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How do you resist the temptation of giving into OCD or OCD like compulsions?

First of all, if your objective is simply to get rid of this or that specific symptom of OCD, you will get nowhere.

You have to want and intend to get rid of your OCD as a whole. If you try to compromise—if you try to pick and choose among your symptoms, holding onto those that you still find congenial—your OCD will win.

It’s not bad to have a touch of OCD, or even a giant dollop of it. What is bad is to surrender to it. And it is only if you are fighting your OCD as a whole that you can make any real headway on the specific symptoms that are troubling you.

So, supposing that you are in fact fighting your OCD—supposing that your mentality is one of not submitting to your OCD—-the way to deal with specific obsessions and compulsions, such a checking compulsion, is simply to deal with the anxiety that comes with not giving into them. That anxiety will go away. In fact, it will go away quite quickly if you don’t give into it. And if you avoid giving into a particular obsession or compulsion, you will be amazed at how quickly that particular symptom is displaced some other symptom.

And if you avoid giving into to that other symptom, it too will give way to some other symptom. And so on. And if you avoid giving into that entire constellation of symptoms, that constellation of symptoms will be replaced by another such constellation. And if you continue to fight these clusters of symptoms—if you continue to soldier through the anxiety that comes with not submitting to them—your agency will become stronger and your obsessions and compulsions will fade away.

Though extremely intense, the obsessions and compulsions of someone with OCD are ultimately in the nature of illusions. And as long as you do not take the bait—as long as you are not bluffed out by your own fear—those symptoms will fade away, and you will regain your autonomy.

But, again, there are two things to know: first, that you must resolve to fight your OCD as a whole; half-measures do not work against OCD. Second, that once you do resolve to fight it, the battle will not be won all at once; it will be won by increments.


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