PERFECTIONISM OR 'JUST RIGHT' OCD

An overpowering internal sense that the balance, order, place, frequency or position of something is distrurbed and must be corrected.   It can be the spoken or written word, touch, feel, sound, or smell of something that is not 'just right.'  The individual with 'just right' OCD often performs endless repetitions of ordinary tasks out of frustration that they are not 'perfect' or 'just right.'  Touching and tapping, symmetry, ordering and arranging, perfectionism and counting can all be part of the rituals related to 'just right' OCD

  CHALLENGE YOUR PERFECTIONISM

The Search for Imperfection: Strategies for Coping with the Need to be Perfect
By Andrew M. Jacobs, Psy.D. & Martin M. Antony, Ph.D., ABPP

Below are a few ideas to begin thinking outside the “perfectionist” box:

* Test your perfectionistic predictions. For example, if you assume that a typo in an e-mail to your boss might lead to ridicule or judgment, identify a timeframe when this judgment would likely come up (for example, by your next staff meeting), and then deliberately make an error in your next e-mail. Did the prediction come true? If it did, were you able to cope with the situation?

* Put your perfection into perspective. While you may find yourself thinking that “everything” must be perfect, this may not be the case. Try to think of areas where you are actually quite comfortable with imperfection. Once you’ve come up with a few ideas, ask yourself what makes these things different. Is it possible that a similar level of imperfection would be okay in the “problem areas” of your life?

* Define ‘perfect.’ Have you stopped to think what ‘perfect’ means to you? Is ‘perfect’ even a possibility? Very often, recognizing that ‘perfect’ is an exceptionally hard concept to pin down can help us understand why it’s such a challenge to strive for it.

* Try a different point of view. What would you say to a friend who was as exasperatedly aiming for “perfect” as you are? Would you think less of your friend if he or she did something imperfectly? What about your children? Not surprisingly, we often hold remarkably more rigid standards for ourselves than for others. Recognizing this tendency and putting ourselves in another’s shoes can be a very useful way to counter perfectionistic thinking.

* Do some investigating. Sometimes we might be unsure whether our standards are too perfectionistic. Do most people use spell check on every e-mail they send? Do other people need to make sure the house is spotless before they leave for the day? Think of a few people whose judgment you trust and ask whether their standards are at the same level as yours.