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  1. #1
    Furry Critter with Claws Kiddo's Avatar
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    Default Maladaptive Perfectionism

    Any fellow sufferers out there? Do you think INJs are especially prone to this "disorder"?

    The Confession

    I judge myself so harshly for my mistakes. I remember errors as far back as 2nd grade and continue to feel shame and embarrassment for them. I set vague impossible goals that I have no hope of achieving and then feel great disappointment when I don't achieve them. I end up paralyzed when it comes to starting new tasks because I have to get it just right and that leads to a pattern of procrastination. And of course, I do the self deprecation thing in order to get sympathy and affirmation from others. At times it seems I can't get anything started unless I am on the verge of a break down from the stress and anxiety.

    I've been like this since I failed and had to repeat 1st grade. My "all or nothing" thinking is something I have tried to combat in the past, but when you have thinking this way since you were very young, it is second nature.
    Quote Originally Posted by Silently Honest View Post
    OMNi: Wisdom at the cost of Sanity.

  2. #2
    ish red no longer *sad* nightning's Avatar
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    I too am prone. I have a bad habit of trying to take on too much and attempting to do things from scratch when it's clearly not necessary. And then there are times when I get don't care.

    I suppose it's not perfectionism I'm after, but rather efficiency as long as it meets quality control. My standards are fairly high to begin with though.

  3. #3
    Resident Snot-Nose GZA's Avatar
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    Thats sounds like a difficult thing to deal with, even on just a day to day basis, Kiddo. I really hope you overcome it, and you really shouldn't judge yourself like that because there must be so many great things you do/can do (I'm guessing anyway because you make many great posts).


    I'm very perfectionistic, but I'm generally not "maladaptive" because of it. Its only when my perfectionism mixes with my sometimes stubborn attitude about some things that it gets maladaptive. My perfectionism and idealism about school and my stubborn unwillingness to change lead to poor grades for years, including a lot of self-judgement, but recently I feel like I've woken up and found my way out of the spiraling situation. It's very relieving.


    Why would INJ's be especially prone to this... is it an Ni thing?

  4. #4
    Senior Member ThatsWhatHeSaid's Avatar
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    Something I've been thinking about lately is how to define "adaptive." If you think of adaptive as prolonging your body/ego, it may be very adaptive. If you think of adaptive as being happy and content, it's PROBABLY the opposite.

  5. #5
    Enigma Nadir's Avatar
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    This is a lovely label for and description of a bunch of my characteristics. There are times when I remember things I've done in the past -- foolish things, embarassing things, and I literally close my eyes and shudder, as a shiver of disgust runs through my body. I too have problems starting tasks unless I'm under great pressure, at which point it can be too late -- I wait for a perfect moment (that never comes) in a perfect order (that never exists) and so am a procrastinator that simply doesn't study even when failing is a possibility, which, if realized, invokes another wave of self-disgust that eventually helps consitute a sort of vicious circle. Self deprecation? Check, especially if under great stress due to these aforementioned factors. I haven't failed anything vital or of critical importance due to this yet, but it's certainly always a dire possibility, and I have underachieved.
    Not really.

  6. #6
    Emerging Tallulah's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kiddo View Post
    Any fellow sufferers out there? Do you think INJs are especially prone to this "disorder"?

    The Confession

    I judge myself so harshly for my mistakes. I remember errors as far back as 2nd grade and continue to feel shame and embarrassment for them. I set vague impossible goals that I have no hope of achieving and then feel great disappointment when I don't achieve them. I end up paralyzed when it comes to starting new tasks because I have to get it just right and that leads to a pattern of procrastination. And of course, I do the self deprecation thing in order to get sympathy and affirmation from others. At times it seems I can't get anything started unless I am on the verge of a break down from the stress and anxiety.

    I've been like this since I failed and had to repeat 1st grade. My "all or nothing" thinking is something I have tried to combat in the past, but when you have thinking this way since you were very young, it is second nature.
    I can absolutely identify with your post. Perfectionism is the very bane of my existence. It can and does lead to severe depression, and you have to decide to get help for yourself now. What I'm finally learning is that yes, there is hope, and there are things you can do to counteract the way your brain has wired itself, but that it's a lifelong thing that you'll have to fight. You have to constantly be on guard to fight off the negative stuff.

    I find that outside help is crucial, because without "permission," I seem to be unable to lighten up on myself. I need someone else to tell me when I'm being crazy with my expectations, and only then am I able to see that the problem is not my inability to measure up, but that the expectations were extremely unrealistic in the first place. Your family might be able to help here, but if not, therapy is essential.

    Also, you can't just tell yourself, "Don't think X." You have to replace it with a new thought pattern. You have to give your brain something to do, a more realistic goal to think about and work toward. Otherwise, it just feels like you're slacking off and failing, just like your brain thought you would. You have to break the destructive (and false!) pattern.

    Remember there are gray areas in everything--not winning first prize doesn't mean you've lost. And there are always other chances to improve. You have to let go of the idea of perfection altogether. Easier said than done, but still. Accept the fact that you will make mistakes, and that you can improve the next time you try. Learn to love the journey, and not focus so hard on the destination.

    If you want to talk, feel free to PM me.

  7. #7
    Occasional Member Evan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kiddo View Post
    Any fellow sufferers out there? Do you think INJs are especially prone to this "disorder"?

    The Confession

    I judge myself so harshly for my mistakes. I remember errors as far back as 2nd grade and continue to feel shame and embarrassment for them. I set vague impossible goals that I have no hope of achieving and then feel great disappointment when I don't achieve them. I end up paralyzed when it comes to starting new tasks because I have to get it just right and that leads to a pattern of procrastination. And of course, I do the self deprecation thing in order to get sympathy and affirmation from others. At times it seems I can't get anything started unless I am on the verge of a break down from the stress and anxiety.

    I've been like this since I failed and had to repeat 1st grade. My "all or nothing" thinking is something I have tried to combat in the past, but when you have thinking this way since you were very young, it is second nature.
    i, too, remember every "mistake" i've made and still feel the effects of them (social mistakes are by far the worst). although... i don't do much self-deprication, i'm pretty damn self-confident. it's just that i hold myself to higher standards than anyone else. (i don't mean to brag, but i still can't get over my 780 on the math SAT, and it was 4 years ago...)

    i'm an enneagram type 1, though.

    i also dwell on some iffy things i did with girls over three years ago...i wish i could let go, but i still wonder if i'm a good person...

  8. #8
    Senior Member tovlo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kiddo View Post
    Any fellow sufferers out there?
    Yes, I suffer.

    I have found some ability to overcome the paralysis by recognizing the unproductive nature of that expression and instead giving myself permission do things badly just so I can get things done.

    Quote Originally Posted by Kiddo
    Do you think INJs are especially prone to this "disorder"?
    I don't know. I do know that back on the INFPgc forum when I started a thread about perfectionism, Wandering (another mistyped INFJ) was the only person who seemed to resonate with my expression.

    I also know that in reading about INXJ's, stress, and eruption of inferior Se, it is apparently typical for us to feel out of control of the details in our life and to try to deal with that feeling of inadequacy by taking an obsessive approach to managing those details. That could translate as perfectionism, I suppose.

    Quote Originally Posted by GZA
    Why would INJ's be especially prone to this... is it an Ni thing?
    Well, it may have some connection to inferior Se as mentioned above.

    However, my sense is that at least in me it's also related to Fe. I care very much about meeting people's expectations. I want so badly not to fall short of those expectations that I will exert tremendous effort trying to cover every possible place where I could fail, usually resulting in putting forth an effort that is much greater than is actually required for the task. My attitude that any undertaking requires this enormous amount of effort in order not to be judged as failing often overwhelms me before I've even begun and I choose instead to remain inactive or downgrade to tasks likely far below my actual ability.

    Oh, and I also do the self-deprecation. I believe it is a coping mechanism to try to lower expectations so that the hurdle I have to leap over in order not to meet with judgement of failure is not so high.
    "We don't see things as they are,
    we see things as we are."
    ...Anais Nin

  9. #9
    Junior Member TheLivingCouch's Avatar
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    I suffer to Kiddo. While I’ve never heard of ‘Maladaptive Perfectionism’ before it certainly is as good a term as any to describe the hole I’ve pretty much fallen into. I’m also another one of those types who for no other reason than self deprecation remembers every little mistake and blunder I’ve made. Things I did in grade school that really don’t matter anymore still bother me from time to time. It’s not like I dwell on these things all the time but every time I make a mistake it comes back and piles on with the rest. Most of the time however, it doesn’t bother me.

    Ever since the end of the eighth grade I’ve been slowly but surely digging myself into this place where I can’t get anything productive done at all. I either spend my time worrying about it or doing things to take my mind off it and end up getting absolutely nothing of importance done in the end. I know that just getting things done is far easier than letting them stay undone, and that in many cases doing my school work half way is better than not doing it at all, but the same thing happens. It’s pretty much to the point where I have little to no motivation to get things done unless I’m under a great deal of pressure, and even then it’s iffy that I’ll get things started. The only good thing is that once I do get started I’ll absolutely follow through come heck or high water. It’s just getting over that hump that is the hard part, and I haven’t the faintest where to start climbing.

  10. #10
    Senior Member OctaviaCaesar's Avatar
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    I bought a wonderful book that I have used often to help me with my perfectionism. It's called "When Perfect Isn't Good Enough" and it's published by New Harbinger Press. I highly recommend it. Impossible standards are only the beginning of my problems--I enjoy the onslaught of magical thinking, etc. as well!

    Good luck with your attempts to fight it. You can help yourself and be an example to others suffering, too.

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