Letting Go of Perfect

Letting go of perfect ~Paula Carrasquillo

source: Creative Commons by gnuckx

After posting Sociopaths, Approval and Victim Perfectionism yesterday, I thought I’d share how I discovered the root cause of my perfectionism, which I believe primed me for being a perfect target for the sociopath from my past.


Most of my adult life I was a perfectionist. I allowed myself very little wiggle room when it came to making mistakes. My perfectionism led to little mistakes becoming huge mistakes and little victories becoming completely diminished in my mind. I beat myself up over bad stuff and never gave myself any credit for the good stuff I created. Thankfully, I now understand the source of my destructive perfectionist thinking, and it has made all of the difference in finding my path in life.

As a child, I was a carefree and happy person. Despite my parents’ divorce and a few moves in elementary school, I was always able to push through the little and the big things with relative ease. I bounced back from change and disappointments like a spring.

At the age of 12 (puberty actually), my spring broke. One day I had an itchy and flaking scalp; the next I was being dragged to the doctor feeling completely ashamed. Psoriasis! Even the name sounds gross, huh?

I hated being associated with this condition. I hated when my friends would see my scaly elbows and say, “Ooh! What is THAT?! What’s wrong with you?!!” I had never gelt like such an outcast; it was crushing. I hated being preoccupied with hiding my little scaly patches on my knees, elbows, back and hairline. I hated avoiding activities like dancing for fear the costume would fail to cover me “just right.” I hated that my freedom seemed to be taken from me.

Early in my treatment, I knew that there was really nothing the dermatologist could do to help me. Sure, there was always a new lotion or cream to try. But they were just band-aids. And some of this crap stunk! I got so sick of it all. I stopped all prescription lotions and creams sometime in my early 20s. I became a Palmer’s cocoa butter girl. It helped to a degree, but because I felt helpless and like I had zero control over my skin, I pressured myself to expect nothing but the best in every other area of my life.

I had to get the best grades. I had to have the cleanest room. (If you had as many sisters as I do, you’d understand this one.) I had to have the best job. I had to be the perfect weight. I had to be the perfect wife. I had to be the perfect mother. I had to be perfect.

Period.

Being a perfectionist can lead a person to behave self-destructively. Perfectionists can suffer from a multitude of conditions including anorexia, bulimia, drug or alcohol abuse, binge drinking, obsessive compulsive disorder, and/or depression.

In two words: perfectionism sucks!

Why and how did I figure out that my inability to overcome my troubles stemmed from trying to be perfect? Like most people in denial about bad habits and addictions, I had to hit rock bottom. Once I did, I was finally determined to change and to never put my life and future at risk again. To accomplish this, I had to take a good hard look at myself in order to fix myself.

I inventoried my entire past, beginning with my childhood. I created a timeline of my happiest years and my most depressed periods. During happy times, my psoriasis flair ups were few. During unhappy times, my psoriasis flair ups could be best described as volcanoes, which left me feeling out-of-control, which led to me trying to fix myself with perfectionist thinking, which always failed, which led to extreme feelings of worthlessness and self-hatred, which led to self-destructive behaviors.

What a vicious cycle.

I soon realized that I had to shift my perception of the disease or continue being controled by it. I had to embrace my psoriasis (I’d be lying if I said I fell in love with psoriasis, but I have gotten as close to “being in love” as possible).  More importantly, I had to become dedicated to learning as much as possible about what psoriasis really is and how flair ups can be prevented in the first place.

While educating myself, I discovered and embraced mindful techniques and approaches to managing my condition. Yoga helps. Meditation and manifestation help. Sticking to a vegan/plant-based diet helps. Eliminating alcohol and sodas helps. Writing  helps. Talking about it helps. And the best part? Although I still have psoriasis (there is no cure), I do not allow the appearance of my skin to control me anymore. Flair ups happen, and that’s okay.

Through practicing simple acts of self-awareness, self-acceptance and self-love, I have been miraculously cured of my perfectionism and all of the distasteful side-effects related to that disease.

If you are a perfectionist and are tired of never reaching the peak of your potential, find out the source of your perfectionist thinking. Taking a good hard look at the source is the best way to eliminate this toxic thinking from your life and to start living more joyfully.

Namaste!
Paula Carrasquillo
yogi. author. advocate.

Sociopaths, Approval and Victim Perfectionism

IMG_7214.JPG

Sociopaths openly debase others in order to brainwash their new/current target into absolute and complete compliance.

The new/current target serves as the sociopath’s attentive audience. The new/current target listens with deep interest and awe as the sociopath talks about his disapproval and disgust of those from the sociopath’s past.

“She was so lazy.”

“She never cooked for me.”

“When she did cook, it was terrible.”

“He was so fat.”

“She pretended to work hard.”

“She was so fake. Her friends were fake too.”

“She only had that job because they didn’t know where else to put her in the company.”

“He was so arrogant and really thought he was something special.”

“She was so spoiled. Daddy was always bailing her out.”

“He just used me for my connections.”

“She gained so much weight and left the laundry unfolded for days in the basket.”

“She dressed like a slob.”

“She was so depressed and took pills and drank on top of that!”

“He was so worried about what others thought of him.”

“She stalked me! She’s crazy. She even wrote a book about a sociopath who seems to resemble me.”

“She was a horrible mother. Her family was a bunch of enablers.”

“If I had married her, I would have been miserable. She was just going to get fat and age like her mother.”

The new/current target takes detailed notes and vows never to allow herself to do or be those things for fear of losing the approval of the sociopath.

Being perfect. That’s what the victim makes her goal and purpose in life. To remain the “chosen” one who will never let the sociopath down and who will never be the subject of the sociopath’s diatribes against those who have disappointed him in his past.

Unbeknownst to the victim, all this complaining and criticism of others is part of her grooming and has nothing to do with who those people the sociopath is talking about really are and everything to do with elevating the new/current victim into a higher degree of compliance.

The harder and more vigilant the new/current victim works to maintain that unattainable and false sense of perfection, the weaker and more susceptible to emotional, mental, physical and spiritual injury she will become.

It’s sad and ironic how each victim/survivor is guilty of desperately trying to be perfect for the sociopath, only to lose themselves and became the polar opposite of perfection.

We broke down like an over-used washing machine and found ourselves empty and powerless. That’s what happens when we chase after perfectionism just to hold onto the approval of someone who isn’t worthy of our approval in the first place.

Release the emotional leverage the sociopath has over you. Let go of needing or wanting the sociopath’s approval or friendship or hoping the sociopath will one day appreciate you as a human being. It will never happen.

You’re dead to the sociopath, so why not make the sociopath “dead” to you?

~Paula Carrasquillo

Paula Carrasquillo Salvador Dali Perfect

Perfectionism and the perpetuation of abuse

Paula Carrasquillo Salvador Dali PerfectBeing a perfectionist is a tiresome way to be and it can lead to finding ourselves in relationships with others who criticize us repeatedly and incessantly, like narcissistic sociopaths.

When we emotionally abuse ourselves by demanding perfection in all we do, we run the risk of blindly accepting the emotional and verbal abuse from others. After all, we’ve been hearing those same “you’re not good enough” attacks most of our lives — from ourselves.

As perfectionists, when we hear criticisms of our choices and behavior coming from the sociopath, it seems normal and natural because we are already so hard on ourselves. What the narcissistic sociopath says simply reinforces our self-sabotaging thinking. We agree with the attacks, and we become more focused on being perfect to the point of losing sight of what is really happening in our toxic relationship. We don’t even question the abuse and control being inflicted upon us until it’s almost or often absolutely too late.

Fortunately, there is an easy fix to this. I believe that if we can stop emotionally abusing ourselves and turn off our need and quest for perfection, we will be more able to stop accepting emotional and verbal abuse from others. We’ll recognize it sooner as foreign and squash it like it’s a cold bug.

Many victims and survivors of pathological abuse from sociopaths and other Cluster B personalities think it’s enough to know how to spot these predators/abusive personalities. But that’s just step 1; there is a step 2 we must consider, because recognizing what an abuser “looks” like is not a guarantee that we will avoid getting sucked in by another one in the future.

Step 2: We must take a good hard look at ourselves and be willing to change our thinking and do the work to get there.

Perfectionism could be the thing about you that needs remedied. Are you a perfectionist? Are you ready to free yourself from this burden and start living in the beauty of realistic expectations and life?

You can read about my battle with perfectionism on Elephant Journal.

You can also learn about perfectionism and depression from Dr. Nicholas Jenner, a blogger and a counseling psychologist in private practice. He also offers cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and online counseling.

Namaste! Happy Saturday! ~Paula

My first article on Elephant Journal ~ “Letting go of perfect.”

Read the full article:
Letting go of perfect. ~Paula Carrasquillo

Letting go of perfect ~Paula Carrasquillo

source: Creative Commons by gnuckx

“Find the source of your perfectionism and open the door to your true potential.”

“Most of my adult life I was a perfectionist. I allowed myself very little wiggle room when it came to making mistakes. My perfectionism led to little mistakes becoming huge mistakes and little victories becoming completely diminished in my mind. I beat myself up over bad stuff and never gave myself any credit for the good stuff I created. Thankfully, I now understand the source of my destructive perfectionistic thinking, and it has made all of the difference in finding my path in life.” Read more…

Perfectionism, Denial, and the Dysfunctional Family (often known as The Narcissistic Sociopath’s Family)

20130205-123140.jpg
We hear a lot of talk about dysfunction. People enjoy pointing the finger of dysfunction at others. It seems normal and acceptable to label others and their families as dysfunctional based on their mistakes, trials, and tribulations. We do it with celebrities and others in the public eye all of the time. It’s what sells magazines and newspapers. Unfortunately, many of us are misinformed or uninformed about what dysfunction really means. Dysfunction is not synonymous with making mistakes or getting into trouble at school. Dysfunction occurs when making mistakes and getting into trouble at school leads to further harm, emotionally, physically, and/or spiritually. And perfectionism and denial are often the catalyst for dysfunction and its perpetuation.

Healthy people realize that there is no such thing as perfection. Couples argue. Children are disrespectful on occasion. Friends and family members disagree. All children, teenagers, and young adults experience growing pains. Through experience, we learn about what is and isn’t tolerated by others. We learn and foster our ability to empathize with others and become individuals others enjoy being around. As humans, our natural inclination is to seek out companionship, love, and acceptance. Regardless of whether we are introverted or extroverted, none of us can deny the fact that we prosper most when we accept ourselves and feel accepted and loved by others. It’s natural.

What isn’t natural or healthy is hiding behind a mask of perfection and denying our mistakes. When we do that, dysfunction breeds rapidly. Think about the parent who refuses to acknowledge their child’s poor behavior. Often, these parents are overheard saying, “Boys will be boys.” OR “That’s what kids do.”

Of course, boys WILL be boys, and children behave immaturely. But is that an excuse to ignore the behavior and act as if your child will somehow magically outgrow being hurtful to others? Children aren’t born with the capacity to nurture themselves 100%. They learn self-nurture skills from guardians. They need parents and/or adult role models to guide them and to teach them about consequences.

A Parent who is in denial (or simply can’t be bothered to parent) is quick to blame everyone else for their child’s poor behavior. It’s the teacher’s fault because she doesn’t know how to handle children. It’s the other kids’ faults because they are bullies. It’s the coach’s fault because he isn’t giving her son the opportunity to play.

Once her child reaches adulthood, the parent will continue her denial and blame (along with the child’s delusions) every time her son gets angry and lashes out. After all, he is perfect and everyone else has the problem. Not him:

1. “It’s the girlfriend’s fault he screams and yells and is suspicious of her. She should just love him. She’s the one who is depressed and with problems, not my son!”

2. “It’s the boss’s fault for not understanding genius when he sees it. No wonder my son needs to work for himself. He needs an outlet for his power and superiority.”

3. “It’s his friend’s fault they aren’t friends anymore. His friend didn’t give him the respect my son deserves. His friend has no right to keep secrets from my son or treat him like that!”

And the parent remains in denial even after someone finally has the guts to tell her that her son has serious personality issues and that’s why he can’t make long-lasting friendships, weather the normal storms of intimate partnerships, hold a job and grow his business, and accept his own role in mishaps and misunderstandings.

The parent is in denial and the grown child is in denial. The family prefers to make jokes about their shitty behavior instead of addressing how to fix their behavior. Everyone else is the butt of this family’s sick and twisted humor. All ex-girlfriends are crazy and depressed and are borderline and/or bi-polar. All ex-friends are cowards. All ex-employees are lazy. They hide behind this humor to project a perfect family, when in fact, this family has no clue what love really means. Their idea of family is incredibly distorted and false. This family is a perfect storm of perfect dysfunction.

Through denial and continued projection of perfectionism, this family unit unknowingly continues inflicting harm on itself and all others who dare enter it.

Maybe perfect does exist. Perfect dysfunction. They have it mastered. We should all just steer clear. Let them ride it out alone. Let them crash and burn. No extinguisher can save them now.

Namaste!

%d bloggers like this: