Impulsivity and Ethical Perfectionism

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      Is anyone here very impulsive and who considers themself an ethical perfectionist?

      Well, I do. Being impulsive is of course part of ADHD. Being worried about ethics is, I believe, a lot related with rejection sensitivity dysphoria. I worry a lot that others will not like me. One way to protect myself from that worry – and to rationalize all these mental processes of worry – is to be permanently checking the ethics of everything. As long as I have been perfectly ethical, so I think, no one will have a legitimate motive to do something bad to me. (Of course, that does not guarantee that people will actually like me or that people will not do me harm anyway….).

      As I got used to this permanent internal ethics control, I also eventually got a not-so-little collection of life experiences that can be described more or less in the following way.

      * Suddenly and urgently (that is, in a very impulsive way) I have the need to tell or do something in order to prevent or correct some situation that I see as an “ethical problem”.

      * Then, I either do or say something.

      * Then, what I did or said is not well received, and quite often even the people that I was trying to protect not only don’t say “thank you” but also become annoyed by my intervention.

      * Finally, I realize that not only people were not happy but the way I acted was objectively detrimental to my self-interest.

      * Further, I realize that what I felt was an ethical problem might not be that bad, might not be that urgent, people didn’t expect me to do anything, it was not my responsibility, and leaving things the way they were was objectively good for my own interest.

      Does anyone relate to this?

      Possible solutions:

      * try to be aware of your own impulsivity and say “stop” and “wait” to yourself;

      * do not jump into actions and words;

      * instead, give it at least two days of thought, let things mature in your head;

      * ask people you trust whether your planned actions/words will be appreciated and whether they fit the local culture (“local” may refer to country or company or other specific context);

      * ask yourself whether you benefit more from the status quo or from the changes you would like to make happen;

      * as a matter of safety rule, avoid taking responsibilities that you don’t have;

      * as a matter of principle, do not try to find a “reason” for declaring that it is not ethical to not do anything and that it is ethical that you do something.

      Finally, if you are impulsive and ethical perfectionist it might be a good idea to actually… be more selfish!

      • This topic was modified 3 years, 2 months ago by RV.
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