Love, Self, and the Addiction to Perfection

(and learning to love yourself, of course)

Addictions can come in all different shapes, sizes and forms.  When one thinks of addiction, they often assume that an addiction is referring to a substance, such as drugs, or an activity, such as sex.  There are many types of addictions; food addictions, love addictions, ect. Addictions are coping mechanisms that are formed when emotions are intolerable and stress levels are unmanageable.  Often times, a person feels out of control of their addiction, and when they try to manage or change it, they find that the addiction gets worst.  

Many addictions can be misunderstood or misjudged, such as the addiction to control or abstinence.  Anorexia is actually an addiction to avoiding eating or preventing food intake.  "Sexual Anorexia" or contact avoidance is yet another misunderstood and highly unseen addiction, where one can go unnoticed in being addicted to finding ways to avoid relationships and prevent themselves from having sex.

One of the most recent addictions that I have encountered is the addiction to perfection. The signs of this are when someone feels that they cannot do anything because they cannot, or will not, be perfect enough when they do it.  Many people who have an addiction to perfection find that they experience procrastination or a hard time doing anything at all for the daunting reality that what they do will not fit their own expectations.  A person who is addicted to perfection will walk away from a partner who is not "perfect" enough, or walk away from a potential partner because THEY THEMSELVES feel that they are not perfect enough, or will just avoid dating in general for the same reasons.  An addiction to perfection can stilt a person from being able to do things that they could maybe do if they were ok with "good enough", like get a good enough job as opposed to being jobless in lieu of the the perfect job.

An addiction to perfection is surprisingly, and comparatively, as difficult to work through as other addictions.  And to work through this addiction, and many other addictions, some deeper issues may need to be confronted around fundamental sadness, self-hatred, grief, and hopelessness that may lay just beneath the protective layer of the addiction. 




Bianca Aarons LMFT is a licensed psychotherapist in San Francisco's Duboce Triangle neighborhood. Bianca’s specialties include attachment, trauma, sexual abuse, post traumatic stress, relationship issues, depression issues, couples work and work with teenagers. Learn more about Bianca at, email her at, or call her at (415) 553-5346 to ask any questions or to set up a consultation session.


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