8 Signs Of Toxic Perfectionism And How To Deal

signs of toxic perfectionism and how to deal

Being a perfectionist is not always a bad thing. Wanting to do everything perfectly, and wanting to give something your all are admirable traits to have. But what happens when being a perfectionist starts to consume you? What happens when anything less than that bothers you and makes you feel that you didn’t do enough? I will tell you what happens: Toxic perfectionism.

If both these questions resonated with you, chances are you’re a toxic perfectionist. Being a toxic perfectionist doesn’t really mean that you just need to be perfect in everything. It doesn’t mean that you’re always ‘Employee of the Month’. It runs much deeper than that and can cause more damage than you think.

What Is Toxic Perfectionism?

Toxic perfectionism is that niggling feeling that constantly tells you that you cannot be less than perfect, and anything less than absolute perfection is unacceptable.

When you constantly tell yourself things like, ‘This is not perfect! This has to be perfect!’, ‘If it’s not perfect, it’s not worth it.’, and ‘I am a loser if I don’t do this perfectly.’, know that you have turned into a toxic perfectionist.

You focus on perfection, but you don’t realize what you’re giving up in the process. You start being extremely hard on yourself, beat yourself up constantly, and associate your self-worth with your perfectionistic tendencies. Needless to say, this kind of emotional and mental narrative is not healthy for you at all.

Related: The Perfectionist’s Trap: How Perfectionism Robs Us Of Our Humanity

8 Signs Of Toxic Perfectionism

signs of toxic perfectionism and how to deal info
8 Signs Of Toxic Perfectionism And How To Deal

1. Setting abnormal and extremely lofty goals for yourself.

Deep down inside you know that it’s not possible, and even if you do make it work in some way, it’s going to take a lot out of you. But you still go ahead, because that little voice in your head is constantly telling you that absolute perfection is everything, and you should only focus on that.

You think that rules are applicable only for those people who are not perfectionists like you, because you need and should be the best amongst everyone. Toxic perfectionism convinces you that you have no option other than to follow through with every difficult goal, no matter how much you might suffer and lose yourself in the process.

2. Unable to acknowledge and celebrate your achievements and successes.

No matter how perfectly you might do your job and finish your assignments, you will still feel unsatisfied with your efforts. You will constantly feel that you could have done better. You find it hard to congratulate yourself on a job well done, instead you nitpick every little aspect and think about what you could have done differently.

You keep on finding flaws and self-complain till the point when you start hating yourself. Feeling like an imposter and angry at yourself, you vow to do a ‘better job’ next time, and just like this, the vicious wheel of toxic perfectionism keeps on spinning.

toxic perfectionism
8 Signs Of Toxic Perfectionism And How To Deal

3. Your accomplishments define your self-esteem and self-worth.

When you are a toxic perfectionist, you define yourself on the basis of what you have achieved and accomplished. Your accomplishments decide how good, successful and ‘useful’ you are to others and society in general. Validation and approval from others are the only things that make you feel good about yourself.

You compare yourself with others and calculate exactly how much you have accomplished compared to them. For example, if someone has bought a big home in the suburbs and you ‘just have a 3-room apartment in the city’, you feel that you are not successful enough in life. If one of your friends has a Mercedes and you have a Subaru, you will start feeling bad about yourself and your life.

Every time you tell yourself that you haven’t done enough or that you’re less compared to others, your self-esteem and self-worth take a deep nosedive.

Related: The Truth About Perfectionism: 5 Signs You May Be Perfectionist

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Alexandra Hall

Hi there! I am someone who is trying to navigate through life, one day at a time. Writing is my passion and my job, and I am happiest when I am writing. I love reading comic books, watching drama movies, playing with my dogs and generally lazing around. An introvert by nature, you can find me in the farthest corner of the room in every party, playing with the dog and having my own party.View Author posts