Book examines fraudulent feelings

By Alley Morris
Times-News correspondent

   Have you ever felt like an imposter?
Some have experienced feelings of being fake because they got a trophy or recognition for not really doing anything at all.
According to Dr. Sandi Mann, author of more than 20 psychology books, up to 70 percent of society is developing what is called Imposter Syndrome (IS). Imposter Syndrome is defined as “the feeling that deep down we’re complete frauds and our accomplishments are the result of luck rather than skill.”
This syndrome can affect everyone from millennials to movie stars. Dr. Mann studied psychology in the United Kingdom and earned four Masters degrees. She has written more than 20 psychology books. Her first book was written while she was finishing her doctorate degree.
“I have always been fascinated with the human mind, so psychology was an obvious choice,” she said. “But I have also always loved writing and initially wanted to be a journalist. I even worked as a journalist for a local newspaper in my gap year. Now I combine both my passions — I write about psychology. I want to make psychology accessible to everyone.”
According to Dr. Mann, there are five types of imposters when it comes to Imposter Syndrome. Those types include: The Perfectionist, Superwoman/man, Natural Genius, Rugged Individual and The Expert.
“The dominant character traits that are similar to those that have Imposter Syndrome would be perfectionism, a very hard work ethic and a habit of attributing successes to luck but failures to your own abilities,” Dr. Mann expressed.
You don’t have to be in a specific age group to experience Imposter Syndrome.
“It’s not an age group per se — more stages of life. So people who have ‘transitioned’ from one stage to another become qualified, accredited, etc. Or     started a new course or job,” she said.
   In Mann’s book, “Why Do I Feel Like An Imposter?”, she explained the actions and shares lots of tips and tools to help people who don’t have Imposter Syndrome understand what those who do suffer from the syndrome deal with on a day-to-day basis. Some people who suffer or deal with Imposter Syndrome may feel like they can’t reach out or ask for help, for fear they will be judged.
However, there are some ways that are best for them to reach out.
“Actually a top tip is to share your imposter beliefs with others around you — you will be surprised how many people will say ‘oh no don’t be silly — you are not an imposter. Me, on the other hand …”, she explained.
Imposters may also feel like there isn’t a way for them to stop being an imposter. However, there are some ways that can help an imposter realize, in some cases, and help them see how they can change.
“The first thing is to realize they have the condition. Recognizing the signs and symptoms will help you to catch your thoughts and challenge them. It is all about challenging those ‘imposter-ish’ thoughts — looking for evidence for and against the view that you are an imposter,” Mann responded.
Someone who deals with Imposter Syndrome may feel like they are alone, and maybe that they don’t have anyone they can relate to or express what they’re feeling in some cases. There are opportunities for people with Imposter Syndrome to share their feelings and voice their beliefs.
“I do think people need to share — it is such a relief for people to realize they are not alone and that actually, they probably are good enough (I actually think it’s the people who don’t suffer from Imposter Syndrome that we should be worried about),” she said.
Her latest book, “Why Do I Feel Like An Imposter?” will be released Sept. 10; it costs $14.95 and can be purchased at www.amazon.com.

Alley Morris is a rising home-schooled sophomore and a Teens & 20s writer.

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