I’ve always believed it was my job to fix the world. To make everything perfect.
I never actually said that. I didn’t even consciously think it. But I walked through the world feeling a sort of panic — a desperation to fix things — that most people never experience.
Looking back, it’s obvious now where that fear came from. As I was growing up, my narcissistic father held me responsible for being perfect. I was punished for any deviation from what he thought was right and good. And he constantly judged everybody and everything around me.
Behind their backs, he ridiculed people who did things incorrectly. If he saw a public mistake — a timing error on a live television show or a typo in a newspaper, for instance — he used to tell me that someone must have been fired for the mistake. And I believed him.
I’m still afraid of my own imperfection. I still feel panic when I see others’ mistakes. After all these years, there’s still a nagging feeling inside that I have to fix everything — or else I’ll be punished.