Anything worth doing is worth doing well. Practice makes perfect. Winning isn't everything, it's the only thing. Failure is not an option. In today's perfection-obsessed culture, these are the maxims we live by. Yet, the damage that they cause is stifling. Renowned author and pioneer of codependency treatment Ann W. Smith knows this first hand. Smith has dealt with her fair share of perfectionism and has bared witness to this all too common phenomenon in her professional life, having spent the last thirty years studying the impact compulsive disorders have on individuals and family. While perfectionism lacks much of the stigma attached to today's most common compulsions—smoking, gambling, sex addiction, alcoholism, and drug abuse—many of the negative connotations on self and the family system are the same.
Psychological and physical implications include:
Headaches Isolation Anxiety attacks Fear of failure Sleep disturbances Digestive problems Back pain Overeating Sexual dysfunction Depression Suicidal thoughts or tendencies An inability to establish proper boundaries Overly critical of others The need to be in control Excessive guilt and shame
In this revised and updated edition of the original, groundbreaking book Overcoming Perfectionism: The Key to a Balanced Recovery, Smith describes the key differences between overt and covert perfectionism; the role early attachment, temperament, sibling relationships, and life circumstances play in developing this pattern; and how to shift toward a center of balance for a more fulfilling life.
Readers will learn how to identify and confront the root cause of their problem, how to reveal and accept their essence, and finally, they will learn the importance of forgiveness and letting go. Additionally, readers discover the key characteristics of a healthy family system, along with the single most important lesson of all—perfection does not exist.
"As I discuss in my new book Recover to Live: Kick Any Habit, Manage Any Addiction, you can't lead a productive and fulfilling life if unhealthy behavior is holding you back. Perfectionism can be just as damaging as many other compulsive behaviors. Ann Smith is among the best in the world at helping people to break lifelong patterns and find balance in their lives. I would highly recommend this book."—Christopher Kennedy Lawford
"I highly recommend Ann Smith's second edition of her highly successful book, Overcoming Perfectionism. She has taken her work to another level, one that will benefit all who are making the journey beyond their painful childhoods. Her work is very personal, but her willingness to share her knowledge and emotions will touch many readers. Her style of writing makes you feel that this book is just for you and so it is."—Robert J. Ackerman, PhD, Author, Perfect Daughters: Adult Daughters of Alcoholics, Professor and Program Director of the Human Services Degree Program at the University of South Carolina at Beaufort
"The drive for perfection is a painful dynamic that destroys relationships and leads to a life of despair, emptiness, and exhaustion. Ann Smith has taken her seminal work on perfectionism and created an inspirational and practical guide! I'd recommend this book for anyone who is plagued by patterns of perfectionistic thinking or behavior!"—Rokelle Lerner, Author of The Object of my Affection Is in My Reflection: Coping with Narcissists, Clinical Director Cottonwood Inner Path Workshops
As a former Miss USA, I've dedicated a lot of time to trying to be the perfect woman. In fact, I spent so much time trying to be the Tara that everyone else needed me to be that I wasn't in touch with my own needs. Ann Smith has helped me to develop and live in sync with my own values and authentic self. She has empowered me to love the woman I am today. I would recommend this book to anyone seeking self-acceptance.—Tara Conner, Miss USA 2006, Public Advocacy Consultant, Caron Treatment Centers
Smith celebrates the art of living with imperfection, delivers a set of affirmations to lift up your spirit, and puts out the welcome mat for spiritual practices.—Frederic Brussat, Spirituality & Practice