For example, they get second in a major race and, instead of being happy, they focus on the fact that they weren't first. Or they get a test back and got 45/50 but instead of rejoicing that they got 45 questions right they focus on that they got 5 questions wrong. In other words, someone who is never good enough in their own eyes. Not really a pessimist, so I'm stumped.


  • Sounds like depression.
    – Anonym
    Commented Jul 20, 2015 at 2:59

5 Answers 5



Critical of oneself, one’s abilities, or one’s actions in a self-aware or unduly disapproving manner:

"What the ‘hero’ discovers is that everyone recites the same self-critical, damaging internal monologue in which they excoriate themselves for their inadequacies."

Oxford Dictionaries


A Perfectionist

The quintessential perfectionist is one who is never happy with the results of anything. Every little detail is acknowledged and is never forgotten. Sometimes, a perfectionist will eventually become sick of something that they once deemed perfect.

These people are also very eccentric


You might consider punctilious, although I'm not sure it's the perfect word for your situation.

Punctilious: showing great attention to detail or correct behavior.

In a sense, a person who pays immense attention to detail would notice the small, negative things because they are trying to make sure everything is correct.

Another suggestion is:

Insatiable: (of an appetite or desire) impossible to satisfy.

Despite the person being successful, 45 out of 50, he or she cannot be satisfied.


You stated "not really a pessimist," but I think that "pessimist" is an apt description of that person:

pessimist: a person who habitually sees or anticipates the worst or is disposed to be gloomy.

Perhaps that is too vague to address the person only being down on himself or herself though. For a person who is pessimistic specifically about his or her own actions or characteristics, we could say:

He/she has an inferiority complex ("a lack of self-worth, a doubt and uncertainty, and feelings of not measuring up to standards").


Self-absorbed with a Negative Disposition Oxford Dictionary defines all the words well. Emotion most commonly felt and experienced by such persons and those in which they come in contact, Hopelessness.

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