The Secret Struggles Of Being A Perfectionist

We aim at improving our performance on certain tasks, either at acquiring a new skill or securing higher status in our professions. Our quest could only be a healthy one, if done with a genuine pleasure – not trying to squeeze ourselves into what we are not; seeking to do everything perfectly with fear of being rejected.




Research say perfectionists can suffer emotional, physical, and interpersonal problems resulting from the stress that internal struggles to be flawless put on them.

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Gordon L. Flett, Professor in the Department of Psychology at York University in Toronto, says:

Perfectionism is the need to be – or to appear – perfect. Perfectionists are persistent, detailed and organized high achievers.

Perfectionists vary in their behaviors: some strive to conceal their imperfections; others attempt to project an image of perfection. But all perfectionists have in common extremely high standards for themselves or for others.

Professor Flett and Paul L. Hewitt, Ph.D. provide in their Multidimensional Perfectionism Scale, an emerging picture of perfectionism. The scale explores self-oriented, other-oriented, and socially prescribed as the three trait dimensions of perfectionism (the three types of perfectionists).

The leading scholars reveal the following secret struggles of being a perfectionist:

1. You can’t stop thinking about a mistake you made.

2. You are intensely competitive and can’t stand doing worse than others.

3. You either want to do something “just right” or not at all.

4. You demand perfection from other people.

5. You won’t ask for help if asking can be perceived as a flaw or weakness.

6. You will persist at a task long after other people have quit.

7. You are a fault-finder who must correct other people when they are wrong.

8. You are highly aware of other people’s demands and expectations.

9. You are very self-conscious about making mistakes in front of other people.

10. **You noticed the error in the title of this list.

Read also : The Narcissism Checklist

Professor Flett suggests extreme forms of perfectionism should be considered an illness similar to narcissism, dependent-personality disorder because of its links to distress and dysfunction.

- Paul L. Hewitt, Ph.D. & Gordon L. Flett, Ph.D. Perfectionism: Theory, Research, and Treatment
- The Multidimensional Perfectionism Scale - Multi-Health Systems Inc.

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