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Therapy Chat: Perfectionism, Codependency, and Worthiness

Perfectionism, Codependency, and Worthiness


Recently I had the honor of being interviewed on the Therapy Chat podcast.  Therapy Chat is hosted by Laura Reagan, LCSW-C, a psychotherapist in the Baltimore area and a fellow “recovering perfectionist”. Laura and I had an amazing conversation all about my favorite subjects: perfectionism, codependency, anxiety, and worthiness.

You can listen to the episode here:

Episode 28: Understanding Perfectionism

Be sure to listen all the way to the end for my special freebie!


Letting go of perfection

For me, perfectionism is a shield. It’s an attempt to cover up my flaws and missteps. It’s like armor that I put on to protect myself from criticism. It prevents you from seeing who I really am. I keep my vulnerabilities hidden by trying to appear like I’ve got it all together.

Underneath perfectionism is a deep sense of being unworthy. I have to continually prove my worth by achieving more, doing more, being perfect. And I will always fail because I can never be perfect. Perfectionism leaves me feeling empty, alone, and unlovable.

Letting go of codependency

As a codependent, I’m overly concerned with trying to change, fix, rescue, and please others. My self-worth is based on being needed and making others happy. My relationships are out of balance and the focus on other people’s needs means my needs are neglected. I grow resentful. My life feels out of control and I feel afraid and anxious.

Letting go of anxiety

As I try to let go of perfectionism and people-pleasing, and reveal my true self, I get uncomfortable. Other people are unhappy with the changes I’m making. My anxiety rises. And the quickest way to relieve the anxiety is to put my armor back on. I feel comfortable beneath the cover of perfectionism and people-pleasing.

As you can see, letting go of perfectionism and codependency, often means increased anxiety in the short-term. A counselor or mental health professional can be helpful in learning to manage your anxiety. This is a critical step because if your anxiety takes over you will revert back to old behavior patterns.

I hope you’ll take time to listen to my interview on Therapy Chat to learn more about how perfectionism and codependency and learn strategies to begin to heal and claim your worthiness!




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Therapy Chat: Perfectionism, Codependency, and Worthiness

Sharon Martin, LCSW

Sharon Martin is an emotional wellness speaker, writer, and licensed psychotherapist. Her San Jose based practice specializes in helping over-stressed, high achieving adults and teens learn to embrace their imperfections and grow happiness. Her personal journey of overcoming perfectionism and people-pleasing traits, inspired her passion for this work. Sharon is the author of Setting Boundaries Without Guilt: A Workbook to Move You From Doormat to Empowerment. Sharon also enjoys teaching blogging and writing classes for therapists. You can find her on Twitter, instagram, and her website.

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APA Reference
Martin, S. (2018). Therapy Chat: Perfectionism, Codependency, and Worthiness. Psych Central. Retrieved on October 21, 2018, from


Last updated: 6 Jan 2018
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 6 Jan 2018
Published on All rights reserved.