Posted by JF
One interesting trait that I notice a lot of people with Aspergers show is perfectionism. The perfectionism usually goes right along with one of the Aspie’s main “passions” – if the Aspie is interested in doing something, it MUST be done perfectly, otherwise what’s the point in doing it? Note that this is not the same as OCD, although Aspies can show that as well. No, this isn’t excessive handwashing or hyper-organization I’m talking about. It’s the overwhelming need to NOT BE WRONG.
My daughter is having so much trouble with this right now. She has been absolutely tearing through her home school assignments. She’s learning stuff so quickly that she’s now getting deep into Grade 2 assignments even though she is only 7. As she comes across subjects that are more complex, it’s natural for her not to have all the answers right away.
Try telling her this.
When she doesn’t know the answer to a question, she does everything she can to avoid making an incorrect guess. She will whine, cry, overdramatize… ANYTHING to avoind giving a wrong answer. Even after I tell her to take a guess and that being wrong is okay, she still won’t give in. She has had full on, hour long tantrums simply because she could not spell the word “bounce.”
Although my reactions aren’t as extreme, I definitely have a perfectionism issue as well. While it’s an asset professionally (I work in a place that pretty much demands perfectionism), it is a drain on my psyche socially. My perfectionism manifests itself as a fear of looking stupid in front of people by doing something “wrong.” That’s why I’m constantly second guessing my behavior, which accounts for a great deal of my social awkwardness and anxiety.
The good thing is I have learned to cope with my perfectionism to a degree. I’ve learned that being perfect is pretty much impossible, and that my best effort is all I should be looking for. If I’m wrong, so be it, as long as I tried my hardest to do the right thing. In essence: the best I can do is the best I can do.
Now if I can just get my daughter to believe that bullshit.