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Excerpted from The Anxiety and Phobia Workbook by Edmund Bourne. Copyright © 2005 by Edmund Bourne. Excerpted by permission of New Harbinger Publications.  All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher. HTML and web pages copyright © by SpiritSite.com.

"The Perfectionist is a close cousin of the Critic, but its concern is less to put you down than to push and goad you to do better."

  Edmund Bourne,
The Anxiety and Phobia Workbook,
Part 4

The Victim (promotes depression)

Characteristics: The Victim is that part of you that feels helpless or hopeless. It generates anxiety by telling you that youíre not making any progress, that your condition is incurable, or that the road is too long and steep for you to have a real chance at recovering. The Victim also plays a major role in creating depression. The Victim believes that there is something inherently wrong with you: you are in some ways deprived, defective, or unworthy. The Victim always perceives insurmountable obstacles between you and your goals. Characteristically, it bemoans, complains, and regrets things as they are at present. It believes that nothing will ever change.

Favorite expressions: "I canít." "Iíll never be able to."

Examples: The Victim will say such things as "Iíll never be able to do that, so whatís the point in even trying?" "I feel physically drained todayówhy bother doing anything?" "Maybe I could have done it if Iíd had more initiative ten years agoóbut itís too late now." The Victim holds such negative self-beliefs as "Iím hopeless," "Iíve had this problem too longóit will never get better," or "Iíve tried everythingónothing is ever going to work."

The Perfectionist (promotes chronic stress and burnout)

Characteristics: The Perfectionist is a close cousin of the Critic, but its concern is less to put you down than to push and goad you to do better. It generates anxiety by constantly telling you that your efforts arenít good enough, that you should be working harder, that you should always have everything under control, should always be competent, should always be pleasing, should always be (fill in whatever you keep telling yourself that you "should" do or be). The Perfectionist is the hard-driving part of you that wants to be best and is intolerant of mistakes or setbacks. It has a tendency to try to convince you that your self-worth is dependent on externals, such as vocational achievement, money and status, acceptance by others, being loved, or your ability to be pleasing and nice to others, regardless of what they do. The Perfectionist isnít convinced by any notions of your inherent self-worth, but instead pushes you into stress, exhaustion, and burnout in pursuit of its goals. It likes to ignore warning signals from your body.

Favorite Expressions: "I should." "I have to." "I must."

Examples: The Perfectionist may provide such instructions as "I should always be on top of things," "I should always be considerate and unselfish," "I should always be pleasant and nice," or "I have to (get this job, make this amount of money, receive ís approval, etc.) or Iím not worth much." (See the discussion of "should statements" at the end of the next section.)

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