Working Through the Taskmaster and Perfectionist Critics

This story is a continuation of Jeremy’s story, which dealt with Jeremy’s Taskmaster and Perfectionist Inner Critics.

When Jeremy started working on these issues in therapy, he learned that his Perfectionist was in fact attempting to protect him. It believed that if it forced him to make his work really perfect, he could prove to his boss (who this part saw as his father) that he was a success and deserving of appreciation and love. His Taskmaster also had the same goals, which he was supposed to achieve by working incredibly hard without rest.

b15 TaskMasterGradually Jeremy was able to negotiate with his Taskmaster so he could set more realistic goals for himself at work–ones that he could finish in a reasonable amount of time so he didn’t have to overwork. This allowed him to relax and have more enjoyment and connection in his life. It also allowed him to work in a more relaxed manner, which unexpectedly freed his creativity. This resulted in higher quality work with less effort. This was a big surprise!

He also negotiated with his Perfectionist Part to let up and give him some freedom. He experimented with giving his boss feedback on the progress of his projects and asking for his boss’s input. This way he could determine when his projects were good enough to turn it and move on to the next.

He learned that everyone wasn’t like his father. His boss could be reasoned with and would support him when Jeremy made realistic goals and kept his boss informed about the status of his work. He began to get excellent reviews from his boss and his career flourished.

BK007-Letting-Go-of-PerfectionismYou can use Self-Therapy Journey to work on either of these patterns or on other Inner Critic patterns. You can also read my book Letting Go of Perfectionism.

Procrastination as an Inner Rebellion

Jay Earley, Ph.D.

A common reason that we procrastinate is fear of failure. Another is fear of success. However, another interesting dynamics goes as follows: It is fairly common for Procrastination to be at least partly motivated by a desire to fight against a part of you that is pushing you to work hard. In other words, there are two parts of you at war-your Procrastinator and your Taskmaster. The Taskmaster Pattern involves pushing and demanding long, hard work, and also possibly judging you when you don’t meet these standards. [Read more…]