Category Archives: Guardedness

Amy’s Baking Company: Sensitivity to Criticism Goes Viral

Last Friday on Fox’s reality TV series “Kitchen Nightmares,” chef Gordon Ramsay paid a visit to “Amy’s Baking Company,” a restaurant in Scottsdale, Arizona. Just like he does in every episode, Gordon Ramsay offered his constructive criticism with the intention of improving the restaurant’s success. The restoration process, however, was cut short for the first time in the show’s history because the owners of the restaurant, Amy and Samy Bouzaglo, showed excessive resistance and defensiveness to Ramsay’s signature not-so-sensitive criticism. The two restaurant owners then became a viral hit over the internet because of their continued over-the-top display of oversensitivity to criticism even after the show.

Sensitivity to criticism comes from not feeling good enough as a person.

Amy's Baking Company[ Samy and Amy Bouzaglo, owners of "Amy's Baking Company" ]

Although the feeling of inadequacy is shared by many people, those who struggle with it the most are obsessives (highly anxious highly sensitive people) who had been starved of healthy affirmation during their childhood. This does not necessarily mean that their parents all have directed much of their criticism toward their children while they were growing up. No. Their parents could have very well been good-hearted, loving people who provided frequent words of affirmation. The question is “when?”

Although it makes sense to give positive affirmation at the onset of good results, affirmation linked only to performance is very unhealthy, especially for obsessive children who think in extremes. This kind of affirmation sets up children to define themselves by how well they perform. In the video, it seems pretty clear to me that Amy defines her self-worth by how well she performs as a chef. When anything less than perfection is delivered, performance-oriented obsessive people hear a voice in their head saying “you are fatally flawed!” When others say, “This could have been better,” they hear, “You are a disgusting human being! On the show, one of the servers asked, “Are you sure?” to Amy. Amy took this simple question as a hostile challenge and equated the experience to someone holding a gun to her head. People who have lived the majority of their life listening to this kind of verbal abuse inside their head are very broken inside.

The choice of words that Amy and Samy use to attack their opposers and “haters” is a reflection of what they constantly hear inside their head. In their mind, Amy and Samy are simply mirroring everyone else’s insensitive communication. It feels to them like the entire world is out to attack them.

It is devastating when one’s identity gets crushed. I can see Amy and Samy desperately trying so hard to fight against the idea that they are not good enough as people. It appears that pride has made its way into their lives to help them cope better with their pain. They have convinced themselves that everyone else is wrong and they alone are the only ones who know how good food tastes.

My heart breaks for Amy and Samy Bouzaglo. I hope they get to discover soon that they are good enough just the way they are, regardless of how well they cook or run a restaurant. I am bothered by the online world’s insensitivity towards them. Rather than leaving these two poor broken people alone, so many people are attacking them for fun, just to get a kick out of their reaction.

Welcome to the new world of online bullying :(

Watch the entire TV episode here:

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Push-Pull

As discussed earlier in my post titled “Fear of Mistakes,” perfectionists avoid taking action, making decisions, and making commitments in hopes of keeping all of their options open before deciding on one best “perfect” option. This behaviour often shows up in the romantic relationships of perfectionists. But unlike most of their other inanimate options that can be easily kept within their reach with a minimal amount of control, human beings require much more control because they have a mind of their own.

Relationship perfectionists sabotage and re-establish their romantic relationships (also known as “push-pull”) to keep all of their romantic options open and control their fear of making a mistake in the selection of a romantic partner.

For extreme relationship perfectionists, their search for “the one” ends when they have finally met and evaluated every single potential romantic partner on the face of this planet. But before they can complete their impossible mission, most of them come across some “good” options that do a good enough job of giving them some pleasure until they find someone better.

But these “good” options, to the frustration of relationship perfectionists, do not stay put. Sometimes they express their desire to take the relationship to a deeper level of intimacy. This terrifies relationship perfectionists because their all-or-nothing thinking causes them to feel as though they are being pressured into something as exclusive as marriage. Other times, these “good” options express their desire to remove themselves romantically. This also terrifies relationship perfectionists because it threatens their plans to keep all of their options open. In attempt to avoid making choosing or losing mistakes, relationship perfectionists control the intimacy level of their relationships through pushing and pulling.

All that a relationship perfectionist achieves through successfully exercising push-pull techniques is just the peace of mind of having someone to go to if all else fails. Unfortunately, it is at the severe expense of another person’s emotional welfare.

STRENGTHS OF THOSE WITH OCPD WHO LEARN TO OVERCOME THEIR FEAR OF MISTAKES IN THE SELECTION OF A ROMANTIC PARTNER

  • Your standards actually go higher – You probably think your standards are already high enough. If you have a fear of making mistakes in the selection of a romantic partner, then actually your standards are not so high. Beneath all your “high standards,” you are actually afraid of getting hurt. You have trained your eye to look out for someone who will hurt you the least. After overcoming your fear, you will be able to appreciate much better qualities in a romantic partner than just someone “nice” who would never even hurt a fly.
  • You have so much peace in your romantic relationships.
  • You can be so forgiving and understanding when your romantic partner does something that hurts you.

SO WHAT NOW?

HOW TO CO-EXIST WITH THE OTHER (OCPD):
Understand that your all-or-nothing thinking is inaccurate. Challenge yourself to see the more accurate “middle-ground” meaning of your romantic partner’s affection. Openly communicate with your partner that you have a fear that holds you back from wholly enjoying a relationship. Be honest and let your partner know that your fear intensifies when you feel out of control, which usually happens when the intimacy level of a relationship fluctuates too much.

HOW TO CO-EXIST WITH THE OTHER (OTHERS):
Your relationship perfectionist partner is probably unaware that his or her push-pull tendencies are driven by his or her fear of making mistakes. Address this issue immediately. After he or she recognizes the fear, ask him or her if he or she would like to (A) face the fear by taking a chance and attempting to do away with his or her control patterns or (B) continue to hold onto the fear and all the control patterns that come with it. If he or she chooses the latter, I suggest you leave the doomed relationship. If he or she chooses the former, be patient and give assurance to your partner that “everything is going to be just fine.” Even if your heart wants to express so much affection to your partner, understand that he or she may not respond to it so well because of his or her fear. While your relationship perfectionist partner makes gradual progress towards eliminating his or her fear, resist the urge to express your intense love for him or her. You can unload it all once his or her fear has been conquered.

HOW TO LET GO OF YOUR FEAR OF MISTAKES IN THE SELECTION OF A ROMANTIC PARTNER (OCPD):
You must understand that your relationship control techniques, though they make you feel safe, are actually terrible for you. Because of them, you are not able to face your relationship fears. As long as you hold onto your control techniques, you will never get rid of that fear. Stop exercising your control in relationships. When the intimacy level of a relationship fluctuates, hold yourself back from doing anything about it. It will feel very scary at first, but those feelings will pass. Just continue to tell yourself “everything is going to be ok.”

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Letting Go

When people with OCPD put their heart into something, they don’t just try hard… they lay down their entire life for it. Although such devotion makes a difference in the world, it also makes it that much more devastating when things do not work out, so devastating that the disappointed OCPDer vows never to give his or her heart again in such entirety. Consequently, people with OCPD become increasingly more like regular people who just “try” hard rather than give their all.

More than anyone else, it is of utmost importance that those with OCPD let go of their painful past in order to be who they are meant to be.

In every OCPDer’s past, he or she once believed in something or someone with all of his or her heart. He or she literally gave 100% of energy (tunnel vision) that can possibly come out of the human body and mind, only to be left with nothing (all-or-nothing thinking) but deep lasting pain.

For most people with OCPD, this pain acts as a reminder to them to never (all-or-nothing thinking) give 100% again. While others let go of their past, people with OCPD find it logical to hold onto it.

In the end, people with OCPD give only a fraction of their entire self to the things in their life now while the other remainder dwells in their past. They lose one of their strongest qualities that sets them apart from everyone else.

STRENGTHS OF THOSE WITH OCPD WHO LEARN TO LET GO OF THEIR PAST

  • You are a fighter, an overcomer – the hardest things in life that most people cannot handle can happen to you and you can fight through it
  • You are a champion of freedom

SO WHAT NOW?

HOW TO CO-EXIST WITH THE OTHER (OCPD):
Understand that your guardedness is hurting the people around you. It is unfair that you apply onto them the same mistrust that you would have applied onto the scumbags of your past. They are different people! Do not tell them that they need to be more perfect. If you are unable to give 100% of your heart, do not give others the impression that they have 100% of your heart in the first place – that’s like giving someone an elaborately wrapped gift that is empty inside. Give them some credit for loving you despite how little you give back to them.

HOW TO CO-EXIST WITH THE OTHER (OTHERS):
Understand that your OCPD friend is one of the most emotionally broken people on this planet. He or she is afraid to open his or her heart again, no matter how much of a trustworthy person you prove yourself to be. You do not need to be any more perfect. Instead, he or she really needs to let go of his or her past. But telling your OCPD friend that that is what needs to be done will not go too well. You can help your OCPD friend get to that conclusion by asking leading questions.

HOW TO LET GO OF YOUR PAST (OCPD):
As long as you believe that your attachment to the past is protecting you, you will not be able to let go. You must first understand the fallacy in holding onto your past. It is holding you back from being who you are meant to be. You are meant to be someone who gives 100%! Forgive yourself for misplacing your efforts in the past and forgive others who have wronged you in the past. Be the hyper passionate person that you have been designed to be!

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