Perfectionism and relationships
“Type A” personalities are often perfectionists. They are ambitious and driven and often place success and achievement about relationships. The problems begin when perfectionists treat their personal relationships the way they do their business.
Most of us devote a lot of time and energy in an attempt to assert control over what happens to us in our uncertain progress through life. We are taught to pursue an elusive form of security that doesn’t really exist. We’re put on a dubious track that suggests if we succeed, we will be happy and secure.
We are also taught that it is important to form intimate relationships that satisfy important needs – access to sex, financial security, the ability to parent and to achieve other objectives involving self regard and emotional security. We are pushed to achieve economic success – go to university and get a good job but when it comes to relationships we are pretty much left to our own devices.
A big problem emerges when we try to control our lives as well as the lives of others. When we adopt this approach we tend to try get what we want at the expense of others. We live in a competitive society. We are forever dividing the world up into losers and winners, good and bad – judge, judge, judge…
Control is a popular illusion, closely related to the pursuit of perfectionism. We all know people who are perfectionistic. They tend to be demanding of themselves and others and end up alienating those around them. The problem with perfectionists and their preoccupation with control is that the qualities that make them effective in their work can render them insufferable in their personal lives. In relationships, we can only be successful if we learn to relinquish control.