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Perfectionism: A Defense Mechanism


You might think that perfectionism is about being your best self and attempting to achieve flawless or impeccable results. However, it is not about high achievement or success. It is a defense mechanism to protect yourself from feeling shame, judgment, and blame. Your inner critical voice that tells you if you can do perfect and be perfect you will protect yourself from feeling shame. Yet, that does not work. And you continue to believe that you are not good enough and demonstrate that over and over again with perfectionism. It can lead to procrastination, stress, low self-esteem, anxiety, depression, addictions, and other social-emotional and mental health challenges.


Some signs of perfectionism are:


  • All-or-nothing thinking.

  • Dominant focus on mistakes made and things not going as planned,

  • Patterns of harsh judgment that are often unforgiving.

  • Living in fear of not being and doing good enough

  • People pleasing

  • Holding yourself back to avoid criticism, blame, and judgment

  • Setting expectations that are improbable to attain and leads to a perpetual cycle of disappointment and dissatisfaction.


Living without perfectionism is possible. It often involves developing self-compassion and replacing self-defeating thoughts with healthy accurate thoughts.

Book a 20 min consult call with me and learn how I can assist you to leave perfectionism behind and prosper.


Information contained herein is for educational purposes only and is not intended to diagnose, treat, or cure any ailment or condition. Dr. Lisa Zaretsky. Ed.D, LCSW, LISW, C.Hyp makes no representation, express or implied, that information herein is applicable to any individual's particular situation. This information should not replace individual consultation with an appropriately qualified professional.



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