Imposter syndrome

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The Impostor syndrome is the feeling that you are not as smart, talented, or skilled as people think you are, and that you are only faking these qualities. It is characterized by a collection of feelings of inadequacy that persist even in face of information that indicates that the opposite is true. out. It affects 70% of adults and is especially prevalent in high achieving women.


Why should I be aware of this?

People in different professions right from teachers to businessmen to actors can all have imposter feelings. Though originally associated with women, recent research indicated that men suffer in similar numbers.

To some extent family situations and family dynamics contribute to development of imposter feelings. It can also develop when our success and career aspirations conflict with the aspirations and expectations of the family or when families impose unrealistic standards, are very critical, or are ridden with conflict and anger.

How does this affect me?

Victims of imposter syndrome suffer from enormous amount of stress which can trigger illnesses and debilitating emotional trauma. It is also a very difficult problem to diagnose as not every overachiever is an Imposter Syndrome victim.

Imposter feelings can develop out of attitudes, beliefs, direct or indirect messages that we received in our childhood from our parents or from other significant people in our lives.

All about imposter syndrome

Imposter syndrome is experienced internally as chronic self-doubt, and feelings of being less successful, competent, and smart but only imposing as having these qualities.

The imposter syndrome is different from the concept of low self-esteem as it is associated with highly achieving, highly successful people. The discrepancy between the actual achievement and the person’s feelings about the achievement that may not be present in low self-esteem.

The imposter feelings can be divided into three sub categories:

Feeling of being a fake

This is a feeling that my success is something which I don’t deserve and I have deceived others into believing that I deserve this position. This is accompanied by the fear of being found out by those I am deceiving.

Attributing success to luck

Another tendency is not attributing the reasons of success to yourself but to luck or other external factors not related to you. Luck or fluke is considered as the reason for success.

Downplaying success

The third aspect is not giving the success its due importance and considering it as not a very big deal. This is also accompanied by finding difficulty accepting compliments.

90 degrees

In a study among 253 students conducted at the Rowan University in Glassboro, N.J., had 253 students it was found that psychologically speaking, impostorism looked a lot more like a self-presentation strategy than a personality trait. Projecting oneself as an imposter, it was felt, lowered expectations for a performance and take pressure off a person — as long as the self-deprecation doesn’t go too far. Feeling like a fraud in small extent also tempers the natural instinct to define one’s own competence in self-serving ways. [1]


  • Introduction of the Imposter Syndrome


  1. Feel Like a Fraud? At Times, Maybe You Should