Atelophobia is an overwhelming fear of imperfection. People with atelophobia judge themselves very harshly, often setting unrealistic goals. They may get upset about mistakes they’ve made in the past or mistakes they’re afraid of making in the future. Atelophobia often leads to extreme anxiety, depression, low self-esteem or panic attacks.
Atelophobia is different than Atychiphobia, which is a fear of failure.
Atelophobia is different than perfectionism, which is a personality trait that causes you to hold yourself to extremely high standards and strive to be flawless. Atelophobia is an actual fear of flaws. Someone with atelophobia may avoid a situation in which they think they could make a mistake, seeing it as threatening. The fear can affect every aspect of their lives, from school and work to family life and social situations.
I do a lot of self-reflection, and when I came across this condition, it hit me like a ton of bricks that this sounds just like me. I understand the dangers of self-diagnosis but, seriously, the description in the first paragraph describes me to a “T.” I do have diagnosed Anxiety, but is it more than that? Am I actually Atelophobic? (I can here Spo rolling his eyes as he reads this.)
On the plus side, I clearly acknowledge my own imperfection, so I’m unlike many other Americans, Despots, Tyrants, Dictators, and Karens of the world.