In my awareness the obvious became apparent. I had no idea how to have a relationship with God, myself or other people.
In my struggle to have relationships I pursued perfection. I thought, “If I can just be perfect then people will not go away — and I can have relationships with them”. My attempts to be perfect quickly turned into a self-defeating and self-sabotaging behavior. In my attempt to be perfect, perfectionism became the driving force in my life. Through my recovery process, I discovered that I was driven to be perfect at a very early age out of my fear of abandonment.
Perfectionism demanded that I be perfect with the threat that anything less would be unacceptable. Anything less than perfection — compliance — would be met with criticism. Criticism would be followed by blame. Over time and through repeated and ongoing criticism for not getting “it” right I internalized the belief that I did not just make mistakes but that I was a mistake. As part of the conditioning to comply and be perfect I became a very driven, impatient, excessively time-conscious, insecure, highly competitive, hostile and aggressive individual.
In my frantic state of trying to be perfect — so that people would not criticize, blame, reject or abandon me — I projected my frustration outward through criticism and judgment. Because I spent much of my time guessing at what was normal, I bought into the notion that having high expectations of my relationships was normal, appropriate and justified. Consequently, my expectations frequently undermined and contaminated my relationships. In the process, my relationships took on stipulations.
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