Are you a Perfectionist? I was!

I had this blog ready to post when it occurred to me that if I was going to blog about being a perfectionist and Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder that I should make sure I really understood what they were. So, I googled them and when I started reading the symptoms for OCD I had to laugh, my God they were talking about the way I used to be, well, still am to some extent. OMG, I thought I was just being tidy and reasonable.

I read that they put their can goods in the cupboard with all the labels pointing forward, gee I do that still today. It only makes sense to me that when I look in the cupboard then I know what they are. My refrigerator is even organized and if they have labels they are pointing forward too. In my underwear drawer everything is folded and organized. Socks the same way. But, amongst all the orderliness there is chaos. I have a junk drawer in the kitchen. Also, in the back of my underwear drawer there is a spot where I put things that don’t have a place, so I think that means there is hope for me. 😊

When I read the extremes that some people with OCD go to, I realized that I only have a very mild form of OCD today. It was worse years ago, but still not an extreme case. Perfectionism is form of OCD, and I expected more of myself in that case.

I always liked the Serenity Prayer, and I think this is a good place for it.

“God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
Courage to change the things I can,
And wisdom to know the difference.”

A perfectionist strives to be accurate, exact, or correct in every detail. Some words that describe a perfectionist are an idealist, purist, nitpicker. Ugh! I didn’t like that last one. ☹ They always demand perfection of them self.

WOW, being a perfectionist is a nasty thing to overcome. It rules your life. Because of the child abuse I grew up believing I was stupid, being perfect was quite a task but I thought that being perfect was the only way to keep me safe. Having things orderly around me helped me keep my thoughts orderly. Even today my best friend jokes about me having OCD. Everything has a place and everything in its place. I am very orderly. I am a little better about not letting disorder bother me as much as it did years ago. But I still like an orderly home.

When I worked, my co-workers would make comments about my workspace being so orderly. Sometimes they thought I didn’t have anything to do, but that wasn’t so. I had lots to do I just did it in an orderly fashion. I didn’t have things all over my desk, only what I was working on at the time. Everything that came from my office had to be perfect, void of any mistakes. I was terrified of making mistakes. I would double, and triple check my work. God forbid I should make a mistake; the sky would fall. 😉

I was also addicted to my job. For a long time, I worked sixty-five hours a week and sometimes more. It was the only place where I felt like I had any control over my life. I knew what I had to do, and I knew the rules, and I followed them. If everything was perfect, I thought I was safe, even though I lived in constant fear that I would make a mistake and lose my job. It was an awful way to live.

How did I overcome this? Well, I’m not sure I have completely overcome it. As my friend says, I’m still a bit OCD. But there is a difference now, I’m not doing it out of fear anymore, I just got used to having an orderly home.

How did I get past the fear? Well, again it has to do with listening to my instincts, intuition and the ‘still small voice,’ in other words, God’s Angel messages. God gave me these tools to protect myself, so if I trusted God was there for me, then I could not make a mistake that could not be corrected. That ‘still small voice’ kept telling me to stop checking and rechecking everything, after all, how many times had I found a mistake to correct, almost never, but I kept checking. It took a while before I began to feel that Trust kick in, and when it did, it relieved the fear, and then I stopped triple checking everything. It saved time and relieved the stress. Thank God!

Then there was the issue of working so many hours. I thought I had to, to get the work done. WRONG! The work would have gotten done. It would have just taken a little longer, or my employer would have gotten me help sooner than they ultimately did. I felt I was responsible for everything. How egotistical of me, like the company would fall apart without me. HA! That is a hard way to live. I started listening when I heard that little voice in my head say, “stop, it is time to go home.” So, I put my work away and left. Funny, it was still there when I got back in the morning, and the sky didn’t fall. 😉 It was the company’s responsibility to make sure they had enough staff to get the work done, not mine.

I still like my work to be accurate, but I don’t obsess over it anymore. We do not have to be perfect. We just need to be efficient and reliable.  If you are a workaholic or obsessed with perfection, give yourself a break. The world is not going to stop if you take care of yourself. Who needs all that stress, not me, not you.

Have a good day and be kind to yourself.


2 thoughts on “Are you a Perfectionist? I was!

  1. As a survivor of childhood abuse I’ve struggled in many areas. The need to have things in order gave me a sense of control I’m sure because as I child I had none.
    When I came to faith and matured in that area somewhat, I had made a wrong decision, which I still struggle with. As I was vehemently praying to God and asking His forgiveness, that still small voice, which I know is the Holy Spirit living inside of me, spoke to my heart and said, “ I didn’t call you to be perfect, I called you to be faithful”.
    When God speaks to me it is an amazing blessing and a gift, beyond profound. It resonates to my very soul.
    I hope you do get your book published, I’d love to read it and believe it will help many, many survivors of traumatic childhood abuse. Thank you so much for being willing to publicly share something that most of us carry with us with such deep, silent shame that most people don’t talk about it because of the misplaced shame.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for your comments. I always love to hear from my readers. I made many awful choices, but no longer carry them with me. God never sees our mistakes, and our only suffering is due to their consequences, not punishment from God. But he is always there for us when we turn to him to bring us peace. He loves us through the good and the bad in our lives. I hope your life is peaceful now and you have risen above your past. As we both know, children are here to be loved, not abused.


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