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

the perfectionists trap

The Cause of Perfectionism.

The seeds of shame and perfectionism lie in childhood and often accompany codependency.

Parents who are overcorrecting, controlling, abusive, punitive, or unpredictable can create insecurity and doubt in their children. Children imagine that if they perform flawlessly or are perfectly good, they will be accepted or that their parents won’t argue, that Mommy will be happy or Daddy won’t drink. Other parents encourage perfectionism by pressuring their children to perform, achieve unrealistic goals, or only approve of them based upon their performance. Even bright children, as well as perfectionist adults, quit or avoid learning new things to avoid feeling like a failure during the learning process when mistakes are unavoidable. Parents should empathize with their children’s sense of failure when they make mistakes.

Making Change.

As with any addiction, changing habits and compulsive behavior isn’t always so easy. But it’s entirely possible to have high standards and realistic goals without the compulsive, driven quality of perfectionism and without the destructive side effects, as well. Changing your style from maladaptive to an adaptive perfectionist can make a world of difference in your mood, motivation and productivity, and successful outcomes. Practice leaving things undone or messy, intentionally make mistakes, and challenge your cognitive distortions.

In I’m Not Perfect – I’m Only Human”  I discuss these types in depth and associated symptoms, thoughts, and behaviors, along with detailed exercises to overcome perfectionism. Take a personality test, and get parenting tips to avoid passing on perfectionism. 10 Steps to Self-Esteem: The Ultimate Guide to Stop Self-Criticism as well as my webinar, How to Raise Your Self-Esteem provide simple steps to raise self-esteem and end self-criticism.

Written by Darlene Lancer JD, MFT
Originally appeared on
The Perfectionist's Trap
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the perfectionists trap
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