Why am I so easy to control

Shedding perfectionism - this will make your life easier!

Perfectionism - a curse and a blessing at the same time

Letting go and clearing house and soul is the trend. More and more counselors urge us to hand over what is superfluous and obsolete. This is not easy for us with clothing and certainly not with behavioral patterns. Especially since we can't take them out of the closet like the summer sweater, turn them around and then decide that they no longer suit us - and let them go. After all, these are mostly unconscious structures; perfectionism is one of the most stubborn.

The perfectionist never arrives

"People with narcissistic traits, such as workaholics, as well as people with obsessive tendencies tend to be perfectionism," says Prof. Rainer Sachse, graduate psychologist and head of the Institute for Psychological Psychotherapy in Bochum, "whereby their perfectionism manifests itself in different ways."


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In narcissistic people, it is often expressed through work anger. They are ambitious and usually very successful. You strive for recognition through performance, you still want to be a bit better. Their motto is: faster, higher, further. But it's never enough, they never arrive. Once a goal has been achieved, they tackle the next project. You need the stress to feel alive, to feel yourself.

The fear of being a failure

"In their childhood, workaholics were often devalued by their parents or were only praised when they had achieved something. They secretly have the feeling that in truth they are unable to do anything, incompetent, a failure. And so that that just doesn't come out, drift they constantly strive to achieve new top performances, often far beyond their limits, "says Rainer Sachse. Until the burnout slows them down at some point.

Watch out, all perfectionists!

Studies at the Universities of Florida and British Columbia in the United States have shown that perfectionists are at increased risk of "becoming depressed or developing anxiety disorders." Chronic headaches can also be the result of an excessive striving for perfection, as a study on students in Canada found.

Don't make a mistake!

This also applies to people who are very neat and pedantic. "These are often characterized by compulsive features," says Prof. Sachse. "Your perfectionism is shown in the fact that you want to do everything correctly." They follow norms and rules in order not to make mistakes, are not very spontaneous, very controlled and control others to see whether others also behave in conformity. If they do not do this, it makes compulsive people insecure because they cannot respond to it within the norms they are familiar with. They are afraid of making a "mistake" and therefore being rejected. It is the fear of shame that makes them feel tight inside.

The eternal pressure to perform of the perfectionists

"As children, they learned from their parents that if they do not adhere to norms, they are punished and morally degraded, they will not be loved." Therefore, even later as adults, they often attach great importance to accuracy and want to get things done correctly. This can lead to the fact that they paralyze themselves out of sheer thoroughness: "If the boss says late in the afternoon that he needs something the next day and the employee should just let it be five, the main thing is that the essentials are there, an obsessive perfectionist becomes that probably not managed, "said Sachse. On the other hand, a narcissist - who is less concerned with the details than with the performance itself - would toil until 3 a.m. and hand in the paper. The two typos aren't nice, okay, but he finished.

Letting go makes life easier

"It is not easy to let go of people who always want to do everything precisely," says Professor Sachse. But you can start with small steps. Don't clean the whole room once when visitors come, just vacuum it. Treat yourself to an evening at the cinema, even when the mountain of iron is piling up. Leave something in the office that can be done the next day - and enjoy the summer evening.

The self-imposed stress often shifts to leisure

A narcissistic person, on the other hand, easily falls back into the performance trap when trying to let go of his perfectionist behavior. "There's the manager, for example, who comes into the tennis club to relax," says Sachse. "But after six months he's the best player of them all." And has even more stress. It helps to do something that is just fun. Or - consciously - to be lazy. But you have to practice that. Letting go also means being satisfied with what you have achieved and recognizing that there has long been enough evidence that you can do something - and that you will perform well again next time.

Know when it's enough

In this way, narcissistic perfectionists can gradually switch over to the achievement-motivated. These are people who are determined, enjoy and achieve a lot, who also take great pleasure in their work - but who also know when it is enough. Who know their needs and take responsibility for them. They know when they need a break, they set high but not unattainable goals. And they see mistakes not as evidence of their failure, but as an opportunity to learn. To do it differently and maybe better next time.

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