Pathological Perfectionism

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Pathological Perfectionism – Psychology Essay

The fundamentals of the disease
When speaking about pathological perfectionism, it is necessary to highlight the basic signs of psychological disease. So, first of all, it should be pointed out that pathological perfectionism is characterized by setting unreasonably high standards. Generally, one is to keep in mind that the standards cannot be achieved, as they are considered to be almost unrealistic; however, persons who suffer from the kind of mental illness do not understand that their striving for perfection seems to be problematic.

One of the most widespread signs pathological perfectionism is based on is self-criticism. In other words, a kind of psychological disease causes stress, low self-esteem, depression, etc. Pathological Perfectionism – Psychology Essay.Procrastination is also recognized to be one of the most common results pathological perfectionism leads to.

The thesis statement
The origin of pathological perfectionism is closely related to a person’s living conditions, mode of life and personal views/ambitions. Mental disorder development also depends upon high requirements a person is to satisfy in certain fields/spheres.


The body
Pathological perfectionism in relation to religiosity
Generally, pathological perfectionism cannot be regarded in relation to a certain category of people. So, any person can suffer from the disease. High-standard environments can be associated with religion, business sphere, medicine, education, personal development, etc.

Thus, when speaking about religiosity, one is to keep in mind that persons suffer from a disease, because of high religious requirements they are to meet. Pathological Perfectionism – Psychology Essay. For instance, some people cannot be on a black fast, because this requirement is too painful for them. For this reason, such people constantly feel guilt and shame. So, in this case, the disease is related to eating disorders and numerous interpersonal problems appear.

The kind of mental illness in relation to education
When speaking about another example – education, it is necessary to point out that a person wants to obtain high academic results from all the disciples and, thus, the mark B is perceived as a real catastrophe. In other words, students comprehend a mark as they personal achievement, but not knowledge a certain discipline provides students with. Moreover, it is necessary to add that any mistake is regarded by students as their major setback.

When doing home assignments, such students cannot concentrate on the task; they always think about the mistakes professors can find in their works. Thus, such form of pathological perfectionism leads to procrastination, and a student does not want to perform academic tasks, in order to avoid failure. In other words, the process of thinking such students possess seems to be the following: if I cannot do the task perfectly, there is no need (sense) to do it at all.

A psychological disorder in relation to personal development
Pathological perfectionism can also cause another psychological disease. Thus, it has been proven that the kind of mental illness is an element of obsessive-compulsive disorder. In other words, it is necessary to understand that a kind of a psychological disorder can cause other mental diseases, if an appropriate treatment is neglected.

For instance, if a person suffers from pathological perfectionism, which is related to personal development, such person concerns over parents’ expectations and friends’/teachers’/professors’ evaluation. Pathological Perfectionism – Psychology Essay. Such persons always doubt about the quality of their personal growth. As a result, they feel chronic fatigue and try to justify parents’ (professors’) confidence. So, under such conditions, a chain of negative outcomes can be expected. Obsessions appear.

The conclusion
The pathogenesis of the disease
Pathological perfectionism is considered to be one of the most dangerous psychological diseases. A person who suffers from the kind of mental disorder needs medical treatment. The pathogenesis of the disease is related to certain conditions a person experienced, when being a child. Strict restrictions, which parents want their children are to follow, can also cause pathological perfectionism.

Definitions of perfectionism have many different descriptions depends on perspectives and viewpoints. (Flett&Hewitt, 2002) However, it mostly refers to a tendency to regard anything short of perfection as unacceptable (Merriam & Webster, 1988). While the descriptions may show differences, perfectionist people may show samely symptoms such as to set high standards, to try to avoid mistakes, dissatisfactions of their own work and performances. As a result of this, these kinds of personality may suffer from self-scrutiny, self-suspicion or self-criticism (Blatt, 1995) and this may cause reducing performance, although it may seem to be beneficial. However, these results may change in positive way between models of perfectionism. To illustrate, neurotic perfectionism is associated with being extremely defenceless to failure or high expectations from themselves, and unsatisfaction about positive results (Hamachek, 1978). Pathological Perfectionism – Psychology Essay.This type of perfectionism is also connected with negative perfectionism which is linked to negative reinforcement, being inconvenience and paying attention to negative consequences. (Slade & Owens, 1998). On the other hand, normal perfectionism is based on more sensible, logical and fair expectation (Hamachek, 1978). In addition, it is also related with positive perfectionism which is based on positive reinforcement, being happy and satisfied and paying attention to the positive consequences. (Slade & Owens, 1998). Moreover, these expectations can make a person more active and help him to achieve his goal. (Anthony, 1998)
Perfectionism is accepted as a comparatively stable personality structure. (Hewitt & Flett, 2002) However, self-criticism and perfectionism must evaluate in different fields.One of the most significant description of perfectionism claims that, perfectionism is multidimensional (Hewitt & Flett, 1991) and it can be considered in different areas. In this modeling, there are 3 significant parts; Self-Oriented Perfectionism (SOP) is to put high standards for the self, Socially Prescribed Perfectionism (SSP) is related to paying attention to the other people’s idea about that, they have high expectations from the one, Other Oriented Perfectionism (OOP) is also related to the other people, but this is that high expectations set for the others.Pathological Perfectionism – Psychology Essay. In addition, there is another scale which consists of six different parts; Personal Standards (PS), Doubts about Action (DA), Parental Expectations (PE), Organization (O), Concern Over Mistakes (CM), Parental Criticisim (PC) (Frost, et. all. 1990).
Multidimentional Structure of Perfectionism
Another approach is called as adaptive and maladaptive perfectionism. In this point, although there are different explanations of perfectionism, Stoeber and Otto (2006) classes it by its various interests and this classifying is appropriate with Almost Perfect Scale (APS) (Slaney, Rice, Mobley, Trippi, and Ashby, 2001) which consists of scales to measure ‘High Level Standards’ (perfectionistic strivings), Order, and ‘Discrepancy’ (perfectionistic concerns, i.e., a more clear conceptualization of maladaptive perfectionism). APS emphasize the important psychopathological containment of the high expectations and standards (Burns, 1980; Hollender, 1965; Pacht, 1984). Evolutions of both MPS scales (Hewitt & Flett,1991; Frost et. al., 1990) was indicate that, perfectionism is a negative characteristic, (Slaney, Aschby & Trippi, 1995) APS and adaptive/maladaptive perfectionism is interrelated with each other. As cited in Flett & Hewitt (2001), Stoeber and Otto’s (2006) approach indicates examination of positive and negative perfectionism. To explain this approach, they used two descriptions; Perfect Striving (PS) is explained as struggling for extreme achievement, and it may cause some emotional cost and stress. Perfectionistic Concerns (PC) is to examine the self in details, a failure to feel satisfied even if the work is successful. (Stoeber & Otto, 2006) According to these informations, adaptive perfectionism based on high PS and low PC. In other words, putting high, but realistic standards and to be satisfied from the work. On the other hand, maladaptive perfectionism is associated with having high PS and high PC, and this is the harmful part of the perfectionism. Pathological Perfectionism – Psychology Essay. Just the opposite of adaptive perfectionism, it is highly related to putting unrealistically and unreasonably high standards, and to focus on avoiding error. (Adler, 1956; Burns, 1980; Hamachek, 1978; Hollender, 1965; Patch, 1984)
Origins of Perfectionism in Art
Perfectionism is a widespread term; it can be observed almost every human and every field. However, some researches indicate that, it may change to different types or become another dimension of it. As an example, some researches showed that (Chang, 2011) Japanese predicted that negative events were more likely to occur to them. This may make them more pessimist and perfectionist. For instance, researchers Chang and Chang (2009) found Asian American university students have a tendency to pick up high expectations from others in maladaptive way than European American university students. (Chang & Sanna, 2012) However, in Japan culture, there is a thought which does not fit in maladaptive perfectionism idea: Wabi-Sabi approach. Wabi means, to be in harmony with nature, humble. On the other hand, Sabi means, to be old, faded, the thing which carries the scars of time, just like a maladaptive perfectionist. These two opposite word come together and create a new form that cannot perfectionists tolerate: imperfect beauty. It contains three simple realities: Nothing lasts, nothing is finished, and nothing is perfect. This means that, humanity is a part of a natural cycle and beauty hides in the details of life. It stands against any addictions which prevent people to see these details and drag them into a competition or any spiritiual blindless. (Dearing, 2014) However, it is very interesting that, this pessimist and perfectionist culture has this pessimist and imperfectionist philosophy.
When a closer look is taken, it is also interesting that, perfectionism may be seen in intellectual fields such as philosophy, music, dance or tragedy. To understand this, the birth of art and value judgment of its basic can be examined. According to Nietzsche (1874), art is the one field which humanity can realize them, and it has not any demand or claim of it. For this reason, it is the most supreme activity people can do. Nietzsche also explains that what the ‘value’ means in art; it is a harmony between perception of an artist and his/her work. Pathological Perfectionism – Psychology Essay. To provide this harmony, the artist gets awareness to anxiety of esthetic and tries to reach to ideal. However, he knows that the art is not full of fiction or rules, and that pleasure and enthusiasm is a necessity for his work, unconsciously. This is some kind of reflex because it must occur involuntarily or automatically. In psychological perspective, art feeds the id in different way because, to achieve and the ways of taking pleasure more intensively become more important. As a result, anxiety of esthetic becomes more important too. Worth of art related to where the artist put it in his life and if an artist perceives art is equivalent with anxiety, this situation may push to the desire of perfection with a fear of to make any mistake. As a result, art becomes to a workplace for a perfectionist rather than an independent and free field.

Recent Studies and Results about Perfectionism
A recent study which is about the differences between art and science students, intend to measure the convergent thinking, differently thinking’creativity, preferred learning style, creative problem-solving’quality and originality. (Peter K. Williamson, 2010) To sum, the results showed that science students have a tendency to be more logical in their problem-solving, and they think that this results occurs because of that they always deals with rules and formulas whereas, art students can use their imagination in scenario problem-solving originally, more than science student.
If there is a significant relationship between perfectionism in art and workaholism, it is a necessity to examine also the studies which are about workaholism. Kamila Wojdylo, Nicola Baumann, Lis Fischbach, Stefan Engeser administer a study. (2013)The aim of this recent study is to demonstrate the difference between workaholism and work engagement. In this study, there is three scale which intend to measure work engagement, work craving, emotional self-regulation, general health and working hours and the results showed that workaholic people are weak in self-relaxation, self-motivation. On the other hand, work engagers show a powerful attitude about sel-fregulatory abilities. Pathological Perfectionism – Psychology Essay.
To examine the effect and results of perfectionism in the area of art, two studies have been done so far (Kenny et. al. 2014; Mor et. al., 1995) and they also claim similar results with this particular study. A study which have conducted by Joachim Stoeber and Ulrike Eismann (2007), seek the correlations between perfectionism and young musicians’ performing, effort, achievement, disstress and motivation. In this study, 146 young participants were used and they were applied a questionnaire which measures significant components; striving for perfectionism, personal goals that they wanted to achieve (motivation), effort (how many hours per week they) and achievement (how many times did they win ‘Jugend Musiziert’ award) and performance anxiety. The results are as expected; teacher pressure is very effective on perfectionism in positive way. Moreover, effort and parental pressure have a positive correlation with number of awards. However, there is a significant result that, the music students who act with anger, sadness and depression when their work is not perfect have more anxiety and fatigue.


Discussion of the Results
These three significant experiments may demonstrate that, the person who interests with art or other intellectual areas, can think more creatively and this situation let him to do not stuck on the rules. For this reason, this may help to him to not put for himself high and hard levels. Contrastly, the opposite situation may help a person to do not presume a work as an obligation and restriction as a rule. Moreover, this kind of formula makes a person obsessive to his work, and he becomes weak in self-relaxation. Not only people in workplaces, but also art students are in same way, and they also cannot motivate themselves and they start to feel a pressure on themselves. Pathological Perfectionism – Psychology Essay. However, PE has positive correlation with the number of award, and this shows that, performance anxiety and perfectionism may have a positive effect on the work. However, the art is a free area that people should find themselves and it must not obtain pressure. Therefore, it is the possibility that the perfectionism may occur because of wrong perception about art. To measure this point, studies should also contain a scale which defines for each participant’s mentality about art such as what the ‘art’ means to them. Whereby, the difference between workaholism and interesting with art can be measured.
Perfectionism is a huge topic to investigate, because it may exist in every field of humanity, just like art. However, it has both of positive and negative effects on individual’s performance. For this reason, according to Slaney and his APS, maladaptive perfectionism may cause depression because of to put high standards or paying much attention to personal performance. As a result, individuals start to be unsatisfied to their works. However, while Nietzsche was writing about the birth of tragedy, he also talks about the necessity which is very important balance between the work of perfection and defectiveness. These two impacts must exist at the same time, and at the same rate, because art is naturalness just like an imperfection structure of humanity. Pathological Perfectionism – Psychology Essay.