I’m a socially-prescribed perfectionist. Yep! I have a HUGE fear of failure and I’m terrified of embarrassment, shame, and guilt. This is why I’ve never understood writers who have told me, “Oh, my novel will be a bestseller and is so much better than those on the NYT Bestseller list!” Um…that’s so overconfident and bold. There’s just no way I could ever say that. I mean…wow…I’m way too critical of myself and nothing I ever do is as good as I think it should be. But I also fear success. I mean, if I succeeded, then that would mean pressure to ALWAYS succeed (at least in my mind). Basically, I’m neurotic as hell!
So much for not caring what others think, right? Still got lots to work on, it seems! Oh well…awareness is an important first step.
From the article:
“In contrast, socially prescribed perfectionists may be compared to neurotic perfectionists [a term originally coined by Hamachek] in that they do not derive pleasure from their labors and efforts and tend to view their work as inadequate or inferior. Furthermore, they report experiencing external pressure and or coercion to accomplish tasks. Therefore, the maladaptive symptoms of the socially prescribed perfectionist emerge not from an internally felt desire to be their best, but more from a fear of failure and/or a desire to avoid embarrassment, shame and guilt” (p. 154).