Imposter Syndrome: Types, Symptoms & How to Deal With It

Imposter syndrome aka fraud syndrome (also known as fraud syndrome) is a psychological syndrome faced by many people. It is when an individual is consistently afraid of not being capable of his accomplishments and lives with the fear of being exposed as frauds. It includes not just the fear of being accused to be a fraud but also makes an individual feel that they do not deserve any of the good things happening with them. It also brings out the feeling of being inferior and one constantly feels the following:

  •    “It’s happening to me because of my luck, I personally do not have anything to do with the success”
  •    “I still haven’t done enough”
  •    “All this appraisal is only till they find out the truth”
  •    “Everyone is so happy to be around me, but I feel like a fake”

This syndrome is not confined to a certain set of individuals. People from any demographic area can become a victim of this syndrome.

Imposter Syndrome Symptoms:

Being an imposter is fine; it is just a psychological phenomenon and not a disease that one needs to worry about. But, if it becomes critical then you can be sure you need some help.

imposter syndrome

But how do you find out if you are a victim of imposter syndrome or not? By reading the above paragraphs you may have felt that “oh my God! I have felt this way. Am I suffering from this syndrome?” Definitely NO. Each one of us becomes doubtful of our capabilities at one point. There are even times when we feel inferior about ourselves when somebody is a better performer. At times we feel a lot of pressure when we are close to the deadline for our work. This doesn’t mean that you are down with the syndrome. But if you can co-relate yourself with the following symptoms then you definitely need some help.

  •    Finding perfection in each and every activity
  •    Being doubtful of your capabilities
  •    Working too much
  •    Relating success to luck rather than your hard work
  •    Feeling like a fake or a fraud
  •    Undermining one’s own worth

Types of Imposter Syndrom

1. The Perfectionist: Impostor syndrome and perfectionism are two sides of the same coin. Perfectionists set very high goals for themselves and when they fail to achieve those goals they doubt on their own capabilities. They often fail to realize that they punish not just themselves but also the group they are associated with. They become control freaks and feel that no one can do a work as good as them. They become micromanagers, find difficult to decentralize the authority, set high standards and expect 100% out of everything and when things don’t work out they sulk in grief.

2. The Superwoman/man: Imposter syndrome influence a person’s psychology so much that they tend to consider themselves to be frauds that are running game on everyone. So in order to cover up these insecurities, they stay in the workplace for longer durations to show that they are putting an actual value to the work. They completely dismiss their hobbies and passion. And whenever they are not working, they rue that they are putting a lot of time into the drain. They become complete workaholics.

types and symptoms of imposter syndrome

3. The Natural Genius: People struggling with imposter syndrome are also natural geniuses. They associate success with their abilities rather than the efforts. If they are finding difficult to finish a particular work they doubt on their abilities and believe that they must not be good enough. They can’t stand the thought of being not good enough. They set their bar really high and expect to get it done in the first try itself. The natural geniuses with imposter syndrome will have a track record of getting A ’s, being called the smart one in the family, failures will shake their confidence and try to avoid challenges with the fear of not being able to do it in the first try.

4. The Rugged Individualist: Another type of imposter syndrome where the individuals do not like to be, mentored nor they take assistance from anyone. They feel that asking for help would reveal them as fake. Fakers who are faking to ace at everything. Even if they need assistance from somebody they make it sound like a requirement for the work and not for themselves.

5. The Expert:  This segment of people suffering from imposter syndrome feels that they will be exposed very soon of their fraud. They feel that they have tricked their managers into getting their jobs or projects. They often shy away from applying to jobs, they look for more and more training and certifications to improve themselves

How to deal with imposter?

An individual with imposter syndrome can hardly lead a peaceful life. They are always threatened of coming out in the open, being exposed to their fraud, not having done enough, achieving less than they expect and getting all the appraisals they don’t deserve. They always live with the feeling of being a FAKE.

Living such a life where the sweat of fear is always rolling on your forehead is not acceptable. So here are some methods to overcome the imposter syndrome.

  • Reward yourself:  People with imposter syndrome feel that they have not done enough and do not merit their hard work. Instead, associate their success to luck. So you need to put enough value into your work and reward yourself whenever something good comes out in your work. Even if it is celebrating your success with just an ice cream, it will bring a huge positive change in your lifestyle.
  • Expose yourself completely: Imposter syndrome is just another personality trait like OCD and not some severe disease. So it is totally ok to say it in open if you have it. Accepting you have such a syndrome and telling it in open for the way you behave will reduce the feeling of fake you have built in you.
  • Accentuate the positive:   when you have imposter syndrome, you focus more on what’s not done. Try going the other way and start looking for positive things. And sometimes it is totally acceptable to cut people out of your life. Whether it is your best friends, relatives or co-workers. If the people around you are not giving positives benefits to your life it is better to keep a very good distance from them. Be a part of a group that thinks positively. Make friends with those people who see the goodness in you, find positive in you and bring out the best in you.
  • No one is perfect: The universal truth. Nobody is perfect in the whole world. Victims of imposter syndrome often think they need to be perfect in everything they do. But it’s near to impossible. Because what is perfect to you could be average to someone.  It’s all about your perception and how you look at things. So stop striving to be a perfectionist, rather focus on finishing a task with ease
  • Be Confident:  Why so insecure? What are you insecure about? That you are incapable of doing a task. That you are getting more than you deserve? That you will be exposed as a fake? If you are so worried about stuff try making it right. Be confident in your capabilities. You only get what you give. So whatever appraisals you are getting it is proportionate to whatever you have given. Imposter Women tend to underestimate themselves, tend to doubt their strengths. They need to take up the tasks with confidence and this confidence kills all the doubts and insecurities

To quote Charlie Chaplin” A day without laughter is like a day wasted”

Final words

Imposter syndrome is not a deadly disease; it’s not even a disease, to be honest. It is just a personality trait which lies in all of us in one or the other way. In the symptoms mentioned in the article, many of them are relatable to many of us. There are some individuals who suffer severely every moment and it is curable if you want it to be cured. Along with psychological help you can follow certain steps mentioned above and accept yourself the way you are and the world the way it is.

Life is simple, we make it complex with our own thoughts. If we live by ourselves without interfering into other people’s lives and not letting other people’s comments disturb ours, life couldn’t be happier.

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