Hi, I’m Marilyn O’Malley and I’m a perfectionist!
It all started when I was four years old and my parents got in a big fight in front of me and I thought it was my fault for having too much fun. Shortly after the fight, my parents divorced and no one explained the disappearance of my father to me. Then my grandmother pulled my little four year old body close to her and looked sternly in my eyes and said, “you’d better be good for your mom or you could lose her too!”
Holiest of crap! I became the good girl extraordinary instantly. Being young and sensitive I took everything I was told, literally. I was going to do whatever I had to do to save me and my family. And if I wasn’t perfect, I could loose everything. “I”, no longer mattered. I vowed to not need or desire unless it wasn’t too much trouble, to be strong, put everyone else first, be fearless and loyal to my family… I was the emotional support of my family at the expense of myself.
How about you? Any childhood experiences or traumas that scared the shit out of you, so much so, that you believed you better become the perfect child problem solver for your family, so your world wouldn’t come crashing down on you?
Or maybe your world did come tumbling down and you were the only one capable of putting or holding it energetically and/or emotionally together.
I have a couple clients that were bullied as children and they created an inner bully, their perfectionist who was on vigilant guard to make sure no one ever hurt or bullied them again. They are highly critical of themselves 24/7 so no one else can hurt them. . They had to come up with methods to survive in order to feel safe in their environments since they didn’t feel others could protect them. If I am good enough and not broken, this woundn’t be happening to me, I would be protected, loved and accepted.
Does that sound familiar to any of you?
My charismatic leaders who have had traumatic childhoods, who need to be seen and heard, loved and cherished go through anguish times believing others are going to find out that they are imposters, because they do not feel perfect enough to lead. It doesn’t feel safe for them to be so vulnerable in front of others where they can be criticized, hurt, and abandoned.
At home or in school they have been told to tone it down, they are too much, or who do they think they are to want so much attention. So they became straight A students and did things to stand out to get the attention they desired. So critical of themselves are they, that one moment they are leading in their brilliance and the next they are in a fetal position on the couch painfully recounting what they should have done better and where they weren’t perfect and asking were they too much…
So as you can see from the above examples how perfection rose up out of not feeling safe and how we were so brilliant as a child to design a means to create some sense of safety for ourselves. Creating guide lines to keep us safe and get our needs met.
So let’s CELEBRATE that brilliant child that we were for being so innovative, courageous, smart, resistant, and resourceful to keep us safe and moving forward! I INVITE us all to find compassion, forgiveness and love for ourselves, then and now.
What needs to be addressed now is that we no longer need to be so critical of ourselves. It is more important for us to become ourselves and to be able to ask and receive what we need and desire in our lives. It is time for us to heal the wounds and traumas that keep feeding the perfectionist in us. It is time to give our inner child what they missed as children and what makes us unique and authentic adults. Love, attention, and honor.
Learning how to give and receive what we desire and need is key. That is not easy for a perfectionist. It doesn’t feel right doing for ourselves at first. Small steps are usually needed to feel safe being so vulnerable. Getting out of our heads and into our bodies is a feat in itself. We have to give ourselves time to become aware of the thinking and beliefs that are driving our unconscious perfectionist
Perfectionism is damaging our health and creativity because we are in constant stress of fight or flight, raising our cortisol levels, burning out our adrenals and more physical problems.
Mentally it is draining us of creativity because we are in the past or in the future and not in the PRESENT where we create and heal. All our focus is on what we don’t want instead of what we desire. So guess what happens? We’re creating all the things we don’t desire and creating more stress and proving ourselves right that we aren’t good enough.
When we are not in the NOW we can’t be intuitive either. When we are stressed, our mind is spinning and we aren’t in our bodies feeling. When we aren’t feeling our feelings we’re not processing them and we’re not receiving important information that can serve us manifesting the life and business we desire.