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Which of These 5 Types of Perfectionist Are You?

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Editor's Note

Any medical information included is based on a personal experience. For questions or concerns regarding health, please consult a doctor or medical professional.

I’ve met many perfectionists in my life, including myself, and over the years I’ve noticed that different people express their perfectionism in completely different ways. One type of perfectionist might be incredibly driven by external accomplishments, while another type of perfectionist might care much more about internal emotional control.

The reasons for our perfectionism vary widely, and in my very unprofessional opinion, the cause of perfectionism is closely related to what type of perfectionist we become.

So, I developed a framework that sorts all perfectionists into one of five categories: the People-Pleaser, the Stress Junkie, the Former Gifted Kid, the Mom Friend, and the Secret Perfectionist.

Curious to know more about each type? This infographic says it all:

Infographic explaining which type of perfectionist you might be

They are:

1. The People-Pleaser

This type of perfectionist tends to struggle the most with others’ expectations of them. All they want is to make other people happy, but this often comes at the expense of their own happiness.

2. The Stress Junkie

This type of perfectionist might not describe themselves as a perfectionist. They are ambitious and always busy, always trying to achieve the next thing, often without appreciating where they are.

3. The Former Gifted Kid

This type of perfectionist is haunted by their school-age identity as “gifted.” After years of being told they were special, these perfectionists feel like they have to constantly prove how smart they are in order to prove their worth as a person.

4. The Mom Friend

This type of perfectionist is praised for being prepared, teased for being overly cautious and exhausted by every social interaction. Their need for perfection is typically driven by a need to feel safe and in control.

5. The Secret Perfectionist

This type of perfectionist doesn’t look like one because they rarely care about external signs of perfection. Instead, they seek internal perfection: the perfect mindset, the perfect emotions, the perfect self.

You might have noticed that each type of perfectionist isn’t exactly a “good” thing. That’s because, no matter how much our society praises perfectionists, perfectionism is not an adaptive behavior and at the end of the day, it only hurts us.

If you’ve often been praised for being a perfectionist, this might come as a shock, but I encourage you to gently think about how your perfectionism makes you feel. Does it make you feel calm? Safe? Valued? Probably not.

It probably makes you feel stressed and might even tell you that you aren’t good enough unless you’re perfect. Which just isn’t OK because no one is actually perfect. We’re all beautifully and uniquely flawed, and that’s OK.

If reading that felt wrong somehow, then you probably deal with perfectionism. That’s OK, welcome to the party.

Which Type of Perfectionist Am I?

If you’re ready to find out what type of perfectionist you are, take the quiz below and let me know your result in the comments below. (I thought for sure I was the Secret Perfectionist, but I actually got the Former Gifted Kid.)

If you’re ready to start branching out beyond your perfectionism and try new things or things you aren’t 100% sure you’ll succeed at, then I encourage you to join the 5-day Finding the Courage to Try email challenge!

A version of this article was previously published on the author’s blog, Healing Unscripted.

Image via contributor

Originally published: December 16, 2020
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