Normal amount of doubt regarding success in certain project, relationships or examinations is usually present in most people. However, when the fear of failure takes on an extreme form then it is termed as Atychiphobia. Atychiphobia is also known by several other names like Kakorrahaphobia, or Kakorraphiophobia which also covers the fear of rejection.
Individuals coping with Atychiphobia mainly fear failure because they lack confidence in their abilities. Some experience extreme fear of failure because of the ridicule one might face owing to the failure. Likewise, some suffer from Atychiphobia due to the fear of risk taking. Individuals coping with Atychiphobia often have rigid or unrealistic expectations and/or excessive standards of behavior.
Causes of the fear of failure
Atychiphobia is often linked to traumatic or embarrassing events in one’s past. Strict or overly demanding parents or demeaning siblings or friends can also lead a child to suffer extreme fear of failure. Minor failures in one’s childhood can cause embarrassment or ridicule. These lead to negative thoughts when undertaking other challenges. The fear of failure continues to grow and adds up as one matures. Add to this the fact that our cultures and societies lay certain expectations regarding looks, relationships, education and in general preset definitions and norms of failures and success.
Persons with the fear of failure often give up trying unless they have been guaranteed or assured of perfection in certain tasks.
Symptoms of Atychiphobia or the fear of failure
Atychiphobia can severely affect the quality of life of the person suffering from it. One might even go to great lengths to avoid things that are unlikely to have a favorable ending.
Many coping with the fear of failure phobia give up trying completely especially where relationships, education or job related projects are concerned. They believe in their mind that the outcome of most of these projects would be imperfect not realizing that perfection is merely an illusion. Their Atychiphobia causes these individuals to quit their jobs and end relationships to avoid the failure therein. The fear of failure can also lead the person to sabotage his/her life. S/he might fake illnesses, make constant excuses and tell blatant lies. This is known to lead to demotions, unemployment, negative reviews and divorces.
Apart from these signs, persons with Atychiphobia also experience several physical symptoms. The worrying thoughts regarding a given task at hand can lead to sleepless nights, tension headaches, muscle pain etc. Instead of focusing on the task at hand, the individual with Atychiphobia spends all his energy worrying about failure. Physical symptoms of Atychiphobia include gastrointestinal distress, headaches, sweating, anxiety and panic attacks, twitching, trembling, and irritability etc.
Treatment of Atychiphobia
Atychiphobia affects both men and women. Medication and drugs are usually the last line of treatment for this kind of phobia. This is because; drugs merely mask the symptoms and do not tackle the problem from its root. Talk therapy, counseling etc can help the patient open up about his fears in order to come up with effective solutions to cope with the stress experienced on being given a task.
The most effective treatment for the fear of failure is self motivation. Experts recommend breaking a task into smaller and manageable pieces and doing more gradually. This can help patients realize that failure does not mean the end of life rather it is crucial for the growing process.
If the irrational failure of fear is affecting you or someone you know and is standing in the way of success, then it is time to regain control over life. There are many different treatment options available today and one can definitely overcome their Atychiphobia with their help.