Perfectionism and interpersonal problems: Narcissistic and self-critical perfectionism

Many perfectionists struggle to benefit from and to participate in harmonious, satisfying, and stable interpersonal relationships. Perfectionism seems to thwart a basic human need for close interpersonal relationships. Congruent with this view, perfectionism is linked with interpersonal problems, including negative social outcomes, negative social behaviors, and negative social cognitions. In this chapter, we examine the interpersonal lives of self-critical and narcissistic perfectionists, highlighting how these individuals view themselves and others. We also examine the interpersonal behaviors of self-critical and narcissistic perfectionists, and we consider how interpersonal problems lead to psychological distress in self-critical and narcissistic perfectionists. In this chapter, we also present two case studies illustrating our points: Sylvia Plath and Bobby Knight.