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Top 5 Dangers Of Being A Perfectionist

999295_29470621Whether you can’t tolerate your own faults or others’, demanding perfection can poison your life.

Here are the top 5 dangers:

1. Depressed Feelings

Having unrealistic expectations (they’ll inevitably be shattered) can lead to feelings of depression. Though perfectionism in and of itself doesn’t cause depression, it may be a contributing factor.

2. Anxiety and Nervousness

The anxiety-relief-anxiety cycle appears when you feel the only way to relieve anxiety is by working harder, doing more, being unrelenting. Go, go, go. This can happen in the gym, classroom, or office, but if you feel perfection is in your grasp, if only you do more, then anxiety can become a constant, and painful, companion.

3. Compulsions, Feeling Driven

If you can’t tolerate imperfection, if it causes so much dissonance that you become acutely uncomfortable, you might engage in compulsive behaviors to cope with them. They could be common, such as excessive hand washing (if you are anxious about perfect cleanliness and purity) or less common, such as repeated plastic surgeries (if you are anxious about less than perfect appearance).

4. Poor Relationships

If you demand perfection and can’t tolerate flaws in others, obviously your relationships will suffer. But often we are unaware of our motivations behind the way we treat others. If you feel your children, spouse, friends, or colleagues are constantly “letting you down”, if you feel irritated or angry with them much of the time, if you feel you have to “watch” or control them, you may end up with no companions at all.

5. Life Loses It’s Luster

Since no one can live up to perfection, if you demand it, you’re constantly in a state of disappointment. The feelings of depression, anxiety, compulsive behavior, and poor relationships, lead to a feeling that life isn’t joyful or meaningful.

What can you do if you find yourself in the Perfection Pit? More soon.


Top 5 Dangers Of Being A Perfectionist

Richard Zwolinski, LMHC, CASAC & C.R. Zwolinski

Richard Zwolinski, LMHC, CASAC is the author of Therapy Revolution: Find Help, Get Better, and Move On Without Wasting Time or Money and is licensed in addiction and psychotherapy with over 25 years experience as well as a consultant to organizations and companies in the fields of mental health and addiction. He is the executive director of an outpatient behavioral health program. Learn more about Richard here.

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APA Reference
& C.R. Zwolinski, R. (2014). Top 5 Dangers Of Being A Perfectionist. Psych Central. Retrieved on August 13, 2020, from


Last updated: 16 Jun 2014
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