Therapy for Perfectionism
“The greatest prison we live in is the fear of what other people will think.”
As far back as you can remember, perfectionism has knocked on your door.
You’ve always been known as responsible, mature for your age, excelling at everything you do. You’ve chalked it up to being driven, high-achieving, having high standards, or just as part of your personality.
If you get it “right” and don’t “mess up,” then no one can judge you. But you feel trapped in an endless cycle of shame because you’re never able to reach perfection.
Perfectionism may be affecting you most at work.
You don’t always have the confidence others perceive you as having but instead struggle with continually feeling “not good enough.“ Overwhelming situations make you want to hide, run away, or bury yourself in work. Anything to stay busy.
It’s rare you take a day off work, even though you have plenty of days accumulated. You’ve always had glowing evaluations and constant praise at work. Trying to get everything perfect and be “on” all day at work is too much now. Your energy and efforts are all poured into work.
As soon as you get home you crash.
And, then there’s procrastination.
You can’t seem to accomplish anything else, except as it relates to your career. When you get home, you appear “lazy” and procrastination becomes ever so present.
Being perfectionistic can often do the reverse of what it intends. Sometimes you might notice you don’t try anything at all if it’s not going to be perfect. It may be common for you to procrastinate on things where you feel “permission” to do so like, at home.
The driving force of perfectionism has become more of a detriment to you than a positive.
Perfectionism started for you when you were a child.
This started a long time ago. Turns out, you still remember the fear of not being loved, unaccepted, made fun of, or disliked if you made mistakes. At home, you had to be perfect to be accepted. Achievement and accomplishments were priority in order to fit in with your family. If you didn’t achieve or accomplish you got in trouble, were belittled, or criticized.
This has hurt you.
You became the best at everything.
Achievements were a way to gain a sense of self-worth but that never lasted very long. Underneath that, you still never felt good enough. And, you still don’t ever feel good enough or like anything you do is good enough.
Perfectionism has caused you to feel like you have to essentially hide something-an imperfection or insecurity.
Somewhere along the way, you learned to avoid pain through perfectionism. It was a way for you to create emotional safety and order while living in a chaotic environment.
Perfectionism came from a good place.
A place where you could feel in control in a world where you didn’t feel like you had any. This started as a way to be accepted, valued, praised, respected in your family, and loved.
But you were relied on too much. There was no one else to rely on but yourself. When distressing events happened, you realized no one would protect you but you. Mistakes couldn’t afford to be made. It sometimes felt like life or death.
It was a way to avoid pain or fear of failure. Perfectionism for you became a way to feel like you could prevent bad things from happening.
What are the signs of perfectionism?
Perfectionism can be seen as a way to adapt or as a coping mechanism for dealing with a difficult upbringing. While this may not be true for everyone, it’s true for you.
As a child, this would be considered a logical way to see your world because you were young and had to rely on the adults in your life to take care of you. You were reliant on them for survival. Everything your parents did, you had to make sense of, believe was right, or for the best. Rather than believe a parent was flawed, you believed that if you were just “good enough,” “better,” or perfect you would be treated better.
You learned to do whatever you could to be perfect so that no one could find fault and you wouldn’t be hurt.
And, you’re still doing this because you were taught to believe practice makes perfect.
You’ve been hanging onto this way of being for so long because you needed this to feel in control of challenging situations growing up. But this old way of being isn’t working anymore and is causing you a ton of stress.
You’re maxed out and don’t ever truly feel productive enough or valuable.
We live in a world of “never enough” which only reinforces perfectionism. You’ve been telling yourself, “I never work hard enough. I’m not doing enough to help others. I’m not healthy enough, successful enough, thin enough.” What this leads to is a cycle of guilt, shame, and disconnection from those you love, and staying stuck on the Ferris wheel of perfect.
How Counseling for Perfectionism Can Help
Therapy can move you towards trading up to healthy excellence instead of perfectionism. We’ll work together, so you can learn to remove the mask of perfectionism without giving up your strong work ethic or high, realistic standards.
Counseling can help you work through the idea that you can’t be vulnerable. It can help you learn to get to the root cause of what’s driving perfectionism. You can learn to release beliefs about yourself that keep perfectionism alive and well.
You can learn to let go of stressful, high expectations, that make you feel lonely and are wreaking havoc on you.
You’re ready to get untangled from this.
This isn’t how you want to continue living your life. You’re ready to be free from the burden it takes to carry the idea that you need to be perfect.
You don’t have to give up the gifts of perseverance, strength, a strong work ethic, or achievement. It’s just time to release what no longer serves you, so you can live without the bondage of perfectionism.
Start counseling for women dealing with perfectionism in Austin by scheduling a consult today!
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