Strategies for Coping with Impostor Syndrome

gtchat 11162017 Impostor

What is Impostor Syndrome? It’s feeling like you’re going to be found out that you are a fraud. You can never accept or enjoy success or accomplishment. Impostor Syndrome is at the crux of social anxiety; always feeling inadequate. “At university, impostors realize that there are many exceptional people; their own talents and abilities are not atypical. Often dismiss own talents; conclude they’re stupid when not the very best.” (Clance, 1985)

“Impostor Syndrome is when you are (mistakenly) sure that soon it will be obvious to all that you do not really belong in the gifted group.” ~ Jo Freitag, Coordinator – Gifted Resources, Victoria, Australia

Impostor Syndrome can manifest in many different ways such as perfectionism, the person who doesn’t ask for help (go it alone), or setting oneself up as an expert. Impostors can be workaholics (if they just work hard enough, they’ll succeed) or the profoundly gifted (setting the bar even higher).

Those dealing with Impostor Syndrome experience a negative impact on their psychological well-being. Burnout, emotional exhaustion, loss of intrinsic motivation, poor achievement, including guilt and shame about success are reinforced by the Impostor Cycle (Chrisman et al., 1995).

“I see a lot of the self-deprecating imposters. People that talk down about themselves to beat you to it.” ~ Kate Faulkner, Intervention and Enrichment Coordinator for Elementary Science in Sugar Land, TX.

How can family dynamics affect Impostor Syndrome? Family messages about the importance of being naturally intelligent are assumed to influence ambitions and expectations of Impostors from early childhood. (Clance ’85) Impostors have a strong need to please (Bussotti,‘90); may cause children to alter their behavior to prevent loss of affection from parents (Clance,‘85).

“Giftedness manifests in many ways. Some siblings’ gifts fit the academic paradigm, while others’ gifts may go unrecognized.” Jeffrey Farley,M.Ed.,  Principal of Odom Academy, Beaumont ISD, TX.

Perfectionism is a trait that is believed to have a marked impact on the development and maintenance of impostor fears. Impostors set “excessively high, unrealistic goals & then experience self-defeating thoughts and behaviors when they can’t reach those goals” (Kets de Vries, ’05).

There are coping strategies that can be used to overcome Impostor Syndrome. Realize you’re not alone. Many experience Impostor Syndrome; few talk about it. Consider a mentor. If you or someone you know feel overcome by Impostor Syndrome, seek professional help. A transcript of this chat can be found at Storify.

Global #gtchat Powered by the Texas Association for the Gifted and Talented  is a weekly chat on Twitter. Join us Thursdays at 8E/7C/6M/5P in the U.S. and Fridays at 2 PM NZST/Noon AEST/1 AM UK  to discuss current topics in the gifted community and meet experts in the field. Transcripts of our weekly chats can be found at Storify. Our Facebook Page provides information on the chat and news and information regarding the gifted community. Also, checkout our Pinterest Page and Playlist on YouTube.

Head Shot 2014-07-14  About the authorLisa Conrad is the Moderator of Global #gtchat Powered by TAGT and Social Media Manager of the Global #gtchat Community. She is a longtime  advocate for gifted children and also blogs at  Gifted Parenting Support. Lisa can be contacted at:


The Five Types of Impostor Syndrome and How to Beat Them

Feeling like an Impostor? You Can Escape this Confidence-Sapping Syndrome

Is Imposter Syndrome a Sign of Greatness?

The Impostor Phenomenon (pdf)

The Dangers of Feeling Like a Fake

You’re Not Fooling Anyone

The Impostor Phenomenon: Differential Effects of Parenting and the Big-Five Personality Traits (pdf)

7 Coping Strategies to Overcome Impostor Syndrome

The Secret Thoughts of Successful Women: Why Capable People Suffer from the Impostor Syndrome and How to Thrive in Spite of It (Amazon)

Beating the Impostor Syndrome (Amazon)

The Curious Case of Impostor Syndrome

What Is Impostor Syndrome?

Sprite’s Site: Gifted Island – Testing, testing …

Sprite’s Site: Pleading the Pink Slipper

7 Ways Teachers Can Push Past Imposter Syndrome


Photo courtesy of Pixabay  CC0 Creative Commons

Graphic courtesy of Lisa Conrad.


Posted on November 24, 2017, in anxiety, Gifted Adults, gifted and talented, Impostor Syndrome, Mental Health, perfectionism, Social Emotional and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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