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More on Perfectionism: The Be Perfect Balloon

Posted on 23 August, 2014 at 11:38
Perfectionism is a hard task master, so where does this personality trait come from?

Why do some have this trait and others don't?
What can I do about my perfectionism?

As with all personality traits there is a dark and bright side perfectionists well know.

We develop perfectionism early in life, the Be Perfect Driver is one of a few others. Be Strong, Hurry Up, Please Others and Try Hard (Kahler, 1975) are the other 4 drivers.
The 5 Drivers may be described as antidotes to injunctions, or decisions we make in childhood. This illustration (below) shows how the drivers, as balloons, hold us above the water, whilst the injunctions (shown as weights tied to our legs) pull us down.

The "Be Perfect" Driver Characteristics
  • I must be perfect, wonderful, correct in every way.
  • I must succeed in everything I do.
  • I must get top marks and win.

  • Exact language, including qualification when they are not sure, such as 'probably', and absolutes when they are, such as 'absolutely'.
  • Always neat and well-groomed.
  • Never completely satisfied with what they do.

  • Hard-working, with excellent quality output. Attention to detail. High standards.
  • May achieve great things.

  • Fears of failure and losing control, and subsequent over-compensation.
  • Over-work. Not finishing things for fear of criticism. Prevarication
  • Expecting others to be perfect too.

  • Laughter.
  • Praise, including for less-than-perfect work.
  • Reframing of what 'perfect' really means to 'good enough'.
  • Be very specific with criticism (and praise).
Recognize these drivers in yourself and others and treat them accordingly.
See also
Kahler, T. (1975). Drivers—The Key to the Process Script.  Transactional Analysis Journal,5:3

Kahler, T. (1975) Drivers-The Key to the Process Script.  Transactional Analysis Journal,5:3

Categories: Transactional Analysis

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