Using writing, and meditation, and ice cream, and reading, and dreams,

and a whole lot of other tools to rediscover who I am,

after six years living with a man with OCPD.


Cover of "Too Perfect: When Being in Cont...
Cover via Amazon


Amazon: On the Amazon links - they are meant as a convenience to you, and if you so choose, a thank you to me for putting together and maintaining this list.  If you purchase your books or CD's that way, I get a (very) small commission.

However, these books are recommended for your reading through any venue, such as a local bookstore, Barnes & Noble, or borrowed for free through your public library.

You may also choose a different form of absorbing the material. Many books/audio books are now also available as workbooks, via audiobook, or in other languages. Choose whichever suits your learning style best.

On religion: Because people who are atheistic, agnostic, or ‘other’ are sometimes put-off by heavily Christian-themed material, books having a noticeable religious message are noted as such (which should also be helpful to those specifically looking for those types of materials.) This is not meant in any way to be disparaging or critical of those with Christian religious beliefs. Just as not every tool in a toolbox is suited to each and every situation, so each person dealing with OCPD must choose the materials that work best in their life and family belief system.

Most important disclaimer of all:

The author of this site is a volunteer, not a doctor, and no advice or information presented here is intended to substitute for professional advice or consultation. Seeing a professional counselor, preferably one specializing in personality disorders, is recommended. Even if the Perfectionist Personality refuses to participate (because after all, there’s nothing wrong with him - or her!), those who live or work with such a person can find tremendous relief and clarity from individual counseling.

Beginning Bookshelf


How I Control my OCPD Obsessive Compulsive Personality Disorder by Morten Benton. This short, downloadable booklet is written by a man diagnosed with OCPD, who is actively working to control his symptoms and repair damages&nbsp to his marriage. An excellent look into how “these people” think.

Tightrope Walking/All You Need to Know About OCPD and Perfectionism  by Gwwyneth Daniel, PHd. Free downloadable booklet with info about the  good traits as well as bad ones.

Too Perfect: When Being in Control Gets Out of Control by Allan Mallinger and Jeanette Dewyze. A real eyeopener. Explains how the obsessive mind works in simple and easy to understand ways. Reviewed extensively on this site.

Impossible to Please: How to Deal with Perfectionist Coworkers, Controlling Spouses, and Other Incredibly Critical People by Neil Lavender PhD and Alan A. Cavaiola PhD. This book features specific strategies that are immediately effective when conversing with critical people and explains how readers can respond to unfair blame without becoming angry or overly defensive. By setting boundaries, improving communication, and asserting themselves, readers learn to deal with the impossible to please in romantic relationships, friendships, family, and work relationships.

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Cover via Amazon
The Verbally Abusive Relationship: How to Recognize It and How to Respond by Patricia Evans. This a book everyone involved with OCPD needs to read. Too much of what goes on in verbal attempts to control a partner is truly abusive but goes unrecognized as such. Yes, Virginia, it really is ‘that bad.’

Fatal Flaws: Navigating Destructive Relationships with People with Disorders by Stuart C. Yudofsky. It is useful for people who are uncertain whether they or their loved ones have personality or character disorders, and who want to know more about these conditions and their treatments before making a decision about securing the help of a mental health professional.

Emotional Vampires: Dealing with People Who Drain You Dry by Albert J. Bernstein.  About recognizing personality disorders, including OCPD, that leave you mentally and emotionally drained.

If you want to know why...

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Why Does He Do That?:Inside the Minds of Angry and Controlling Men by Lundy Bancroft. Excellent look at men who use verbal and physical abuse to maintain control in a relationship. Although written with men as the “villains,” men in relationships with controlling women would find much insight here as well.

Addiction to Love: Overcoming Obsession and Dependency in Relationships by Susan Peabody. About addictions to unhealthy relationships, such as the “I-hate-you-don’t-leave-me” type often present in OCPD.

Women Who Love Too Much: When You Keep Wishing and Hoping He’ll Change by Robin Norwood. Helps explain why you get into abusive relationships, and what you can do to get out.

The Cinderella Complex; Women's Hidden Fear of Independence by Colette Dowling. About the tendency in some women to want to be rescued or taken care of.

Autonomy and Rigid Character by David Shapiro. The author explores, with numerous clinical examples, the distortion of the development of autonomy in obsessive-compulsive conditions.

Treatment of the Obsessive Personality by Leon Salzman. The book describes, not just typical OCD behaviors such as handwashing, etc., but, more importantly, it presents the world-view and verbal and interpersonal patterns of people who have obsessive-compulsive personality disorder.

The New Personality Self-Portrait: Why You Think, Work, Love and Act the Way You Do by John M. Oldham & Lois B. Morris. The authors have the reader chart his profile according to 13 individual personality styles. Each following chapter describes a dominant character pattern, what jobs that person may be most suited for, appropriate personality-type mates, parenting styles, and ways of capitalizing on strengths and minimizing weaknesses. Advice is given the reader on how to deal with different styles, and a page or two describes the mental illness associated with the extremes of each dominant trait.

The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided by Politics and Religion by Jonathan Haidt. In this subtle yet accessible book, Haidt gives you the key to understanding the miracle of human cooperation, as well as the curse of our eternal divisions and conflicts. If you’re ready to trade in anger for understanding, read The Righteous Mind.

The Drama of the Gifted Child: The Search for the True Self by Alice Miller.  This book may shed light on how expectations of being a model child may influence someone towards becoming OCPD, and how a (healthy) narcissism can help heal those wounds.

About Perfectionism - Understanding It and Coping With It

(for those with the condition as well as those dealing with them)

Present Perfect: A Mindfulness Approach to Letting Go of Perfectionism and the Need for Control by Pavel Somov. Exercises and techniques to release the need for perfectionism and learn to be mindful and live in the moment.

When Perfect Isn’t Good Enough: Strategies for Coping with Perfectionism by Martin M. Antony, PhD & Richard Swinson, MD. This guide also includes tips for dealing with other perfectionists and discussions about how perfectionism is linked to worry, depression, anger, social anxiety, and body image. As you complete the exercises in this book, you'll find it easier and easier to keep worries at bay and enjoy life — imperfections and all.

The Control Freak: Coping with Those Around You. Taming The One Within by Les Parrott III, PhD. Setting boundaries, saying "No", forgiveness, gives samples of several kinds of controlling relationships, from Tenacious Teens to Inferefering In-Laws.  May underestimate the challenge of dealing with an OCPD spouse.  Heavy Judao-Christian references at the end of the book.

Healing the Hardware of the Soul by Daniel G. Amen, MD. Dr. Amen explains the brain and its function in an easy-to-understand manner, then offers both pharmaceutical and natural supplementation solutions. Some readers expressed unhappiness with a perceived Roman Catholic ‘taint.’

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Cover of The Feeling Good Handbook
The Feeling Good Handbook by David D. Burns. The methods in The Feeling Good Handbook are aimed at helping those suffering from depression, anxiety, and other "mild" mental issues to train themselves into healthy mental patterns. Burns has put together a series of writing exercises and journaling that is intended to help readers recognize fallacies in their thought processes.

The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You're Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are by Brene Brown, PhD. In her ten guideposts, Brown engages our minds, hearts, and spirits as she explores how we can cultivate the courage, compassion, and connection to wake up in the morning and think, "No matter what gets done and how much is left undone, I am enough," and to go to bed at night thinking, "Yes, I am sometimes afraid, but I am also brave. And, yes, I am imperfect and vulnerable, but that doesn't change the truth that I am worthy of love and belonging."

Overcoming Perfectionism: Finding the Key to Balance and Self-Acceptance by Ann W. Smith. Some interesting stories about inter-generational damage caused by alcoholism and other bad family relationships. More for the perfectionist than for the S.O.

Compelled to Control: Recovering Intimacy in Broken Relationships by J. Keith Miller. The author is a Christian inspirational speaker, and a large part of the book is given to discussing the 12 steps & similar God-influenced type of programs, but the book still includes nuggets that may be helpful to those of all or no religious persuasion.

Why Does Everything Have to be Perfect? by Dr. Lynn Shackman MD & Shelagh Ryan Masline. Despite the title, I understand this is more about OCD than Perfectionism.


Controlling People: How to Recognize, Understand, and Deal with People Who Try to Control You by Patricia Evans. I found the chapter about “The Teddy Illusion” extremely insightful.

You Can’t Say That To Me!: Stopping The Pain of Verbal Abuse - An 8-Step Program by Suzette Haden Elgin. Various techniques for defending oneself again verbal abuse and intimidation.

The Gift of Fear by Gavin de Becker. Understanding threats and controlling behaviors during the dating process, or during a marriage that can help you know when the situation is about to turn violent. While this sounds creepy, it’s actually an interesting and liberating read, because it encourages you to trust your instincts instead of overruling them to be “nice.”

When I Say No, I Feel Guilty by Manuel J. Smith. Classic but still very relevant book about asserting yourself (which is very different from being aggressive) and defending your turf and your wants and needs.

Emotional Blackmail: When the People in Your Life Use Fear, Obligation and Guilt to Manipulate You by Susan Forward, PhD.  One reader says, "It is eye-opening, very detailed, will helpful exercises and ways to gain personal strength in dealing with people who use emotional blackmail in close relationships to get you to comply with their demands. It is becoming a very important part of my process for moving forward with my perfectionist personality husband."

Jesus and Nonviolence: A Third Way by Walter Wink. Offers new ideas on how to change the dynamics in a lopsided relationship in creative, non-violent ways; helpful insights to Christians and non-Christians alike.

Bookshelf (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Helping Yourself

Boundaries and Relationships: Knowing, Protecting and Enjoying the Self by Charles L. Whitfield. This book talks of the structure of a person's boundaries, ways to know where your boundaries are, the necessity of having boundaries within your relationships. Some complain that the author refers too much to his other works without fully describing his point in this one.

Codependent No More: How to Stop Controlling Others and Start Caring for Yourself by Melody Beattie. An oldie but goodie; when you lose yourself in others, you lose yourself as well, and end by helping nobody. Minor references to God and the 12 Steps as promoted by AA and associated groups.

Facing Codependence: What It Is, Where It Comes From, How It Sabaotages Our Lives by Pia Mellody with Andrea Wells Miller and J. Keith Miller. About how a damaged childhood can lead to bad relationship choices as an adult. Learning to heal the inner child. Christian perspective.

Healing the Child Within; Discovery and Receovery for Adult Children of Dysfunctional Families by Charles L. Whitfield. Repairing the damage caused by being raised in a dysfunctional family.

Audio - Clarissa Pinkola Estes, both Women Who Run with the Wolves and Warming the Stone Child offer invaluable lessons for reconnecting with the parts of one's spirit that may have become damaged in a relationship with a Perfectionist.

Choosing Happiness: Life and Soul Essentials by Stephanie Dowling. About changing the way you think about yourself, using your strengths, and being kinder to yourself and others.

Rebuilding Relationships - Better Dealings with Other People

I’m Right, You’re Wrong, Now What?; Break the Impasse and Get What You Need By Xavier Amador. About negotiating conflicts so that they become win-wins for both sides, instead of trying to force the other person to admit s/he is wrong.

The Dance of Connection: How To Talk to Someone When You're Mad, Hurt, Scared, Frustrated, Insulted, Betrayed, or Desperate by Harriet Lerner.  The title pretty much says it all - highly ratedby all who've read it.

Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus by John Gray. Learning to communicate in ways that overcome differences in communication styles.

You Just Don’t Understand: Men and Women in Conversation by Deborah Tannen. Understanding the communication differences between men and women.

Finding Peace

On Grief and Grieving by Elisabeth Kübler-Ross and David Kessler. Understanding the stages of grief, which occur not only with a physical death, but with the death of hope for having a “normal” relationship.

Motherless Daughters: The Legacy of Loss by Hope Edelman.  If your family wasn't intact, whether because of death, because of the mental illness of one or both of your parents, this is an excellent look on how it may have affected you - and how you can move on.

Warming the Stone Child - audio CD/download by Clarissa Pinkola Estes.  Another take on how not having been properly parented may have wounded you, how to understand it, and how to create your own "internal" mother who can care for you properly.

The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment by Eckhart Tolle. About learning how to be present in the now, rather than obsessed with analyzing everything.

The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom by Don Miguel Ruiz. The author says the we have chosen to believe what we have been programmed to believe. Recognizing how difficult it is to change core beliefs, he merely makes practical suggestions about how one can view things differently.

A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose by Eckhart Tolle. Many of the ideas that Tolle presents are not original, but they are still well made and thought-provoking.

The Mood Cure; The 4-Step Program to Take Charge of Your Emotions - Today by Julia Ross. A nutritional way of beating depression made worse by eating habits.

The Happiness Project: Or, Why I Spent a Year Trying to Sing in the Morning, Clean My Closets, Fight Right, Read Aristotle, and Generally Have More Fun by Gretchen Rubin. Gretchen Rubin has done a lot of research and reading, and distilled it all here, attempting to answer some vital questions. Is it possible to become a happier person? Is happiness a meaningful and worthwhile goal? She comes to the conclusion that while we may have a happiness set point, and a great deal of our mood is--researchers believe-- determined by heredity (50% or so), to some degree it is under own control (perhaps 30%).


Got more book suggestions?  Send the title, author, and 1-2 line synopsis on why the book you suggest would be helpful to those dealing with a Perfectionist Personality.

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