Imposter Syndrome

The Imposter Syndrome is also known as imposter phenomenon, fraud syndrome or tiara syndrome. It is a psychological phenomenon in which people are unable to internalize their own accomplishments. Despite external evidence of their competence, such as a good job with a good enough paycheck to prove it, those with the syndrome remain convinced that they are frauds and do not deserve the success they have achieved[1].

Proof of success is simply dismissed as luck, timing, or as a result of deceiving others into thinking they are more intelligent and more competent than they believe themselves to be.
Especially high-achieving women seem to be victim of their own mind. They continue to believe that they are not intelligent and that they are over-evaluated by others. Sometimes they feel the evaluators are biased because of their womanhood or attractiveness. These women are often reluctant to apply for promotions even when they are well deserved, simply believing good job performance will naturally lead to rewards[2]

Because some governments or large companies try to take positive action to have groups such as coloureds, women or handicapped, these groups may start to suffer from the Imposter Syndrome. They feel that they do not have earned their positions and start to doubt their own abilities and suspect that their skills were not what allowed them to be hired.

The Imposter Syndrome is not considered a mental disorder, but rather a as a reaction to certain stimuli and events.

[1] Clance et al: The impostor phenomenon in high achieving women: Dynamics and therapeutic intervention in Psychotherapy: Theory, Research, and Practice - 1978. Pdf here.
[2] Fitzpatrick et al: Waiting for your coronation: a career-limiting trap in Nursing Economics - 2014

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