SITEs: • The many faces of perfectionism
DEF: “Psychologically, it’s a maladaptive personality trait expressed as striving for flawlessness & setting high performance standards, accompanied by critical self-evaluations & concerns regarding others’ evaluations…. which drives perfectionists to try achieving unattainable ideals or unrealistic goals… inevitably setting the person up for disappointment”
Normal ‘idealists’ are more inclined to pursue high standards without compromising their self-esteem, and derive pleasure from their efforts.
Neurotic ‘idealists’ are prone to strive for impossible outcomes, and feel dissatisfied when they can’t reach them. (D. E. Hamachek, 1978)
ACoA / co-dependent PERFECTIONISM is a Cognitive Distortion (CD) – an expression of hidden self-hate (S-H), the reaction of any child growing up in an unhealthy family, in reaction to constant, overwhelming abandonment in all 4 PMES forms.
Children who experience feeling unwanted & unloved believe it’s their fault. So if they can be perfect, they will receive the nurturing, care & love everyone needs & has a right to. Such children (ACoAs) grow up believing they are failures (a “Toxic family Rule“), since no matter how hard they try, wounded parents cannot provide the kind of care that is needed for a healthy upbringing.
NOTE: A mistaken saying in Recovery is: “I don’t have to be perfect” – as if we had a choice. NOT SO.
It assumes we actually can be perfect (more than human, god-like) IF we wanted to. W-r-r-rong!!
This is the Serenity Prayer backwards.
(3 Posts : “Emotional Immaturity“)
REALITY: NO human being can be perfect. Therefore we cannot BE a failure!
We can fail in our ACTIONS, but that doesn’t represent our identity, our True core Self. (3 Posts: “Emotional Maturity“)
MORE SIGNS of Perfectionism
▪︎ Avoid activities & situations we think we can’t excel at. Often set initial goals out of human reach (unrealistic)
▪︎ Can only see achieving the goal / end result – nothing else matters
▪︎ Can’t trust others to do things right, so rarely delegate
▪︎ Decision-making & efficiency is decreases, procrastination increases
▪︎ Fear, frustration, disappointment, depression Increases
▪︎ Have all-or-nothing thinking (another CD). Constantly use ‘I should / shouldn’t ….’
▪︎ Have trouble completing projects – there’s always more that has to be done
▪︎ Look for tiny imperfections & fixate / obsess about an irrelevant ‘flaw’ or actual mistake
▪︎ Not able to focus on process or enjoy accomplishments – stress level is raised thru the roof
▪︎ Pushed toward goals by anxiety over not reaching them – & see anything less than a perfectly met goal as being weak or incompetent
▪︎ React defensively to any constructive suggestions or requests – since any imperfection is experiences as terrifyingly shameful
PROGRESS, NOT PERFECTION!
NEXT: MBTI Preferences