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Anxiety, Stress & Coping
May 8, 2023
What Type of Perfectionist Are You?

Elena Karamanova

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Breaking Down Perfectionism: Exploring the Three Types

When it comes to perfectionism, clients are often surprised to hear that there are different styles of perfectionism. While all are rooted in setting unrealistic/unattainable expectations, the source that drives these expectations differs depending on the type of perfectionism. If you have recently begun the journey to challenge perfectionism, it may be helpful to understand the beliefs and behaviours associated with your style of perfectionistic views.

The self-oriented perfectionist

Self-oriented perfectionists are the most common type of perfectionists, and often the ones portrayed in media. These individuals set high standards for themselves, have trouble making mistakes, struggle with self-doubt, and direct their criticism toward themselves. They can overwork themselves based on these expectations and are known to excessively check their own work as a lack of self-trust. Often seen holding the view that, “If I experience failure, then I am not worthy.”

The socially prescribed perfectionist

Socially prescribed perfectionists’ unattainable standards come from the belief that others are holding these expectations on them and that they must meet these requirements to gain outside approval. These individuals spend a lot of their time concerned with how they might be perceived by others and often assume that people will automatically view them negatively. People-pleasing tendencies are common here, often driven by the belief, “I must make sure other people like me to be worthy.”

The other-oriented perfectionist

Other-oriented perfectionists direct their unrealistic expectations toward others, criticizing anyone unable to meet these standards. These individuals have an excessive need to be in control, find it difficult to trust others, and struggle to divide the tasks amongst other people as they often take on all the responsibilities. Expects that others should be able to anticipate their needs without directly communicating this. Driven by the outlook, “Everyone around me must meet my standards.”

Perfectionism can create additional stress and make it difficult to manage when there is a lot of inner criticism present. However, this does not have to be a permanent outlook in your life. If you are looking to explore more of your perfectionistic tendencies and to challenge your inner critic with insight and new strategies, don’t hesitate to book a free 15-minute meet and greet with Elena Karamanova!


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