Perfectionists seek precision, suffer from stress


Nikol Slatinska

Lizzandra Vazquez stands in the kitchen of her home. An undecorated cake sits on the counter. In her hands, Vazquez holds a funnel of blue frosting. She begins squeezing frosting onto the face of the dessert. Her hands move diligently but carefully. The funnel slides around in her hand and falls. Blue goes everywhere, splattering all over the floor. She stares at the mess on the ground, and then at the unfinished cake. There’s no way she’d be able to get the same color blue again. She makes new frosting and finishes decorating. She steps back and looks at the barely noticeable line where one frosting stops and the other starts. The cake is ruined.
“[My mom is] a perfectionist, especially with cooking, because she’s a chef,” senior Chay Vazquez said. “She has to get it absolutely perfect.”
Pavel G. Somov, Ph.D., published a blog on stating that there are four different types of perfectionists. One of them is neurotic perfectionism, which is motivated by the need of approval. Narcissistic perfectionists are motivated by social feedback. Contrary to popular misconceptions, they are not all arrogant even if they act like they are. Principled perfectionists are said to be so passionate about their work that they run the risk of pushing their beliefs onto others. The final type, hyper-attentive perfectionists, are motivated by intense concentration. They are described as being able to focus so well on whatever they’re doing that they can’t stop concentrating.
All four of these types are different, but in one instance, they are all the same. They all have medical issues associated with them.
“Stress and anxiety both kind of pillow into [being a perfectionist],” senior Ian Koopman said. “Honestly, when I get super nervous, I tend to do this thing called somatization, which is where my mental emotions tend to affect me physically, so I’ll get bad stomachaches when I’m super nervous.”
Beyond stomach aches, perfectionism can cause a lack of self confidence, depression, anxiety and suicidal thoughts, according to Perfectionists think what they’re doing isn’t the best it could be, which is unacceptable to them.
“Perfectionism is probably a reaction to pressure,” art teacher Carrie Stephenson said. “The pressure could come from themselves, parents, outside sources or from whatever really. They just have goals, and they want to be the best. They want to do their best, and they hold themselves to a higher standard.”
The idea that perfectionism is developed as people age is a common thought among many, according to, but others say it is caused by early life events, such as bullying. Those thoughts are believed to be what pushes a person to achieve superiority. Perfectionism can have serious health issues connected with it.
“Everything has to be on point,” Chay Vazquez said. “You gotta keep doing it until you think its perfect, and then you think it isn’t good enough.”