Do I struggle with perfectionism? Absolutely. In fact, as I started to write this, I went searching for the “perfect” quote to match my thoughts about perfection and started spinning on which one was the “right” one.

Believe me, there were SO many that I found myself agreeing with and wanting to include. I could have put 20 or more quotes here and still left some off the list. But, I decided to choose this one because my perfectionism has full power to do this without intervention.

“But I am learning that perfection isn’t what matters. In fact, it’s the very thing that can destroy you if you let it.” 

Emily Giffin, Something Borrowed

I grew up as the child of a blended family when they weren’t the norm. My older brother was from my mom’s first marriage and 11 years older than me. Our younger brother died in a car accident two weeks after my parent’s marriage and I was born the next year.

Flash forward seven years and my brother was an alcoholic. He never dealt with the loss and change and internalized rage. As I grew up and watched him lose jobs and so many people in his life, I had to make up for it. In my head. No one else ever expected it but I had to be the “good” kid who wasn’t a worry.

I got straight A’s and scholarships and was in so many extracurricular activities. I have no idea how I did it all except I was a teenager and apparently had all of the energy in the world. I pushed myself really hard until senior year when I made a snide comment about it being expected and my mom came unglued.

She was livid that I would think that I should live my life to make up for him. And she was absolutely right. Side note: he did get clean and stayed that way. He died very early as a result of the damage he did to his body but he slayed that dragon every day and won.

I spent years not trying to do things. I hadn’t tried it and what if I wasn’t good at it? What if I failed? It was so limiting and so destructive. I knew what I was good at and stuck to those things. How silly is that?

So now, I’ve totally gotten past that, right? Ha! Snake is my sanity. He’s the one who can stop my spinning when something isn’t perfect and show me that it is good enough. He will pull out a yardstick and clean out with me three feet at a time so I don’t lay in the middle of the floor overwhelmed. When we dance and I feel like I’ll never get a step in the routine, he makes me laugh and remember that we’re there to have FUN.

When I make a mistake in our D/s and feel like I’ve ruined everything, he’s there to hug me and tell me that he believes in me. That my best is good enough. That I am good enough and as perfect as I need to be.

9 Replies to “Perfectionism”

  1. Growing up around alcoholism is a hard experience and can affect us in so many different ways, in your case it pushed you to try to make up for what you saw were flaws. I wasn’t a good student and I have a hard time sympathizing with being someone who succeeded in the way that you thought you needed to, but for me and in my mind, success was only achievable by not repeating the things that they did.

    For the both of us it was a change in behavior directly influenced by what both of us had seen as detrimental, to not make those mistakes ourselves, and I do indeed think that, like you, it has made me into a perfectionist as well. Years and years of training yourself to not do certain things and to do others often makes for good attention to detail, even it feels overbearing.

    I’m happy you shared this experience because it helps me understand that getting a little older may not change that, that it might not be something I just get over and perhaps it’s in my best interest to find ways of managing my own expectations. ❤️

    1. I think striving to be better is good but not when it stops you from living. And mine likes to do that. But I agree – – managing expectations is hard but I think helpful in the end ❤️❤️

  2. Thank you so much for sharing this with sb4mh – there are so many reasons why a person seeks perfection and your journey has made u who u are today – and it is wonderful u have snake and he has u 😉

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