Description: Perfectionism and a need for order and organization taken too far.
Characteristics: Punctual, methodical, perfectionist.
Can be irritable, tense, opinionated, sarcastic.
Highly critical of self and others.
Strong need for self-control and self-restraint.
Works overtime to make up for others’ sloppiness and laziness.
Is highly sensitive to criticism.
Thoughts: Right is right and wrong is wrong. I know the right way. If you can’t do it perfectly, don’t do it at all. Others too often have lax standards. I need to be more organized and methodical than others so things get done. I hate mistakes.
Feelings: Constant frustration and disappointment with self and others for not living up to ideal standards. Anxious that others will mess up the order and balance I have created. Sarcastic or self-righteous overtones. Suppressed anger and frustration.
Justification Lies: This is a personal obligation. It is up to me to fix whatever mess I encounter. Perfectionism is good, plus it makes me feel better about myself. There is usually a clear right and clear wrong way to do things. I know how things should be done and must do the right thing.
Impact on Self and Others: Causes rigidity and reduces flexibility in dealing with change and others’ different styles. Is a source of ongoing anxiety and frustration. Causes resentment, anxiety, self-doubt, and resignation in others, who feel continually criticized and resign themselves that no matter how hard they work they will never please the Stickler.
Original Survival Function: The Stickler offers a way of quieting the constant voice of self judgment and fear of others’ judgments through trying to be perfect. If you do what is right, you will be beyond interference and reproach by others. Perfection and order brings a sense of temporary relief. Might have generated a sense of order in the middle of a chaotic family dynamic, or earned acceptance and attention from emotionally distant or demanding parents by standing out as the irreproachable perfect kid.