What Kinds of People Have Cheater Syndrome

Impostor Syndrome: About the fear of being an impostor

Most of you will probably know it: There is an important task or new challenge and inner doubts, fears and uncertainty arise: “Will I be able to do it?”. At first this is completely normal. However, people who suffer from impostor syndrome see this fear as a clear sign of their own inability. And completely unfounded. Her conviction is: "If I were good enough, I would not be afraid". We'll show you what's behind this phenomenon and what you can do about it.

The English term Impostor stands for fraudsters, swindlers, impostors. Hence the German name Impostor-Syndrome.

What is impostor syndrome?

At the core of the imposter syndrome is massive self-doubt and the conviction that you are not good enough. Despite clear successes and praise, those affected believe that they have achieved all of this undeservedly, only through luck or by accident. So not by their own abilities. That is why they are convinced that they are overrated by those around them. They even believe that they are fooling them, because they are actually not as good as it appears from the outside. As a result, those affected fear that they could expose someone and discover their supposedly incapable “real self”.

Although impostor syndrome typically occurs in the workplace, it can affect all areas of life. For example, some people are convinced that they are not good parents, while others fear that they will be exposed as incompetent partners in relationships.

In the vicious circle of impostor syndrome

People with impostor syndrome try everything to remain undetected and to escape the feared shame. In two ways: revise or avoid.

Some sufferers tend to work particularly hard and hard to compensate for their supposed inability. Others try to avoid their fears by avoiding them. For example, you postpone upcoming tasks or are late for appointments. So they are so afraid of failure that they create hurdles for themselves that could serve as an excuse for a suspected failure.

Both strategies lead to short-term relief because the hoped-for success has occurred (revising) or the cup has passed them by for the time being (avoidance). The relief quickly gives way to fear. Those affected fear that they will not be able to maintain their success or that they will be faced with new challenges. A vicious circle arises.

Impostor Syndrome: The Competence Types

In addition to the various attempts at coping with fear, those affected can also understand something different about competence and expect from themselves. Five so-called competence types can be distinguished here.

1. The perfectionists are found primarily in working life and place extremely high demands on themselves. They expect to do everything 110% right. If that doesn't work (and no one can), they feel confirmed as failures.

2. The natural talents focus on how and when they do something. Namely: perfect and on the first try. The assumption is that competency must automatically exist and must not be learned first.

3. The experts understand competence to know everything. And in advance. When the experts don't know the answer to a question, their ineptitude seems confirmed.

4. The loners see competence only if they do everything alone. For her, teamwork is a sign of her own inability: "Otherwise I would have done it on my own".

5. The superheroes believe that they have to work harder than anyone else. For her, competence means fulfilling all areas of life and roles perfectly: colleague, partner, family man, friend.

Consequences of the impostor phenomenon

Above all, the impostor syndrome takes a lot of strength. Many of those affected are often under constant stress because they are constantly striving to compensate for their supposed inability and not to be exposed.

This can lead to sleep disorders, high blood pressure or other psychosomatic complaints such as headaches and abdominal pain. In addition, overworking in particular can lead to other areas of life being neglected. For example, if you constantly work overtime because you think you are not good enough and therefore have to work more, your family life or your free time can also suffer.

How does impostor syndrome arise?

People with impostor syndrome often have a combination of low self-confidence and perfectionism. The causes for this often lie in childhood. In this way, parents - despite the best of intentions - can encourage their children to make unrealistic demands on themselves. A statement like "Always do your best" can lead to the assumption that you never have to give up and that you have to do everything perfectly. This can make it difficult for children to allow mistakes and not feel like failures.

Basically, everyone can be affected by impostor syndrome. However, it has been shown that above all high-performing and successful people are affected. In other words, exactly those people who could actually be convinced of their own performance. But perfectionism and performance orientation are particularly widespread among them.

Overcoming Impostor Syndrome

The first step in overcoming impostor syndrome is recognizing the shift in self-awareness. This is often not easy at all. However, this article and the exchange with others can help you. Sometimes psychotherapy is also useful. Especially when the impostor syndrome develops into depression or burnout. In addition, make yourself aware of the following thoughts again and again:

1 “Life is not perfect. Making mistakes is okay. "

Mistakes are part of life and will happen. So choose to accept them and learn from them. Also, keep in mind how children learn to walk. It's a process and doesn't work overnight. Falling down and getting up are natural.

2 "Thoughts and feelings are not facts."

Thoughts and feelings are what they are: thoughts and feelings. No facts. So just because you think and feel that you are a con man doesn't mean you are right. Try to be mindful, take a step back, and take some distance from your thoughts and feelings.

3 "Many roads lead to Rome."

Perfection suggests that there is one right way. That can put a lot of pressure on people. Instead, try to be realistic: there isn't one perfect choice. Many roads lead to Rome and each of these roads can be good.

You can be sure: the vast majority of us have similar insecurities and self-doubts. Even if you don't even look at most of them. Like ducks that appear to be floating relaxed on the water, but sometimes have to kick their fins properly. And that's okay.
In our blog article on the topic of strengthening self-esteem, you will also find further tips with which you can specifically counteract self-doubt.

5 "Happiness is a small part of success."

People with impostor syndrome tend to devalue their accomplishments as sheer luck. Be aware: happiness can also be a small part of success, but it does not devalue success. It is always important what you make of it. So if you're successful, it's always because of your skills.

Categories General, Anxiety & PanicTags perfectionism, self-worth, self-doubt, excessive demands