Let’s imagine that, after a job interview, you were hired. However, you don’t recognize your achievement; your first thought is: “well, I only managed to get in because of some mistake that happened”. Or maybe you got a lot of praise for a job, but you think that it was not good and people only complimented you out of pity. These are typical signs of the Imposter Syndrome.
What is it?
Impostor syndrome is a term that describes a behavioral doubt pattern about your success as if you’re not really worthy of what you’ve already achieved in life. “The person attributes all her success to external situations, such as luck or low competition. So you think you’re fooling everyone and you’re afraid others will find out that you are a fraud”, according to the Brazilian psychologist Renata Busch.
In addition, the emotional impact is high: “People who suffer from Impostor syndrome can have a high emotional strain, caused by excessive effort and dedication to achieve a better result, although they have difficulty recognizing that they have done a good job”, says Renata.
How is it different from common self-sabotage?
As Busch says, self-sabotage is something that anyone can do, which is to have behaviors that, instead of helping you succeed, end up holding you back: “For example: go to the club and stay until dawn one night before a performance. When you arrive the next day, you will be sleepy and will not do a good job. It is something that we can do unconsciously or consciously”.
The Impostor Syndrome makes you doubt your achievements, your success and think that your trajectory is invalid. “In this syndrome, the person demands and works much more than necessary so that no one discovers she’s a fraud. She believes she doesn’t have enough knowledge. The self-sabotage can occur as a consequence, arising from fragile self-esteem or false self-perception”, completes.
How to identify
Here are some of the most common symptoms to identify if you suffer from Imposter Syndrome:
- Needing to put way more effort than necessary into your daily work;
- Postponing tasks;
- Fear of expressing yourself;
- Constantly comparing yourself with others;
- Always wanting to please everyone;
- Never feeling like you belong anywhere;
- Discrediting your achievements, thinking it was all out of luck.
Does this syndrome impact men and women alike?
According to Renata Busch, all genders can be victims of the Imposter Syndrome. But, because of society’s history, women are much more charged to be assertive in everything they do. They tend to put this extra pressure on themselves because they were always taught they needed to take care of everything and work twice as hard to be noticed. For this reason, the syndrome usually affects the female gender more than the male.
“Women did not earn the same salary as men and did not occupy the same positions, but they had the same, if not more, responsibilities. They also have the burden of home care, as a mother and as a wife. Therefore, the rates are higher”, says the psychologist.
Does it have a treatment?
Don’t worry, you can overcome the Imposter Syndrome. “One can do therapeutic work to review these concepts and perceptions about oneself. Thus, it is possible to review this trajectory and be able to improve self-esteem and self-perception“, concludes the psychologist.
So, if you’ve identified yourself with the syndrome, the best tip is to look for therapy. Talking about your feelings will help you a lot.
The article above was edited by Amanda Moraes.
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