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Perfectionism. When desire for perfection comes to addiction

Perfectionism. When desire for perfection comes to addiction

Tendency to do things in a good and right way, be successful at work, look perfect and be the best in everything is accepted by the society as a good personal characteristic. But sometimes such positive desire turns into fixed idea and leads to perfectionism. This beautiful and accurate definition is of English origin and comes from the word “perfection”, which explains the meaning of this term quite clear. Perfectionism is a belief, based on the need of being perfect in everything. It implies that the best result can be always achieved, as well as the actions performed in the best way. Another name of this phenomenon is the excellent pupil syndrome.

The psychologists define perfectionism as a special individual attribute and as a neurotic disorder. The second case can be viewed also as dependence. It looks like the person is obsessed by his desire to do the things better, than other people do, and he is subjected to negative emotions, if he can’t do his best. There is a certain difference between perfectionism and healthy personal feature; a perfectionist can’t stand imperfection of any possible kind and has extremely inflated requirements to his own self and the others.

Reasons of perfectionism

Perfectionism can’t appear just from nowhere. It has preconditions, originated from early childhood, when parents demand too much from their child and pin their ginormous hopes on him. Especially often it happens with the eldest or the only child of a family.

The child coming from troubled family, where he can’t feel secure (frequent moving, rows, quarrels and reconciliations) is of high risk here. Grown up in such a family, the person tends to control his life and put everything in order.

Sometimes perfectionism forms in result of victory on own fears and complexes and lack of self-confidence. The person is afraid of becoming weak again. By that he finds it disreputable to show a lack of determination and doesn’t allow himself manifestations like that.

Signs of perfectionism

Fixed ideas about idealness can be addressed to own self, as a challenge - to the society, or the world in whole. Also there is a special group of perfectionists, who try to do everything possible to meet somebody else’s expectations. Sometimes one person can have several symptoms, interlacing with each other.

So, what are the main signs of human perfectionism?

  • High pretensions to own self and self-exactingness;
  • Creating unachievable and unreasonably high ideals;
  • Constantly getting stuck on own mistakes and shortages;
  • Intolerance to criticism from other people;
  • Feeling guilty of inessential or farfetched mistakes;
  • Often doubts in personal results;
  • Comparing own self to colleagues, friends etc.;
  • Intention to meet somebody’s expectations, even to one's cost.

The perfectionist is never consistent with himself; he always finds defects in his actions, shortcomings in his appearance and has doubts about the work done.

Perfectionism is not a harmless phenomenon, but a very serious dependence on own hang-ups, leading eventually to social isolation and neuroses. The perfectionist can’t be friends with anybody, as nobody meets his requirements. He can’t start a family by the same reason. The perfectionist will never forget his chosen one a single defect, connected with his or her behavior. Thus the person, who chases after perfection, is destined to solitude.

Lack of free time and a good rest because of scrupulous and thorough performance of small duties lead to chronic fatigue, irritability and nervous disorders. The person is in constant tension and fear because of possible mistakes and being not ideal.

Diagnosis and treatment for perfectionism

The perfectionist can be revealed by his close ones, as he has some characteristic features typical for his condition. But first of all the addict will have to realize his dependence, connected with fixed ideas on perfection. There is neither special diagnosis, nor treatment for perfectionism presently.

When the intention to be the best among other people and do the things in the best possible way become the obsessive desire and drive the addict into permanent stress, there is no question - he needs to visit a qualified psychologist. Sessions of psychotherapy will help the human to sort out his feelings and reveal the initial cause of his behavior and life suggestions. As for the medicines, sedatives and drugs against stress can be prescribed in this case.

Some rules will help the perfectionist to get off the hook of his dependence and learn to live quietly, without any nervousness of that kind:

  1. Adequate reaction to criticism. The person will have to learn not to take any criticism close to his heart. Of course, it is distressing, when your carefully and diligently performed work is not appreciated. But every man has a subjective opinion concerning one’s work, formed by his experience and conceptions. It is impossible to please everyone.
  2. Objective appraisal of results. It is very difficult to achieve extremely high results all the time, therefore the man needs to have in his mind both positive and negative scenarios of his activities. There is no need to dramatize the situation, if something goes wrong way, there is always the chance to improve things.
  3. Keep your head. Fighting for the best result, you ought to learn to have a break and get abstracted away from the facts of outer world. Make a deep breath in and out and imagine the current task as an insignificant part of the great life's journey. “All things must pass” – is the most suitable phrase in this situation, said by Solomon.
  4. Receiving psychological assistance and learning to relax will help to get rid of obsessive perfectionism and take yourself as imperfect creature. It is also recommended to find a couple of hours a day for doing whatever you like (singing, drawing, dancing and so on), without thinking of idealness.

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