Are you a perfectionist? Do you feel compelled to excel? Do you pride yourself on being rational and methodical in your approach to work? Are you hard on yourself, or do you never quite live up to your own expectations? If you answered yes to any of these questions, chances are you may have a perfectionist personality type. Read on to know more about perfectionist personality types.
Perfectionism Traits at a Glance
Prone to Depression
Perfectionist Personality Traits
According to the Enneagram, personality type assessment, Perfectionists are fair and objective people who strive to live good lives. They are accurate, thorough, and orderly. Perfectionists view themselves as rational and principled and want others to view them as reliable, responsible, and hardworking.
Perfectionists have a strong sense of purpose and high ideals. They like to excel in whatever they do. Perfectionists are extremely detail-oriented and methodical. Perfectionists sometimes come across as critical and judgmental. They have a harsh inner critic that sometimes spills over into their relationships with others. Perfectionists may become easily frustrated in group projects if they feel others are not “pulling their weight.”
People with the maladaptive form of this personality type tend to deal with self-esteem issues. They are extremely self-critical and have a need for positive feedback from others to bolster their sense of self-worth. They may become very obsessed with others' opinions. Their need to strive for flawlessness, in combination with their extremely self-critical nature, can leave them vulnerable to depression and intense anxiety. Sometimes they externalize their personal disappointments by focusing their judgment on those around them. They don't always correct people to “be mean” or harsh, but because they have an inner desire to prevent others from making mistakes or getting hurt.
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Psychology of Perfectionism
Perfectionism has received several definitions in psychology. It was first studied in the context of mental health research as a one-dimensional, negative, and damaging trait.
It was later conceived as having several distinct dimensions, which better reflects the fact that a person can be a perfectionist in some ways but not always. Several models have proposed different dimensions.
Types of Perfectionism
There are 3 common types of perfectionism i.e., socially-oriented, self-oriented, and other-oriented perfectionists people. Since perfectionism consists of both personal and social dimensions, three forms are distinguished.
- Self-oriented perfectionism: implies extremely high personal standards, aspirations of perfection and high self-criticism if these expectations are not met.
- Socially oriented perfectionism: The conviction that perfection is important for others and what we expect from them the satisfaction of these expectations.
- Perfectionism oriented towards the other: expectation that others are perfect and in this case, the criticism in case of failure is directed towards them.
The research, investigating the trend of each of these dimensions, found that to date, the socially prescribed perfectionism would have increased by 33%; the one oriented towards the other would show a 16% growth, and the self-oriented one would grow by 10 %. Although the study is of an observational nature and does not explain the reasons for this increase, the data that emerged are nevertheless interesting and offer points for reflection and further study.
The Benefits of Perfectionism
Not all perfectionism is bad, particularly if it is targeted to one area. For example, an elite athlete may be a perfectionist when it comes to training. He/she has the motivation to work out rigorously every day; they learn from their mistakes and actively try to fix them. This form of perfectionism is a generalized form that tends to be focused on one area of life. This can actually be healthy, pushing the individual to work harder and achieve greater goals.
Many people are perfectionists to a degree; those who are career-driven, for example, might be considered “perfectionists” if they are always striving to perfect their technique. In some careers, it is ideal to have someone who is a bit of a perfectionist. Most people don't want to get on an airline with a half-assed pilot.
The Dark Side of Perfectionism
When perfectionism takes over numerous aspects of life, it becomes problematic. It's impossible to feel joy in a life where you feel you never measure up. Perfectionism can lead to frustration and crippling fears. Some people who are extreme perfectionists never excel at anything. They refuse to try simply because the fear of failure is so great. If you don't try, you can't fail – so there's a certain comfort in mediocrity that can set in.
Extreme perfectionists struggle with acceptance and routinely set themselves up for failure. The ideals they hold in their minds do not match the reality of what is truly possible. It becomes a vicious circle of failure, lowered self-esteem, and even depression or feelings of despair.
Are You a Perfectionist?
There are some interesting quizzes online that can help you assess your level of perfectionism and if it is hindering you in life.
The BBC has the multidimensional perfectionism scale questionnaire to help you determine how much of a perfectionist you are. It has 35 questions and takes less than 10 minutes to complete. The end results compare you with others who have taken the assessment, giving you an idea of where you rank for each category.
The perfectionism test on Queendom is very enlightening. You don't have to register if you don't want to. The testing is thorough, and the results are explained very well. It turns out despite my concerns; I have a healthy level of perfectionism :). How about you?
What type of perfectionist are you?
· A self-oriented perfectionist driven by a personal need to excel
· Another oriented perfectionist. I struggle to accept others "as is" and can be overly critical of those I love because I want them to succeed at all costs.
· Socially prescribed perfectionist. I believe others hold me to impossibly high standards, and I am always pressured to "perform" to satisfy others.
· I don't think I am a perfectionist, really, but I do display some of the traits sometimes, not enough to interfere with the quality of life, though.