Nowadays, perfectionism is seen more as a virtue than as a defect. But can the pursuit of perfection become insane and irrational? Effectively, that's right. In fact, when perfectionism becomes paralyzing, you may suffer from atelophobia, a mental illness related to anxiety disorders.
Atelophobia is the fear of being imperfect, not doing something right, not being good enough. It happens when the perceived expectations of a person do not agree with reality. It is an irrational and obsessive form of perfectionism that can lead to paralyzing inaction and cause numerous health problems related to stress.
As a result of atelophobia, the person can not reach the mark that is marked . Relationships are severely affected. In addition, when the person realizes that he has not reached his goal, it is normal to feel invaded by emotions of negative valence.
A person with atelophobia has a panic to error, to be making mistakes without realizing it. Thus, the simplest task can become torture because of the degree of resources devoted to supervising it. This makes them assume little or no risk.
There are many psychological symptoms that we can identify as typical of atelophobia , such as frequent avoidance behaviors, feelings of impotence, extreme anxiety and fear, fear of losing control, confusion, irritability and lack of concentration. Physical symptoms may also appear, such as rapid breathing, dry mouth, palpitations, nausea, headaches or excessive sweating.
Causes of atelophobia
No one knows the true cause of atelophobia. There may be a genetic propensity or it may come from a traumatic event. However, it seems that in most cases it is a learned response that begins at an early age and that intensifies and becomes chronic over the years.
Atelophobia is a specific phobia focused on key non-social factors. Specific phobias tend to have some prior trauma as a root cause, often in childhood and, also often, physically harmful.
Parenting can also play an important role in the development of atelophobia, such as parental warnings about a direct threat, which is especially noticeable in cases where a threat is more imminent (allergies or insect attacks, for example) .
In turn, it is believed that genetics and hereditary factors may play a role in specific phobias , especially those related to the danger of injury. For example, a primary "fight or flight" reflex may be triggered more easily in those with a genetic predisposition.
In all kinds of phobias, external experiences or reports can reinforce or develop fear, such as seeing a family member or friend who is affected. bias, In extreme cases, indirect exposures can be as remote as hearing a reference in a conversation or having knowledge of a certain news.
Atelophobia, like most phobias, comes from a mechanism of subconscious overprotection and, as with many phobias, it can also take root in an unresolved emotional conflict. The demanding parents who demand perfection and too strict teachers can become triggers for future central mental disorders, including the fear of not being good enough.
The difference between atelophobia and perfectionism
Atelophobia has a lot to do with perfectionism, but it is not the same . There is a fundamental difference between both concepts. It is true that people suffering from atelophobia often make their goal perfect and do not achieve it simply because it is impossible.
But atelophobia is more than raising high standards. The problem is that it paralyzes and blocks the reinforcement instead of motivating. Many perfectionists respond to anxiety by working more . People with atelophobia choose inaction to avoid possible failures.
In addition, perfectionism is often manifested as a desire for personal achievement and success . This vision, with its problems, can make a person better and more successful. However, atelophobia does not enjoy this point either.
Learning to strive for "good enough" is a quality that usually generates well-being. In relation to this, the author Olga Khazan writes: "It can be difficult, in our culture, to force ourselves to settle for 'good enough'. But when it comes to happiness and satisfaction, 'good enough' is not just good, it's perfect. "
The same perfection as in atelophobia is transformed into a threat from which the person can hardly escape. In fact, it usually generates a paralysis that ends with any attempt to reach a certain goal. This frame not only generates frustration, but it is also very destructive to the person's self-esteem; the same one that feels overcome and imprisoned in its own fear.