Being frugal can either enhance or undermine our well-being. Depending on why we do it and how we do it, being frugal may or may not help us to feel good.

Let’s see how this plays out with an imaginary client, Franklin:

Franklin: My wife tells me I’m being too…


Many people wonder how they became controlling, driven, and perfectionistic. Or, to use the clinical label, they wonder about the origins of OCPD (obsessive-compulsive personality disorder, distinct from OCD).

Mental health professionals generally agree that a combination of genes and environment, nature and nurture, leads to this personality style, even…


While people pleasing might feel heroic, it can actually hurt your relationship.

In a recent post I wrote about the importance of flexibility in having a good relationship. …


I came across something the other day that perfectly expresses my own thoughts about the compulsive personality. The writer teaches high school English and happens to have taught both of my daughters:

“Our compulsive glances at our phones are not really focused inquiries about what time to meet someone for…


The television series The Good Place has lots of wisdom to offer compulsives and perfectionists. By highlighting certain character traits in both compulsives and non-compulsives, The Good Place uses humor and drama to help us see more clearly the pitfalls and potentials of both perfectionists and non-perfectionists.

While you’ll get…


Norman was taking his family out to dinner for a special occasion and he had a need to control it. They had reservations for six o’clock and no-one was moving or listening. Norman was the only one that seemed aware that time was ticking away. No one else seemed to…


Norman was taking his family out to dinner for a special occasion and he had a need to control it. They had reservations for six o’clock and no-one was moving or listening. Norman was the only one that seemed aware that time was ticking away. No one else seemed to…


A longstanding source of sanity and serenity for me has been Jane English’s beautiful edition of the Tao Te Ching. Her exquisite photos illustrate the foundational Taoist text attributed to Lao Tzu and written 2500 years ago.

While I find parts of the Tao Te Ching baffling, exasperating and mystifying…


Our North American culture has become obsessed with happiness and has made itself miserable in the process. Trying too hard to be happy is doomed to failure: happiness is the by-product of a life well-lived, not a goal that you can reach by targeting it. But compulsive perfectionists have the opposite problem.

They actually don’t appear to be very interested in happiness. To the degree that they’re interested in it, they tend to believe that perfection, completion, and control will make them happy-or at least their own version of happy.

Compulsives are very good at delaying gratification. They do it with the…


I often write about how essential it is for perfectionists and compulsives to of unimportant details and stubborn clinging. Too often we get caught up in rules, schedules, unrealistic goals of perfection, and rigid ideas, and lose track of what’s really satisfying.

A related danger is that instead of letting…

Gary Trosclair, DMA, LCSW

Psychotherapist, Jungian analyst, and author of "I'm Working On It In Therapy: How To Get The Most Out Of Psychotherapy," & the Healthy Compulsive Project Blog

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