31
Jan
14

Fighting the Demons

perfectionism-is-self-abuseThis quote is quite biting. For as long as I can remember I have struggled with perfectionism. If it is considered abuse it is ironic and terrible that I feel a sense of calm when things are in order…. how selfish and sick it is that I to find peace in something that is hurting me and those around me.

Yes, that all sounds harsh. If you think about it you may agree in its truth as well. The tough road is changing old ways, being OK with it, and moving forward no matter how many times you fall backwards….

Loving yourself is a hard thing. It’s a rollercoaster ride and most times I have no idea I am on the fast downhill part until it’s too late. It’s too late when my husband points out that I am being defensive in an everyday normal conversation. It’s too late when I have already avoided certain people, topics, activities. It’s too late when I am correcting my kids and not praising them for their amazing effort and tackling something differently than I would. It’s too late when I self loathe. It’s too late when I choose not to push forward, fight for being heard or seen. It’s too late when I give up and give in because I feel unworthy.

Now I wouldn’t say I hate myself or that I don’t even love myself I just don’t think I am what others say about me. Being confined by perfectionism is the curse in all of this. I am far better at dealing with perfectionism than years past but it is still the monster that resides under my bed and makes an appearance from time to time. Outwardly it is not as evident as it was once but internally is a whole different story. I feel awkward with most compliments from others, even including my husband. If I feel I have totally succeeded, left little to no room for improvement then I can happily and gratefully accept a compliment. BUT, if I feel it was not my best, needs work, don’t  see myself how the compliment giver sees me than I feel awkward because I don’t feel I deserve the praise.

I find it ironic that I am one of those compliment givers and find it odd when others say things like “it wasn’t that great” or “I don’t deserve this.” I know how others feel when I look to them and say the same yet I go back and forth on being O.K. with accepting compliments or not.

So this perfectionism thing has its good points and its bad points.

Goals: It creates goals for me and pushes me forward. I have a drive and determination unlike most which allows me to do what I set out to do.

Focus: The bad point of this is the focus that comes with it, I get blinded in my determination to the other parts of life and neglect other areas and people at times.

Expectations: I have a high standard for most things because I know it is attainable. I put a lot of expectations on myself, sometimes I put those on others because it is what is natural for me and I, at times assume it is natural for others. When I have not met my expectations I do not feel worthy of an “at a boy” or the like.

Taking charge: This is my down side to expectations. Because I feel something can be accomplished or completed in a particular manner I have a huge tendency to step in, take over, and not ask for help. I’d much rather not be pleased with myself if it fails than someone else. In a twisted view I see this as taking the load off others if I just knock it out when in fact most times I am robbing them of a blessing or making them feel less than.

Trying to keep the good points of how I see my perfectionism and throw out the bad is difficult. It is a moment by moment choice that requires thought and self assessment. I struggle with because I quickly get immersed in the task as I stated above and am not thinking of the rest of life.

This is also an exhausting battle. It is much easier to slip into the easy side of things when life is stressed, when I am tired or things are busy. I can easily focus on the physical need for the day, what HAS to be done today task and put aside everything emotional. That’s the easy part for me… what I slip into the old me who doesn’t have the energy to give to others routine. This doesn’t bode well for relationships. In fact it sends the relationship on a rollercoaster ride that is not enjoyable. All of which I am trying to overcome, to change my normal patterns. 

Lately I have been forcing myself to only do what the day requires. Do I NEED to do laundry today? Do I NEED to make a new batch of bread? Do I HAVE to go to the grocery? Do the decorations HAVE to be changed out today? If the answer is no I don’t do it unless I feel like it or the day allows. I am working to not have a long to do list each day that HAS to be knocked out before bed. This allows time for self, relationships and taking it easy. All of which do not create stress or anxiety and therefore my home, my marriage, my interaction with the kids is enriched, enjoyable and pleasant. Patience is longer, attention is sharper and we all feel loved.

Only if each day could seem as easy and relaxed as that; but honestly it is not and I do have days, it almost cyclical, that I get into the lets crank out today and tomorrows to do list regardless of the rest of life. It is almost like I can only handle things for so long before I dive in head first to perfect what I feel needs perfecting. I really can feel it most of the time, there is a physical urge to dive in but as I try to fight it but it grows stronger and before I know it I am 8 hours into a project without a thought as to the rest of the day or family. I am trying to navigate that feeling and urgency. Is it something I should succumb to and not fight to help ease the intensity? I am not sure yet. I am still learning and trying out things to reverse old and bad habits that are not fruitful to my relationships. If only I had a siren that went out off loudly with a blinking red light to warn me that I am on the verge of getting too immersed, focused on perfectionism and am about ready neglect to relationships.

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