Depression and anxiety most of the time stem from a past trauma, but it is actually not the events, but the thoughts that create the symptoms of depression and anxiety.

Out of those thoughts, perfectionism and approval addiction are prominent, and I, myself, am an example of it. So how does a traumatic event tend to generate the cognition of perfectionism and approval addiction, or does it even tend to generate it or is it, itself a result of it(depression and anxiety)?


I want to say that this kind of issue is environmental. Behaviours of perfectionism are developed because of certain factors that may stem from early childhood (as in how the parents treat the child). If self esteem is measured based on the standards that the authority sets, but the child cannot reach them, they may come to know themselves as inadequate. Freud talks about this in his theory of psychoanalysis and in the psychodynamic theory.

I don't think it's specifically one case of trauma, but a series of evaluations that causes the development of low self esteem.

Before the child has a complete theory of mind he may not seperate himself from his environment and in turn mirror or internalize the negative image of how his parents treat him. Some evidence suggests that perception becomes more global with age (which may reflect the development of a pragmatic perceptive system that allows faster identification of objects in the environment. ) (Akshoomoff et al., 1995).

Its possible that this global perceptive system may become tied to negative emotional trauma. Which makes negative behaviours more easily developable. Predictions of outcomes of events have also been tied to perception, as perception as been shown to be constructive (in the sense that it builds on itself from past experiences, even emotional ones) (Sinke, et al., 2012)

Individuals who experience abuse may unconsciously recall the outcomes of that abuse during similar situations, causing distress.

Also, some Self theorists may also see the traumatic experiences as negatively affecting the sense of self. Approval addiction may be seen as an act taken to strengthen self identity, as the authority figure did not properly bolster the self esteem during development, so the individual may try to compensate for that by seeking approval.


Developmental trends in visuospatial analysis and planning: I. Copying a complex figure. Akshoomoff, Natacha A.; Stiles, Joan Neuropsychology, Vol 9(3), Jul 1995, 364-377

Sinke, Charlotte B. A. et al. “The Constructive Nature of Affective Vision: Seeing Fearful Scenes Activates Extrastriate Body Area.” PLoS ONE 7.6 (2012): e38118. Web.

  • $\begingroup$ PS - if you click edit on my edited post on the other answer I reviewed you can see how to insert links. Also, the icons let you do it via a GUI (select, click the chain symbol, insert weblink). $\endgroup$ – AliceD Jun 8 '16 at 20:50
  • $\begingroup$ @Dog So may I take it like this: Approval addiction and perfectionism are generated by the environment which we live in, and these two traits exist in every individual out there. But those who passed through a trauma, the trauma has strengthened these cognitive distortions, and as a result, those people have become depressed, and emotionally a victim of these two traits. $\endgroup$ – Arslan Ali Jun 9 '16 at 6:51
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    $\begingroup$ @Arslan Essentially yes, I'd change environment to social environment though, or environmental factors. $\endgroup$ – Dog Jun 9 '16 at 9:14
  • $\begingroup$ @Dog Yes, social environment. $\endgroup$ – Arslan Ali Jun 9 '16 at 9:16

I doubt trauma would create personality factors. If one is a perfectionist addicted to approval, the features might become stronger after a trauma, yet trauma itself would not be the source.

Possibly, one might feel weaker after a trauma but then, self-criticism strictly is not the resolve.


I cannot agree "a traumatic event tends to generate the cognition of perfectionism and approval addiction".

  • $\begingroup$ Sure, you don't have to agree. But most of the time, it's the case, and as I told in question, I myself, am an example of it. $\endgroup$ – Arslan Ali May 21 '16 at 10:39
  • $\begingroup$ Would you say that trauma gave you the personality factors (perfectionism and addiction to approval)? I would associate personality with more stability. Events would not be so formative. I do not mean to delve, I mean do you believe these features are permanent about you, or maybe assumed, owing to an association? $\endgroup$ – Teresa Pelka May 21 '16 at 10:50
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    $\begingroup$ I think you might look at the way you have formulated your question. You ask how trauma tends to generate, you do not ask if it does. I doubt it would or could. $\endgroup$ – Teresa Pelka May 21 '16 at 10:57
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    $\begingroup$ Welcome to CogSci. Your response would be more appropriate as a comment as it does not provide an answer to the question. It would also be helpful if you could provide references to support your statements or provide a more detailed argument. $\endgroup$ – Joe Bathelt May 21 '16 at 11:20
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    $\begingroup$ @TeresaPelka I agree. I merely pointed out that your response is a comment on the question, but was posted as an answer. $\endgroup$ – Joe Bathelt May 21 '16 at 20:13

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