My previous blog post described a woman’s red flag of no emotional impulse control. That particular red flag is relatively obvious and makes a woman easy to pass by. In keeping with the red flag theme, there’s another one for men to be aware of, perfectionism.
There’s a good description of the psychology of perfectionism in Wikipedia. The Wiki entry goes into some detail about concept of perfectionism complete with links to sources. It’s a fairly long entry so I’ve quoted some of the more salient points that relate to dating.
They also tend to dissociate themselves from their flaws or what they believe are flaws (such as negative emotions) and can become hypocritical and hypercritical of others, seeking the illusion of virtue to hide their own vices
I frequently see women in their online dating profiles claim to be perfectionists. These are women to avoid. I’m sure that many of my readers have come across perfectionists in their dating and relationship experiences.
Perfectionism is the behavioral manifestation of being a control freak. Control freaks are miserable people. If a man falls into web of the control freak, he’s going to hate life unless he wants to be bossed around by a dangerously neurotic woman. The woman, in her desire to be a perfect, attempts to control all within her grasp, especially the man in her life
In its pathological form, perfectionism can be damaging. It can take the form of procrastination when used to postpone tasks and self-deprecation when used to excuse poor performance or to seek sympathy and affirmation from other people. In general, maladaptive perfectionists feel constant pressure to meet their high standards, which creates cognitive dissonance when one cannot meet their own expectations. Perfectionism has been associated with numerous other psychological and physiological complications as well.
To make the flag even redder, there’s a relationship between perfectionism and narcissism as observed by researchers. Narcissists are wildly toxic people unfit for dating and intimate relationships
According to Arnold Cooper, narcissism can be considered as a self-perceived form of perfectionism – “an insistence on perfection in the idealized self-object and the limitless power of the grandiose self. These are rooted in traumatic injuries to the grandiose self.”
I’m keenly suspicious of any personality disorder being blamed on “traumatic injuries”, a very nebulous term open to exploitation and rationalization for a having a shitty personality and behaving like crap. The entry goes on.
Narcissists often are pseudo-perfectionists and require being the center of attention and create situations where they will receive attention. This attempt at being perfect is cohesive with the narcissist’s grandiose self-image. If a perceived state of perfection isn’t reached it can lead to guilt, shame, anger or anxiety because he/she believes that he/she will lose the imagined love and admiration from other people if he or she is not perfect.
The take away advice for men is this – when reading online dating profiles and meeting a woman in person for the first time – look for signs of her perfectionism. If in doubt, just ask her. Perfectionism is usually perceived as a positive trait so a woman will proudly state she’s a perfectionist. In actually, however, perfectionism is a serious character flaw. Gentlemen, avoid the perfectionist. That also goes for the guys you know who are perfectionists.
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