OCPD, Studying Musar ('Jewish Ethics'), and Living in Israel

This week I had to decide to suspend studying Musar ('Jewish ethics'), which I started to study systematically both in a weekly study group guided by a haredi rabbi and privately. The study of Musar is supposed to improve the negative character traits of its learners. But as for me, I came to realize that this study made me become more sensitive to flaws of other people and criticize them instead of working on my own.

One of the symptoms of OCPD is that its patient is "overconscientious, scrupulous, and inflexible about matters of morality, ethics, or values (not accounted for by cultural or religious identification)" according to Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders 301.4 (F60.5). My study of Musar has made me start expecting a higher level of morality (not only from myself but also) from those around me. As a result more and more situations in my interpersonal relations came to trigger more and more obsessive thoughts, which in turn triggered more and more compulsive behaviors, which in turn cause more and more conflicts with others.

In retrospect, I seem to have shown the major symptoms of OCPD even when I still lived in Japan until more than 12 years ago. But they didn't cause any serious conflict with others there as some of the core cultural values are rather similar to some symptoms of OCPD, including perfectionism, order, and morality, though I encountered other sociocultural problems there, mainly with the system, and not necessarily in my interpersonal relationships.

Living in Israel, I've been experiencing difficulties mostly in interpersonal relationships, and unfortunately, these difficulties are worsening. I can't help feeling that Israeli society is far less OCPD-friendly, so to speak, than its Japanese counterpart in that people in the former are far more egocentric and insensitive, probably except in the case of national emergency. For this reason I've been thinking of leaving this country to save my mental and subsequently physical health. But I don't think this option is viable for all intents and purposes. So I have to train myself to become more resistant of egocentric and insensitive behaviors, whether verbal or nonverbal, here. This is also part of the so-called exposure and response prevention therapy I've started receiving.