The reality of a person with impostor syndrome is a series of anxious and devaluing thoughts. You feel as if your life is a game of chance at 22Bet: everything is built on luck, and you succeed because of a sudden chance, not because of talent or qualifications. You’ve led your colleagues to believe that you’re good at your job, but you’re about to be exposed. Impostor syndrome is not a medical diagnosis, but 70% of people have experienced this feeling at least once in their lives.
Identify impostor syndrome by these signs:
- The need to be special and the best. You compare yourself to others all the time. It’s important for you to feel that you’re doing much better than anyone else in life or doing your thing in a special way that others can’t.
- Superhero capabilities. You expect super-achievement from yourself, regardless of the context of your situation. You don’t recognize limitations and set unattainable standards for yourself. It is important to you to succeed in all areas of life.
- Fear of failure. You feel that the mistake you made is not one step toward a goal, not feedback but a total failure. This means that you will never succeed, and that you can give up all work at once. This fear blocks any opportunity to try something new.
- Denial of your competence. Numerous diplomas, assurances of colleagues, conferences, and published books mean nothing. You do not believe in their merits and consider themselves unworthy of praise.
- Fear of success. You fear that once you reach your goal, your demands on yourself will become even higher. You don’t believe you can continue to be effective – it’s better to get rid of unnecessary responsibility and do nothing that can lead to success.
- Conviction that you have deceived others. You have convinced your colleagues of your skills, when in fact you know nothing about your work.
- An inability to attribute success to your qualities, skills and competencies. You believe that you have achieved your current position due to the coincidence of circumstances. It’s not because you’ve worked long hours for it, but because you look right, are friends with the right people, or wink at the right time.
One theory is that it’s because of the messages that the child hears in the family. Parents praise or criticize the child. Or they tell him that he is doing great, that he has special knowledge, that he is better and smarter than anyone else. Confronted with the outside world, children see that they don’t shine with their talents, and for some reason, others do not like them. This creates an ambivalent feeling about themselves.
Parents make inadequate demands of their children, do not take into account their abilities, or force them to perform the parental role of patronizing, morally supporting, guiding, comforting mom and dad. This creates an unclear idea of one’s role in the family. On the one hand, you can co-parent an entire adult – advising mom whether she should divorce dad. On the other hand, you have to be in bed at 9 p.m., and your adult life ends there. All of this affects your self-esteem.
If you have children, show them that it’s okay to make mistakes. There are different ways to deal with these mistakes: they can be talked about, they can be corrected, mistakes can form the basis of work, they can be a step toward some new discovery. It is important for the child to see that the adult faces different situations, makes mistakes and does not break down because of this. If children see examples of this behavior, they have a better chance of using that example in the future.
A person with imposter syndrome often builds contact through anticipating other people’s expectations and trying to meet them. Even in psychotherapy sessions, such a client tries to look like a person who can handle everything. These people seek praise from their therapists. It is difficult for them to present situations where they are not doing well, or that are lonely and difficult for them.
Such a person needs to learn to endure his helplessness and imperfection. The safest way to do this is through therapeutic sessions. Together with the therapist, the client explores the context where the imposter syndrome thrives. What attitudes fuel it? How is it that they are so important? Who is their author? These questions help loosen up the attitudes a bit and loosen up the inner critic. When that chastening voice calms down, the power to pursue your own interests emerges.