Recently I had the honor of being interviewed on the Therapy Chat podcast. Therapy Chat is hosted by Laura Reagan, LCSW-C, a psychotherapist in the Baltimore area and a fellow “recovering perfectionist”. Laura and I had an amazing conversation all about my favorite subjects: perfectionism, codependency, anxiety, and worthiness.
You can listen to the episode here:
Episode 28: Understanding Perfectionism
Be sure to listen all the way to the end for my special freebie!
Letting go of perfection
Perfectionism is a shield. It’s an attempt to cover up your flaws and missteps. It’s like armor that you put on to protect yourself from criticism. It prevents others from seeing who you really are. You keep your vulnerabilities hidden by trying to appear like you’ve got it all together.
Underneath perfectionism is a deep sense of being unworthy. You have to continually prove your worth by achieving more, doing more, being perfect. And you’ll always fail because you can never be perfect. Perfectionism leaves you feeling empty, alone, and unlovable.
Letting go of codependency
As a codependent, you’re overly concerned with trying to change, fix, rescue, and please others. Your self-worth is based on being needed and making others happy. Your relationships are out of balance and the focus on other people’s needs leaves your needs neglected. You grow resentful. Your life feels out of control and I feel afraid and anxious.
Letting go of anxiety
As you try to let go of perfectionism and people-pleasing, and reveal your true self, you get uncomfortable. Other people are unhappy with the changes you’re making. Your anxiety rises. And the quickest way to relieve the anxiety is to put your armor back on. You feel comfortable beneath the cover of perfectionism and people-pleasing.
As you can see, letting go of perfectionism and codependency, often means increased anxiety in the short-term. A counselor or mental health professional can be helpful in learning to manage your anxiety. This is a critical step because if your anxiety takes over, you’ll revert back to old behavior patterns.
I hope you’ll take time to listen to my interview on Therapy Chat to learn so much more about how perfectionism, codependency, anxiety, and worthiness intersect.
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Thank you, I have already found some of these techniques sensible, now I just have to work hard to apply it.
Thanks, glad it was helpful!