The Three Types of Perfectionist

There are a three kinds of Perfectionist Patterns.
Perfectionist Pattern

The Not-Enough Perfectionist

You always believe that you must do more on projects because they are not good enough yet. You work far too long on tasks because you are never satisfied. You often work right up until deadlines or turn your work in late. Your Perfectionist Part is afraid to finish projects because it believes this will expose your shortcomings and lead to your being judged, and—even worse—ridiculed.

The Creative Block Perfectionist

You can’t produce anything because it has to be perfect the first time. Your ideas are blocked because they aren’t good enough to put out. Your Perfectionist Inner Critic doesn’t allow you to be a learner or to experiment because both of those situations involve putting out work that is far from perfect at first. This frightens your Perfectionist Part because it is afraid of your being judged, shamed, or rejected if your work isn’t always perfect.

The Control Perfectionist

Your world must be perfectly in control and in order. You must get everything right. You must always do the right thing and make the right choice. Your home and family must look perfect. You must be perfectly groomed and behave impeccably. You exert rigid control over your behavior, which takes away your vitality and spontaneity. Your life must be perfectly in control and predictable in order for you to feel safe. And of course, this is impossible.

Your Inner Critic’s Positive Intent

Transforming your Inner CriticOne of the most startling discoveries about our Inner Critics is that they are actually trying to help us. This is an amazing, powerful secret learned from IFS.

In its own distorted, confused way, your Inner Critic is actually trying to help you. At first this may seem surprising, but once you get to know your Critic in a deeper way, you’ll come to understand why it is attacking you.

It may be negative and harsh, but it is doing so in a distorted attempt to protect you from pain. As strange as it may seem, we have found this to be true over and over with hundreds of clients, and so have other IFS therapists.

Your Inner Critic may think that pushing and judging you will protect you from hurt and pain. It may believe that if it can get you to be a certain way—perfect, successful, cautious, nice, slim, outgoing, intellectual, macho, and so on—then you won’t be shamed or rejected, and you might even get approval from people who are important to you.

It may try to get you to fit in by prescribing rules and then attacking you if you violate them. Even though attacking you actually backfires and causes you more suffering, your Inner Critic is doing what it thinks is best for you.

The good news is that because the Inner Critic actually has positive intentions, you don’t have to fight with it or overcome it. You don’t have to win a battle; you don’t have to get rid of it.

Instead, using IFS, you can discover what it thinks it’s doing for you and make a positive connection with it. You can offer it appreciation for its efforts, and it can begin to trust you. Knowing that your Critic’s heart is in the right place makes it possible to create a cooperative relationship with it and transform it into a valuable resource. This relationship makes an enormous difference in your internal landscape and sets the stage for deeper healing.

If you haven’t already, you can take a quiz to learn which Inner Critic is more trouble for you.

In a 9 week on-line course learn how to Transform Your Inner Critic using IFS and Self-Therapy Journey

Self-Revealing and Acceptance in an Interactive Group

InteractiveGroupAcceptance is the number one issue for most people in the early stages of an Interactive Group.

You want to reveal yourself, but only if you are going to be accepted by the group. You also want to be able to be yourself. You want to show your anger and your insecurity, your tears and your fears, your strength and your neediness. But it is critical that you be accepted as you are. It is also helpful for you to accept other group members as they are.

It is useful to share things about yourself that you have strong feelings about. Perhaps you need to talk about how you were abused as a child. Perhaps you are gay, or you are going through a painful divorce, or you are having anxiety attacks. Even though sharing these things is not officially “interactive work,” it is important to do, especially in the beginning of group.

It is especially important to share parts of yourself that you feel ashamed of. These are the hardest to reveal, because you expect to be judged and rejected. But they are also the most valuable because you really need to be accepted with these parts of you. You will discover that when you reveal these parts of yourself in an open way, not only are you accepted by the group, but people actually appreciate you more, because of your courage and vulnerability.

This is one of the magic things that happens in an Interactive Group. There is actually something beautiful about a person when they are being open and vulnerable, whether they are showing deep pain or insecurity or being caring toward others. We all have a great need to show these vulnerable parts of ourselves and be accepted, and in fact the group atmosphere makes it easy for this to happen.

People want to be able to love each other if only they are in the right environment to bring this out. Group members find it natural to be loving and compassionate toward someone who reveals pain or weakness. The pain is experienced as something precious and beautiful, and people welcome this kind of sharing. It makes them feel closer to you. It’s one of those poignant, special moments in group that everyone cherishes.