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boundaries inner-work over functioning people pleasing perfectionism personality Jul 03, 2023

The Over-Functioning Personality: red flags and 5 ways to reclaiming your true self back

I've been wanting to write about this for a while, and today I got inspiration from one of my coachees. So, this piece aims to help those of you doing the inner work, identify this trait within yourselves. By exploring the psychological angle of over-functioning, its origins in early childhood, and its detrimental effects on self-esteem and confidence, we can pave the way for healing and growth. So, let's dive in!

Understanding Over-Functioning:

Over-functioning refers to a tendency to take on excessive responsibility, often going above and beyond what is necessary or healthy. People with over-functioning personalities have an inherent need to control and fix things, often neglecting their own well-being in the process. They may struggle to delegate, have difficulty saying no, and often find their worth tied to their ability to help others. Rings a bell?

Some Red flags and traits are: 

  1. Perfectionism: Over-functioners may set impossibly high standards for themselves and others. They constantly strive for flawlessness and may become excessively critical of themselves and those around them. This chronic pursuit of perfection leads to stress, burnout, and a constant feeling of never being good enough. 
  2. Boundary Difficulties: Over-functioners struggle to establish and maintain healthy boundaries. They have a hard time saying no and tend to take on more responsibilities than they can handle. This lack of boundaries can result in feeling overwhelmed, resentful, and ultimately depleted. 
  3. Control Issues: The need for control is a common trait among over-functioners. They may feel compelled to micromanage situations, believing that only they can ensure things are done "right." This behavior strains relationships, creates tension, and leads to an inability to trust others.
  4. Ignoring their own needs: Due to their preoccupation with taking care of others, over-functioners often neglect their own needs. They prioritize external demands over their own well-being, leading to physical and emotional exhaustion, decreased self-esteem, and a diminished sense of self.
  5. Approval-Recognition Seeking: Over-functioners may develop a strong need for external validation, seeking reassurance and recognition. They tie their self-worth to their ability to help and fix, leading to a continuous cycle of seeking approval and feeling empty when it is not received.
  6. Difficulty with Receiving Compliments: Over-functioners often struggle to accept compliments graciously. They may downplay or dismiss praise, feeling uncomfortable or unworthy of the recognition.
  7. Comparison and Competition: Over-functioners may engage in constant comparison with others, seeking to outperform and be recognized as the best. They view achievements as a measure of their worth and may feel threatened by others' success.
  8. Validation-Seeking Behavior: Over-functioners may engage in behaviors solely to gain validation and praise from others. They may go to great lengths to please and impress others, losing touch with their own needs and desires.
  9. Over-Achieving: Over-functioners may feel compelled to excel in all areas of life to gain recognition and praise. They push themselves to achieve high standards, often at the expense of their own well-being.

The Psychological Angle and Childhood Origins:

Research suggests that over-functioning often stems from early childhood experiences. It can develop as a coping mechanism to gain love, attention, or validation from caregivers. Children who feel a need to compensate for neglect, inconsistency, or chaos in their environment may assume the role of the responsible caretaker prematurely. This behavior becomes ingrained and continues into adulthood, affecting their self-esteem and overall well-being.

Reclaiming Your True Self:

  1. Cultivate Self-Awareness: Start by recognizing your patterns of over-functioning and the underlying emotions driving them. Self-reflection and journaling can be valuable tools in this process. Pay attention to the moments when you feel overwhelmed or take on more than you can handle.

  2. Practice Self-Compassion: Challenge your inner critic and embrace self-compassion. Treat yourself with the same kindness, understanding, and forgiveness you extend to others. Acknowledge that you are human and that it's okay to have limits and make mistakes.

  3. Establish Boundaries: Learn to say no and set boundaries that honor your needs and well-being. Remember that setting boundaries is an act of self-care, not selfishness. Practice communicating your boundaries assertively and respectfully.

  4. Delegate and Collaborate: Practice letting go of control and trusting others to share responsibilities. Delegate tasks and seek support from those around you, fostering a sense of collaboration. Recognize that you don't have to do everything by yourself and that others are capable and willing to help.

  5. Prioritize Self-Care: Make self-care a non-negotiable part of your routine. Engage in activities that replenish your energy, nourish your mind, and restore balance to your life. Set aside dedicated time for self-care, whether it's practicing mindfulness, engaging in a hobby, or simply taking a break to recharge.

If you are on this BOLD journey, chances are that you can relate to one or more of these. Identifying and acknowledging the over-functioning personality is a vital step towards healing and growth. By understanding the red flags and downsides associated with over-functioning, as well as its possible origins in early childhood, you can begin to reclaim your true self and rebuild your self-esteem and confidence. And please remember: healing takes time, but with self-awareness, self-compassion, and the implementation of healthy boundaries and self-care practices, you can break free from the cycle of over-functioning and embark on a journey of personal transformation and LIVE BOLDLY!

Reach out anytime for help. I got you,

Gia Helena

Let's do BOLD together!

Disclaimer: I do not know you personally so please, always seek the advice of a certified coach, therapist or consult a professional on your specific circumstances.The information in this blog post is for educational and informational purposes. Never disregard professional advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read online.


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