Atelophobia: fear of imperfection

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23 March 2016

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Atelo means not being good enough and phobo means fear. Atelophobia: fear of imperfection.

While a great number of us aim to be perfectionists, some of us take it too far. This could lead to obsessive-compulsive disorder, which is definition of person making their life perfect. If they couldn’t achieve the absolute best, it may cause them to stress. However, people who have a type of behaviour that only draws in disappointment and compromised social relationship are known to have Atelophobia.

People with this disorder aim to make everything as flawless as possible. Atelophobia often ruins friendships and relationship, and can often cause conflicts between families; they fear that they won’t be good enough for them. They usually set themselves high standards that are impossible to achieve. These people who have this fear are mostly worried about disappointing others.

Victims of Atelophobia can develop this fear by several reasons; media is one of the reasons. Targets usually look up to celebrities. They look at photo-shopped pictures of them and want to be similar to them. Among 7–13th school years, 47% said they wanted to lose weight because of magazine pictures. It could be based on looks, weight, talent etc. It could lead the society to think it’s normal. If everyone had similar thoughts then, people who do not reach to society’s standards would be labelled as ‘different’. A fear of being unique or divergent to others; Unusophobia. Atelophobia victims could also develop this disorder owing to this fact that they wanted to fit in the ‘crowd’. Lastly, Atelophobia could’ve been developed by bullying. Bullying could involve their family or friends. Their childhood could have an experience of people listing harshly of their faults and weaknesses. They could have parents who were too demanding or set unrealistic expectations they could never meet.

As a student, it’s highly likely to experience bullying than adults; statistics proves it. It’s no different for Celebrity, Demi Lovato. At age four, she would look into mirror at herself thinking, “I was fat” (MTV). The star also explained how her feelings of low self worth lead to her shedding a huge amount of weight at the age of just twelve years old but it did not make her feel better. She stated a group of girls first started to taunt her how she never has straight hair just like the others and it had eventually led on to her other weaknesses. She had then got taken into rehab after her mother finding out she self-harmed herself.

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StudyScroll. (2016). Atelophobia: fear of imperfection [Online]. Available at: [Accessed: 5 October, 2022]

"Atelophobia: fear of imperfection" StudyScroll, Mar 23, 2016. Accessed Oct 5, 2022.

"Atelophobia: fear of imperfection" StudyScroll, Mar 23, 2016.

"Atelophobia: fear of imperfection" StudyScroll, 23-Mar-2016. [Online]. Available: [Accessed: 5-Oct-2022]

StudyScroll. (2016). Atelophobia: fear of imperfection. [Online]. Available at: [Accessed: 5-Oct-2022]

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