Imposter syndrom

Imposter syndrome (IS) is the inability to believe one’s success is not deserved or the achievements are not due to their effort. They can’t internalize success or achievements. It is the feeling that others would find any moment that I am a fraud and they will know my achievements were circumstantial.

A person with Imposter syndrome will crave perfection. They want the perfect social scripts for conversations, and they second-guess each conversation. Imposter Syndrome is also followed by the habit of inner criticism. It is different from self-reflection. Inner criticism will make someone demean their own work while self-reflection will make someone acknowledge their flaws.

For some IS works as a fuel that motivates to move forward but a price needs to be paid. The vicious cycle of working hard, constant anxiety, and demeaning personal achievements and success. The cycle of depression, anxiety, and guilt keeps being refiled.

A person with IS undervalues their own contribution and overvalues the other factors when some success is achieved. For example, if a football team at the college level participates in the annual sports day program and wins, then someone in the team as the goalkeeper, with Imposter syndrome will undermine his contribution. He will think that his team won because the rest of the other players in his team played really well and didn’t let the opponents earn points.

Paradoxically success makes people with Imposter syndrome feel like a fraud!

The term Imposter syndrome (ID) was coined by Suzanna Imes and Pauline Rose in the 1970s focusing on high-achieving women.

Imposter Syndrome has its roots in early life experiences. Developmental trauma appears to play a major role. When a child is given negative feedback then they internalize it forming a core belief of inferiority. They develop the idea that to be loved they need to achieve something. When such a child grows up, with the inferiority complexion he developed while growing up then it becomes very difficult for him to accept his own successes. Having parents or siblings who are high achievers, makes a person with IS fabricate unachievable goals to mirror them. Perfectionism, low – self-efficacy, high neuroticism, and low conscientiousness are personality traits linked with IS. Research has also shown racism and gender biases can play a role in developing Imposter syndrome.

People with Imposter Syndrome will also think like this:
Alright, I achieved this because circumstances were favorable, but what if the circumstances were different? I would fail for sure!

Imposter syndrome has not been identified as a disorder in DSM-5 (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders) or ICD-11 (International Classification of Diseases 11th Revision). Still, it is very common with over 70% of the population to experience an episode of Imposter Syndrome at least once in their lifetime.

If you feel you have Imposter syndrome as yourself these questions –

• Am I critical of my mistakes or Do I self-reflect on them?

• Do I attribute success to circumstantial factors?

• Do I underplay by knowledge and expertise?

• Do I belong to be where I’m?

A way to help yourself is to be able to acknowledge and confront your core beliefs. The first step for self-improvement always starts with admitting the need for improvement.

The second step is to break the thought pattern. The feeling of “I do not deserve my success” is rooted in childhood, Whenever you achieve something, you experience something contrary to what you were told about yourself in childhood. It pushes you into the state of regression and your self-image with an inferiority complexion starts getting challenged your achievements.

Always remember you are just a human like everyone else and everyone has some episodes of traumas in life. It is only you who can pull you out of the never-ending loop of Imposter syndrome. Don’t focus on what could have been better, focus on what can be better from now?

Also, never hesitate to take the help of a therapist. Talking to professional aid to overcome self-doubt and self-sabotaging behavior. Never underestimate the power of therapy. A therapist digs deep inside your subconscious mind and identifies the root causes for all your problems.

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