You’re likely to find a neurosis inside most people. “I don’t watch movies with spaceships in space, but movies where the spaceship has crashed are OK.” “Whenever I drive down this road, I never hold the steering wheel.”

You could hypothesize I know a manically obsessive hand cleaner. This hypothetical individual has tubes of hand sanitizer stashed in secret caches the way alcoholics hide liquor bottles. Once you understand the ever-present need this modern day chipmunk has for hand cleanliness, it becomes clear that the largest space the neurosis occupies is the mind.

For example, if you were sentenced to prison most people would think, “Oh my God. My life is over.” This individual would worry, “Oh my God. How will I keep my hands clean?”

I once had a boss that discovered my need for pristine office upkeep. He had this doorstop that uselessly sat in the middle of his office doorway. It was in my peripheral every time I went to get a glass of water, when I went to get my lunch, when I came into his office, when I left his office, when I came back from the bathroom. This … malignant doorstop taunted me.

I cracked. When I moved it my boss immediately discerned the need I had. He would tilt his monitor slightly, and make sure his chairs were not perfectly aligned when we met in his office every time thereafter.

So began the doorstop wars.

That’s why you protect your neurosis. Like Commander Data’s “off-switch,” you only reveal it to people you can trust. The only alternative is war.