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What Is Atelophobia? 8 Tips on How to Cope with Phobias
Fear is as inherent to people as the ability to breathe, talk or walk. But everyone is afraid of completely different factors. What’s more, some of the fears and diseases associated with them are manifested only with a specific time or age. Atelophobia is a great example of such phobias.
Any person permanently resides in this or that state. One is having fun or feeling sadness, experiencing moments of happiness or grief, is rich or in need of finance. Any manifestations of life an individual perceives as a matter of course and does not fear the forthcoming and demonstration of his emotions.
Although in modern society, a frequent occurrence of pathological perception and attitude to the coming or expected state takes place. Having appeared in a certain state or foreseeing your own sensations in this or that event, a person suffering from an anxious-phobic disorder experiences a strong, irrational, and unresponsive to understanding and explanation fear. The strength of the manifested symptoms is so great that the patient tries to avoid and prevent the frightening state of their condition in every possible way.
- Obsessive fear of one’s own inner imperfection;
- Any fear of one’s own internal imperfection caused by painful memories.
Etymologically speaking the word atelophobia consists of two Greek words. The prefix “Atelo(s)” means “imperfect”. And the postfix “phobia” means “fear”. Therefore, the word “Atelophobia” literally means “fear of being imperfect”.
What Is Atelophobia?
Atelophobia is a pathological fear of one’s own imperfection. This phobia is especially common among teenagers. In the adolescent period, children want to be perfect in everything. So, it is not surprising that the overwhelming majority of them begin to suffer from atelophobia as the adolescent period begins. This applies not only to an ideal friendship or the most unusual first love. Teenagers often raise the desired level of their own wishes so high that, after the slightest failure, they begin to suffer from depression, melancholy, and apathy.
Particularly often atelophobia develops in those families where parents try to please their children in everything and never scold them for failures. As soon as the child faces the sad and rigorous realities of life, they begin to understand that not everyone will care about them as much as their parents. This creates a pathological fear that prevents one from living and developing normally in the mental sphere.
How to Prevent Atelophobia?
In order to avoid the manifestation of atelophobia, parents should regularly talk with their children about topics of desires and opportunities. They need to explain that for adults everything is not always as smooth and perfect as they would like. In most cases, such conversations help adolescents understand the whole nature of their fears and slightly lower sights of cherished goals.
However, in adolescence, this is just one of the stages that a person successfully passes through and forgets, having gained relevant experience. Sometimes this stage leaves a trace in the psyche. Usually, it is not the awareness of one’s imperfection but the reaction to this of others, especially close ones: parents, friends.
Sometimes such a phobia can originate in childhood for the same reasons. Then the consequences are more serious. And it is much more difficult to treat it.
Anyway, this is one of those phobias that seriously complicate life. There are no ideal people. As a result, a person suffering from atelophobia is in constant depression, fear that someone else will notice and ridicule, fear not to cope with the task at a proper level. In general, this is a permanent neurosis.
Psychologist’s help is necessary and usually effective. Modern psychiatry has learned to fight psychiatric disorders of this kind quite effectively.
Atelophobia is the fear of not doing something right or the fear of not being good enough. In simple words, it’s a fear of imperfection. People suffering from this psychological disorder may often feel depressed when their expectations do not match the reality.
An atelophobic has the fear that whatever they are doing is wrong in this or that way. Making a call, going out, eating or even talking in front of people is difficult for them as they are afraid of making mistakes. This makes the sick person extremely self-conscious.
Consequences of Atelophobia
As a result of this mental illness, an atelophobic is unable to cope with other people and the society. Relationships are significantly affected. When the person fails to reach their aim of “perfect”, they become depressed. And it is well-known that depression is very dangerous.
How to Distinguish Atelophobia from Perfectionism?
Atelophobia, as a rule, is manifested only in adolescence. This is the fear of one’s own imperfection. Perfectionism, on the other hand, is a desire to see the space around yourself perfect.
5 Signs You Might Have Atelophobia
You Are Scared Of Flaws
It’s clear that no one likes making mistakes, but what distinguishes everyday fear from a phobia is the extent of one’s reaction. People with atelophobia have inadequately strong responses to the thought of imperfection. There is a difference between getting nervous before a job interview and skipping it because the mere thought of it is terrifying.
You Set Impossible Standards
People suffering from atelophobia are highly critical of their own work. As a result, they are constantly looking for mistakes even if there are none.
You Avoid Situations Where You Might Make Mistakes
Phobias are characterized by avoidant behavior. In the case of atelophobia, this means staying away from situations where you might make a mistake. It’s important to note that atelophobia is not the same as social phobia which involves a fear of being criticized by others. People with social phobia fear the judgment of others, while those with atelophobia are judging themselves.
You’d Rather Do Nothing Than Do Something Incorrectly
Generally, people with atelophobia are very creative in finding ways to avoid what scares them. Unfortunately, fear of imperfection could apply to all kinds of situations, and avoiding them may simply mean putting things off. In other words, atelophobes would rather do nothing than getting something wrong by their own standards. This can cause serious difficulties in the workplace.
Your Fear Interferes With Your Life
It is important to understand the difference between everyday behavior and a phobia. Most people can get over their fears fairly quickly. They may not like it, but they’re capable of facing them. Atelophobia, however, makes it much more difficult to function in society, whether it’s an inability to finish work on time or difficulty maintaining relationships — and that’s when it may be time to seek help.
Initially, a person does not have any fears or phobias. All of them suddenly appear as one grows up. Some of the fears, oddly enough, are even useful in some ways because they protect the life of their owner from stupid acts that are a direct threat to their life. But there are also fears that are useless and even harmful.
But when these useless fears become excessively strong, they get the sonorous name of “phobia” which means the strongest unfounded fear of something. Most often, a phobia is an obsessive and even panic fear. Under certain conditions, no one is immune to the appearance of such fears because almost every person has a predisposition to their occurrence.
How to Cope with Phobias
In some cases, it is possible to cope with a phobia without the help of a specialist. But what really important is to determine correctly what exactly you have to fight with. Due to the fact that each particular fear has its own specific reasons, there can only be some general recommendations.
Learn not to focus on excessively negative emotions
You always need to have a couple of brightest pleasant memories “in stock”, so that you can “cover” the emerging stress-emotional situation as soon as it arises.
Learn to instantly “get” such pleasant memories out from your memory. Do it every time as soon as you begin to understand that trouble just overwhelms you.
Similar pleasant sensations can be experienced if you are occupied with something that brings you pleasure.
Every person has a certain level of confidence and comfort
This means that in a certain space and time, under the right conditions and a combination of circumstances, one can deal with a particular case or communicate with a specific person – with whom, when and where everything turns out to be extremely easy so that any fear simply vanishes with time.
And there is no need to wait for the complete disappearance of the problem. On the contrary, when the problem appears, it is necessary to take up your favorite occupation because very often for such a productive activity a certain excitement and emotional arousal are extremely necessary.
It is not fear itself that needs to be fought and overcome but the intensity of its manifestation
You have obviously noticed more than once that the further you drive certain thoughts from you the more intrusive they become. Fear is an absolutely normal sensation which is typical for every person. There are no exceptions here.
After all, in essence, such feelings are quite an ancient protective mechanism of any living being in response to a certain danger or simply its elementary possibility.
Sometimes, to obtain a certain result, it is very effective to recognize the existence of a problem
So with fear, in order to really get rid of it, you have to admit that in certain periods, under certain conditions, you are incredibly scared, and then just learn to live with this irrational thought. To achieve this, just accept your fear and allow yourself to be afraid, immersed in it. Very soon you will notice a significant decrease in its intensity.
Go in for sports
Physical activity creates miracles in the fight against phobias. And all because exercises practically “burn” excess “hormone of fear” – adrenaline and produce endorphin and serotonin, known to all as “hormones of happiness.”
Learn to accept yourself the way you are
Every person has a variety of qualities. And in childhood, parents usually impose only the most “light” image which is only a half of the reality, which subsequently turns into a serious fear of oneself and its natural manifestations.
That’s why it’s so important to accept yourself as a single person – developing, changing, and completely different in manifestations.
Some people believe that the best way to get rid of phobias is a strong-willed effort that excludes any fears
In fact, this is absolutely wrong because the mere absence of any fears and elementary anxieties’ signals is the presence of a mental disorder. And besides, it is much better to feel irrational and absolutely unfounded fear than to recklessly challenge fate and, as a result, lose life itself.
Never get drunk to get rid of unnecessary anxiety and obsessive fear
This method will only exacerbate the problem. In this case, indeed, sedatives are more effective. Such as hot tea with mint or warm milk with honey.
And remember: you cannot always cope with your own troubles and problems yourself. If there is a need, don’t be afraid to ask for a doctor’s help. In any way, if you get rid of obsessive fears you will undoubtedly reach the long-awaited relief and inner calmness.
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By Maria Shevtsova
Born in Belarus, 1985, a pedagogue and family psychologist. Taking action in support groups organization and social adaptation of the people with mental disorders. Since 2015 is a chief editor of the undepress.net project, selecting the best and up-to-date material for those, who want to get their life back or help someone dear, who got into mental trap.
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