Perfectionism -is this a problem for others with cptsd ?

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Dutch Uncle

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Re: Perfectionism -is this a problem for others with cptsd ?
« Reply #15 on: February 11, 2016, 12:44:14 PM »
I don't in any way mean to say you're doing something wrong,
None taken. Thanks for your thoughtfulness though. :)

What you say resonates well, so thanks.  :thumbup:
I'll get there one day, I've come a long way already.  :yes:

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betamax524

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Re: Perfectionism -is this a problem for others with cptsd ?
« Reply #16 on: February 12, 2016, 06:27:18 PM »
I have the same problem as well :~0 Growing up, I was the only child in a house full of busy adults, and most of them were emotionally distant, so I turned to people at school to get the validation I needed. Problem was, they quickly labelled me as a "gifted child," and started placing all these high expectations with me, so I cam to associate validation and achievements with attention and "love." (It doesn't help that my usually distant family would pay more attention to me when I bought home medals.)

However, over time, this lead to me being extremely afraid of failure and the (perceived) inevitable rejection, so I ended up stuck in a vicious cycle of procrastination and stressful cramming-because I was never sure I could "do it right." I still have vivid memories of panicking and crying over month-long projects that I would do the night before they were due, and not having the words to explain to my mother why I just didn't do it immediately. But I pretty much ignored this stress, which meant that come college, I collapsed without some sort of rigorous system/outside pressure to somehow "reign me in."

Currently I'm on a break from school for an indeterminate amount of time, and this has helped me relax a lot, but at the same time my perfectionism has seeped into things I enjoy :~/ It's frustrating to not be able to just do the things I want to do, out of fear that people will reject me. There's a lot of insight in this thread that I'd like to try, though, and hopefully I can bring this up with my therapist when we find a new one! (If you're curious, it's simply a matter of practicality. I'm pretty comfortable with my current therapist, it's just that he works near my college-which happens to be 3 hours away from my house. Bummer!)

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Sceadu

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Re: Perfectionism -is this a problem for others with cptsd ?
« Reply #17 on: July 27, 2016, 02:46:16 AM »
Hope I'm not out of bounds in posting on an older thread, but . . .

So many things in this thread resonate with me!   Yes, yes, and extra yes.  I am a perfectionist because being perfect makes me safe.  I was labeled as gifted before I even entered school and always had higher expectations than other students.  Other students were allowed to be average, but if I made any mistake at all, it always elicited a lot of unwanted attention.  My feelings were also expected to be perfect when I went home to my family.  I was socially awkward and different from my peers, so pleasing adults was how I found acceptance.  This was particularly true with my behavior; if I misbehaved, I often found myself receiving disproportionate or merciless punishment because the teacher/authority figure needed to prove that my intelligence and work ethic did not make me "special" and immune to punishment.  Like other posters have said, being mostly perfect became a prison because it only led to continual expectations to be mostly perfect.  I developed OCD in middle school as a consequence.

I can tackle projects with great enthusiasm if I think that I can make them nearly perfect.  This sort of stress-fueled drive is what got me through college (and graduation with high distinction).  I have struggled with my job from the beginning because I was verbally abused by my mentor in my internship, who told me that I had chosen the wrong profession and would inevitably fail.  Every time I have to do a project for work I hear her words telling me that I chose the wrong path and that I'm not good at this.  If I can't do something perfectly, there's no safety, only the risk of drawing attention to my failures.  I feel like my job is a constant exercise in exposing my vulnerabilities, and I often feel like a fraud, because someone will see my work and realize that I am bad at my job and should be rejected/fired.  Academics were always the arena where I could prove that I was a worthwhile person, because heaven knows I didn't have that kind of security in my social life.  It was always that sort of hope, like, high school is awful, and I will get out of here some day, and my grades are the promise that one day I won't be bullied and alone.

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Boatsetsailrose

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Re: Perfectionism -is this a problem for others with cptsd ?
« Reply #18 on: July 27, 2016, 07:55:56 PM »
Sceadu
Thank you for posting ...
You have shared some ponient things that I haven't had the words for ( I nearly said wouldn't have the words for and then realised that was tapping into the 'not good enough language of which I am coming to realise is not always the truth ) .
Quote 'my feelings were also expected to be perfect when I went home to my family' I have never thought about this but it is so true, don't express or show yourself no ones is bothered anyway ....

Regarding your job this is exactly how I feel ... Where others get joy from doing things well I just feel rubbish and that I will get found out and sacked ...
My boss , my driving instructor and others say 'the thing is you don't see your abilities ' and I think 'what abilities ' it's like that part of my brain is missing ...
I can't relax in my work and feel under threat
Exhausting
Saying 'I am enough, I do enough does help -
Reflecting on my work day and looking at what I have done and pulling out something (s) that I did good 'enough' and finding someone to talk to about my job and insecurities is important ...
I have to say the perfectionist stuff is dying down now I am back on medication but I don't want that to be the long term answer - I want to be able to 'work with these damages I have ...
It's so core and fundamental I honestly felt I was going mad with this stuff , it was seeping into everything to the point where I was so obsessional and disabled ...

There is hope for sure and from my previous experience working with a therapist seems key

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Sceadu

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Re: Perfectionism -is this a problem for others with cptsd ?
« Reply #19 on: July 27, 2016, 09:48:45 PM »
The interesting thing about the emotions part is that my parents were NOT overtly abusive.  They were invaliding at times.  I suspect this is because they were raised in a very staunch religious culture where displays of negative emotions were seen as almost unholy.  My dad especially had a very cold mother who was not nurturing at all, and I think he reacted negatively to my emotions because he was taught to react negatively to his own emotions as a child.  They say that we are most often critical of people who embody things that our Inner Critic beats ourselves up for.  I don't hold a grudge against my parents because they didn't know what they didn't know.

I became very stressed by school early on.  I do not have happy memories of elementary school and I do not think of childhood as being carefree.  I think that my nervous system was probably overaroused for a lot of my growing up years.  Because I was so sensitive, I would snap at people in my family because that was at least a little bit safer place to reveal my negative emotions than at school.  It didn't help that I lived in such a small town, and my mom worked at my elementary school.  She was sort of compromised as an advocate for me because the adults who were critical of me were often her friends and colleagues.  It was often convenient for my negative feelings and experiences to just dissipate on their own because it meant a lack of confrontation for my peace-loving parents. 

My internship at the end of my undergrad years was far and away one of the most overtly abusive experiences I have ever had in my life.  My mentor was the only person I would see (other than the "customers") all day because it was a very independent work environment.  Five days a week, seven hours a day, it was the abuse channel.  I would dream that I was there and being abused and then get up to go be abused some more.  Someone asked me once what my proudest accomplishment in my life was, and I said it was surviving that internship.  Surviving is a relative term.  I still wish I could be "perfect" enough at my job to feel like no one would abuse me like she did.  Two  years into my career, a "customer" launched a months-long campaign to get me fired for incompetence because of a very misplaced grudge.  That pretty much ripped open all the wounds again.

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movementforthebetter

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Re: Perfectionism -is this a problem for others with cptsd ?
« Reply #20 on: July 31, 2016, 07:10:34 PM »
Yeah, another perfectionist here. First I flunked out of college In college because I couldn't handle the pressure. The second time, a teacher said they'd break me of it but in two years it didn't happen. Instead I had 4 mini-breakdowns and 1 mega breakdown in which campus security was called because they thought I would be violent or self harming when I scored off-the-charts stress anxiety and depression. In reality I was a prisoner of my inner critic and reached the point that everything triggered panic. I graduated dean's list and won a scholarship but was to distraught to enjoy it. I cried the whole night before the award day and wanted to be working on school projects instead of celebrating.

I got this from my uPDM and it's usually her voice that pipes up when perfectionism kicks in. After 24 years of being a loafer my brain flipped and decided if things weren't perfect the universe would end. I realize now that both laziness/procrastination and overambition are reactions to my inner critic.

In my first career job post college perfectionism was practically a disability and I do not say that lightly. I worked countless hours of unpaid overtime on projects to make sure I put forward only my best work. This was awful because I was convinced my reputation and budding career depended on my capable success in a job that was actually a no-win situation in which I was being (and let myself be) exploited.

Now I am not working yet after being laid off and trying to untangle myself before moving on in work and life. I am trying to learn compassion for myself. It is hard but progress is happening. I have only just started to be aware of the inner critic though and I suspect that may be a lifelong project.

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Joeybird

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Re: Perfectionism -is this a problem for others with cptsd ?
« Reply #21 on: December 27, 2016, 02:31:16 AM »
I was told that instead of being perfect, my goal should be average. I have my own version of what is average for me. Believing that helped me very much.