From my experience as a therapist, I found that about a third of the population are adapting, caregiving or perfectionistic personalities. The one characteristic they often share is a strong need for approval, and in some cases, that need is obsessive . The bulk of my counseling practice presented as these types of personalities who were experiencing anxiety symptoms, whether manifested as on-going persistent anxiety, panic attacks, obsessive worry or compulsive behaviors.
Most often, these clients were unknowingly, very dependent on approval from others to feel good and feel in control of their lives. They would be expending so much of their energy in many well-meaning ways, but they were often not able to set limits and boundaries. That became the focus of our therapy because they were suffering anxiety symptoms BECAUSE they expended so much energy being caring, sensitive and supportive to others that they were in turn, creating personal conflict and burning themselves out.
So when I was talking to a new client recently, she was complaining of obsessive-compulsive behaviors that had been going on for years but were getting so much worse that they were interfering with her career. She would travel for business but after taking a shower in the morning, she would have to go back into the bathroom to make sure she had turned off the shower. After she left the hotel room, and was in her car, she would sometimes feel compelled to go back up to her room and check once more.
When she would drive to a meeting, she felt she had to check after she parked to make sure she had not hit another car. This is ANXIETY.
However, she was loved by the employees who worked under her because she was so caring, understanding and supportive. She felt good about the respect her staff had for her, but in fact , it took her so much more time to complete her work because everyone was so dependent on her. On one hand she knew they were too dependent on her, but on the other hand, she was so dependent on their respect that she was burning out !
The situation she had created was becoming over-whelming, and caused her to feel out of control and it manifested in these obsessive and compulsive thoughts and behaviors.
Jut think about it !
Gene Benedetto, Psychologist/Emeritus/Life Coach,