The Mental Health Consequences of Growing Up with Perfectionist Parents
Parents always want the best for their kids. That can also mean that by placing high expectations on their kids it heightens their anxiety and turns them into perfectionists themselves. By learning about the mental health consequences of being raised by perfectionist parents, you will know what to do to prevent becoming a perfectionist yourself.
Suppressing Your Emotions
One symptom of being raised by perfectionist parents is hiding your feelings. Anything like being frustrated, jealous, angry, or sadness has been taught to you as being a sign of weakness. Those emotions still exist in you, but you do not know how to let them out. You are used to acting like a warrior as if everything is fine. Holding back your emotions can lead to anxiety or depression. You should always talk to someone about how you are feeling, as it can make a world of difference later.
Having perfectionist parents comes with a ton of rules on how to live. If you do not follow your parent’s rules, you will feel like a failure. For example, if you got a bad grade on a test just once, you will view it as an act of failure since your parents would look at you as if you let them down. It makes you feel like there is something wrong with you if you do not do everything perfectly like they expect.
People with perfectionist parents are more prone to developing addiction than others. You may take drugs because you feel like it is the only way you can function like your parents want. Getting a high may make you feel more confident even to fulfill your parent’s expectations. You may also be using drugs as a way to cope with your parents making you feel unworthy if you cannot accomplish what they want you to accomplish. The truth is that all drugs will do is ruin your life and lead you down a long road of mistakes you will regret later.
If you were raised by perfectionist parents, the chances are that you will impart perfectionism on your own children. The cycle will continue. You were taught to be perfect and you have no other way of doing things unless it is exactly right. Because your parents never taught you about making mistakes, you will teach your kids to do the same thing. It is important for every generation to know that it is okay to make mistakes and not have everything in your life turn out the way you pictured.
Expecting to be perfect can set you on edge. You feel the anxiety of expecting failure so you do everything in your power to ensure that does not happen. Every mistake you make causes you to be hard on yourself and wishing you can go back and redo your actions. You may have grown up getting yelled at or punished by your parents when you present imperfect behavior and you may feel like you can still hear your parent’s voices telling you to still be perfect no matter how old you are. No one is perfect and trying to achieve perfection will cause you to be irritable and go into a panic.
Trouble with Criticism
When you are a perfectionist, you are your own critique. Even if you have moved out of your parent’s house and made a life of your own, you still feel like you can hear them telling you what to do. If anyone like your employer tells you to improve on something, you will take it harshly because it will remind you of what your parents put you through. You will feel more triggered and defensive compared to if you were brought up in a more loving and accepting home. It is important to remember that criticism is not for the purpose of bringing you down, but to help you improve.
Because you grew up living up to your parent’s perfect expectations, this will cause you to want to please everyone around you. You do not want to turn down a task because you are afraid that will mean you cannot handle it. You do not want to show weakness towards anyone, so you want to take on more than you can handle. By being the person everyone expects you to be, you will lose your sense of self.
Trouble with Intimate Relationships
A perfectionist being in an intimate relationship means that you will tend to get testy with your partner. If they criticize you, you will take it personally and get upset. You will be afraid that if your partner gets close to you, they will see your faults and realize you are not perfect. This will cause you to be passive aggressive and very defensive. It is important to you for your partner to always see you in a perfect light. You may also expect your partner to be perfect just like your parents wanted that in you. Being in an intimate relationship is all about letting go of control and letting your partner be who they are. While being a perfectionist can be a good thing in that you do not want to disappoint anyone and have a determined nature, it can also make others feel inferior. You will constantly be on edge with yourself to achieve the impossible. Accepting imperfection will help ease your perfectionist nature.
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