An assumption starts taking foot: If I’m perfect, I won’t be rejected, ridiculed, abused — I’ll be loved and accepted. It’s an unconscious negotiation they make with the world: If I’m perfect, all this good stuff will happen, all these needs will be met — and their frequently difficult relationships with parents, siblings, and peers will become easier.
The Shift That Frees People From Perfectionism
Drake Baer

I can’t begin to express how clearly this defines my childhood. It even came up recently through EMDR and the recognition that, even when I performed well, I want accepted.

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