I think that the only people who truly understand the suffering, shaming, hating, and degradation a perfectionist fights every day is their mother. I was 16 when it was explained to me that I wasn’t going to receive any lecture or punishment for my actions because I did a far more severe job than anyone else could ever approach. In fact it was brutal.
People often joke about perfectionism and the sheer idiocy a perfectionist will put themselves through to just get it right. I’m not even talking about IT being perfect. We have to get IT right before we get IT perfect. So imagine what we go through when we are doing something for the first time.
Anger is always just beyond the horizon for a perfectionist. It’s just behind the door, waiting and anticipating a perfectionist’s failure. If you think that you have seen this type of anger, maybe you have. But you definitely haven’t felt it. And anger is a pretty word for what really happens.
Self hatred and self disgust, that’s what happens. It’s so deeply intertwined in our fabric that if not physically, we will take it out on ourselves emotionally. We might punish ourselves by depriving ourselves of something we often find enjoyable, convince ourselves that we are worthless, and we will try to convince others this as well. We simply don’t deserve to be in the human race.
Now try to appreciate what a perfectionist goes through when someone else joins in on the self tear down. All they do is serve as an amplifier, multiplying the brutality to a ring of hell only Dante could conjure up.
I don’t judge or compare myself to others or what they see as their level of success. I judge and compare myself to what my father defined as perfect or success. Even though he has passed, about 12 years ago, he’s always sitting on my shoulder, sometimes whispering, or sometimes screaming at me about my imperfections. Something to gnaw on: a perfectionist is always striving to be god-like. And at the same time we are also punishing ourselves for our failure to be that god we envision.
Sometimes good enough isn’t just good enough, it’s perfect. So my fellow perfectionists, maybe we could be good enough for others rather than perfect for ourselves.
E.T. Aka Annie