m doing with programming. I only want to present my destination, I don’t want to think about the messy journey (the mess being very abhorrent to my OCD) and I don’t want you to see it either. I don’t want to be thought of as someone who cannot make mistakes—I accept my work isn’t that great much of the time. But I only want you to see the finished product. I’ve spent enough time battling OCD to get there, I can’t handle spending more energy on account of others’ seeing the journey in action.


4. Having more than two places for something

Glasses, keys, back stock of water—all need a place. I accept these things having two right places to sit, but never more4. And certainly the right place is not wherever you feel like it at the time. And come on, you know this! I don’t think I need to explain this one further.


5. Mixing up cleaning vs. organizing

Organizing is clean and right. Cleaning is just moving dirt and dust from one place to another. I do not like dirt or dust. It should not exist. It is a burden we as humans have to deal with. But cleaning is not organizing. Organizing is the apex of human endeavor. It makes you who you are. That doesn’t mean people with a messy, say, desk are inferior—I know many who are not, as they are well organized in their thoughts. For sure they should organize their desk, in my mind. Or ask me to do it5. Organizing places things in spots where your mind can memorize their location. Or with the use of such tools we’ve evolved as a society toward—like a label maker—gives you glaring hints where your stuff is. As well, to me, an organized place is a happy (enough) place. A disorganized place—fires the same chemicals as those which cause depression with me. That is not rational. This whole item number five is not rational. But I would say, it is right.


So that’s five things. A number I like for these lists. I have more and will probably write more here. But if you’ve made it this far, I assume it is because you really want to know why people think I am an asshole.

Here’s the thing. I know none of this is rational. I am giving you an opening into my mind and how it works—hoping you understand I do not have control of these things.

But go ahead and say it: “What a prick!”


1 Not healthy, just a mechanism that works.  [BACK]

2 I very purposely try to avoid nature vs. nurture arguments and rarely refer to the concept on this site. I feel it is fairly meaningless in the end, because the results are the same regardless—and I’d like to talk about things in the present. I could (and maybe will) go into this more later. But for now, it is just not something I like as a framework.  [BACK]

3 I am probably never going to let you on my computer, this part remains very much in the hypothetical.  [BACK]

4 Unless you’re using them. What do you think I am, draconian?  [BACK]

5 Seriously, why don’t more people ask me to organize their stuff? More seriously, an answer: because I’d charge too much for their tastes.  [BACK]