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Imposter syndrome and I want to feel capable

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  • #411488
    Saiyan
    Participant

    Hi,

    So I’d like to talk about my childhood trauma from the perspective that I’m able to understand.

    I think feeling not enough confident/good enough/self-doubt and blaming myself comes from those roots. So at my preteen years I was a high achiever in school that made my parents and have higher expectations from me and later on in my teenage years I felt pressurized and somehow because of that pressure I felt too competitive and lost confidence when I wasn’t able to achieve the scores in an Ivy league or didn’t really fulfilled their expectations I was blaming myself for not preparing and study enough.

    Part of it was also from my mother. I was really scared of her like what she’d say? she’d be disappointed. And I was disappointed in myself too.

    Since then it’s like a pattern whenever there’s something that I’m not able to understand or something hard I try to avoid or run away from that instead of facing it and learn. It costed me dearly for lot of years.

    Luckily now I’m in the good position. But the thing is even though now I’m doing my job well I still have Imposter syndrome and I feel like I’m not good enough and still blaming myself. Part of me knows what it took to where I am now yet still part of me thinks I don’t deserve or I’m capable enough.

    I’ve started doing minfulness meditation but what other actionable steps I can take to resolve this?

    #411502
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Saiyan:

    You shared that during your preteen years, you were a high achiever in school. During your teenage years, your parents put pressure on you to continue to be a high achiever, and because of that pressure, you felt very badly (I am paraphrasing) when you failed to achieve high grades etc.: blaming yourself, being disappointed with yourself, fearing your mother’s reactions (“really scared of her, like what she’d say? She’d be disappointed“), and you developed a pattern of behavior you avoid and run away from difficulties. You are currently in a good position work-wise, doing your job well, but you feel like an imposter: “part of me thinks I don’t deserve or I’m (not) capable enough“.

    I’ve started doing mindfulness meditation but what other actionable steps I can take to resolve this?“- first, a bit more understanding: “it’s like a pattern whenever there’s something that I’m not able to understand or something hard, I try to avoid or run away from that instead of facing it and learn. It costed me dearly for lot of years“-

    – when you avoid or run way from difficulties, what you are trying to avoid and run away from is the emotional pain involved in feeling not-good-enough, incapable, disappointing. What motivates us as humans is not the objective, external circumstances but our subjective emotions in regard to the external circumstances. Therefore, a person who as a child was made to feel okay about making mistakes, and encouraged to explore, mistakes or not- would be positively motivated to tackle a difficult situation; yet a person who was made to feel very badly about making mistakes, would be motivated to run away from a difficult situation.

    I boldfaced and italicized emotional pain because there is no way to resolve your imposter syndrome without facing and addressing this pain. For as long as this pain feels too acute, you will avoid it and run away from it.. and remain, in your mind, an imposter. So, first thing to do is to lower the intensity of this emotional pain. One way to do so is to verbally express it, in writing (journaling), sharing about it here, and best, of course, would be to share it within the context of quality, in-person psychotherapy. You are welcome to share it here, and I will respond to you in a way that will not hurt you (empathetically and not judgmentally).

    anita

     

    #411560
    SereneWolf
    Participant

    Hi Anita,
    Thanks for your response.

    So, first thing to do is to lower the intensity of this emotional pain. One way to do so is to verbally express it, in writing (journaling), sharing about it here, and best, of course, would be to share it within the context of quality, in-person psychotherapy.

    I would like to start journaling – what do you think is the good way put down your thoughts on paper? I find it difficult.
    And I’m already sharing it here

    For verbally I don’t actually have a group or person who have kind of psychology knowledge. I’m surrounded with people who thinks only crazy and mentally unstable people needs psychotherapy – Crazy I know

    #411566
    anita
    Participant

    Dear SereneWolf (aka Addy):

    Are you the original poster of this thread (Saiyan)?

    I would like to start journaling – what do you think is the good way put down your thoughts on paper? I find it difficult“- I can give you 10 sentences to complete, you read the beginning of each sentence and complete it with whatever comes to your mind spontaneously, then you submit without re-reading, editing or correcting what you wrote. Do you think you can do that, and do you want to do that?

    anita

    #411581
    Saiyan
    Participant

    Hello Anita,
    I posted.
    So in your opinion journaling and pschotherapy helps? and Yes I woudn’t mind starting journaling
    I wonder how long therapy would take?

    #411588
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Saiyan (aka Addy, LoneWolf):

    I wonder how long therapy would take?“- it will take a few months for you to experience significant improvement if you have a quality therapist whom you learn to trust and to whom you tell the truth.

    * There is a saying: The Truth Shall Set You Free. (It is in the bible, John 8:32: “And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free“).

    The title of your thread includes the word imposter, online definition of the word (impostor): “a person who pretends to be someone else in order to deceive others..”.

    Impostor syndrome: “a psychological occurrence in which an individual doubts their skills, talents, or accomplishments and has a persistent internalized fear of being exposed as a fraud.. they may think that they are deceiving others because they feel as if they are not as intelligent as they outwardly portray themselves to be” (Wikipedia)<sup id=”cite_ref-Sakulku20112_2-0″ class=”reference”></sup>

    There is another term that may apply to you, it’s called “illusory superiority“: “a condition of cognitive bias wherein a person overestimates their own qualities and abilities, in relation to the same qualities and abilities of other people” (Wikipedia). The term is synonymous perhaps with arrogance (an attitude of superiority).

    In your 2nd and 3rd posts on this thread, you wrote and asked: “I would like to start journaling – what do you think is the good way put down your thoughts on paper?.. So in your opinion journaling and psychotherapy helps? and Yes I wouldn’t mind starting journaling“-

    -Here is what I suggest: have a notebook where you write, or a word doc where you type (whatever you feel comfortable with) and name it Not More, Not Less Journal (NMNLJ). In this journal, aim at the following attitude: you no longer have to be superior to others in terms of intelligence. You don’t have to pretend anymore that you are more than you are- and therefore, you don’t have to fear being exposed as less. You are now free to be you, just you: not superior and not inferior. In your writings, in this journal, you no longer try balance feelings of inferiority with feelings of superiority.

    * In my mind’s ear, I almost hear you arguing against what I just suggested and placing my suggestion in an Other People’s Inferior Suggestions mental file (but responding almost kindly nonetheless, with an emoji or two).

    anita

    #411702
    SereneWolf
    Participant

    Dear Anita,
    Thanks for your suggestion and yes you maybe right because I’m in competitive environment like where all people like, Grow this metrics, learn this, learn that skill we’re fast pacing company and etc.. so all this fast learning maybe making me feel very competitive and that’s why inside my head I be like I do have to be better otherwise I’d be behind like before.. so it’s that fear
    But I got what you mean

    #411711
    anita
    Participant

    You are welcome. Let me know if there is anything else you need help with, in this thread. I wish you serenity, Serene Wolf!

    anita

     

    #411922
    LemonTree
    Participant

    Dear Serene Wolf

    Hope you don’t mind me adding a response here as I am aware that there is already a conversation going on.

    I get what you mean. Please correct me if I am wrong, bit I think you’re a kind of person that is cautious about not making any mistakes and apologies for me being quite blunt, you can be really guarded as well. That is what I think. So it can be quite hard to go through what is going on in your mind as you express little about yourself and even with journalling you’re concerned about if you’re doing what others are doing. This is not a criticism, but rather an observation that I made and I think if you let your guard down a little bit, and care less about what is the right way to do it that is the “status quo” then you might be able to more freely express yourself and it can be good for your healing process.

    Also for me I would try not to fit into the traditional mould of imposter syndrome, of what people tell me that entails that would limit my perceptions of what I am going through as everyone is different. I cannot speak of what imposter syndrome means for someone else. There is no syndrome or condition that strictly defines one thing without fluidity so it can only be relevant to yourself, what you are going through instead of accepting what you think is an acceptable explanation of who you are.

    Sorry if I have sounded a bit too critical. This is only the way I am and I would actually prefer someone say straight to my face what they think of me that could help me to sort things out (of course I wouldn’t like it if they have any ulterior motives that would put me in a disadvantaged position). But for me personally I can take serious constructive feedback so I hope you don’t mind.

    Also whether psychotherapy works for you depends on who you are seeing, and whether the strategies that they are using are good for you. It can be expensive. For me I don’t really rely too much on verbal feedback though it is valuable. I rely more on talking about things (I need a good listener), I think aloud, so once I can get everything out of my mouth then I can work out how to solve the problems. So in my case a counsellor is more beneficial. Don’t know about you, but you do what is best for you.

     

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