Sometimes it feels like there's a storm-a-brewing inside! And maybe there is!
When we are living in a time of high stress, our bodies respond differently to information coming toward us. Our bodies and mind have their own way of dealing with this information. And nothing makes this more difficult than struggling with high stress AND perfectionism.
It's easy to lose sight of the costs of trying to be perfect. Quite often we are protecting ourselves from dealing with difficult feelings. For many, it becomes a survival strategy...to compensate for not feeling we are good enough. We over-function to meet this perceived external standard. Our feelings of inadequacy drive our perfectionism. It may be that you choose perfectionism because it is the one thing you CAN control. The bottom line is, that it's something that we can control.
Being in a relationship with someone struggling with addiction...well that's certainly not perfect. And the two red flags for perfectionism are trauma and attachment, both very common in relationships with an addicted person. Perfectionism causes internal torment but it also wreaks havoc on our relationships with other people. Relationships suffer partly because our minds have been re-tuned by the standards we think exist. It's a rigid mindset that has huge repercussions on our ability to connect with others.
Perfectionism is quite anti-social. We are not only judging ourselves - but others: no one can do things better than I can; I am critical of people who don't meet my standard; I get disappointed easily; I play the martyr; I am always comparing and if others are better at something -- I am envious and makes me want to get rid of the competition.
And this is where the struggle lies! On one hand, we use perfectionism to raise the bar, to achieve things, to stretch. But on the other hand, perfectionism breaks apart relationships! And when this relationship is with someone who is struggling with addiction, we compound the complexity of the relationship.
In what ways does your perfectionism work against you? What do you get from this loop of perfection? What is the reward? How does perfection hurt you?
Life isn't perfect.
Do you experience anxiety, chronic lying, chronic avoidance, exhaustion, or anger....?
Take time to identify your successes...and flip them around - what is the cost of this success? Was it worth it? Do you project your standards on the people around you, even if they are struggling themselves? Is the value of your own perfectionism more important than your relationship with the other person?
Perfectionism is deep-rooted in our psyche and I strongly suggest you seek help from a clinical professional. As I mentioned, this is something you can control and a medical professional will be able to provide tools for you to move through perfectionism.