Dispelling The Myths About Perfectionists

June 29, 2017


So maybe the perfectionist in your life is “YOU” or someone you love.  I bet you have formed some inaccurate perceptions about them.  Maybe you have even gone so far as to rid yourself of their friendship.  So in today’s post let’s start dispelling the many myths that surround the struggle with perfectionism.    

Possibly after reading last weeks, 10 Clues You’re Striving For Perfection, Not Excellence you have convinced yourself the criteria has been met, and you want to change. Or maybe you just want to point the finger at the person in your life that struggles in this area.  Hold on for a second before we start beating up all perfectionists.  Having an understanding will be essential to making the changes we need to overcome it.  It is imperative we gain a good understanding of what a perfectionist is and what they are not. 


Struggles with perfectionism are unique to each person.  Just like ice cream perfectionist comes in all sizes and flavors.  It will look different from one person to the next.  Some people will strive in all areas to be perfect, and others only in a few places will it be important for them to try to reach this unrealistic goal.


1.  Perfectionists Will Try To Control Everyone

They may try to control their own lives, but it doesn’t necessarily mean they want to control yours. Remember they feel out of control and are afraid to be themselves.  It can be very refreshing to hand over the reins and let others take control. 

2. Perfectionists Believe They Are Superior or Perfect  

Inside, a perfectionist is not feeling superior at all.  Remember a perfectionist is constantly comparing themselves to others and feeling like they come up short.  In their eyes, they can never attain perfection.   

“Perfectionism doesn’t make you feel perfect; it makes you feel inadequate.” — Maria Shriver

3. All Perfectionists Are Neat and Tidy

Neat and Tidy is not a prerequisite to being a perfectionist. Of course, you will find many that do have to have everything in its place, but many do not.  Just because you do not keep your home in perfect order does not mean you don’t have struggles with perfectionism. 

4. All Perfectionists Have Critical Spirits

It is true that perfectionists are critical of themselves. However, it doesn’t mean they see others in the same light.

5.  Once a Perfectionist always a Perfectionist: 

This could not be further from the truth.  Change is possible, but it will need to be a choice. 

6.  Perfectionists Are Extremely Confident

Oh, they may appear confident but most likely inside they are feeling quite the opposite. 

7.  Accomplishments Come Easy

Most likely they have put in a tremendous amount of hours poring over every detail.  They have checked and rechecked. It wasn’t easy, and it was time-consuming, and they have sweated and stressed over the smallest of details. 

8.  Perfectionists Hold Others To A High Standard

While it is true they do hold themselves to a standard, which can’t be attained, they usually will not hold others to that same standard.  I know my motto is if you are in charge do it your way and it will be perfect.

9.  Perfectionists Are Strong

A perfectionist will appear strong on the outside, but inside they are struggling with insecurities and fear. 

Perfectionism makes a person weak.

10.  A Perfectionist Must Give Up Who They Are To Overcome it

This statement couldn’t be further from the truth.  Perfectionists have some amazing qualities that will serve them well in life.  Traits like the inner motivation to keep on a task, their attention to detail, a strong work ethic and much more. One doesn’t t have to lose the characteristics that make you who you are. 

Remember – a person striving for perfection is doing so because they do not feel perfect on the inside. All of their striving for perfection leaves them filled with an anxiety and little time for the things in life, which do bring them joy. 

Hopefully,  we have dispelled the many myths of what a perfectionist looks like, and in the next post we can get down to overcoming perfectionism.    




Blog Series on Perfectionism:

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  1. Reply

    Dispelling the Myths About Perfectionists Guest Post by Maree Dee | Journey to Imperfect

    […] article was shared with permission and originally appeared on this page at […]

  2. Reply

    Barbara H.

    As a recovering perfectionist, I can affirm many of these!

    1. Reply

      Maree Dee

      Thank you! It is nice to be affirmed. Glad you stopped by my website. Maree

  3. Reply

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  5. Reply

    Brandi Raae

    Wow – loved this. I can relate on so many levels. I’m try to perfect not being a perfectionist. 😉

    I’m one of those that has to have a neat and tidy house, though. The one place I can’t seem to keep up to my standards is my desk in my room. 🙁 Homeschooling and blogging keep it messy.

    Choosing this as my favorite for the Literacy Musing Monday’s linkup. I will feature it tomorrow.

    1. Reply

      Maree Dee

      Brandi – Thank you for choosing my post for your favorite for this week. I feel so honored. Oh yes, homeschooling and blogging will keep a desk messy. Do you have to clean it before you get started? Maree

  6. Reply

    Dawn Boyer


    You have become such a blessing in my life, with yoru words here and with your comments on my blog or elsewhere… but mostly your willingness to pray. Thank you for that, and for addressing this topic. As a recovering perfectionist I was nodding my head along to all these points and remembering the moments in life that were clouded by the veil of my incomplete pursuit of perfection. I am still learning that skill, I confess… but God in His grace is continuing to guid me.

    Blessings to you!

    1. Reply

      Maree Dee

      Dawn, Of course, I will pray, right now as I send this in fact. If you ever want to send me a confidential prayer request, please do so to my email. You too are a blessing in my life. I always look forward to your post and pictures each week. I am right there with you as far as needing God to continue to guide me in the area of perfectionism. Just this week I attended a party with neighbors and brought store bought food. Then to top if off I didn’t change into my red/white/and blue clothes. I was just too tired. The best part was I was so comfortable in my own skin. The old me would have been so uncomfortable with my choices. Hope you have a wonderful weekend. Blessings, Maree maree.dee@www.embracingtheunexpected.com

  7. Reply

    Theresa Boedeker

    Maree, you are rocking this topic. You totally blew away the myths. And you are right, perfectionists come in all sizes and shapes.

    1. Reply

      Maree Dee

      Theresa – Thank you for your compliment. Then again I must rock it because I have such a problem with it. Yikes! Maree

  8. Reply

    Dr. Miriam

    This is truly an excellent post because of how you have explained perfectionism and left us with the impression that if we work with the goal of pleasing Christ then we will not be under pressure to please the perfectionism trait. Thank you.

    1. Reply

      Maree Dee

      Thank you for stopping by, reading, and leaving such an encouraging comment. Blessings – Maree

  9. Reply


    These are great insights, Maree. As a recovering perfectionist I recognise myself in a lot of this and it is so true that while we may appear confident or strong or that accomplishments come easily, the reality is the complete opposite. I also agree that change is a choice, and a process.

    1. Reply

      Maree Dee

      Lesley – Thank you for stopping by and commenting. We sound a lot alike. I hope to meet you someday. Maree

  10. Reply

    Lisa notes...

    These are such good myths to bust! I confess I’ve been guilty of believing some of them myself, either for myself or about others. This quote by Maria Shriver is so good: “Perfectionism doesn’t make you feel perfect; it makes you feel inadequate.” Great post, Maree.

    1. Reply

      Maree Dee

      Lisa – Thank you for stopping by. Yes, I loved her quote too. I know in all my striving I have never felt adequate. Wishing you a wonderful 4th of July. Maree

  11. Reply


    Thought-provoking article!

    1. Reply

      Maree Dee

      Thank you!!!! Happy 4th of July. Maree

  12. Reply


    Great points, Maree! I often hear this misconceptions and they can be quite confusing. Thanks for making these wise points and clearing up the matter : )

    1. Reply

      Maree Dee

      I am so glad I was able to shed a little light on the subject. Hope you have a great 4th of July. Maree

  13. Reply


    Maree, This is excellent! Such insight here! I will be sharing this!

    1. Reply

      Maree Dee

      Leslie – Thank you for sharing. I am so glad you found some insight in it. Hard topic to tackle it hits so close to home. Have a wonderful weekend. Maree

  14. Reply


    Maree, what a great post. I’ve held perfectionist tendencies over my life, but God’s been faithful to heal those places in me that had forgotten that performance doesn’t equal value. Love this post, thank you for sharing. ((xoxo))

    1. Reply

      Maree Dee

      Brenda – Yes, God is good. Thank you for sharing your hopeful comment that God can heal those places in us where we struggle. I am trying to listen to Gods whispers when he says “enough”. Mauri

  15. Reply


    Oh, Maree…this is spot on. I was really believing I wasn’t a perfectionist, largely because I believed most of these myths you so clearly set right. I fit more than I care to admit. As you say, change is a choice. And it’s always a choice. Stopping by from the Chasing Community linkup

    1. Reply

      Maree Dee

      Debby – Yes, change is a choice. It is hard to stop. I have made vast improvements in this area, but I do find myself falling into perfection from time to time. Thank you for stopping by. Maree

  16. Reply

    Michele Morin

    As I read, I kept saying to myself, “Oh, this is such a strong point,” only to go on and read the next point — also very strong! You’ve obviously given this lots of thought — and have lived it! Thanks for understanding and offering words of solid hope in Christ.

    1. Reply

      Maree Dee

      Michele – Thank you for your encouraging words. Unfortunately, this material is all too familiar to me. I do live it. I am always working on this problem. Happy to say I have come a long ways. Blessings to you today. Maree

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