It is often normal to feel scared or have doubts when you are about to try something new. It can be committing to a relationship or engaging in unusual situations you’re not accustomed to. Fear is a natural human emotion that signals you to be cautious about your actions.

To some people, fear keeps them focused. However, if you have a fear of failure and it holds you back from achieving your best self, this may have developed into a phobia.

Having a fear of failure is universally recognized as a phobia. It is defined as an irrational feeling of fear of a certain object or situation. Do you think you have a fear of failure? Atychiphobia is real. But never let it hinder you from being the best version of yourself.

What Is Atychiphobia?

The fear of failure in a particular endeavor is experienced by most people one way or another. But irrational and extreme fear of failing or facing uncertainty is a phobia known as atychiphobia.

Everyone may not experience it, but this kind of phobia has its level of severity from mild to extreme. The fear of failing is also linked to anxiety or mood disorder that affects one’s mental health and quality of life.

Irrational fear of failure could be caused by a traumatic event that a person experienced in the past. This traumatic experience can make a person doubt their abilities, making them believe that they are not good enough to try new things. Severe atychiphobia keeps a person confined within their comfort zone and prevents them from moving forward in life.

Fear of Failure

Failure is a stepping stone for achievement. It helps you learn from your mistakes and can propel you to move forward in your career. If you fail at something, it does not mean that you have to stop there.

Rising from failure is a sign of progress. When you do, you learn and take new steps to achieve your dreams.

The fear of failure may have developed during childhood or a certain point in life where embarrassment, bullying, or trauma was experienced due to failing at something.

Atychiphobia can bring a positive or negative consequence in your life, depending on how you manage it. Some people develop a standard close to perfection and strive for excellence since they are afraid to fail. These people are referred to as perfectionists. 

Risk Factors

There are a lot of reasons behind the development of phobias. But no matter how they started, it can always lead to negative effects on mental health, beliefs, emotions, and human behavior.

These fears are the results of how the brain is affected by stress. If atychiphobia is not managed correctly, it can cause repeated failures and become a person’s default mindset. Here are the risk factors that have been seen to cause atychiphobia.

  • A perfectionist failed at something that had important consequences that really affected their life or job.
  • Negative imprints from a childhood experience. An example would be failing an exam and your teacher embarrassed you in front of the class for it, or you were bullied by your peers because of it. These bad memories linger through adulthood and become a phobia.
  • A traumatic event where you felt socially humiliated. This discouraged you from giving a presentation in front of colleagues or public speaking.
  • When your self-perception depends on how others see you, and you don’t want them to look at you as a failure. This belief can lead to your fear of failure.

Symptoms of Atychiphobia

Having fears could prevent you from achieving your life goals. The fear of failing at something could be a real life struggle when a person keeps avoiding certain situations for fear that they might be embarrassed or disappointed without even giving it a try.

Fear of failure is not something that you can ignore or turn your back on. It can influence a person’s mental health and cause severe depression and anxiety if not appropriately addressed.

Here are some of the physical and emotional signs and symptoms that you have a fear of failure:

Physical Symptoms
  • Insomnia or sleepless nights related to overthinking and severe anxiety
  • Stress causing chest pains
  • Easily panics with symptoms of profuse sweating, digestive distress, joint and muscle pain, splitting headaches, and difficulty breathing when faced with unanticipated situations
  • Feelings of constant fatigue and tardiness due to lack of motivation
Emotional Symptoms
  • Insecurities and excessive worrying about what will happen if they fail or go wrong
  • Procrastination to avoid work or task assigned that triggered their anxiety
  • Unnecessary rationalization of how something went wrong
  • Exaggerated feelings of anxiety, fear, and panic when taking any sort of risk or new tasks with an outcome that they are unsure of

How Atychiphobia Affects Daily Life

Fear of failure is self-limiting and causes severe stress and anxiety. It can impair your present relationships, goal to succeed, and productivity.

At home, school, or in the workplace, having atychiphobia will put you into isolation that later will lead to loneliness and depression. Failure to cope or find a treatment for atychiphobia can progress to more severe mental and physical illnesses that would be more difficult to treat.

Emotional Effects of Atychiphobia

Picking yourself up from where you fell gives you the confidence to do it right or better next time. Be it in your job or at school, experiencing failure is not a bad thing and should not be feared.

When you fear failure, you deny yourself the possibility of discovering a new ability or skill that you might have but never known since you were afraid to try. Atychiphobia is  very limiting, and overcoming it can give you control over your future and life goals.

How to Overcome the Fear of Failure

You are still afraid of failing because your conscious mind is not in harmony with your subconscious mind. You want to focus on your goal and move forward, but the fears in your subconscious mind hold you back. Here are some tips on how to overcome atychiphobia: 

1. Know Your Fears and Understand Why You Are Afraid

Do a little assessment check on yourself and know the root cause of how you develop your fear of failure or what causes you to fear failing. If you realize that your fear comes from your strong desire to want everything to be perfect, then shift your attention to how you can make progress instead of wanting things to be always perfect.

Remember the saying “progress, not perfection.” Enjoy the process of improving at something and allow yourself to fail on your first or second try. You become kind to yourself when you do this.

2. Determine If Your Efforts Are Really Leading You to Success

If you have behaviors like procrastination, identifying these self-sabotaging or destructive behaviors can help you change your mindset. You can also try to discover how you respond to stressful situations and replace such responses if they’re not making you more efficient.

3. Have a New Perspective and Redefine Your Concept of Failure

Find a silver lining from your past failures and turn them into lessons. Looking at failures as another life challenge to help you learn and not as a roadblock to your future is an effective way to overcome your fear.

4. Face Your Fears

Repeated exposures to events that started the phobias can help anxiety subside. Permit yourself to fail. Examine your feelings and thoughts about failure, expect the worst-case scenario, and believe that you will survive it.

The worst case that can happen may be disastrous, but overcoming it is an achievement and can be recognized as incredible growth. Even Elon Musk had to fail several times before becoming the success he is today.

5. Take Control

Be the boss of your thoughts and the situation you are in. If you feel that the projects given to you are overwhelming, break them down into manageable chunks and know the decision process that will set you up for success.

Please do not feed your obsession with failure; finding a way to overcome it frees you from your worries. Also, you are not in this alone. There’s always your family or loved ones who can help you with your tasks.

6. Seek Medical Advice from a Mental Health Professional

Look into counseling or therapy or subscribe to online social media with support groups that focus on phobias to find more information about your fear of failure and how to handle it.

Treatments for Atychiphobia

Atychiphobia affects all ages and gender. Treatment options for fear of failure do not usually revolve around drugs and medication but therapy.

Find a therapist who can assist you with a specific type of therapy called exposure therapy. They can guide you on how to alter your response to situations that involve your fear of failure.

They will also gradually and repeatedly expose you to your fears while examining your related thoughts and ideas about them.

Talk therapy is another way to treat your fear of failure. Talk to experts who can motivate you to make lifestyle and behavioral changes. The core idea of talk therapy is to discuss the fear that has been bothering you or causing distress. 

Take Control of Your Fear of Failure

Your fear of failure is not innate. It is an acquired behavior. Therefore, it can be altered.

Fear is just a state of mind that controls your emotions and beliefs. Discovering the underlying conflicts that cause your fear of failure and resolving them instead of escaping them will give you a better chance to live free of self-doubt and fix your social relationships.

Failure can be hard, but it is much worse if you never try. All it takes is for you to get to the bottom of it all, so talk to a therapist or counselor from Kentucky Counseling Center now.