Perfectionism is a Trauma Response

Episode 36

“Perfectionism is really difficult because it is a protective response with real health consequences. …  You hear people wear their perfectionism like a badge of honor and are often rewarded for perfectionistic traits. So how do we start to distinguish between striving for excellence and putting out work that is in alignment with your highest values and being stuck in a self-destructive, harmful state of perfectionism that is really a response to stress and trauma that especially occurred during your development?”

-Elisabeth Kristof, Found of NeuroSomatic Intelligence Certification and Brain- Based Wellness 

We’re exploring Perfectionism through the lens of complex and childhood trauma in this week’s episode. 

If your childhood needs weren’t met, your parents were critical or exceptionally hard on you then your nervous system may have protected you through perfectionism. It’s an attempt to make yourself believe that you’re good enough and smart enough to stay safe, be regulated and loved. Perfectionism is a trauma response that’s all about protection and survival. We’re breaking this down and explaining it in a way you may have never heard before.

As you grow up, perfectionism shows up in our life as control- controlling our environment and how people see us. That perfectionism becomes a debilitating loop while being applauded by society which can be confusing and frustrating. 

You may not even recognize perfectionism in yourself- you may think that it’s just how you are. 

If you recognize yourself in any of the questions below, then this episode could have a tremendous impact on you. 

Is your inner voice harsh and demanding?

Have anxiety? 

Work excessively long and hard hours to prove yourself?

Have rigid or high expectations of yourself and others?

Notice yourself being highly critical of yourself or other people?

Experienced depression?

Experienced disordered eating? 

Crash after work projects or social events? 

Find yourself becoming obsessed with to-do lists?

Do you experience avoidant behaviors like procrastination, freeze response or burnout?

Episode highlights:

  • Link between perfectionism to childhood trauma and ACE scores
  • 3 types of perfectionism
  • Jennifer vulnerably shares a recent experience with perfectionism and how she used NSI tools to move through it
  • The mental health consequences of perfectionism
  • Why training your nervous system is crucial to healing
  • Coping mechanisms and perfectionism loops
  • The emotional and physical cost of perfectionism
  • Perfectionism in our healing journey
  • Limiting beliefs and perfectionism
  • Elisabeth shares how she’s working through her perfectionism 
  • Perfectionism and the workplace

If you resonate with this episode and you feel compelled, feel free to share with your friends and communities. We want to reach and help as many people as possible. 

Episode 36

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