When I received an email about this new book, I knew I wanted to talk with its author. The book? The Perfectionist’s Guide to Losing Control. The author? Katherine Morgan Schafler, a psychotherapist and former on-site therapist at Google. She’s worked with many high-achieving women who are told they need to find “balance” – as if they’re doing something wrong! Katherine tells us instead that what’s important is to learn about the five different types of constructive perfectionism so that it can work for you! As she says, “You can dare to want more without feeling greedy or ungrateful!”
She’s an eloquent writer and speaker and it was wonderful having her on SelfWork as she helps these women exchange superficial control for real power. Hope you’ll listen in and learn!
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My book entitled Perfectly Hidden Depression is available here! Its message is specifically for those with a struggle with strong perfectionism which acts to mask underlying emotional pain. But the many self-help techniques described can be used by everyone who chooses to begin to address emotions long hidden away that are clouding and sabotaging your current life. And it’s available in paperback, eBook or as an audiobook!
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Speaker 1: Dr. Margaret
This is SelfWork. And I’m Dr. Margaret Rutherford At Self-Work. We’ll discuss psychological and emotional issues common in today’s world and what to do about them. I’m Dr. Margaret, and Self-Work is a podcast dedicated to you, taking just a few minutes today for your own selfwork.
Hello and welcome or welcome back to SelfWork. I’m Dr. Margaret Rutherford. I started this podcast now, almost seven years ago, to extend the walls of my practice to many of you who’ve already been in therapy and very interested in psychological and mental issues, emotional issues, to those of you who might have just been diagnosed with something and you’re looking for answers. And also to a third group of you that might be a little skeptical about the whole mental health treatment thing. And even admitting to someone that you need help, that’s a step in and of itself. So listening to a podcast, it’s a real safe way to do that, right? Welcome to all of you. Y’all all know that I’ve written a book called Perfectly Hidden Depression, where we need to look at perfectionism as it serves as a camouflage for really a lot of inner struggle, despair, loneliness, and even sometimes suicidal thinking.
So I was very interested to see a book that’s come out talking more about the positive aspects of perfectionism, what I would term constructive perfectionism rather than destructive perfectionism. So there’s a new book by Katherine Morgan Schafler called The Perfectionist Guide to Losing Control. And she says, you know, you don’t have to stop being a perfectionist to be healthy. She says, for women who are sick of being given the generic advice that they just need to find balance, her new approach has arrived, and she’s categorized these constructive perfectionists in five ways: classic, intense, Parisian, messy or procrastinator. Which one could you be? As you identify your unique perfectionist profile, you’ll learn how to manage each form of perfectionism to work for you, not against you. Beyond managing, you’ll learn how to embrace and even enjoy your perfectionism. Yes, enjoy.
This book is elegantly written. I had to comment at the very beginning of the interview. I think it’s one of the best books, at least self-help books that I’ve ever read, including my own. So Catherine’s book is a love letter to the ambitious, high achieving full of life clients who have filled the author’s private practice and who changed her life. Ultimately, her book will show you how to make the single greatest trade you’ll ever make in your life, which is to exchange superficial control for real power, is what she says. So I was very interested to talk with Katherine, and we talked a few weeks ago, and that’s our episode for today, Katherine Morgan Schafler.
So this episode is sponsored once again by Better Help, because when you are ready to ask for help, maybe that will be the venue that you turn to because it is so easy, affordable for many, and very, very conducive to whatever lifestyle you are living. So let’s hear from Better Help.
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And now I want to introduce you to Catherine Morgan Schaeffler, the author of The Perfectionist Guide to Losing Control.
Catherine, I I, I was reading your book and, and I will tell you that I, I think you’re one of the most eloquent writers that I’ve ever interviewed and I’ve interviewed a bunch.
Speaker 2: Wow, thank you so much.
Speaker 1: The way you use language, the way you approach ideas and the way you get them across is really, it makes the book not only very compelling, but it’s it’s just a pleasure to read. It’s, it’s a, it’s the, it’s very evocative and, and I just so enjoyed the way you think and the way you put things. So the process of the book was really good, I thought.
2: Thank you. That is so flattering. I will take that. Thank you so much.
1: Oh, good. So tell SelfWork listeners a little bit about you, who you are, how you get, you know, how you got to be an author, all that kind of thing.
Sure. So my name’s Katherine Morgan Schafler. I live in New York City, and I’m a psychotherapist and, and I, I think I always secretly wanted to write, but it was never in the forefront of my mind because I really do love being a therapist and, and my private practice was the soul of my work and still is. But I just noticed so many patterns as, as I know you have, because I’ve read your book as well, which is also fantastic. It was hooked on that intro story, which is every therapist’s worst nightmare of Natalie and everything. Anyway, I digress. So, you know, when it is your job to listen to the most intimate pieces of someone’s life, unfiltered, uncut and totally honest, that there’s something special and sacred about that. And you kind of have your pulse on the zeitgeist in the way that other professions don’t necessarily allow.
And for me, recognizing patterns across so many clinical settings, across so many de demographics, culturally, socioeconomically, and in all these kinds of ways, really compelled me to contain it somewhere. Mm-Hmm. <affirmative>, hence the book. Mm-Hmm. <affirmative>. So I wrote The Perfectionist Guide to Losing Control, A Path to Peace and Power, because that’s, I noticed, universal.
1: That’s my cue to show it. <Laugh>. Yeah. <Laugh>, yes.
2: So I, I really noticed universal plates around perfectionism that we are not talking about in commercial wellness. And not only are we not talking about them, we are talking about perfectionism. Like we fully understand it, like we know what it is, and you know, it’s agreed upon in the research world that we’re in the infancy of understanding this construct and that we don’t even have a, an a formal clinical definition for so much of this stuff. And that really…
1: I noticed you call it an innate natural human tendency mm-hmm.Yeah. I thought that was interesting.
2: Yeah. You know, I think that it is natural and innate, and natural does not mean immediately healthy. Mm-Hmm. <affirmative> mm-hmm. <Affirmative>, you know, like anger is also natural. That doesn’t mean that anger is always healthy, but it also doesn’t mean that it’s not that there aren’t wonderful expressions of that impulse within us. And that if we can just harness our natural innate human impulses instead of trying to eradicate them and get rid of them, which doesn’t work, it will never work. I’m glad it will never work, because perfectionism is so powerful. Anger is such a powerful tool. All these things that we think are bad. Mm-Hmm. <Affirmative>, they’re not bad. They’re powerful.
1: Yes. And they can be used in that way. You know, I, of course, I was thinking about my own writing and, and research and work when I was reading your book, and I really loved the juxtaposition of, of what your focus was and what my focus was. Which your focus is much more to a look at the, the beauty of perfectionism and celebrate it in many ways. And, and yet also look for when it’s becoming something that, you know, like you said, all the five different types have their pros and their cons. Right. There are things that are great about them, and then there’s things that are a little more vulnerable about them. Whereas my work is more talking about trauma and perfectionism and how that can, how perfectionism can at times, certainly not all the time be a camouflage of some kind, something that someone learns how to do in order to cope with the trauma that they have.
So they mm-hmm. <Affirmative> Anyway, enough about that. But I, I, I so enjoyed looking at this other side of it. And how did you come up with the five different categories? I mean, is that something just observation, clinical observation?
2: Yes. Well, first, let me say, I really resonate with what you just said, because my first job in this profession was working in residential treatment with kids in LA who had been severely abused and neglected so much so that they were no longer even in foster care because their family of origin had in some way not been fit to parent. And then they were abused and neglected in foster care, and then they became what was called wards of the state. Yes. And I saw so much perfectionism, maladaptive perfectionism of just shape shifting, of being around an adult and immediately trying to assess, “Okay, who do they want me to be?”
Who does this grownup want me to be? How do I, how do I best be whatever they need me to be right in this moment to stay safe.
1: Yeah. It’s like a supervisor told me once, if you go into someone’s home where you meet a family, always pay attention to the child that is quiet in the corner. <Laugh>.
2: Yeah. I put that in my book too. I had, I had similar advice from my supervisor who said, really specifically, pay attention to the children who are behaving perfectly. And I think that’s a common adage in training and therapy, because, you know, kids have natural frenetic energy so often, and they’re a little bit all over the place, and, and that’s a good thing. But when they are trying to manage so much, they you know, fade themselves out. But to return to your original question, I came up with the five types because I was really trying to understand a phenomenon that I was noticing, which was, you know, I, I worked onsite at Google.
I had a private practice on Wall Street. I worked in a rehab in Brooklyn in all these different, you’ve been <laugh>, all these different settings. And I was able to take a client from my rehab and a client from my private practice on Wall Street and on, and see that they were both going to respond similarly to a certain situation. And those kinds of things started happening all the time. And I’m like, what is the tie that binds this true? Love it. And I thought for a moment, like, is it attachment theory? Is it this, is it what is happening? And how come I can predict with reasonable reliability, how people are going to respond to certain, you know, stimulus? And that’s where the five types came from. I said, oh, it’s perfectionism that is manifesting here, and it manifests in a patterned way.
1: So the, just to let the listeners know, the five types are: classic, procrastinator, messy, intense, and Parisian. And having lived in Paris for a little while I thought was, that one was very interesting. Oh, I think the French would love that they were some type of <laugh> perfectness.
2: Well, you know, I I came up with that title because, you know, the, the beauty aesthetic for French women is so, so understated and simple in the sense that like, simplicity is the greatest form of sophistication. Like, it’s very much signaling a a subtext of I’m not trying too hard. And the Parisian perfectionist really is embarrassed about other people knowing how much they care about something. Oh, that’s, you know, and so they wanna be a little bit effortlessly cool. I’m not trying too hard. I don’t care if you like me or not.
Meanwhile, they care a lot. And as I talk about in the book, that’s not a bad thing. It’s not a bad thing to prioritize connection and relationships and understand the power of those connections that you have. And that is what Parisian perfectionists do. Every perfectionist is chasing an ideal mm-hmm. <Affirmative>. And we think of perfectionism in a one dimensional way, as in behavioral perfectionism. So I want everything to be organized and in its place when actually perfectionism is kaleidoscopic. And so perfectionism can show up interpersonally, I want to be perfectly liked by you, or perfectly understood, or I wanna be the perfect mother, the perfect whatever. And that doesn’t look like I wanna act and say the perfect things. It’s so much more nuanced. That’s why I love this subject, because the person is holding in their mind a pie chart of what the perfect mother, let’s say, okay.
Behaves like. Right. It’s not that she never screams, it’s that when she loses her cool, it’s only to a certain amount. And then she’s immediately able to make successful repair attempts and she’s continually, you know, improving and getting better. And, you know, she’s, and so when we think of perfect, we think of happy all the time, or never making a mistake, but perfectionism is actually very individualized. Mm-Hmm. <Affirmative>, and it’s based on the own person’s sense of what is, you know, this shows up another example of emotional perfectionism showing up is like, what is the perfect way to feel when you bump into an X <laugh>? Right? So it’s like, I wanna feel 5% nostalgic, 20% just indifferent, and I don’t care. And like 50% confident, empowered, and, you know, I wanna forget about it 10 minutes later. And so, you know, that’s where we get to the nuance of perfectionism is those, those little pie charts that we walk around with our minds.
1: I, I think that’s great. And, and I’m not sure what I would do if <laugh> my heads, I don’t think it would be perfect, whatever it was.
2: We don’t wanna find out. We don’t need to find out. Right. <laugh> that can remain a mystery for us all.
1: It seems more targeted or focused on women. You talk a lot about misogyny, and I totally agree with you. And, and yet how would men be?
2: You know, you’re the first person to ask me that question, and I’ve done so many podcasts. Thank you for asking that, because this is something I wanna talk more about. Unfortunately, like everything can’t fit in a book, but perfectionism in men, typically, and I, you know, this is like a heteronormative version of perfectionism in men, typically shows up in like, the perfect response for a man is to be strong, to not cry, to know what to do, and to be able to pretty immediately execute on those actions.
Right? So there’s no allowance for inaction. There’s no allowance for more feminine qualities of, you know, I need comfort, I need guidance, I need counsel, I need love, I need all the things that men need, but feel unable to either access or ask for, or even recognizing themselves that they need because we’ve so polarized what it means to be a man and a woman in this, in this ridiculous way that we all know intellectually. But when we are in that position of, of feeling in need, you know, it’s hard to be able to operate with a broadened perspective on all that stuff.
1: I was talking to one of my own clients yesterday about asking for help, and I quoted your quote <laugh>. Hmm. He said, asking for help is refusal to give up. And that’s how I frame it. I loved that. So anyway, again, there are lots of little, no, not so little just very noteworthy and memorable.Is that a word? Memorable, <laugh> things things, quotes in your book.
2: Well, I’m glad that we’re including men ’cause people have asked me that question too. And, and what I’ve noticed and I, I certainly have men, many men come to mind that I’ve worked with that Right. Fit into this rubric. So, I mean, I’m sure you’ve noticed the difference between what happens when men cry in front of you in a session, for example. Right. I mean, it’s always vulnerable when clients go there. They’re meaning like a very emotionally like live wire place when men do it. There, there is like a palpable sense of shame in the room, you know, of like, oh, I am really out of control right now. I am really losing it. Mm-Hmm. <Affirmative>.
1: Yeah. I, I I love to say to folks, I think tears are about intensity, not weakness.
2: Mm. I like that reframe. We believe.
1: So one of the things that I appreciated so much about your book is that you spend several chapters on what you can do about it, is what I say on SelfWork all time. What can you do about it? Yeah. And I wanna get there, but before I do, I think there were really in this kind of sense of celebrating, but also trying to understand what the underbelly of perfectionism is. You, you said there are two guiding questions mm-hmm. <Affirmative>, how am I striving and why am I striving? Can you talk about that a little bit?
2: Sure. So, you know, mental health and being healthy is not like a coordinate that you just plant your flag in and say, I’ve arrived. I’m healthy now. And healthy versions of perfectionism and unhealthy versions, like everybody always wants to know, am I healthy, perfectionist or not?
And I’m like, let me kill the suspense. You’re both, I’m both, anyone who’s a perfectionist is both Exactly. Mm-Hmm. <affirmative>. And so I encourage people to think of it on a spectrum, right? And so in instead of a categorical model of I am or am not, the questions of how and why help you really be a little more thoughtful about your level of awareness. So the how it am it skin, it’s that, right? Exactly. Exactly. And so the how is like, how am I striving? Am I striving in a way that is hurting me, that is burning me out, that is exploiting people around me, that is, you know, costing me something that I value my integrity, you know, my health, my relationships with my family, whatever it is that’s unhealthy perfectionism, maladaptive perfectionism. Conversely, am I striving in a way that makes me feel like more of myself, that helps me to feel alive, that increases my curiosity, that really energizes me and also, you know, tires me out because this is work, you know, but it tires me out in a way that feels satisfying, right?
That’s healthy adaptive perfectionism. And the why am I striving is like, why am I trying to pursue the thing that I am in pursuit of? Is it because I think achieving that thing is going to enable me to then feel a certain way that once I, once I get my doctorate, then I can feel smart or know that I’m smart. Or once I get married, then I can feel like a grownup or lovable or legit or, you know, is it gonna certify my belonging in some way? Are you trying to get a ticket of admission into some club mm-hmm. <Affirmative>, or that’s that’s, that’s unhealthy perfectionism? Or am I striving because it feels so good in the most, in the deepest way to find a pursuit worthy of a lifetime of striving, right.
1: And it’s a process, it’s a, yeah, you’re enjoying the whole nine yards from A to z I mean, you may be tired when you get to Z but it’s something that is, like you say, is feeding you at the same time that you are, that you are putting out that kind of energy and determination.
2: Yes, thank you. That’s a great point. There’s a level of reciprocation of energy, whereas when it’s maladaptive and unhealthy, it feels like just hemorrhaging energy, just like, you know, such a cost. And so this most simple example is when people try to look their best, right? Healthy perfectionists might want to, some perfectionists don’t really care about the way that they present, but if you’re in a healthy place and you do care about the way that you present, you might decide to present, you know, as your best to look your best because you feel your best on the inside. And you wanna animate that and celebrate that and share that and let people know that. Whereas if you are in a maladaptive space, you do the exact same behavior, right. You’re looking your best, but you’re doing that because you already feel like you’re at such a deficit and you already feel unworthy.
So the thinking is, I better look my best because I’m already coming to this meeting, this marriage, this whatever it is from a place of lack. And so I need to compensate for that somehow. So I’m gonna, you know, try to compensate by looking my best. So it’s very <inaudible>. Yeah. I mean, it’s what you’re talking about in your book of it’s hidden only, you know? Mm-Hmm. <affirmative> only, you know, whether you are focused on looking your best because you know, you truly feel that inside and you wanna animate that mm-hmm. <Affirmative> or because you feel a void inside and you wanna try to fill that.
1: I love that term “animate.” I think that is very ’cause it does feel as if you are Disney your life in some ways. ’cause You want to, you’re trying to, you know, Gordon Flett says, “The better I do, the better I must do.”
2: And so it’s just this constant cycle of, of of animating that, you know that way you want to seem Yeah, yeah, yeah. In destructive perfectionism.
1: Right. I love those two questions. Help me understand, because I, I got puzzled a little bit about, you talk about balance in a negative way mm-hmm. <Affirmative> and I, I understood it. In many ways, it’s, you, you know, you can’t have it all. You, you just, you know, that’s just not gonna happen. But you, you talk about balance is actually an energetic equilibrium. There’s another one of those phrases that I loved, and because you’ve become, you’ve become being good at being busy. So can you sure. Yeah.
2: So that a little bit for us, yeah. Balance is a wonderful pursuit in its original definition, which is energetic equilibrium. Mm-Hmm. <Affirmative> right. Balance in its, yeah. You know, original form is about how you feel on the inside.
Right. Balance as we talk about it in commercial wellness has become a, about being good at being busy mm-hmm. <Affirmative> mm-hmm. <Affirmative>. And so we’ve really lost the inside of what balance means and we’re operating with a shell casing. Yeah, that’s an excellent point. Yeah. And so, you know, the people that are genuinely have found this sweet spot of their energetic equilibrium on the outside, they look like the opposite of balanced. You know, they’re not able to juggle any task you throw at them. And, and they’re not, you know, perfectly moving through their day with all of the, you know, it’s not about that. And so it, that section was about the implicit sort of wild goose chase that we send women on, which is, you know what, you know what your problem is, you are not balanced enough. Yeah. Let me help you to be balanced.
Do this, say this mantra in the morning and buy this like Instapot so that you can make quinoa, <laugh>, and you know get this app that’s gonna help you to learn French, because balanced people are really cultured and travel enough and all this stuff. And it’s like, just becomes another another achievement. You must, but now I must achieve balance. Yeah. And you know, I talk about it in the book, like when we were all young girls, we were told that the story that a prince was gonna come and rescue us, right? And that if we just make the most out of being trapped or kidnapped or, you know, being an orphan or whatever travesty that we’re in and do what is good and virtuous, then one day the prince will come and save us and we will live as this story goes happily ever after.
And now as adult women, we are being sold that same exact story. And the prince has been replaced by this idea of balance that is so superficial, it’s not real, and it never arrives. It’s like, balance is always, oh, after the holidays I’ll, I’ll find balance. Oh, this is such a stressful week at work. I can’t wait till Saturday. I’m gonna, you know, what I’m gonna have, get level set on Saturday. And then it’s always in the future. And it never comes. And, and we don’t notice that it never comes because as women, we are too busy blaming ourselves for it’s delay. And it is not our fault. The reason that we never come, that it never comes is because this fake notion of balance is not real. It’s just an idea. It’s not real. Mm-Hmm. <affirmative>.
1: Yeah. It’s a really intriguing thought. And I, I think it, it certainly I’m glad you said it and brought it up in the conversation in your book. ‘Cause I, I think it’s, it’s something that maybe people, as you say, have swallowed a this com.
2: I used the term commercial a few minutes ago, this commercial version of balance. And, you know, you see people meditating on commercials and you know, making sure they take their, you know, all their medicine ’cause another medicine is going to fix that. Right? So medicine and yoga pants, the right outfit, <laugh>, and a quick vodka martini perhaps. Oh, that too. Sure.
1: You said there are 10 changes in thinking that you can have and then 10 changes in your behaviors. So I would, I would love for you to just pick one of those maybe that you don’t get to talk about very much. Mm-Hmm. <affirmative>, I just wrote a few of them down. Counterfactual thinking Maintenance and is triumph, difficulty versus challenge. And what I can’t read my own handwriting, the getting connected Simple isn’t easy, which I loved that one.
Mm-Hmm. And then some of the behaviors are restoration, reframe, explain, and express. Do less than, do more. Those are just a few that I wrote down. But what do you not get to talk about that you’d like to talk about?
2: Oh, thank you for that. So I think strike when the iron is cold. Like one of my favorite strategies it’s a phrase that comes from the Dr. Irvin Yalom who is, you know, a celebrated psychologist and writer. And the idea here is that the best time to address a conflict or something that is really challenging to you is not when the iron is hot. It’s not in the moment that you’re in the conflict, right? It’s when the conflict and you have some distance between themselves. So the strategy that, you know, the way I applied it in the book is like, the best time to work on your maladaptive perfectionism is when it’s not showing up.
Yes. For you. It’s when you’re in a great space. Because when you’re in a healthy space, that’s when you feel most solutions oriented. That’s when you feel confident enough to ask for help. That’s when you feel, you know, that you have the most energy to maybe set or adjust a routine such that you are able to encounter, you know, your deepest self every day or your goals or whatever it is that you, you know, if you’re anything like me can lose sight of really easily, you know, I have to remind myself of like my basic values every day just because otherwise we get so distracted and so striking when the iron is, is cold applied outside of managing perfectionism might look like, let’s say you and your partner have a real hot button issue going on. Mm-Hmm. <Affirmative> the time to talk about that is when you are feeling very connected to that person.
Exactly. And when, when you and that person are laughing, you’re having a good time, you feel safe together. And that’s when you wanna say, listen, I, I’ve been thinking about something that I’d like to have a conversation about. It’s important to me. Do you have time? Mm-Hmm. And energy to listen to that right now? Or are you up for that right now? Mm-Hmm. <Affirmative> and the person will probably be able to receive that versus, you know, let’s just say for argument’s sake, the, the issue is one, you know, one person comes home late and they don’t say that they’re coming home late and the other person feels dismissed and disrespected and blah, blah, blah. Okay. So striking when the iron is hot would look like noticing it’s seven o’clock. My partner said they would be home at, at 6 45, 0, 15 minutes. You’re building resentment, you’re, you’re, you know, you’re just having an argument in your head and then seven 12 rolls by and your partner comes home and you’re just like, why didn’t you tell me?
We have talked about this. I wanna talk about this right now. You either respect me or you don’t. And you just engage in this very unproductive back and forth, which creates immediate defensiveness. Nobody feels really safe and nobody feels open. There’s, there’s such a tiny, if not invisible or, or not even invisible, but just like doesn’t exist opportunity for solution in those moments. You’re just doing damage control at that point. Sure. Of course.
1: Strike when the iron is cold. That’s a great, great way of putting it. And I’ve never heard it before. So that’s that’s, that’s another one that will stick with me. I have sneaking suspicion. And then again, some of your behavioral suggestions are also really, really good. Which one do you not get to talk about <laugh>? Well so I mean, I think that if people understood that asking for help looks like not just asking for emotional help, that’s actually a reframe of of perspective.
2: It’s not one of the behavioral strategies, but I think it applies to behavioral strategies. Because if we’re talking about the behavior of asking for help, being able to understand that, so often we don’t ask for help because we think of my, of help in this myopic one dimensional way, which is asking for help means being emotionally vulnerable and having to tell someone something that feels private or scary to acknowledge. And emotional help is one version of help. I identify six in the book. There are many more. And so other versions of help include informational help. Mm-Hmm. <Affirmative>, right? So if you, if you just started a business and you are really stressed out with the mechanics of filing your taxes under, you know, this a new P L L C as opposed to the way you’ve always filed your taxes in life, you are stressed and you need help and understanding, wait a minute, I don’t need necessarily a therapy session about this.
I need to talk to an accountant and ask them two specific questions. I need informational help. And so just being able to organize the kind of help you need and create buckets in your mind. There’s tangible help, there’s physical help, there’s financial help, there’s emotional help, there’s informational help and there’s community help. And again, that’s just the intro class, right? <Laugh>, they’re all different kinds of help. And so asking for help doesn’t have to look like bearing your soul to somebody.
- You know, I, I’m thinking laughing to myself about this past weekend. I, I’m short, I’m like five three and I am too. Oh, <laugh>. And I was at the grocery store and the thing I wanted Creme Fraise was way at the top. And I was standing there and trying to hold on and I thought, I’m just not gonna ask for help.
And I knocked the hole, the shelf off, <laugh>, it all kept rumbling down. Oh God, didn’t I just ask for help? So <laugh>
b2: Yeah. I know there are so many moments where we don’t ask for help for no good reason. And then there are other moments when we don’t ask for help for reasons that we think are good, but other people, you know, they, I was just talking about this to a friend where it’s like, you don’t ask for help because you think you are burdening someone. Mm-Hmm. <Affirmative> when actually asking for help is an invitation to connect and let people show up for you. And it also gives other people license to ask for help from you. Love to ask for help. Yeah. Be asked for help. It’s like, oh, you see me as someone that can help you? That’s very flattering to me.
1: Right. A lot of people do. So well the, the book’s title is again, the Perfectionist Guide to Losing Control, A Path to Peace and Power by Katherine Morgan Schafler. And I’m also curious, and I saw that one of your certifications was from the Association for Spirituality and Psychotherapy in New York, and, but your afterward is very interesting. Mm-Hmm. <affirmative>.
2: Yeah. I put that in in the last second ’cause I was scared to put it in because I was like, it it, it has God in it. Yeah. It has God, God language, <laugh>. And I was really raised, not, not religiously and so to me, but I’ve always believed in God. Mm-Hmm. <affirmative> and it felt like a really intellectual book.
And it also felt incomplete without that afterwards. So I just snuck it in there, <laugh>.
1: I love it. I thought, wow, what, this is really revealing another part of her. Yeah. So it was and the way you feel about that kind of connection, how you feel about connection. Yeah.
2: Well, I’ll tell you where that came from. I remember being in my apartment before I even had a book proposal and just having a ton of index cards. ’cause I’m old school and I like to write stuff on index cards and lay them out to organize my thoughts. And I was like, what is this book gonna be about? What is it not gonna be about? How am I going to structure it? And I just had that, you know, I call it in the afterward Waking Dream. I was sitting there and I just saw what I wrote in the afterward and it was just like a ten second thing.
And I, and I was like, that is the spine of the book. And at, when I finished the book, something about it didn’t feel complete and it was not including that little, you know, half a page afterward. And then I put it in and I felt such a peace in heart and mind, and I really love that part too. So thank you for, for sharing that.
1: Of course. Well, if for SelfWork listeners who are going to actually pick this book up, which I would highly recommend, I’m not gonna spoil it by reading it because I think it’s just very, oh gosh, it, it evoked curiosity. It evoked gentleness. I don’t know. It was just very, it was very interesting that you would, and I, I, I felt like you were letting us in a little bit to who you are and, and what makes you tick.
So that’s, that was really a beautiful thing to write. Hmm. Thank you. Anything else that you would like for us to hear about you or about your work?
2. Well the book is a conversation starter, and I could, you know, I think we all could talk about this in so many different directions and ways. And I continue the conversation on my site, which is Katherine Morgan Schafler.com, and you can find me on instagram@Katherinemorganschafler.com. And and I just wanna thank you for having me on. This has been such a thoughtful conversation and I also wanna Thank you. I have your book here. Oh. And I wanna, I wanna thank you for laying the groundwork. You know, you and so many other practitioners, you know, Dr. Brene Brown comes to mind, Flett and Hewitt, obviously, you know, all these people that really cemented how perfectionism can go wrong and how much we need to be mindful of that and understand that we need bumper lanes on this thing mm-hmm.
<Affirmative> or else we are going to crash. Mm-Hmm. <Affirmative>. And, you know, the crash for perfectionism is very serious. And I talk about those serious risks in the book. And the reason that I was able to write a book about a sort of broader perspective was because the, you know, part about how maladaptive perfectionism can go wrong was so clearly laid out. And so I appreciate that and it gave me license to really explore. And I never get a chance to tell the people who wrote books. I mean, isn’t that the best part of being an author is that you get to talk to other people who write other authors and about being a podcast host as well, so <laugh>. Yeah, right. But man, being a podcast host looks so hard to me. It look, I mean, it looks easy on the surface, but just by being on all these podcasts, even just as a guest, I’m like, God, the level of technology, <laugh> alone, <laugh>.
- Well, that’s when you, thank God for your team and your audio engineer <laugh>. Mm-Hmm. <Affirmative>. Thank you Catherine. So very, very much. My pleasure. Thank you. Of course.
Thanks to Catherine for a wonderful interview. I’m so appreciative of her work and the fact that she also actually in the beginnings of the book does talk about how perfectionism can be destructive. So we’re really more on the same page than I initially thought. Thanks for the reviews you’re leaving for SelfWork. Wherever you listen, keep ’em coming. Thank you for your support and for being here today. And please take very good care of yourself, your family, and your community. Of course, our hearts are broken by what has happened in Hawaii. And so if you know someone there or if your life is affected by that tragic wildfire, please know that we are helping and we want to help. And I urge everybody listening, give whatever you can to the American Red Cross or the organization of your choice to help out these Hawaiians who have lost everything. I’m Dr. Margaret, and this has been SelfWork.