Perfectionism: How does it effect people?

Do you struggle with needing everything to be arranged perfectly within your life? Learn about how perfectionism is displayed in others.

The pressure to be perfect begins at an early age. Parents, teachers, or society in general, all want the best out of a person. 

The same as many fathers, a friend was unhappy with his teenage son’s report card and was lecturing him about how good he himself was as a teen and brought out a set of report cards from his own school days. Unfortunately for him, the reports were far from excellent and his wife laughingly pointed out that he had pulled out the wrong stack.

Fathers aside, perfectionists have a tendency to set improbable standards for themselves and others. 

This study  from the department of psychiatry, University of Ottawa went on to establish some of the drawbacks of perfectionism and had this to say, “This article attempted to demonstrate that the perfectionism construct is multidimensional, comprising both personal and social components, and that these components contribute to severe levels of psychopathology We describe three dimensions of perfectionism: self-oriented perfectionism, other-oriented perfectionism, and socially prescribed perfectionism. Four studies confirm the multidimensionality of the construct and show that these dimensions can be assessed in a reliable and valid manner. Finally, a study with 77 psychiatric patients shows that self-oriented, other-oriented, and socially prescribed perfectionism relate differentially to indices of personality disorders and other psychological maladjustment. A multidimensional approach to the study of perfectionism is warranted, particularly in terms of the association between perfectionism and maladjustment.”

This is just one report. Scores of other studies have found perfectionism results in burnout, stress, workaholism, anxiety and depression. Some studies have found a link between perfectionism and suicide. Others have even found a relationship between perfectionism and psychopathology. 

Trouble first begins in many homes with so-called perfectionist parents.

Depending on the “perfectionist”, they can be nit-picking, nagging, obsessive and disturb and anger others near them. They not only have unrealistic expectations of themselves, but also other people in their lives.

Very often, the perfectionist is victim because they are unduly concerned about reaching the standards set by others. These mis-perceptions cause great anguish to the perfectionist.

Perfectionists also suffer from feelings of self-doubt and ineptitude. They always seek the approval of others, and without it, become very anxious and frustrated.

The three most common types of perfectionists that have been observed by mental health experts are the socially prescribed perfectionists, other-oriented perfectionists and self-oriented perfectionists.

Socially prescribed perfectionists are convinced that the people they are in contact with expect them to be perfect and that they are being closely examined by others. They often strive to meet others’ expectations.

Other-oriented perfectionists believe that it is important for others to be perfect and are often critical of family, friends and colleagues.

Self-oriented perfectionists are extremely self-critical and set unrealistic standards for themselves. They just keep up with the vigorous effort in all that they do.

Apart from mental illnesses, several physical ailments are associated with perfectionists and the sufferers of other-oriented perfectionists. 

Are you a perfectionist? How do you improve your quality of life?


Picture: Shutterstock / ID: 1427297438

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