Thursday 2 September 2021

Ethical Fixation: Is It Something To Be Worried About?

 **Collaborative Post**

Having a strong ethical foundation is good, but becoming obsessed with ethics may not be that practical. Uncompromising ethical fixation signifies OCD, a mental illness.

Obsessions are thoughts that are persistent, intruding and unwanted. Compulsions are the mental or physical practices used to reduce anxiety caused by obsessive thoughts. Together, they create Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder.

Chronic OCD can cause people to become so obsessed that they lose their sleep, sex drive and appetite. That’s why it is imperative to keep track of your mental health and seek immediate help.

Suppose a woman is raised in a male-dominated culture and firmly believes in those ideals. When she sees other females freely interacting with their male counterparts and having fun, she’ll be distressed. She may fixate on her morals and label those fun-loving people as deviants. No matter how much evidence piles up, she may refuse to believe her ethics are wrong. She very easily begin clinging to those ideals with such a stubbornness that it becomes OCD.

Is Ethical Fixation a form of OCD? 

As with most mental disorders, OCD is characterised by an obsessive fear or uncertainty in the face of intrusive thoughts. It can take many different forms, but one of the most common is a fear that you or someone else did something ‘bad’ or ‘wrong.’ This is called ‘religious OCD’ or ‘moral OCD.’ This is the extreme form of ethical fixation.

Religious OCD

People with ethical fixation rooted in religion are easy to identify. They will do acts like this to assuage their obsession;

·         - Praying too much and too often.

·         - Confessing frequently, even for the most minor of the ‘sins.’

·         - Seeking reassurance and a pat-on-the-head from religious leaders.

·         - Firmly avoiding or ignoring situations where immoral acts may happen.

Of course, all religious people engage in the above practices to some extent. However, the key difference between non-pathological religious inclinations and actual OCD is that normal people do not enjoy an aspect of religion because they are afraid all the time. They fulfil their religious obligations but do not become mortally terrified for skipping an activity or doing it wrong. 

Moral OCD

People with moral scrupulosity might be worried about not socialising people with equality, lying or having wrong motivations. So they may go out of their way to use politically correct terminologies and treat any minority members with over-the-top politeness.

People with moral scrupulosity or ethical fixation worry about the following.

·         - Lying, even if it is unintentional, a lie by omission, or accidental misdirection.

·         - Discriminating against people, consciously or subconsciously.

·         - Acting out of self-interest.

·         - Infringing on someone’s rights.

·         - Obsessing whether your choices were really for the greater good.

·         - Wondering whether you are a ‘good’ person.

People with ethical fixation bordering on OCD will do the following rituals to assuage their paranoia;

·         - Doing excessive altruistic things to reassure yourself of your innate goodness.

·         - Repeating information or oversharing to ensure you do not get called a liar.

·         - Debating the ethics of an action for hours in your head.

·         - Refusing to commit to a decision because it is not the ‘best’ decision.

·         - Intentionally doing good things to counterbalance any bad karma. 

      How to help Ethical Fixation

Therapy is the best solution for ethical fixation, whether religious or moral.

The therapy may include facing hypothetical situations that act as triggers and skipping your obsessive need to intervene or react in a certain way. Instead, the therapist may urge you to ignore the anxiety and walk away, minding your own business.

Therapy will urge you to accept other people’s quirks and personal ideologies without trying to impose your own ideals on them.

Have you ever experienced any kind of OCD either yourself or with friends, family or colleagues perhaps? How do you find the best way to deal with the traits of it? 


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