The compulsion of perfection: When perfectionism makes you unhappy – Lexicon for Medicine & Health

The compulsion of perfection: When perfectionism makes you unhappy

Perfectionism is a compulsive behavior that leaves no room for error. It is a burden both for the environment and for those affected. Even if they try, they can’t help it. Fears or inferiority complexes are often hidden behind them. Perfectionists cannot act spontaneously and must carefully plan each of their actions. For them, mistakes mean failure and the high standards apply not only to them, but to everyone who lives with them.

Obsessive-Compulsive Personality Disorder: Obsessed with perfection

There are definitely situations in which perfect work has to be done. These include surgical interventions or working in a space probe. These are factual necessities that do not allow for errors. On the other hand, compulsions that are characterized by a hidden addiction to recognition and fear of loss are not necessary . When perfectionism is so pronounced that it makes the person concerned unhappy, it is said to be a morbid condition.

These people distrust even the normal processes of everyday life and have to control them themselves under all circumstances. The ego demands control and in this way wants to prevent any foreign determination. Compulsive behavior includes, for example, folding laundry or making lists of all kinds.

The shirt is processed until it corresponds exactly to the dimensions of the other items of laundry. Perfectionists write on the lists what they absolutely have to get done that day or week. They deal with these things until they are satisfied with themselves. They often criticize their counterparts if they don’t work according to the same scheme.

In most cases, this causes trouble. In professional life, those affected always check with their superiors whether they are satisfied with their work. Because they keep correcting themselves, they work slower than their peers. If they are asked about it, they don’t understand the criticism. On the contrary. They feel misunderstood and very insecure.

am i a perfectionist

There is no general answer to the question of whether someone is a perfectionist. However, some facts point to the tendency towards perfectionism. The first is the inability to delegate activities to others. This isn’t just the case at work. This also includes mothers who do all the housework themselves. They think that their husband or children are not doing the chores properly.

When it comes to sports, they always want to be the best and get annoyed when they only come second or third. Playing with them is difficult as they cannot lose. Even then, their suffering is reflected in the compulsion to always win. The high demands on oneself are also reflected in the relationship to one’s own body.

If this does not live up to expectations, eating disorders and impairments in sex life occur. There is no sense of well-being because the exterior is not perfectly designed. Excessive sport and starvation diets are the consequences of this.

Perfection doesn’t make you happier

Nobody is perfect. This applies both to the church leaders of the various religions and to people with less responsibility. Every person has their endearing qualities. The supposed mistakes make them an individual and only that distinguishes them as people. Those who strive for perfection defy natural conditions.

Being allowed to make mistakes is by no means a sign of weakness. The opposite is the case. Only then does someone show greatness when they admit to alleged misconduct. At the same time, he proves that he is only human and therefore not perfect. Happiness is a condition that must be worked for. Shallow people often see it in the context of financial independence.

Perfectionists are not satisfied with that. Their life planning has to be perfect. It starts with buying your own home and ends with the sex of your children. As soon as they are confronted with an extraordinary event, reality catches up with them and in many cases they despair.

Perfectionists have a high level of suffering and many expect the people around them to act exactly like themselves. This often leads to disagreements within the family and at work. Parents who want to be perfect in raising their children work under pressure.

They expect their offspring to behave immaculately at all times. They often do this to satisfy their own ego and neglect the informal interactions within the family. If the children show their own will and their supposed mistakes and shortcomings, then a world collapses for perfectionists.

They are unhappy and self-doubting. It is like a spiral that will continue to spin if help is not sought. The dissatisfaction continues in the children and there are no positive reinforcements on either side.

What you can do about perfectionism

The first step in getting rid of perfectionism is recognizing the disease. It is difficult to see them as such and this can often only be done with professional help. Small exercises that are automatically incorporated into everyday life over time also help. The perfect housewife can force herself to stop washing windows weekly and vacuuming daily.

You should consciously refrain from doing this. Only those affected can understand how difficult this is for everyone. In professional life, it helps if the work that has started is left undone and no overtime is worked. If important things have to be done, many can also be done by employees or colleagues.

Another good exercise is to play Monopoly with your kids and lose. Yes, that is what distinguishes a person. To be happy with the others and not to be angry about one’s own “failure”. This continues in the football club or bowling club and is well received by others. You will soon notice that the former perfectionist is working on himself and will support him in his project.

Dealing with him becomes easier and he himself is happier. However, it is important that the desire to stop the compulsions does not also culminate in perfectionism. A lot of patience is required here. The disease didn’t come about in a day, and it doesn’t end in this short period of time either.

Happiness lies in serenity

Happiness is a relative term. Everyone has their own feelings about it. This does not mean the full bank account or the big house. To rest in yourself and to go your way with a lot of serenity, that is happiness. At the same time, treating your neighbors mindfully and conceding mistakes to them brings about calmness within every relationship. Yes, it is peace with yourself and your loved ones that makes you happy.

Lisa Newlon
 | Website

Hello! I am Lisa Newlon, and I am a medical writer and researcher with over 10 years of experience in the healthcare industry. I have a Master’s degree in Medicine, and my deep understanding of medical terminology, practices, and procedures has made me a trusted source of information in the medical world.