by Charlotte Fantelli

When I was a kid I always dreamed big, so big in fact people would laugh at what I believed I could achieve. All except my mum of course who was the only other person I know who could dream as big as me.

Even when she was agoraphobic and in the depths of her tranquilliser addiction she never gave up dreaming. A quality that is so beautiful, so brave and one of the things she passed on to me - along with her love of writing... Oh and poor teeth and tendency to go on too much when telling a story!

Anyway this blog is about perfectionism. In a way my ability to dream big is great, after all it means I achieve a lot. I never give up, my dogged determination alone could get me through five rounds with Tyson I'm sure. Not because I'm a great fighter, just because I NEVER give in.

So what is so bad about it? Hey I'm 27, got through a heck of a lot of s**t, I'm in business with the entrepreneur of the year, I count celebrities among my friends, have a job that I adore, launched a global magazine and have a satisfied husband and well behaved child...

So it's perfect right? In so many ways yes. I appreciate and love every minute counting my blessings every day.

I just wish for one minute I could pat myself on the back and say 'Hey Charlotte you are doing great!' But I cannot. I look at my life as a gift from God. And I am sure it is, but I know if I stopped for a minute to think that I played a part in it all, I would break down and cry.

However hard I push, however high I climb I will never be good enough.

I am saying this not because I want sympathy - I hate sympathy (if you met my husband, friends and business partner you'd see I surround myself with people who push me, not pity me) I am saying this because I want to highlight the vulnerability of people who have been through abuse.

I will never feel worthy of my wonderful husband, my fantastic business partner and as for my son... 

This is turning out to be a really sad blog post and I really don't mean it to be. My need to feel worthy, to atone for what I feel is flawed about me drives me to be the very best I can be and it has got me so very far. For this I am grateful.

I am now believing that other people love me which is a great start, I believe that they are not going to run and hide when they see the real me, that is amazing. One day I maybe able to break down the barriers and re-inact that wonderful Good Will Hunting moment... Maybe one day...

(For those of you who don't know the film Will has been through child abuse and Robin Williams is his shrink - referring to his abuse)

Until then I will enjoy every God given moment and thank my lucky stars, count my blessings and take you guys on this fantastic journey with me.

Thank you for listening xx


This film is the best depiction of life after child abuse I have ever seen. Well done for getting so far, Very well done xx
I had to read this again and again, so true. It's how I feel too x mm

Hi, Charlotte:

I completely understand you! Even when I was very sick with bipolar disorder and an addict my mother never stopped dreaming. She always told me I could be a writer (as I am sure you know many people will tell you "dont quit your day job"), even when I was at my worst.

I dreamed that one day I could write for a living. And here I am, doing just that. I am publishing a book and writing for fantastic places like Mental Healthy...things should be perfect. I should be content.

People always say, "wow, it must be so great so be publishing and working from home" and on and on. And I sort of smile, thinking that it should be, it really should. I should appreciate my life like I never have. But like you: it is never enough. I push myself to do more and more, perfection is the ultimate goal, and this is ironic as we can never have it.

Lovely of you to come out and talk about this. I appreciate it!

Thanks Charlotte

Thanks Natalie, is great of you to share this. I am 'happy' very happy, it is just a sense of never ever being good enough, which I hope in time will get better. It doesn't seem to matter how many people say you ARE good enough if you just simply don't believe it. I look at others (yourself included) and see their talent and think wow they are amazing. Yet cannot do the same for myself, but hey if we didn't strive for perfection perhaps we wouldn't achieve as much as we are achieving? :)

Could this be because your "core" belief about yourself, is that you do not deserve success? How do you really feel about you? Do you have a loving relationship with yourself? Intellectually, you know perfection is not attainable, but it seems that your worthiness is in question without that unattainable perfecton. Hugs to you.

Hi, thanks for this, yes I do believe what you are saying is very true. It is the unworthiness rather than the perfectionism that is the cause. Thanks for pointing it out, may hemp in me working it out :)

Hi .......I too, as all of you believed I was never "good" enough, but instead of pushing to strive for perfection, I gave up before trying, until a moment in time I will always remember. "I" became my own best friend. I had been looking to others to make me feel good about who I was, and what I did, and getting upset when I didn't get the reaction I wanted. One lonely day, lonely because I was mad at the world, (no need for details) I realized, what I was looking for was inside me. It was there all along......I am a beautiful person, kind loving compassionate, and giving. I embrassed all of the goodness in my heart, and conciously decided to become my authentic self. I love who I am. who I have become, and I have let go of the things that drove me to feel the need for approval. I have realized through this beautiful and sometimes very painfully honest process, I have a purpose, and responsibility to myself to be the most loving human being I can, and the love, must begin with me, for me unconditionally, and nonjudgementally. Its a challenge, as life always is, but my love for myself has become a priority, so I can love others unconditionally. I do not need to prove my validity to anyone now, most of all, to myself. :)

Wow, thank you. I hope one day I can say the same. Was it simply a moment, a realisation? or was it a process - if so what helped? Would be great to know. Thanks

This is a different from the type of perfectionism I "suffer" from. It is not just that I can never be good enough, not a single thing I do is good enough. For me there is need for everything to be right and correct. I cannot clean without making sure everything is spotless, and I mean spotless. I review everything I write many times to make sure I have said what I mean to say. I love Mathematics because of the precision required - the correct answer is the correct answer and cannot be argued with, there are no shades of opinion. Even when other people praise what I have done, I hate what I have done (and myself) for the flaws that I see. I self-harm to punish myself for not getting things "right". I agonise for days and weeks about what I have said to friends and other people and how I could have said it better, caused them less hurt or left them feeling more positive about themselves or a situation. As if I can read their minds to know what exactly would be the right thing to say. I remember many mistakes for years. Nearly 50 years ago I made a mistake in a spelling test, the only one I ever made, and I remember it and several associated events precisely and can relive all my emotions in "flashback". There are so many similar incidents all with their related "mini-traumas". The easiest way to cope is not to do anything, never meet with others. I know things will therefore not be perfect, but it is because I have not done anything, rather than because I have failed. This is a crippling problem for me rather than a driver to success. Now I am dealing with a panic attack and crying because I am going to submit this and it is not "right".

I think you said it just beautifully, why? Because it was honest and how you felt. I am really sorry to hear you are feeling like this and it really helps me put my 'perfectionism' into perspective. Have you ever had counselling? It sounds as though the 'little imperfections' in your childhood were blown up into something much bigger either by you or others around you. What I would like to ask is this: in that spelling test did any other children get one wrong? If you have children, how would you feel about them if they got one wrong? Would you not love them or see them as imperfect? I really believe not. Maybe if we could see ourselves through the same eyes as we see others (even just for a moment) we may start to see how much better we are than we think... But hey, I've always been better at giving advice than taking it... I genuinely hope you find some peace x

That is beautifully honest, thank you for sharing with us :)

Thank you Louisa :)

You are perfect, just the way you are x