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The Psychological Wound of Perfectionism

The psychological wound of perfectionism is a secret wound that cries for help.

the psychological wound of perfectionism

Brandon and Betty are a gifted couple. They’re high scale in accomplishments in their respective fields. 

Brandon, in sports and corporate life. Betty, in art and academics. They’re a power couple.

Then one day, they came to see me.Their life went tumbling down. Brandon had an affair.

After several sessions, they’re able to put structure in place to pave the road to heal their marriage.

There’s one big roadblock though: perfectionism. 

Excessive self-criticism and other-criticism derailed whatever efforts or gains they’re having as they moved along.

Eventually they couldn’t bear it any longer. They decided to separate and divorce.

Perfectionism is defined as the need to be or appear perfect. It says perfection is possible.

Professor and writer Renee Brown of the University of Houston Graduate School of Social Work differentiates between “perfectionism” and “healthy behavior.”

She writes,

“Perfectionism is not the same thing as striving to be your best. Perfectionism is not about healthy achievement and growth.”

In the case of Brandon and Betty, perfectionism was used as a shield against emotional pain, judgment, shame, or blame.

It painfully backfired.

Perfectionism caused them to place unrealistic standards on each other, and less focused on the process.

It then produced overwhelming, unnecessary stress and pressure into the relationship.

The psychological wound of perfectionism impacts multiple domains in our lives, not just the relationship domain.

This includes life domains, such as physical activity or sports, friendships, workplace performance, hygiene or health, environment or surroundings, one’s speech, or physical appearance.

Clinical studies show a high correlation between mental health issues and perfectionism. Issues like OCD, anxiety, rage, insecurity, or depression.

Zoom in on perfectionism. Learn how it affects mental and physical health, and things that one can do about it.


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