Why do so many people feel a need to be perfect when intellectually they know they can’t? Because, their underlying motivations lead them to believe that if they are perfect, then (fill in the blank).
“If I am perfect, then I will be loved.”
“If I am perfect, then my kids will be healthy.”
“If I am perfect, then my parent will stop drinking.”
Let’s say you came from a family where there was a hell of a lot more criticizing and scolding than nurturing and loving. Kids in these situations turn out one of two ways. They either become rebels/raging jerks, or they become neurotic perfectionists. It’s a defense mechanism to deal with the uncertainty and lack of control in their world. Underneath the desire to be perfect is a desperate craving to be loved.