Perfectionism is a personality trait and cognitive mind set that causes people to fixate on details until they are absolutely just right. There is a big difference between aspiring and striving to your best (healthy) and unrelenting standards of perfection (unhealthy). Because perfection is unsustainable, unrealistic, and often unattainable, people are left feeling inadequate, unhappy, and feel like a failure.
There are three types of perfectionism. Probably the most common type of the self-oriented perfectionism. This is self-imposed and standards of perfection that you create for yourself. Alternatively, a person could end up with social prescribed perfectionism. With this type the person adopts the perceived expectations of others. This could be a child taking on a parent’s view to be perfect or the impact of social media channels and trying to live up to other’s standards. Lastly, is other oriented perfectionism where a person imposes perefectionistic standards on others.
Perfectionism is not a specific disorder by itself, but a character attribute that creates vulnerability or susceptibility to other problems. Trying to be perfect is very stressful and creates a lot of worry and anxiety from trying to live up to something that is unattainable. Anxiety disorders are very common among perfectionists. After months or years of inevitable failure, many people begin to feel defeated, helpless, and even hopeless. Often at this point, with worsening self-esteem, many become depressed and even suicidal. One study found that 70% of young people that died of suicide were prone to having exceedingly high expectations of themselves.
This trait also affects people physically and medically. Many perfectionists have high blood pressure and it has been linked to cardiovascular disease. The trait has also been found to predict early death among those with diabetes. This one single attribute can have sweeping and dramatic impact on a person’s life, health, and happiness. There is nothing wrong with striving for high achievement or being conscientious, but it’s important to know if you have crossed the line to perfectionism.
If you want to talk with someone to assess you for perfectionism or resulting issues from it, please call us now at 763-416-4167, or request an appointment on our website: WWW.IPC-MN.COM so we can sit down with you and complete thorough assessment and help you develop a plan of action that will work for you. Life is too short to be unhappy. Find the peace of mind you deserve.
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