SCRUPULOSITY, GUILT & RELIGIOUS OCD
Scrupulosity sufferers engage in compulsive over-responsibility. They feel exaggerated guilt, check if they hurt someone's feelings, and constantly apologize or justify themselves to others, despite knowing rationally they've done nothing wrong and are not responsible for everyone.
They are consumed reviewing past events over and over to determine if they either weren't helpful enough to others ("savior complex"). Even worse, they worry they did something unethical, illegal (offend, steal, cheat, lie, mislead, slander), bigoted, or "politically incorrect" (racial slur, etc.). Often they fear they'll be tracked down, exposed, "turned in," ostracized by friends and family, shamed, fired, "cancelled," isolated the rest of their lives, punished, or imprisoned. Email a question, or make an appointment online or call 212-726-2390. Virtual teletherapy or in-person sessions are available nationwide in 34 states.
Read more about Dr. Brodsky treatment of Guilt OCD.
At their job, they might check their work many times to ensure they haven't disclosed confidential information or made a legal mistake on a contract. They double check if they paid enough or got too much change, warn people about perceived "danger," or remove obstacles people might trip on.
Even if they in fact had a minor ethical infraction, the guilt and the lengths they're willing to go to correct the situation utterly consumes them. Friends and coworkers often reassure them they did nothing wrong and there's no need to apologize, but it's never enough for the sufferer to feel closure. Read more about Dr. Brodsky's work with Scrupulosity.
Sufferers of religious OCD have exaggerated guilt about what they perceive as sin, unethical behavior, blasphemous or sacrilegious thoughts, or ordinary fleeting questions about their faith. They often fear divine punishment.
Religious OCD doesn't necessarily mean their values and beliefs are false; they might indeed be doctrine. What makes it OCD is how much it consumes them and the lengths to which they'll go to achieve perfect certainty about their moral standing. It's important to understand that there is no difference between the thoughts of someone with OCD and someone without OCD.
Everyone has uncomfortable thoughts every day; it a normal part of being human. The only difference is how someone with OCD reacts to it.