When Perfectionism Becomes Abusive

Had some really good mini-sessions last week, lots of good topics, but one (a full hour session) stood out more than the rest.

Terry came to me to try with specific questions. In addition to questions about her starseed origins, were questions about whether the Peruvian psychic’s statement that Terry’s heart was completely closed was true, as well as, whether she should go back on antidepressants.

When I tuned in to her guides, I was given a vision. (This occurs when the Guides have a specific topic they wish to discuss.) The vision was a person sitting at the bottom of a deep dark pit. The only light was from the opening high above, but the pit was so deep that the light didn’t reach the bottom.

My sense was that this person was Terry, but further concentration on the vision’s details showed it was her inner child. What I got from this was that Terry had unconsciously locked her inner child away.

Locking the inner child away is the same as locking away one’s emotions. We do this when we learn that rejection and pain are the price we pay for being emotionally open and free. For some this occurs as a specific experience sometime in childhood. For others it is a choice made after repeated nonverbal messages from our parents/caregivers about emotion versus logic. Back to Terry.

I shared with Terry the emotional state of her inner child in that vision. Her inner child was virtually hopeless, barely hanging on to a thread of hope that Terry would rescue her. To rescue, Terry would have to decide not only to begin expressing her emotions but also to allow the pain of the past to be felt in order to clear it.

I went on to explain to Terry that the pain, though partially from past lives, was also from this lifetime; from her childhood. That, Terry informed me, made no sense to her. Not only did she not have any pain that she could remember, it could not have come from her childhood because she had, as she called it, a perfectly normal and happy childhood.

Just when I wondered how I was going to make this clear for Terry, she dropped a most revealing bit if info. Terry told me that psychics and astrologers both had told her that she had suffered childhood abuse. But because she could not identify any, Terry could not reconcile those statements.

I tuned back into to consult with her guides, asking if there had been any physical abuse that Terry may have blocked out. The answer was no. I was then informed that the abuse was mental in nature. The word “perfectionism” flashed across my inner screen. I immediately understood.

Terry had grown up in a family in which being logically was highly valued. The message sent was that if you want to be loved and accepted, don’t be emotional. In families such as Terry’s, too much emotion would have been frowned upon. When a child is rewarded for his/her logic and shunned for displays of intense emotion, it doesn’t take long to get the message.

In Terry’s family, the unspoken rule was to avoid conflict at all cost. If a conflict arises, the parties involved will avoid it by not talking to each other. Eventually the energy will dissipate and when it does, contact will resume, but with no mention of the previous disagreement. It’s called, “Sweeping it under the rug.”

When conflicts are left unresolved, the emotions don’t just disappear, they are stuffed away in the emotional field where they will continue to fester. In order to prevent them from being felt, we medicate or numb them in some way. Each time we numb pain, we close a part of our heart so that that pain can’t be felt.

At the same time, when we close a piece of our heart, we lose contact with the part of ourselves that was connected to that piece. If we continue to handle our pain in this manner we will eventually reach the point where very little of our heart is open and we’ve lost touch with who we are. At that point we no longer feel our feelings, we can’t decide what we want, we don’t remember our dreams, and our discernment is skewed. We feel alone, isolated, anxious, empty and depressed. The loneliness, isolation, emptiness and anxiety are all from our inner child. They are how the child is feeling from being abandoned, tossed in a dark pit … with little hope of rescue.

The Dark Side of Perfectionism

Once Terry understood the source of the pain she that the previous psychics had pointed out, she was relieved. Now it all made sense. It made sense of why she was told her heart was closed, why she felt so anxious and depressed and why she had needed antidepressants. What she didn’t understand was why her family felt the need to avoid emotion. The answer was simple-they had succumbed to the dysfunctional belief that one must be perfect in order to have the right to exist. I call it the dark side of perfectionism. It is a belief fostered by society and passed down from generation to generation.

Terry’s family, as well as most of us, had been taught that it is better to be perfect than imperfect. We are taught that being perfect will shield us from rejection and pain. Moreover, if we are perfect we will be loved and accepted. So we strive to be perfect but that means making some very big internal changes. We must control and repress our emotions and strive to always be calm and logical. But that comes with a price. We end up being rejected because others feel that we are rejecting them due to us not being able to emotionally connect with them. We end up feeling isolated and alone because we cannot feel the love being offered us. We end up anxious and depressed because we cannot feel the rightness of a particular choice. We end up depressed because we are so angry.

In closing, being perfect is not a problem; it only becomes one when a person no longer feels okay about making mistakes because their right to exist is now threatened. We each have the right to exist; we don’t have to earn it by being perfect. And as Terry has learned, the price of trying to achieve that perfection was too high to pay.

If you are feeling as Terry has, it is my hope that this story will illuminate your path so that you can find and rescue your inner child out of the darkness. Many thanks to Terry and her guides.