8 Ways That Imposter Syndrome Shows Up When Have A Chronic Illness Or Disability

8 Ways That Imposter Syndrome Shows Up When Have A Chronic Illness Or Disability

Have you ever felt like you don’t belong? Like any second now your friends or work mates will discover that you are a fraud? Do you ever think that your successes are attributed to luck, rather than your own skills or qualifications? Or, do you try to keep more and more balls juggling in the air; always trying to maintain impossibly high standards, and with each success you achieve the greater the feeling that you aren’t enough?

If so, you’ve probably experienced imposter syndrome, right along with an estimated 70% of the population.

Imposter syndrome was first described back in the late 70’s by psychologists Pauline Rose Clance and Suzanne Imes who recognised that this imposter phenomenon was particularly prevalent amongst a select group of high achieving women. But, it is known to affect all kinds of people from all walks of life, men, women, medical students and managers.

Even international superstars are not immune to its effects. Emma Watson, star of the Harry Potter movies told Rookie magazine, in an interview (2013), “It’s almost like the better I do, the more my feeling of inadequacy actually increases, because I’m just going, ‘Any moment, someone’s going to find out I’m a total fraud, and that I don’t deserve any of what I’ve achieved.”

More and more imposter syndrome is being seen in marginalised groups and shows up regularly in the disabled and chronic illness communities. It makes perfect sense that your feelings of self doubt and being a fraud are more likely to show up if you have grown up belonging to a group that was historically believed to be less capable.

According to the department of health, fifteen million people in England have one or more long-term health conditions, and the number of people with multiple chronic illness’ is rising. These are conditions which cannot be cured in most cases, but which can have a major impact on people’s everyday lives. Aside from the physical symptoms, people with long-term conditions are 2-3 times more likely to suffer mental health problems than the general population (King’s Fund) and with 15% of all long term conditions seen in young adults aged 11-15, this group is too important to ignore.

With the pressures in society increasing, imposter syndrome is likely to be seen more and more.

 

How does imposter syndrome show up when you have a chronic illness or disability?

The more I delve into this topic the more I can recognise my imposter showing up for me during the different stages of my chronic illness journey. As a young adult before my diagnosis, after diagnosis (while simultaneously trying to juggle work and hide from everyone the struggles with my health), when I was a new mum (and my health crashed to an all-time low), and even now, when I feel like I am not well enough to be ‘normal’ but don’t look disabled enough to fit into that space either.

Expert on the subject, Dr. Valerie Young, has categorised imposter syndrome into five subgroups in her book, ‘The Secret Thoughts of Successful Women: Why Capable People Suffer From The Imposter Syndrome and How to Thrive in Spite of It’: the Perfectionist, the Superhero, the Expert, the Soloist, and the Natural Genius. I can recognise elements of myself in most of these Imposter archetypes, particularly the perfectionist, the expert and the superhero. Read more here – What Is Imposter Syndrome and Do I have It?

 

image of a girl feeling like a fraud with a list outlining 8 ways that imposter syndrome shows up when you have a chronic illness or disability

 

Feeling like a fraud in your own body

I was diagnosed in my 20 with Charcot Marie Tooth disease (CMT) and in my 30’s with Ehlers-Danlos syndrome (hEDS), despite living with the symptoms since being a small child, at points hospitalised unable to walk. I encountered decades of normal blood test results and doctors telling me that there was nothing wrong, when in fact the doctors were never looking in the right place.

Now we know that imposter syndrome makes you feel like a phoney. Imagine being told all your life that your symptoms are in your head, that the pain that you are experiencing has no cause, so much so that you begin to doubt that it is real yourself. Then when, often as an adult, you finally get a diagnosis you still doubt yourself. The decades of feeling like a fraud in your own body are hard to shift. When you feel pain, even after the validation of a diagnosis, you question if it is as bad as you are imagining. This feeling of being an imposter can be as crippling as the pain itself.

 

Imposter syndrome and refusing your own success

These feelings spilled over into my studies at university. I came from a very working-class background and was the first person in my family to go to Uni. My symptoms continued throughout my teens and my time studying and I began to just push them aside more and more. If no one could find a reason then I must be imagining it, right? Dislocations would happen more often than brushing my teeth and I could relocate my patella as easily as zipping up my trousers. I worked hard and my grades steadily got better and better and I left university with a 1st degree. But, I didn’t believe that I deserved it, nor had I earned it and I put it all down to a fluke. Applying for jobs I would often downplay my expertise even though I was genuinely more skilled than the other candidates. Thankfully they saw me for who I was, sat in front of them with the skills I possessed and viewed my modesty as an admirable quality rather than the imposter around my neck holding me hostage.

 

Your imposter making you doubt your symptoms or disability

Occasionally I have to use a wheelchair to get about, when I can’t weight bear as my labral tear or hip impingement is flaring or if I have had a dislocation. There have been points over the last few years where our son would not have been able to leave the house without one. And, our daughter uses a wheelchair regularly when out and about to manage pain and fatigue. We can walk, mostly we look well (although that is not always the case with my son, but you generally won’t see him on those days), and we are happy. Which begs the question where do we fit? We certainly do not ‘fit’ into the disabled criteria, neither are we able bodied. Using a wheelchair part time can make you feel like a fraud and question your reasons for using it at all. Should I just manage without, even if it leaves me unable to walk for the next few days? That nagging doubt begins to creep back in.

Image of a lady with blue hair feeling self doubt with the text overlay '8 ways imposter syndrome shows up when you have a chronic illness or disability'

 

 

 

Imposter syndrome fuelled by medical gaslighting

With my diagnoses’ I entered two worlds; One where I had a genetic test to confirm it (CMT) and one where I didn’t (hEDS). And what I have noted time and time again is that the imposter phenomenon is far more present in the latter due to the continuing doubt form the medical community that hEDS exists at all. Similar practices are echoed in the M.E. (myalgic encephalomyelitis) community. Another condition is diagnosed clinically and at present has no conclusive test to diagnose. Medical practitioner’s gaslight patients by blaming their illness or symptoms on psychological factors, or by denying a patient’s illness entirely, for example by wrongly telling patients that they are not sick. After enduring decades of ‘normal’ test results I was adamant that I did not need nor want any support with my psychological wellbeing. I was not going to let anyone tell me that these conditions were in my head. This narrative caused by medical gaslighting is damaging, many people with long term conditions would benefit from support to process their emotions and thoughts surrounding the impact their health condition has on their life and move forward positively, but like me will refuse it.

 

Being a perfectionist and self sabotage

Being a perfectionist is the imposter avatar I relate to the most, this probably has something to do with my personality type but also relates to my experiences with disability and chronic illness. As a young teacher, quickly progressing through the ranks in school I placed impossibly high standards on myself to match up to my peers. I worked longer and longer hours, weekends, volunteered for things that I did not really want to do all in a bit to prove to others (and myself) that I matched up. That my disability did not need to get in the way and that I did not need special treatment. The truth was that my colleagues probably never thought about my health because I hid it so well and what I projected was so ‘normal’ and capable. What I did was place an impossibly high bar for myself to achieve and made myself more sick in the process. If I had been honest with myself then I may have stayed in the profession, either way I would have had a choice. My fear of failure and insecurities had a hand in sabotaging my own success.

 

Asking for help is sign of weakness

As a new mother my body actually started to fall apart. Surgery after surgery came and when I wasn’t recovering from a procedure, I just felt generally awful. On top of that I felt guilty that I wasn’t the mum to my young son I had visualised in my head. In a bid to prove to the world that I could cope I tried to do everything on my own, firmly believing that asking for help would be a sign of weakness. I felt ashamed that I couldn’t do everything (although people rarely saw because I didn’t let them). I was always striving to be better, not less than. Looking back with fresh eyes I can see that this time of my life was actually quite precious, I was present with all of my children every day. Had my body not been falling apart I would have undoubtedly been trying to conquer the world and having it all. The bond I now have with each of my three children is unbreakable and it is due to the fact that we have always spent so much time together.

 

Ableism fuelling imposter syndrome

Ableism, the discrimination towards able-bodied people is strong throughout them educational system in the UK, particularly when you have a disability or medical need but are academically bright. You are entitled to educational accommodations to help with your studies or tests, to level the playing field so to speak, maybe because you get brain fog and need regular rest breaks, or get hand pain when writing and need to use technology or a scribe. Many people with a disability or illness are made to fight for any real support leaving them with feelings of doubt questioning if they really deserve the accommodations in the first place. To get the right support in place for my teen, who was too sick to attend school at all took twenty months rather than the twenty weeks suggested by the UK government and we ended up in court. Twenty months and a court case to secure at home online education, that is now so commonplace. Seems ridiculous. Many give up as the system is stacked against them. I see the feelings of uncertainty in this population time and time again.  It stems from this deep rooted ableism, a lack of money and a system that is stacked against them.

 

Comparison feeding the feeling of not matching up

As someone with a (mostly invisible) disability, I am guilty of comparing myself to others. From my best friend would literally looked a stone lighter on a night out when she popped on her 6″ stilettos, while I donned sensible flats. To the mums in the playground with their perfect car and child and hair, that seemed to have it all. Fuelling the feelings of not being good enough that stemmed from my body letting me down. What I have come to realise is that no one actually has it all, least of all the mum who hid behind her perfect life to hide her own crippling insecurities and debt.

 

Facing my Imposter feelings

As I have aged and am now well into my 40’s I can look back on my life with reflective eyes, both on the progression of my chronic illness’, my work, my growing family and my feelings of being an imposter.

My feelings of being a fraud have pushed me out of my comfort zone at many times during my life, like when my tutor said I wasn’t bright enough to be in his A level biology class (note the first degree), or when I spoke to a room full of paediatric consultants about my children’s conditions and each year when I guest lecture at Brunel University. Credit where it is due, at points in my life my imposter has truly been the driving force behind my successes.

I am still a perfectionist, but I can recognise when that is not serving me and know that done is better than perfect. I know that I can play to my strengths, because I have many of them and am happy to ditch or delegate the other things to other people. I know that asking for help is a sign of strength not of weakness and by working together with others I can achieve so much more.

Will we still have to face gaslighting from the medical profession? probably. It saddens me to think that this still goes on. I stand strong in appointments with professionals and where our opinion differs, for example where a consultant told us he didn’t actually believe our son’s condition existed at all, (clinically diagnosed by an esteemed colleague). I thank them for their comments and move on… quickly.

Do I care that my daughter uses her wheelchair to ride to the park so that she has enough energy to play while she is there and still be awake at teatime? Of course not! Do we get funny looks when she gets out of her wheelchair and her older brother shouts ‘IT’S A MIRACLE’ for all to hear? Most definitely, but we laugh and carry on with our day.

What I am noticing is that I am raising children with their own health issues who are confident and proud, of who they are and of all their abilities and achievements. Disabilities or not they have a strong and positive self-concept and I am proud of each of them as they grow.

What has changed over the years is not my disability or illness or the world in which I live but my own thought processes surrounding everything to do with my life and my health. My mindset, my own attitude towards myself and my illness has grown, and what has followed is a freedom I could have only dreamed of in my early 30’s.

Do I wish I could wear high heels? Sometimes. But if that meant giving up who I have become I will keep this version thanks.

 

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Join The Community

The Thrive Tribe is a community of women who have chronic illness or are a parent to a child who has an illness or disability.

You may feel like no-one understands what its like living with your chronic illness or worrying everyday about your kids. That you are hanging on by a thread or the future may feel a little uncertain. In The Thrive Tribe we get that.

You value life and want to be the best version of you. To manage your symptoms effectively so that you can live your best life. Or, to support your children to live theirs.

In the community we will be having real, open conversations about how you can do this. With my experience of living with multiple chronic illness’ and raising kids with CMT, EDS, PoTS and ME. I know that the struggle is real. I will be sharing guidance, challenges, my personal tips and real life stories to remind you of how this can become a reality now!

 

Overcoming Imposter Syndrome – Journaling your feelings

Overcoming Imposter Syndrome – Journaling your feelings

Last week I spoke about Imposter Syndrome, you can read about it here – What is Imposter syndrome and Do I have it?

The first step in overcoming Imposter Syndrome is to acknowledge what you’re feeling, and why. Start by keeping a journal or writing down your thoughts and feelings. Whenever you experience feelings of self-doubt or inadequacy, write them down, and explain why you’re feeling this way. Be as specific as possible about each situation.

One great way to overcome your Imposter is to write a letter to your inner child or younger self. To tell yourself that it is OK to try, to make mistakes and to learn. To try new things and to be successful. Ask her why she feels the way she does about what she has achieved… dig deep. Go back to where it all began. What made you believe that you are unworthy of greatness. Feel the emotions and write them all down to get them out, what thoughts come up?

When you are done you may want to destroy the piece of paper. Or, refer back to it to show you how far the you have come. What ever you choose to do, breathe easy. That is past. 

I have done this a few times, for me looking back at a time that was tough can be a cathartic and healing process, like journaling, it helps to get the emotions surrounding different experiences out and to process them. It helps me to put things in perspective. Having multiple diagnoses there have been times when I have really doubted myself. As a young teacher, unable to work anymore.  As a new mother struggling to care for my young child.  When diagnosis after diagnosis hit our family and I doubted that I had ‘what it takes’, sometimes crippled by fear of what lay ahead for me. 

I wrote this 4 years ago, triggered as my first child became a teenager, on his next birthday he will become a man. It is as it is. Raw and un-edited.

 

I did not know when I wrote this that I was yet to face my hardest test when my son became bed bound for a time with Myalgic encephalomyelitis. The strategies that I have learnt during my time as a mum: mastering my mindset, developing emotional intelligence and generally becoming emotionally tough, have hands down helped me to cope with these unexpected events. Reflecting back helps me to know how far that I have come and what I have achieved.  

 

Dear Younger Self

Thirteen years ago I gave birth to my first child, as he enters adolescence (and I wonder how that could be possible) I realise a lot has changed and there is much that I have had to work out for myself.  So I decided to write my 2004 pregnant self a letter sharing what I have learnt so far.

 
Dear Sarah
 

Forget birthing plans, a water birth, scented candles and nice relaxing music playing in the background, the only thing that you need to focus on when you go into labour is your breath.  It will be an ally silently holding your hand when things get tough. This may be your first baby but let your body speak to you and listen carefully as it whispers. Trust and stand up for yourself, don’t be so nice.  The nurses won’t actually believe that your labour is established because you cope so well and you labour so quickly.  There will be panic, baby will be distressed but stay clam, focus on what you need to do you will soon hold him in your arms.  And it hurts, especially with zero pain relief but one day you will understand the joy in childbirth, I promise.

Nothing will prepare you for the overwhelming love that you feel for your baby or the paralysing tiredness that you will never seem to shake.  Make the most of the first few months because after that point your body will start to fall apart. Chronic pain and fatigue will hit you like a truck and you will be weak.  Accept help and don’t be so proud.  Letting someone else cook dinner once a week does not make you a bad wife or mum, just tell someone that it is hard.

The niggly pain that you have in your foot will leave you almost incapable of walking soon and will take 9 months and a surgery to resolve.  After the operation you will wake up with a smile so broad from the relief of that pain that you actually cry.  The tests into the problem will leave you with a diagnosis of the neuromuscular disease, Charcot Marie Tooth, take time to come to terms with this, process it, grieve, don’t rush it, you need this process in order to move on.  At this point it will seem like your life starts to unravel, to be honest it does.  It steals your career and you will dislocate merely as the bed covers lightly brush across your knee, you will get to the point where walking on grass is impossible without falling and having more dislocations, life gets harder.  You will feel as if you are being stripped of your mobility, your dreams, your friends, your goals and your identity.

It gets better.  You will realise that teaching is a job, that you are replaceable and that’s OK.  Where you matter most is at home with your family.  You will learn that strength is not merely a physical pursuit it comes from within. You will develop perseverance and patience, when things are tough they will improve. You will learn to think out of the box and find solutions when problems present themselves, the rewards can be so much more when you work harder for something. You will learn to value what is dear to you and treasure it with all of your heart. And you will learn intrinsically not to judge others because you never know their story. You will become a better person.

You will also discover that what you have been doing for years is pacing your life without even realising it. Those naps every day after work before Dave gets home, 10 minutes on the sofa flicking through a magazine, takeaways a couple of times a week. You just can’t do that now that you have another individual relying on you with every inch of their being.  Fatigue will hit you, time and time again. There will be points in your life when you will not get out of bed and wash for days or weeks at a time.  Where you will physically collapse unable to actually put one foot in front of the other. Where you wonder if it will ever improve and how? It will get better, slowly. You are a warrior now. Pacing will become your friend again but it will take nearly a decade to understand its impact on your body and make it work in your new life.

After two and a half years when your family increases, be warned, this labour will be even quicker. You do make it to the hospital, but only just, you lose a lot of blood, consciousness and go into shock.  It will take another six or seven years to learn that you have Ehlers-Danlos syndrome and POTS and that they are the cause of this. The same pattern will continue after baby number two, pain and fatigue will be relentless you will visit more doctors and hospitals in the search for answers than you ever thought possible. Where you once navigated London by the night clubs and shopping hubs you will now have a mental map of the leading doctors and teaching hospitals. Some of these doctors won’t believe you, some will but will be at a loss to know where to start or how to help. When you stumble upon professor Rodney Grahame the pieces will finally start to fall into pace. Although a relief, an EDS diagnosis is only the start of the journey, you will spend the rest of your life learning how to live in harmony with these conditions, managing them, trying to be the boss. Researching and managing their impact will become a full time job. Apart from your husband no one will really see the effort involved in keeping up your normal appearance to the outside world. This new life, while different can be fantastic, just take a breath and learn to appreciate the joy in every day.

You discover the beauty of childbirth when your daughter comes into the world. A peaceful home birth surrounded by those that you love and a midwife that you trust. Breathe it in, enjoy it. She is your little miracle and will teach you even more about strength and perseverance than you ever believed possible. As your children grow you will start to realise that they have their own mix of things going on for them and pain and fatigue will sadly become a daily part of their lives too. This is the hardest part of your life and I can’t ever promise that watching them in pain and to struggle will get any easier. You are a zebra mum and you will fight for their care with every last once of your being because you love them so fiercely. You won’t believe this now but because of them and because of your passion you will have an inherent need to give back, you will be lecturing at Brunel University and helping families with your experiences from all over the world.

journal entry about overcoming imposter syndrome; overcoming obstacles and facing fears

Once your children are at school you will face some of the most challenging times of your life; trusting others with the most important people in your world and to manage their health when they are often not willing or prepared to step up. This will be the most stressful thing that you ever do.  There will be ignorance and ego’s of which you have no control. But there will also be angels disguised as teachers along this path that shine light in the darkness. Your children will amaze you every day with their achievements and will prove that they are much, much more than their illnesses and how they feel.

Learn to eat well, for you this means gluten free. Stay hydrated and exercise often even if every ounce of your body is screaming no. Teaching this to your children will be the  greatest gift that you can give to them. There will be non-believers, naysayers; people with far too much opinion about what they think is or isn’t wrong with you. There will be people that will talk about you behind your back and even to your face. Don’t let these people steal your joy.  Don’t waste your time trying to convince them what is fact, you are not responsible for their thought processes. Use your energy on the important things, wellbeing, happiness and enjoying time with your friends and family.  Live.

While at points along this journey you will feel like your life is unravelling it will actually be falling into place. As friendships fade they will be replaced by new ones, stronger ones, with people you adore and who adore you for exactly who you are. Your illness will not be an issue at all to them, you are just you and you happen to have an illness. And your David, he is just as amazing now as he was then. In fact even more so.

With love,

Sarah xox

 
Ps. On the 16/8/16 Do yourself a favour and take a picnic.  It will save you a swim in the Thames.
Pps. Remember that you can still be assertive and nice, too much nice and people take advantage.
Ppps. Whatever happens keep smiling.
 
 
Could you write to your younger self at a time in your life that was stressful, like a chronic illness diagnosis, or to your inner child? Looking back and being kind to yourself can be helpful.
 

What could you reflect back on? What made you feel unworthy of your greatness? What could you tell your younger self? What have you learnt? What new things do you want to try? 

Let me know what comes up for you? 

 

Join The Community

The Thrive Tribe is a community of women who have chronic illness or are a parent to a child who has an illness or disability.

You may feel like no-one understands what its like living with your chronic illness or worrying everyday about your kids. That you are hanging on by a thread or the future may feel a little uncertain. In The Thrive Tribe we get that.

You value life and want to be the best version of you. To manage your symptoms effectively so that you can live your best life. Or, to support your children to live theirs.

In the community we will be having real, open conversations about how you can do this. With my experience of living with multiple chronic illness’ and raising kids with CMT, EDS, PoTS and ME. I know that the struggle is real. I will be sharing guidance, challenges, my personal tips and real life stories to remind you of how this can become a reality now!

When you join the Tribe you can find your ULTIMATE GUIDE TO SELF-CARE and HANDY SELF-CARE CHECKLIST available in the files to download.

The 10 minute guide to understanding that self care is far more than having a bubble bath and lighting a scented candle. Why it is important to plan for if you have a chronic illness or are caring for someone who does and, a handy checklist to get you started with great self-care practices to support yous physical and mental health and that fit who you are!

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Overcoming Imposter Syndrome – Journaling your feelings

Last week I spoke about Imposter Syndrome, you can read about it here - What is Imposter syndrome and Do I have it? The first step in overcoming Imposter Syndrome is to acknowledge what you're feeling, and why. Start by keeping a journal or writing down your thoughts...

What Is Imposter Syndrome And Do I have it?

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What Is Imposter Syndrome And Do I have it?

What Is Imposter Syndrome And Do I have it?

What Is Imposter Syndrome

Have you ever felt like you don’t belong? Like any second now your friends or work mates will discover that you are a fraud? Do you ever think that your successes are attributed to luck, rather than our own skills or qualifications? Or, do you try to keep more and more balls juggling in the air; always trying to maintain impossibly high standards, and with each success you achieve the greater the feeling that you aren’t enough?

If so, you’ve probably experienced imposter syndrome, right along with an estimated 70% of the population.

It was first described back in the late 70’s by psychologists Pauline Rose Clance and Suzanne Imes who recognised that this imposter phenomenon was particularly prevalent amongst a select group of high achieving women. But, it is known to affect all kinds of people from all walks of life, men, women, medical students and managers.

Even international superstars are not immune to it’s effects. Emma Watson, star of the Harry Potter movies told Rookie magazine, in an interview (2013), “It’s almost like the better I do, the more my feeling of inadequacy actually increases, because I’m just going, ‘Any moment, someone’s going to find out I’m a total fraud, and that I don’t deserve any of what I’ve achieved.”

More and more imposter syndrome is being seen in marginalised groups and shows up regularly in the disabled and chronic illness communities. It makes perfect sense that your feelings of self doubt and fraud are more likely to show up if you have grown up belonging to a group that was historically believed to be less capable.

Sonia Sotomayor was the first Hispanic Supreme Court justice, she spent her whole life growing up in the Bronx and never really thought of herself as a candidate for law school. “I have spent my years since Princeton, while at law school and in my various professional jobs, not feeling completely a part of the worlds I inhabit. I am always looking over my shoulder wondering if I measure up.”

 

The 5 Imposter Archetypes

Expert on the subject, Dr. Valerie Young, has categorised imposter syndrome into five subgroups: the Perfectionist, the Superhero, the Expert, the Soloist, and the Natural Genius. In her book, The Secret Thoughts of Successful Women: Why Capable People Suffer From the Imposter Syndrome and How to Thrive in Spite of It, Dr. Young builds on decades of research addressing the reasons why so many accomplished women suffer from this crippling self doubt.

Perfectionist

Perfectionism and Imposter syndrome go hand in hand. These people set impossibly high standards for themselves not wanting to let things go until they are perfect because of the fear that they won’t be good enough. When they inevitably don’t match up to their self imposed bar, the self doubt and feelings of not being enough are reinforced again. Fear may also paralyse them into not producing any work at all because they do not want to fail, and anything short of just perfect would be just that – a failure. Even with success comes the feeling of ‘I could have done better’.

Superhero

These people are convinced they are phonies amongst their work colleagues or the group they are in and often work super hard so that they measure up. Over preparing, taking on extra jobs and even working weekends. This is less about their skills and capabilities but has everything to do with their own insecurities. These people need the external validation that comes from the feedback of working hard. They are often over achievers and the fear of failure can sabotage their own success.

Expert

Experts base their competence on how much they know, they strongly believe that they will never ‘know’ enough. They expect to know everything that there is to know and even a minor lack of knowledge denotes failure and shame to the expert. Because, if they were truly competent then they wouldn’t have had to work so hard to acquire the knowledge in the first place.

In a similar way to the perfectionist they set their internal bar incredibly high. An expert, even with all the qualifications in their field, genuinely feels inexperienced or lacking knowledge. When they seek to learn more all the time they are actually feeding their procrastinist tendencies.

Natural Genius

The natural genius judges themselves based on how easily and quickly a skill can be mastered. Therefore if they have to work hard to learn something new or simply don’t pick it up the first time they feel shame. Like perfectionists the bar is set impossibly high and the Natural Genius will believe that if they have to work hard at something, then they must not be very good at it.

They find that setbacks completely throw them and they avoid taking risks in case they fail.

Soloist

Soloists see asking for help as a sign of failure and weakness and believe that to show competence in a task it must be completed unassisted.

A soloist always turns down help to prove themselves as an individual, needing help would evoke feelings of shame. They value this independence over and above their own needs, when they get stuck it leads to procrastination, just to avoid admitting defeat.

 

Which Imposter Archetype are you?

Which imposter archetype do you relate to? Are you the expert, the superhero? Do you overwork to prove your worth? Do you withhold your talents and opinions or never finish important projects?

Perhaps you strongly relate to just one archetype, or perhaps you see bits of your self in all five?

 

How to stop Imposter feelings?

To move past your imposter feelings requires you to work on the deep held beliefs that you may have about yourself, which may be hard as you may not even realise that you have them. The work on self-sabotage, negative thoughts, assessing your long held beliefs about you abilities and building your confidence will not be quick fixes and may require regular work.

The power overcoming feeling that you are an imposter lies with you stopping thinking like an imposter. To do that you will have to re-write your internal narrative.

 

Before you go  

There is much more coming over the coming weeks on imposter syndrome. How it shows up in the chronic illness and disability communities and some Top Tips to help you to overcome your imposter, whichever archetype you resonate with!

You can sign up here to get these posts straight to you inbox.

I would love to hear what you think, let me know in the comments.

Join The Community

The Thrive Tribe is a community of women who have chronic illness or are a parent to a child who has an illness or disability.

You may feel like no-one understands what its like living with your chronic illness or worrying everyday about your kids. That you are hanging on by a thread or the future may feel a little uncertain. In The Thrive Tribe we get that.

You value life and want to be the best version of you. To manage your symptoms effectively so that you can live your best life. Or, to support your children to live theirs.

In the community we will be having real, open conversations about how you can do this. With my experience of living with multiple chronic illness’ and raising kids with CMT, EDS, PoTS and ME. I know that the struggle is real. I will be sharing guidance, challenges, my personal tips and real life stories to remind you of how this can become a reality now!

When you join the Tribe you can find your ULTIMATE GUIDE TO SELF-CARE and HANDY SELF-CARE CHECKLIST available in the files to download.

The 10 minute guide to understanding that self care is far more than having a bubble bath and lighting a scented candle. Why it is important to plan for if you have a chronic illness or are caring for someone who does and, a handy checklist to get you started with great self-care practices to support yous physical and mental health and that fit who you are!

 

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