S/o- Did your parents expect you to be perfect?

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Post  Mon, Jan 20 2020, 12:38 pm
now I have a similar issue with DD teenager. she pushes herself to perfection o the point where she is always tense and angry, snapping at everyone. recently began shutting herself out socially, (just maintains relationships with her 3 best friends, stopped socializing with everyone else.). my neighbor told me about an art class for my dd's age nearby. ( which dd loves but doesn't do since she's so busy studying). when I told her about it how I think she would enjoy it, she just looked at me with despair and said she had no time, she's too busy studying. (she tries to do everything perfect, her clothes, her shoes, her hair, her room is ocd clean, etc ). my heart is breaking for her. I always tell her how I'm proud that she takes her studies seriously and does well but she needs time to relax/unwind too, to socialize and engage in other activities. its ok if she doesn't get 100. we love her no matter what. Midos are most important. I'm so worried about her. for all those who felt pressured to be perfect, what would you have liked to hear as a kid that would have helped you?
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Post  Mon, Jan 20 2020, 1:20 pm
I wasn’t a perfectionist but I did strive for perfect grades.
On the morning of a particularly difficult midterm, the teacher who taught the subject saw me and, knowing what I was about, asked how much I had slept the night before. When I answered that I hadn’t gone to sleep, the first thing she did was offer to just give me 100 and send me home Smile when I refused (after all that studying I was going to take the test come hell or high water) she told me to think of my body as a car. If you leave the lights on overnight, the battery will die. It just can’t run. Same for a human. If you don’t relax, give yourself a break, sleep eat and function, you will break down.
That resonated with me then and still does 15 years later.
I never did all nighters after that
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Post  Mon, Jan 20 2020, 4:06 pm
Yes I was like your dd. Definitely had to do with the way I was raised.
Couldn’t do art or sewing because I always magnified the imperfections to the point that I hated my work.
At the end of seminary it also extended itself to mussar, davening & mitzvos (after all aren’t you supposed to strive to perfection in these things?!)
Many people told me to chill. One aunt pointed out to me in HS that the beauty of a painting vs. a photo is that it’s human & not perfect. That made me ponder, but didn’t change me.
The one line that really hit home was something like: When you are a perfectionist, your greatest enemy is yourself.
It was a constant effort to leave things imperfect. I couldn’t leave my hair imperfect, but I could leave my room messy to counter my tendency. Till now there are some things that really bug me (lack of symmetry) but I doubt that anyone would suspect that I was a perfectionist, without remembering me that way.

And hey - there is a positive side to perfectionism too: it can push you to greater achievements in various areas!
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