People at work call you an excellent employee. Your friends describe you as the person who goes above and beyond. In relationships, your partners are practically overwhelmed by your attentiveness and dedication to making them happy. To the world, you’re practically perfect. On the inside, you’re struggling to get by. You might be a perfectionist.
Why you might be a Perfectionist
Many adult perfectionists come from dysfunctional families. Alcoholic homes, abusive homes, negligent homes…dysfunctional parents are volatile. From one day to the next, for many children, it was hard to predict which parent they were going to get. Would they be the angry, violent parent who complains about everything? Would they be the fun and wild parent? Would they be the sad and lonely parent threatening suicide? Children are resilient. In their efforts to create a stasis and consistency, children will find the one ‘thing’ that can please their parents in some way across the board. Perfectionism is one way to do that. When someone is perfect, it is hard to blame them, get angry at them, or threaten them in any way. They’re perfect.
Where Perfectionism Goes Wrong
Unfortunately, perfectionism will stem beyond the alcoholic parent. People-pleasing is a form of codependency. For the perfectionist child, everyone else’s needs come first. Perfection is inherently about meeting standards set by other people. One’s individual idea of perfection might not meet other’s expectations. Putting other’s lives before one’s own makes for a loss in identity and a lack of boundaries.
Boundaries are the way one sets loving limitations in their lives with the people around them. In fact, boundaries can be set in one simple, two-word sentence: “No.” Boundaries can be both rigid and fluid, depending on the situation. Not all boundaries have to be cement walls. There are some instances that will call for strong lines of demarcation. Without boundaries, it becomes difficult to avoid resentment and/or total emotional exhaustion. Logically, it makes sense. Giving and giving, molding and bending, leaves very little room for the actual self. Where does the foundation for all that giving come from? Eventually, the well runs dry. Indeed, perfectionism and people-pleasing within a lack of boundaries can last a childhood. It is unlikely to sustain a lifetime.
Aurora Recovery Center welcomes men and women who have experienced trauma and abuse to find healing at our beautiful center located on Lake Winnipeg in Manitoba, Canada. Perfectionism is often a precursor to addiction and eating disorders. We offer treatment to dual-diagnosis patients seeking recovery. For more information call 1844-515-STOP today.