A mental illness is a condition in which a person’s normal thinking, behaviors and responses to surroundings or certain circumstances are impaired. Among the “anxiety disorders” is Atelophobia.

Etymologically speaking the word atelophobia is composed of two greek words; the prefix Atelo(s) means imperfect and the postfix phobia means fear. Therefore the word Atelophobia literally means they fear of being imperfect. People who have this psychological conditioned are termed as Atelophobic. Atelophobia is classified as an anxiety disorder as are most phobias and therefore it is the specialty of mental health professionals.

Atelophobia is the fear of not doing something right or the fear of not being good enough. Quite simply put it’s a fear of imperfection. Persons suffering from this psychological disorder may be often depressed when their perceived expectations do not match reality.

An atelophobic has the fear that whatever he is doing is wrong in some way. Even making a call, writing something, eating or even talking in front of others is difficult for them as they are afraid they are making some kind of error in their task. This makes that person extremely self-conscious.

The person makes a goal, which he considers as perfect. Unfortunately, that goal cannot be reached. This makes that person miserable and he loses more self-confidence, strengthening his belief that he can never do anything correct.

Consequences of Atelophobia

As a result of this mental illness, the person is unable to cope with other normal people of the society. Relationships are severely affected. When the person fails to reach his target of “perfect”, he becomes depressed. Depression itself is dangerous in its own ways.

Capabilities of Atelophobic People

Although the Atelophobic is as intelligent and as talented as other people in society, or even more, his capabilities are masked by his fear of losing. He does not compete with anyone, nor does he accept any challenge.

For instance, if he is gifted with the talent of painting, he won’t paint. If he will, he won’t show it to others because he will think it is not “perfect”. He will remake it and change it again and again, but will not be satisfied.

This fear of imperfection can inhibit them from doing anything productive at all because they are afraid that may not do it right and disappoint those around them and themselves. This phobia can be especially inhibiting in the workplace where taking initiative is sometimes the only way one can get ahead. Their Atelophobic condition leads them to avoid responsibility at all cost.

There are other types of persons who are not necessarily inhibited by this condition in the sense that they avoid responsibility but are inhibited in psycho social development. These persons fear imperfection to the degree where they obsessively ensure that each task they complete is done to their perceived degree of perfection. These are the perfectionist and neat freaks in our society. Their desire for perfection can become so obsessive to the point where they eventually develop obsessive compulsive disorders. Persons with this disorder are bombarded with intrusive thoughts of worry, fear and apprehension. They demonstrate repeated behaviour such as excessive washing or cleaning, hoarding an in general a preoccupation with most minor details.

We live in a society that defines perfection and then demands that this standard of perfection is met. If not society is quick to malign the outcast who do not meet its expectation. These artificially created standards of perfection often acts as a definitive marker for success within society and of course those who do not meet these standards are quickly branded as failures. Failure is the Atelophobic’s biggest fear. They fear being ostracized, not living up to expectations and most of all criticism.

People who are atelophobic often have an inability to relax as their mind is constantly being bombarded with thoughts of possible failure. They often suffer from insomnia which leaves them unable to sleep at night. This disorder of the mind is also often found in persons who are suffering from anorexia or bulimia. They are so obsessed with meeting society’s expectations of beauty that they literally starve themselves. This is one instance where atelophobia can be physically harmful to your health.

If you think you are suffering from this condition then it is important that you visit your psychologist so that a diagnosis can be done and later treatment. If you are diagnosed with Atelophobia your therapist may recommend anti-anxiety medication which will aid in your ability to relax. It is important to have this condition treated if you wish to have a normal life. It can not only be harmful to yourself but you can greatly depreciate the quality of life of those around you who have to deal with you on a constant basis. Its not fun for the average person to deal with people who have obsessive behaviors.