Perfectionists are people who strive to reach high standards in everything they do, whether it is work, sports, cooking, or other daily activities. As is the case with most personality traits, there are different degrees of perfectionism. Thus, perfectionists can be divided into two categories, according to how flexible they are in terms of their standards:

Normal perfectionism – setting high standards of one’s own, but giving them up when circumstances require and

Neurotic perfectionism – the inability to achieve the experience that anything has been done well enough. Neurotic perfectionists are very intolerant of mistakes and prone to extreme self-criticism.

Risk of disease

Normal perfectionists usually achieve a lot in their lives. Perfectionism is generally a positive trait, whether you are a banker, an athlete, an artist, an actor, or a builder – because it makes what we do, we do the best we can. For example, many professional athletes have high scores on the perfectionism scale.

But neurotic perfectionists, who often criticize themselves, run the risk of suffering from mental and physical illnesses such as:

– Depression

– Alcoholism

– Social phobia

– Coronary heart disease

– Obsessive-compulsive disorder

– Obsessive-compulsive disorder

– Increased risk of suicide

– Anorexia nervosa

– Creative blockade


Six dimensions of perfectionism

Dr. Randy Frost of “Smith College” in Massachusetts has developed a 35-item questionnaire that measures perfectionism. This scale recognizes six different dimensions of perfectionism:

Worry about mistakes

Perfectionists are more upset about their mistakes than other people because they are afraid that others might think badly of them. As a result, perfectionists seek less help to correct mistakes and have a stronger need to cover them up. Excessive care about mistakes can increase the risk of developing anxiety and mood disorders.

Personal standards

Setting high standards that must be achieved is a common feature when it comes to both normal and neurotic perfectionism. Setting high personal standards can be a path to eating disorders such as anorexia.

Parental expectations

Persistence in living by set parental standards is often a feature of perfectionists. This kind of ambition arises due to growing up during which parents give love to their children, but on the condition that they meet their expectations. These children do their best to make everything they do no less than perfect so that they would not be deprived of the love of their parents.

Parental criticism

The mission of obtaining parental approval is often accompanied by the concern that the mother and father will criticize their child’s achievements. As children, perfectionists were often punished for the mistakes they made. As a result, they may develop a sense that they will never meet the high expectations of their parents, no matter what they do or how hard they try.

Insecurity in one’s own actions

Feeling insecure when the job is done is another common feature of perfectionism. As a result, these people are often unwilling to give up a task or need to be persuaded to give up. Doubt can also make perfectionists quite hesitant.


Perfectionists know how to be petty and strict about anything they do. They are also often preoccupied with the fact that everything has to be neat and sorted. This is not a direct cause of their perfectionism, but it affects the way they try to reach their standards.



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