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13 Mar 2004

Is this behaviour a 'disorder'?
Hi Doc

wonder if you can help. My husband and I have been married for just over a year, I am 32 and he is 31. When he was in Varsity he went through some psychological struggles. I put it down to a religion he got involved with at the time (almost a cult) - anyway he has come out of it. At the time he was seeing a psychiatrist and psychologist who diagnosed him with OCD and Tourettes, however he doesn't display ANY of the characteristics of these illnesses and I honestly believe the psychological problems he had at the time were due to the extreme pressure and expectations put on him by the 'cult' he unfortunately become involved in. However, there is one type of behaviour he has now and I am really not sure if its just 'his personality' or if its actually a 'disorder'. He has a tendency to leave things to the last minute and does not like to feel pressurised in any way to get something done - its too the extreme in the sense that even if he has a tight deadline, the pressure of doing the task seems like too much for him to cope with. I don't know if he is just being lazy or if he truely has difficulty dealing with stress or time deadlines?? He is better at doing quality work that takes A LOT of time than doing things quickly. I am a highly driven individual and find myself getting frustrated beyond belief at his 'slowness' in getting things done. There have been HUGE arguements and he promises to get things done but doesn't. I found a letter from a psychologist dated back to when he was in varsity and one of the points on the letter states that he had difficulty in completing tasks and left things for the last minute. SO I am taking a step back and asking you and myself, does he actually have a disorder that causes this procrastination or is he just being difficult? Any light on the subject would be much appreciated as well as any tips for overcoming this...THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR YOUR TIME!
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Expert
CyberShrink
cybershrink

01 Jan 0001

Dear Mary,
Cults can indeed be very damaging, especially to the sort of vulnerable people who et drawn towards them.
From what you describe, your husband may indeed have some prolem dealing with some work-stresses and deadlines --- many people do. I'm wrestling with a major deadline right now. But it sounds inconvenient and within the realm of personality and work-skills, rather than any disorder. And you're not describing any symptoms like Tourettes, or even like OCD. People with OCD, or even an obsessive personality, are often highly pernickety about planning well and meeting all deadlines, and unable to tolerate being sloppy about such obligations. Occasionally, perhaps, they might have some dificulty completing a project by deadline, because they are demanding too unrealistially high a standard of the work, far mroe than is expected of them, and thus can't achieve the impossible within the time available. His problem with the quickie projects ( where what may be needed is SOMETHING functional on time, rather than something brilliant but late ) rather fits this pattern, as does his better reaction to longer-term complex problems.
I very much indeed doubt that he is simply choosing to be "difficult" --- what on earth would be the advantages to him or being "difficult" in this way ? Maybe some counselling to get quality versus quantity versus "on time" into better perspective, and with some time management skills, could help. Maybe some books on Time Management, also, could help.
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