Women Blossom Blog
Women Blossom Blog
What does a perfectionist want to focus on others that provoke conflicts? How to release the communication tension?
By using an enneagram as a tool, observing the finding from my experience with the real stories, that help me to come up with the insights that work for me to build great relationships with others.
My mom keeps the house perfectly clean without any dust on the furniture. Everything organizes so well that she regards it a big deal if anyone tries to misplace the stuff, not in the exact original position. She keeps focusing on pinpointing anything imperfect that drives me crazy.
Susan can't tolerate making grammatical mistakes and used to pick grammatical errors whenever she reads articles or emails.
Mandy feels angry with her coworkers when they fail to follow all the steps accurately. If the rule is ten steps, you should not make it more than or less than ten steps.
Worldview and Drive
What do they want? They want to be correct.
The drive is anger.
They believe the world operates as an ideal framework of standards or rules upon people to follow. They want to fix the wrong and improve everything consistent with their ideals. They want to justify themselves, to be beyond criticism so as not to be condemned by anyone.
People may describe them as stubborn and picky. A simple issue will trigger a heated argument, and they will never back off.
Subjective vs. Objective
While they appear stubborn, picky, and subjective on the surface, they are much more objective than you think. They did not set up the standards and rules by themselves. Objectively, they have learned the rules from outside (authority, parents or schools) about all those standards. They’re picky with consistent standards and rarely change their preferences frequently in response to who is presenting to them or when their mood changes.
They are perfectionists and focus on the imperfect aspect of others.
I am right, and you are wrong.
Anger drives them to complain, critique, and judge.
My mom would be mad at me merely because I had not put the spoon back in the drawer after dinner. A heated argument came after as she insisted on her point about correctness and blamed me as if I couldn't do anything right. However, it is how unlikely everyone would see the world the same way.
Perfectionists feel angry when they can’t get others to do what they consider correct. And then, they push harder, throw out tantrums, and even shout. Studies by research that 55 percent of communication is conveyed through facial expressions, gestures and posture, 38 percent is conveyed through tone and only 7 percent comes through words. In other words, it is not about what you said but about how you say it. The finger-pointing attitude causes the other side responds with even more resistance, triggering the defensive mode and shutting you out. At the moment of the heated argument, both sides are sure the other person is the wrong one.
If you are a perfectionist, some of your friends have concluded it is not just worth disagreeing with you, and others have concluded it’s not even worth talking to you, since people never know when a topic will lead to a controversy.
How about if your coworker or your parents are perfectionists with who you can’t avoid interacting? You can’t walk away every time where there is conflict. With family, you cannot always run from the issue.
Jen was my co-worker who took maternity leave for more than three months. One day, she found I had misplaced some files causing trouble for her. She used an abrasive manner yelling at me to address what I was not doing right as if I was an idiot.
Jen: Do you miss out save all the (digital) files in the computer folder?
Me: I did save all the files.
Jen: No, you should save files A, B, C, and D. You miss out save file A.
Me: I had saved files B, C, and D. File A was redundant.
What is the meaning of saving two same files together?
Jen: Starting from the first day of work, my boss told me I should save all A, B, C, and D files.
She amplified the issue by raising her voice and yelling at me.
Me: What's wrong with you? I can’t understand what is the big deal about this issue?
Jen: You think this issue has no problem, that issue has no problem, nothing has a problem.
Both she and I were angry. We never talked with each other over the whole day.
How to deal with Jen (a perfectionist)?
If you are a perfectionist, what is the particular lesson that helps you to leap for a better life?
Stay tuned to the Perfectionist Part. 2
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