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SITEs: • The many faces of perfectionism

Profound Shift that Frees from Perfectionism

“How To Overcome Perfectionism: 4 Secrets From Research

DEF: “In psychology, it is a maladaptive personality trait characterized by striving for flawlessness & setting high performance standards, accompanied by critical self-evaluations & concerns regarding others’ evaluations…. driving people to attempt to achieve 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, 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!”
This assumes that one can / should be perfect – trying to be more than human. To be god-like. It’s getting the Serenity Prayer backwards.

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 / core personality.

PERFECTIONISM: ▪︎ Raises stress level thru the roof
▪︎ Fuels fear, frustration, disappointment, depression
▪︎ Decreases decision-making & efficiency, increasing procrastination

BELIEF: For some, any external / physical ‘disorder’ is considered a mortal sin, so we have to keep everything neat, clean, organized – OR don’t even try – since it’ll never be perfect!

RESULT: Unsolved problems or personal hurts keeping us awake at night. Others can think about them later, but we have to ‘figure it out’

Obsessions keep flooding our brain, especially about some insecurity, minor flaw or injustice done to us

😔 swing from inactivity to compulsively driving ourselves to live up to a superior ideal
😔 can’t afford to be average, like ‘normal’ people, since we associate normal with failure
😔 think & act in extremes – success is a ‘high, while failure causes total discouragement – there’s no in-between
😔 go from one self-created crisis to another, as if we’re unsatisfied of we’re too peaceful
😔 have to have all the answers, & our opinions have to be correct & too perfect to ever be challenged
😔 are terrified of not being in control of self, others & our environment – believing that otherwise our whole wold will fall apart (& we’ll die) 

😔 constantly look for intense approval from everyone
😔 insist on making moral judgements about everything & everyone – B & W thinking, with no possible grays (ie. no other possibilities)
😔 put excessive demands on ourselves & others
😔 are totally caught up with ourselves, only opening uo (a little) if it will get approval or add to our ‘glory’

FROM: HEAL & GROW FOR ACoAs website (“Toxic Rules” pg 21)

▪︎ Set demanding (unrealistic) standards for self & others
▪︎ Have all-or-nothing thinking. Use ‘should’ a lot
▪︎ Look for tiny imperfections & fixate /obsess about any mistake made

▪︎ Can’t trust others to do things right, so rarely delegate
▪︎ Have trouble completing projects – there’s always more that can be done

▪︎ Avoid activities & situations they think they can’t excel at. Often set initial goals out of reach (unrealistic)
▪︎ Pushed toward goals by anxiety of not reaching them – & see anything less than a perfectly met goal as failure

▪︎ Since any imperfection is so painful & scary, they tend to react defensively to any constructive suggestions or requests

▪︎ Can only see achieving the goal / end result – nothing else matters
▪︎ Not able to focus on process & enjoyment.


CAUTION: As ACoAs – even when we’re trying to overcome this set of distorted beliefs & behavior patterns, we try to do it perfectly! ie – get rid of all character defects, immediately, completely & forever. UGH!


NEXT: MBTI Preferences

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