I am reading about this term and found a very interesting page where the author writes about her own life as a perfectionist and what it cost her.
One of the first things she says is:
"it's this very attempt to please others that has caused so much distress in my life."
And I am just stuck on that sentence. TOTALLY STUCK! Because it seems to sum up me!
I can't say I am a perfectionist in every area of my life. But when it comes to relationships I believe what I am reading would cover me. I never feel I am good enough and that if I screw up I will not be accepted. Hmmm.
I remember when I was a kid feeling that what I did was never enough. I wasn't a great student and there were many arguments much like those commercials you see on television today for those learning centers, where the mom says to the kid, "We punished you..." etc. and nothing is working and the kid says,"You think I want to fail?"
While Mom would say differently, I remember always feeling that my brother was the golden child. Pretty much the only time I ever impressed my mother was with manners, like always saying "thank you". In fact, I remember my mother telling someone else how polite I was that even if she gave me a food item I would always say thank you. I can't even tell you who she spoke to or how old I was, but I will NEVER forget that assessment of me. And to this day I will still do that because I know Mom liked it and her approval was important to me.
I also remember getting positive feedback if I would clean for her without her asking. Many a time I would tell my parents that I didn't want to go on an outing with them and my brother. They would come back to see I had cleaned the kitched, washed the floor etc.
It was those times I would receive praise.
When I did things I wanted or asked to do things I wanted just for me, I was often denied based on my parents feelings about how what I would do would affect them. I wanted so much to be a working actor, but according to mom I would end up like "one of those kids from Different Strokes" and she wasn't going to have that in her home."
It's deeper than I can properly explain in writing but the bare bones are there.
Funny enough, Mom has taken to telling me lately while chatting on the phone that "you don't have to be perfect."
Yes, Mom. I know this now. But the 37 years of opposite reinforcement ain't so easy to just correct overnight.
I'll write more on this later. Penny for your thoughts?