Scrupulousness: the obsessive fear of not being good enough, the symptoms you need to recognize

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Elia Tabuenca García
@eliatabuencagarcia

Moral scrupulousness is part of OCD and involves being constantly obsessed with acting ethically

Don't store avocado like this: it's dangerous

La scrupulousness falls within the obsessive compulsive disorder, and is characterized by an excessive sense of guilt and frustration that become pathological, linked to different aspects of life.





People with obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) may be afraid of spontaneously discovering that they are violent or harmful and unable to monitor these impulses. Who is obsessed with sexual orientationmay be overly concerned about finding out that he is gay; or theareal fear of being an irresponsible person o unsanitary because, for example, we did not disinfect our hands after touching the ground or even a shoe; or even check until exhaustion if the front door is closed: all this can be synonymous with obsessive compulsive disorder. 

An excessive "identity protection"Which is defined moral scrupulousness.

Here are some more common manifestations of moral scrupulousness:

  • excessive concern to be 100% honest
  • excessive worry about being "good" or not being "bad" 
  • excessive worry about getting in trouble or breaking the rules
  • excessive concern that you have committed an immoral act
  • being worried about not being accepted by others for their actions or sexual orientation
  • concern that a thought about an immoral act may be the memory of an immoral act that probably has not even occurred 
  • excessive concern that adultery or some unfair act may have taken place or that it has occurred in the past.

Moral scrupulousness borrows from other common manifestations of obsessive compulsive disorder; furthermore, although it has been classified under the religious obsessions, actually falls under almost every type of OCD, and manifests itself with:

  • an excessive cleaning control and hygienic conditions
  • excessive control of every aspect of one's life
  • sexual orientation obsessions, and to think that it would be morally wrong to deceive others about one's sexual attractions
  • obsessions related to pedophilia, i.e. being obsessed with having any intrusive thoughts about a child
  • obsessions related to personal relationships
  • being afraid that something terrible might happen to loved ones, which can provoke it panic attacks and anxiety attacks

Hence, scrupulousness manifests itself when one person is excessively worried, and in a state of perennial anxiety for fear of doing something that goes against their moral, ethical and religious beliefs.



People with scrupulousness will feel plagued with guilt because a certain thought has crossed their mind and they may worry about offending others. They will spend hours trying to "recover from damage"; a real compulsive behavior and a continuous obsession with the aim of reducing their discomfort.

This disorder is not limited only to the religious aspect; in fact, we speak of moral scrupulousness, when you are too worried about not treating people well, lying or having bad reasons to do something about others. Some symptoms of moral scrupulousness include the concern of:

  • to lie, even if unintentional (which could include fear of lying by omission or accidentally misleading people)
  • discrimination unconsciously people
  • act ethically for self-interestinstead of being motivated to help others
  • making ethical choices that you do are truly better for the greater good
  • to be really "good" people

Those with moral scrupulousness may:

  • doing selfless things just to prove to yourself that you are a good person
  • sharing excessively or repeating information so as not to lie to the other
  • discuss ethics for hours in your head
  • refusing to make decisions because you can't figure out which is the "best" decision ever
  • try to do "good" things to compensate for the "bad" things one has done

Fortunately, with the right support, the scrupulousness can be cured. It is often treated with the cognitive behavioral therapy, which involves confronting one's obsessive thoughts without engaging in compulsive behaviors or rituals. Another form of therapy isacceptance and awareness of the disease, understand that you are not alone and that this disorder does not define who you are in reality.



People with OCD often don't ask for help because they feel guilty, ashamed, or embarrassed to admit the disorder. On the contrary, as recommended by the ISS, it is instead recommended to consult a specialist doctor because it is very unlikely that the ailment will improve without any type of intervention.

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