Control and perfectionism (as means of coping)

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Justme729

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Control and perfectionism (as means of coping)
« on: January 24, 2021, 10:55:32 AM »
One of my maladaptive coping strategies is perfectionism and control.  I can become very inflexible.   I recognize this as a sticky spot for me, especially professionally.   My team is very split in how we think and approach our jobs.  I’ve been accused of doing “too much” and being “extra” both currently and in the past.   I set the bar high for myself and my admin sees it, then uses that as the bar to measure everyone else.  It is causing conflict.   Conflict triggers due to PD parent experiences.   A comment was made during a meeting “even if we don’t want to do things that way, we have to because she does and that’s what admin wants.”    It isn’t true.   What I am doing is the expectation.   Not just in our team, but other teams and in the bigger picture across various locations.

  Anyways...I’m struggling.  I am a perfectionist.   I do a lot of things that are “extra” that I wish the team would get behind, but I don’t expect them to do so.  But- admin does see it & like it.  I don’t know how to find the middle ground without being the bad guy.

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lindentree

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Re: Control and perfectionism (as means of coping)
« Reply #1 on: January 24, 2021, 11:10:12 PM »
Just wanted to say I hear you and struggle with the same. I have seen it play out more in my marriage but in work, too. Too high expectations on myself and too high expectations on others.

Honestly becoming a parent for a second time has mellowed me out. I now let myself be "flaky" from time to time and do some things half a$$. Baby steps, I suppose.

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Justme729

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Re: Control and perfectionism (as means of coping)
« Reply #2 on: January 25, 2021, 01:08:51 AM »
Just wanted to say I hear you and struggle with the same. I have seen it play out more in my marriage but in work, too. Too high expectations on myself and too high expectations on others.

Honestly becoming a parent for a second time has mellowed me out. I now let myself be "flaky" from time to time and do some things half a$$. Baby steps, I suppose.

My first child I was super uptight.   She definitely got my perfectionism and I hate it :(
My other two children I care less and less.   I don’t care and love them less, just less caught up in the idea of being “perfect”.   Eat the darn fries off the floor of the car, you’ll live!   lol

At work, it’s another story.  My expectations of others are definitely high and it is frustrating when I see things done half way.   I have accepted my standards are high.   I cognitively know I can’t control others or hold them to my expectations.  It just hurts when admin is using me to measure others performance or set standards.   Yet, other times it’s something I know I shouldn’t compromise on.   Like, an issue at daycare involving the health and well being of my child.   

I really, really struggle with control.   It’s something I’m working with my therapist on....I can’t even really discuss or feel feelings because I worry about losing control of myself.   Even intimacy.  I had no control growing up and that’s all I crave now - is to control my environment as much as possible.   Even though it has turned into a maladaptive coping tool.

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Seven

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Re: Control and perfectionism (as means of coping)
« Reply #3 on: January 25, 2021, 08:06:06 AM »
I read the thread title and was like “oh, this must be Sis2”, except the fact that you recognize the issues and are working on them.  Her...not so much.  If she’s involved in anything it’s literally “her way or no way”.

That being said, I found a thing on Pinterest and of course clicked it. “Mothers Who Can’t Love” by Susan Forward. If you google “mothers who can’t love pdf” the first thing that should come up is a site called pdfdrive. You can pretty much read the whole thing by clicking “preview”   I’m still emotionally wiped out from reading it plus dealing with the circus that is my mother and siblings. But there is a chapter in there about controlling mothers and how children compensate. There is a working on self part of the book, but I haven’t gotten that far yet.  You should check it out.

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Justme729

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Re: Control and perfectionism (as means of coping)
« Reply #4 on: January 27, 2021, 08:53:29 AM »
I read the thread title and was like “oh, this must be Sis2”, except the fact that you recognize the issues and are working on them.  Her...not so much.  If she’s involved in anything it’s literally “her way or no way”.

Yea, this is definitely an internal battle for myself.  The instability of having a PD parent plus everything else has left me with a strong desire to control what I can.   One way of coping was school- throwing myself into it and that’s where the perfectionism comes in.  It was one of the only things I felt good at and got praise.  So I throw myself into work now.   With covid, professionally things are uncertain and it is a huge anxiety trigger.   I come across as not flexible or difficult to approach.   Or “that” coworker, a stuck up, “bosses pet” (like teachers pet).  I don’t like that but I can’t really change it either. 


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Call Me Cordelia

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Re: Control and perfectionism (as means of coping)
« Reply #5 on: January 27, 2021, 09:27:58 AM »
 :heythere:

This is me too! You described my childhood, JustMe. I had two OCPD very controlling parents, so I threw myself into schoolwork because it was measurable and I could actually know I was doing well at it. At home nothing was EVER good enough. Even my grades; I would get A’s but my mother questioned why they weren’t accompanied by enough positive comments from the teacher, father was like whatever that’s what you’re capable of so of course I expect straight A’s. Don’t get a big head now.

I have the same experience as a mother myself. I was crazy uptight with kid #1. All4Peace described my feelings well once. Being a mother was too important to mess up! But kid #5 has a completely different mother. And a better one, I flatter myself. Kid #1 is still school age, so I’m still a better mother for him too.

I’m a SAHM, but I’ve been working on my perfectionism at home. You wouldn’t know it to look at my house, but I’m a terrible perfectionist. I made a gigantic list of all the tasks I do regularly, and ways I could live with looser standards, which paradoxically led to more getting done. That might not be true for your job. But it led to better relationships with my kids. One example instead of doing the daily pickup until it’s perfect, I now set a timer for 15 minutes, put on some dance music, we all work with a will for that time and when the timer goes it’s done.

Maybe reevaluating your performance standards is a good thing. Does the extra mile really add value for time spent? It sounds like admin is putting you in a difficult position, which is familiar to me from jobs I’ve had, and at home. Sure admin likes when you work much harder. Being the golden girl comes at great cost. It’s like the old, “Why can’t you be like your sister?” It’s divisive. Is there an HR you can discuss this with? Perhaps frame it as a win-win. You’d like to be compensated accordingly for all the extra work you do, or you can aim for a more reasonable standard that would apply equally to everyone at your level.

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Hepatica

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Re: Control and perfectionism (as means of coping)
« Reply #6 on: January 29, 2021, 12:48:53 PM »
Justme729,

We all come out of our PD childhoods with overdeveloped and underdeveloped qualities. They're not so bad. They helped us live thru it. It's okay regarding the control and perfectionism. Look at all of the great things you have been able to accomplish because of it.

That said, I understand that you are beginning to look more closely at yourself, and you care about others feelings and the way the perfectionism makes you feel as well. It sounds like it is beginning to make you uncomfortable.

I think it's okay to sit with the feeling and notice it when it comes up. Is this level control good for you and is it needed? Is it good for your workplace? I don't think that you need to drop the level of work you do, but you probably do need to accept that others may not reach it the way you do, or that they contribute other things to the workplace that make things run well.

I honestly think that if you take some time to sit with the control and give it some space and have a little dialogue with it you can find out why it is so compelling and you can even tell yourself that it's okay to tone the perfectionism down now. You are not in an unsafe place anymore.

You can be messy. Others can be messy. Maybe there is even value in mess?

But also be grateful for the perfectionism and control, because it really helped you survive.

The question is, do you need it turned up to top level anymore? You can learn to adjust it.
« Last Edit: January 29, 2021, 12:53:25 PM by Hepatica »
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SaltwareS

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Re: Control and perfectionism (as means of coping)
« Reply #7 on: January 30, 2021, 03:59:14 PM »
I think you should continue to strive to do your best work. Where your "perfectionism" is getting you into trouble is you think you can go through life with no conflict. As soon as you shine, there will always be someone out there who will not like it.

Just because someone gets mad doesn't necessarily mean you did something wrong. Of course, all NPDs think this way to a very toxic degree. That's what makes recovery from NPD abuse so tricky. You want to be able to tolerate some tension without becoming NPD.

Really socially skilled people would be able to diffuse some of the tension, or get some of the target off their backs just enough for one day to get on with their lives.