Fear of flying and perfectionism

15/07 Fear of flying and perfectionism

Perfectionism (human aspiration for perfection) is a serious psychological problem. A perfectionist is always eager to be the best, sets only supreme goals and achieves them PERFECTLY. Gold medal, degree with honors – these are the inherent attributes of people, who tend to the perfectionism. A perfectionist denies the very possibility of failure, because any failure is unacceptable in the eyes of such person. From a perfectionist’s point of view, it’s just impossible to put up with a fiasco.

So, why the perfectionism is a problem and how does it relate to the fear of flying?

Perfectionists think in terms of ALL – or — NOTHING . For them, everything is either BLACK or WHITE. Figuratively speaking, either perfectionist gets top marks in all exams, or he/she is a non-achiever. But is there a hundred percent of anything in our life? — Of course, no. Life doesn’t consist of “black and white”, there are a lot of shades of gray in it, which are unacceptable for the perfectionist’s inner world. Therefore, perfectionists a priori aim for unattainable goals. This life journey, destined for trying to achieve a total and absolute perfection, is like the labors of Sisyphus, ceaselessly rolling an enormous stone up the hill. Such people can have troubles in forming the personal relationships (like, «this man is good in all things, but anyway he’s not perfect… so I’ll better find the ideal one»). It also affects the career (yes, I was promoted to the department head, but I’m still not the company director) and in many other things. A person suffers from the perfectionism just can’t be happy, because right after gaining the aim such person sets another goal, which is much harder to achieve. «The beginning of happiness» is being put away for later, for the X day, when, as it seems to such person, the next aim will be attained.

Perfectionists are much more inclined to a fear of flying than other people. Why? First of all, a perfectionist doesn’t accept even the small risk during a flight. As in all other situations, for any perfectionist, it’s “either all or nothing”. Such person demands an ABSOLUTE safety of aviation. And it doesn’t exist in the world, as you are well aware. Neither in the air nor on the ground. And by demanding a nonexistent thing, a perfectionist will never get it.

The second problem that makes a perfectionist’s life difficult while being on board is lack of the self-control. Perfectionists get used to be better than others, and they are prone to be very self-critical in a case of having a fear while aboard. Generally, we can hear from people suffering both from a fear of flying and perfectionism such phrases as: “I’m ashamed of my fear”, “why can’t I be comfortable with a flight like the others”, “my mind does realize that I shouldn’t be scared, but I can’t cope with it” and so on. Without understanding what is going on with the body and having no control over emotion “FEAR” during a flight, a perfectionist stops taking himself / herself as a person, who can always carry out any task in a faultless manner. This person loses the fight against fear of flying that is absolutely unacceptable for the personality of perfectionist. As a result, it leads to the “self-punishment” and flight avoidance, which cause a progress and development of the phobia.

Recently, world facilities dealing with a fear of flying have worked out individual treatment protocols for patients suffering from the perfectionism. These protocols are being successfully used in our center. If you are fearful flier and perfectionist — take our fear of flying assessment test and get personal recommendations.

Sometimes, overcoming the fear of flying makes a significant change in one’s attitude not just toward flying, but also changes perfectionism, mistrust, over-control, general anxiety and more.

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