How do I handle the compulsion to correct people every time I think they say something wrong?

From getting into fights in online forums, to insisting on correcting every slightly incorrect thing that comes up in conversation, to sending an endless stream of letters to newspapers, this compulsion comes in many forms but they’re all about control.

Compulsive attempts to control things or other people are a big part of OCD. A person who gets upset by misaligned cutlery and has a compulsion to fix it a certain way is engaging in the same compulsion. Or somebody might believe they “should” look a particular way, and they’ll engage in all sorts of compulsions to try to control how they look because they judge themselves as wrong. Scrupulosity is the same type of compulsion but directed at yourself instead of others. But it’s really the same whether you judge yourself as wrong/sinful or you judge others as wrong/sinful.

One of the most useful supports in recovery for me has been learning to practice non-judgment. The compulsion to control people comes after the compulsion to judge them. Learning not to judge is very useful because if you don’t engage in that first compulsion, you don’t experience the pressure to engage in the next compulsion. Judgment is a compulsion that fuels many compulsions.

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