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Perfectionism feeding self loathing and OCD

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  • #376403
    Tammy Meaney
    Participant

    Hi All,

    I am new here. I have pure OCD and I have struggled with this intermittently throughout my life. In the last 2.5 years I have lost 2 of the most important people in my life – my Aunt & Uncle, both to cancer. I am a Mum to a beautiful 5yo boy. Unfortunately, the OCD flared up last year after my Uncle passed. I had my meds changed and I improved albeit briefly. I am now struggling again.

    I have quite an issue with being a perfectionist which is driving the self loathing that feeds the OCD. I have started to question everything, in particular how I am as a Mum. I struggle immensely with “all or nothing” thinking or “black and white” thinking. I berate myself for things I would readily accept in another person but cannot seem to cut myself the same slack.

    What I would like is to hear from anyone who can give me an idea of how to start “accepting” myself as being human and imperfect. I so badly want to ditch this perfectionist attitude so that I can live a more fulfilling life. I don’t want to be looking in the mirror scolding myself constantly. I wholeheartedly believe the key to breaking free is to gain unconditional self acceptance, but it is so hard to so when you have a voice in your head telling you that “you do not deserve xyz”. I don’t mean an actual voice but the voice of OCD. How can I just be free to accept my imperfections?

    #376418
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Tammy Meaney:

    “when you have a voice in your head telling you that ‘you do not deserve xyz’. I don’t actually mean an actual voice but the voice of OCD”-

    – it’s the voice of your inner critic, criticizing, berating and scolding you for mistakes imperfections, real or imagined. An inner critic exists in the mind of every person. When a person has an over-active/obsessive, vicious inner critic, it’s because it takes after an over-active, vicious real-life critic in the person’s early life, usually a parent.

    “the OCD flared up last year after my Uncle passed”- his passing increased your anxiety, and anxiety fuels OCD.

    “I struggle immensely with ‘all or nothing’ thinking or ‘black and white’ thinking”- Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) specializes in correcting these types of thinking, referred to as distorted thinking. There are online exercises (and actual workbooks) on the matter.

    If you would like to address any or all of what I mentioned here, please do and I will reply further.

    anita

    #376427
    Tammy Meaney
    Participant

    Hi Anita,

    Thank you for your reply. This makes a lot of sense to me. I guess like a lot of things in my life I want it to happen over night and realistically that is not going to happen.

    After reading your post I think I may have identified at least one person who was overly critical of me in school and that was a teacher I had. I recall her calling me bossy and scolding me for a comment I made which to me was innocent – My Dad actually had to come to the school to talk to her about it. I recall him explaining to her that this was something often said in our Irish households.

    Many thanks 🙂

    #376451
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Tammy Meaney:

    You are very welcome. The inner critic, when it is overly critical and harsh, usually takes after a person in your childhood to whom you were very attached, and who overly and harshly criticized you. A child encounters a number of critical people, often many (parents, siblings, other family members, peers at school, teachers, people in the street, etc.), but the most powerful real-life critic in a child’s life is someone the child is most attached to, someone the child spends a lot of time with.

    The reason it is important to identify that person is that changing the inner critic from an overly-active/ obsessive, harsh critic to a less active, gentler kind, takes understanding that as a child, you did not deserve the harsh criticism you received, that you were innocent of it. It is the belief in your innocence as a child that disarms, over time, the harsh inner critic.

    anita

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